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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Centralia, Washington, United States

    Default Call me Forest Gump!

    I am a widowed mother of 3 small children 4, 3, and 2 years old, feel like I need to explore this fantastic country. I will be as safe as possible. I just feel like we all need some time to heal from his passing and an opportunity to regroup as a family.

    Which brings me to a few questions.

    1. How does one find resources to locate things like the largest ball of twine (I know I could google this one, but I wanted to see strange and wonderful things on the side of the road as we drive.)

    2. I am on a fixed income (no life insurance, just savings) and would need to do it relatively inexpensive. I own a pull-behind trailer and would be camping pretty much exclusively.

    3. I want this trip to last about 6 months. From January to June, so if there are events that we may want to attend, I would LOVE to hear about them.

    4. I have passports for all of us, so Canada and Mexico may be options too.

    My trip will start in Seattle, Washington in any direction.

    Whatcha got fellow roadtrippers???? Also, because my kids are so young most traveling will be limited to 4 to 6 hours a day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Sorry about the circumstances

    Quote Originally Posted by c8thecoolest View Post
    I am a widowed mother
    It's probably a perfect time to hit the road. Everything will be new for everyone. Sorry to hear about the circumstances of this change.
    1. How does one find resources to locate things like the largest ball of twine
    Use the Map Wizard, choose a route and see some of the attractions we've published or use the Map Center and pick a city and search by 100 to 500 mile radius for the same thing. Another site that you'll find helpful is Roadside America for this purpose.

    Just a quick start on your adventure and welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default I'll Call You 'Mom'

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your story instantly took me back to my own childhood. My dad died when I was 5, leaving my mom with 6 children, from 11 down to 4 mo. And one of my fondest memories of the years immediately thereafter was of RoadTrips to the Midwest to see and spend the summer with family. So a few insights from that time. First of all kids don't need the world's biggest anything. Everything will be new and different for them, every small amusement park will seem like Disneyland, every state park with a lake will seem like Yellowstone. So choose your destinations with that in mind. Find smaller state and local parks where you can camp for a while and just let your kids play in nature. You are doing a wonderful thing for them which they will remember always. You don't need to bust your budget to do it.

    Second, kids need a little stability, even on an adventure. So do not succumb to the temptation to try to show them all of America on this trip. Instead, as noted above, plan to stay a while in each location you visit. Use rainy days to visit a local children's museum, small local museum, movie theater, or even just a mall. Remember that while getting there may be half the fun for adults, for kids time in the car will just lead to cries of "Are we there yet?" Spend your time being there rather than getting there.

    Third, get them involved a bit in the planning. While they're too young to really appreciate (yet) what it is you're doing for them, or to contribute much to any meaningful planning, at least ask them what sorts of things they'd like to see. They might surprise you with their preferences, and you won't know unless you ask.

    Fourth, as a practical matter, if your plans include visiting four or more national parks, be sure to buy an America the Beautiful Pass at the first one you come to. These are $80 but are good for an entire year and will cover entrance fees to all national parks and monuments but not, unfortunately, special use fees such as camping.

    Fifth, make ample use of local resources. As many miles as we have driven we haven't touched anywhere near most, let alone all, of what this country has to offer. So ask at campsites what is locally available that your children might enjoy. Make your first stop at any national park at the ranger desk at the visitors center and ask what is available that is age appropriate. Be sure to ask about any Junior Ranger program they may have. Although in many cases your children will be a little young, ask for the youngest activities booklet anyway to use for ideas on how to help them appreciate that particular park.

    Sixth, and just because this is getting a bit long, don't hesitate to come back and ask more general and specific questions as your planning progresses. And you should know that my brothers and sisters and I, even though we are now reaching retirement age, still refer to our mother as "Saint Mom"..


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Seventh

    I'm sorry to read of your loss, and glad that you are able to take your children on this bonding trip.

    If you were to take only some of AZBuck's advice, you simply can't go wrong. All of this experienced grandfather's advice is spot on, when travelling with children as young as yours.

    Have a safe trip.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Worth waiting a few weeks. [?]

    I too would like to add my condolences. I admire you for embarking on this voyage of discovery and to new beginnings and I am sure we can help you along the way. Around the RTA site you will find endless amounts of info and ideas to help you plan your trip ahead. As you do your research new questions will arise and as they do, just keep asking questions.

    Although starting your trip in January will have you finishing it, just as the height of the tourist season is beginning, I can't help but wonder if you would be better off delaying your trip until early March when the weather will hopefully be settling down and warming up, especially as you are camping along the way. If it is just you and your children travelling, you will at times have your hands full and the possibility of running into ice and snow and trying to find somewhere safe to park up for the night could become stressful. It's not always the best time of year to find quiet places and for the Kids to run around and let of steam, plus the days will be short. Whenever you depart, it might be worth starting your trip heading south and east and leaving the north until later in the journey. Although heading south doesn't guarantee you will not run into poor weather, the climate should mean warmer weather and less chance of disruption.

    I really wish you and your family well, good luck !

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