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  1. Default Suggestions for Road Trip in Southwest June 2012?

    Hello and thank you all for such a great site! I'm planning on taking a road trip out west, but am feeling a little overwhelmed and needing some tips to get started. My family of five will be leaving the end of May from New Orleans and have about three weeks to explore. The only thing I really want to do is the Grand Canyon (of course) and maybe a covered wagon/dude ranch stop (kooky, I know). I like "off the beaten path" things, as well as "typical touristy" things, and am good driving interstate when necessary, as well as local roads. Our family includes pre- and teenagers who'll pretty much suffer through whatever. We'll be pulling a small travel trailer, but are planning to alternate campsites with hotel stays. I'm wondering if we could make it all the way to San Francisco? Any suggestions for routes or must see spots or hokey places to stay (wig wam tent hotels or other such silliness)? Any other advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A troubling thought.

    Hi, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by mgl5 View Post
    Our family includes pre- and teenagers who'll pretty much suffer through whatever.
    These thoughts in your post troubled me a little. As the mother of five, and with seven siblings, roadtrips have always been a delight in our family. Expecting your children to 'suffer through whatever', is a negative mindset with which to start the planning, and to my way of thinking, a little selfish.

    Why not make this the roadtrip of all roadtrips, so that the family can't wait to do it all again? Give each family member something specific to research and plan. And a relevant budget! You might make it a State, or you might make it an activity. You have six months to do research. Go to the library, watch documentaries, read travel magazines. Go to talks and share your plans with all whom you meet. Avoid relying solely on the internet for your research.

    Start of by putting up a large map and mark the route you think you may take. (It will change.) Note on it what each member is researching, and get together once a fortnight in a family conference planning and reviewing what each member has found.

    When the children realise that this is their trip, as much as yours, they will be eager to contribute. Make sure you listen, and allow mistakes to be learning experiences.

    Enjoy the planning, it is such a big part of the trip.

    I'll leave the rest for others to address.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A Few of (But Not All) the Possible Suggestions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As I've noted often, such trips are well suited to a 'loop' where you're constantly exploring new territory until the very moment that you arrive back home. In your case such a loop could cover some very interesting ground indeed. Start by heading west along I-10 to Phoenix then take I-17 up to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. On the way there are plenty of interesting places to visit including the Creole Nature Trail in your home state, the Alamo in San Antonio, and White Sands National Monument. Southeastern Arizona is particularly rich in 'western' lore with Tombstone, Old Tucson (a western town built as a movie set) and an excellent 'dude ranch', Tanque Verde Ranch. There are also a number of scenic venues such as Kartchner Caverns, Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

    While in the Flagstaff area, be sure to take advantage of the many sites besides the Grand Canyon including the Museum of Northern Arizona (Anthropology of local Indian tribes), Walnut Canyon National Monument (old pueblo ruins of the Sinagua Culture), Lowell Observatory (where Pluto was discovered), and Monument Valley (the 'location' for many John Ford/John Wayne westerns).

    Going home, you'd take I-40 east to Amarillo, then US-287 to Dallas and I-20/I-49 back to New Orleans. On that route are such stops as Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, Cadillac Ranch, and the Sixth Floor Museum


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default A good map and family gathering.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    With 3 weeks it would certainly be possible to go to San Fran and back, perhaps taking a more southerly route out and a northerly route back. A trip out via Grand canyon and back via southern Utah and Colorado would amount to roughly 10 days of solid driving, leaving you time to explore along the way. The only [welcome] problem you have is there are just so many awesome places to visit, therefor you will need to research and see what appeals to you and the family the most, and decide which of those that will have to wait for another day.

    The first place to start is with a good map of the US and sitting down as a family and discussing likes and dislikes. If you get the Kids involved from the start they will have a vested interest and it will make for a more enjoyable trip. Just a few places of the top of my head would include Carlsbad caverns, White sands NM, Roswell, Petrified forest, GC, Big Sur, San Fran, Yosemite NP, Death valley, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Bryce canyon, Monument valley, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Colorado NM, Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods, Pikes peak, well lets just that is a small start of a very long list. There is the Wig Wam Motel in Holbrook which could be fun !

    Look around RTA, you will find Lot's of info searching the forums and visiting the planning resources in the tool bars above. Once you have a few more dots on the map and new questions arise, I'm sure we will be able to help fill in the blanks.

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