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  1. #1

    Default One Month Road Trip - Mid-May to Mid-June

    I am so glad I found this fourm! I am in the process of mapping out our first big road trip with the kids and would love some insights and thoughts about our planning. We live in mid-Missouri, have a 7 year old and a 1 year old and our old boy has been itching to go on a road trip for some time now (as have we) and now that his baby brother is walking and easier to travel with, it's time to get going! A bit of background - DS7 has traveled extensively already, by air and road, with us, he's an awesome road tripper and we're just not starting to travel with the baby too. For DS's 8th birthday he is going to get a week up on Mt. Hood, so one week of our month will be there.

    The dates I'm currently looking at: May 15 to June 17-19 (not sure of return date yet); Mt. Hood June 5-13; My husband cannot travel the entire time with us, so he'll join us from May 19 to 27, then return home since he has to work and can't take that much time off.

    All that is what I've laid out so far and I'm wondering if it is too much, too little, too ambitious?

    May 15 & 16
    Depart and drive though the most boring part of the trip, mid-Missouri through to Colorado Springs, CO, with an overnight in Kansas

    May 17
    Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods
    Drive up to Breckenridge, stay overnight

    May 18
    Drive to Glenwood Springs
    Hot springs pool and caves with kids
    Drive to Grand Junction after dinner, stay overnight

    May 19
    Spend day exploring Redlands area
    Pick up DH at Grand Junction airport in afternoon
    Drive to Moab, UT, stay overnight

    May 20 & 21
    Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
    Evening of 21st, drive to Durango, stay overnight

    May 22
    Head down to Chaco Canyon for the day
    Return to Durango, stay overnight

    May 23
    Mesa Verde

    May 24
    Four Corners
    Monument Valley
    Round Rock overnight?

    May 25
    Canyon de Chelly
    Petrified National Forest
    Overnight Holbrook

    May 26
    Drive to Globe (~3 hours)
    Spend day with family

    May 27
    Globe and area
    Drop DH off at PHX in evening
    Drive to Joshua Tree area (~4 hours)

    May 28
    Joshua Tree
    Drive to Big Bear area, visit family

    May 29
    Big Bear area, visit family
    Drive after dinner to Bakersfield, stay overnight

    May 30
    Sequoia National Park
    Drive after dinner to Fresno, stay overnight

    May 31
    Sierra National Forest
    Drive after dinner to somewhere between here and Yosemite

    June 1
    Yosemite National Park
    After dinner, drive to San Franscisco (~4 hours)

    June 2
    Drive up to Eureka, heading for the coast at 128
    Visit Jackson National Park
    Continue up the coast
    Overnight Eureka

    June 3
    Continue driving north toward Grant's Pass

    June 4
    Drive up to Crater Lake area
    After dinner drive to Bend, stay overnight

    June 5
    Drive to Mt. Hood
    Get settled in

    June 6-13
    Week in Mt. Hood

    June 13
    Afternoon, drive to Boise, stay overnight

    June 14
    Craters of the Moon
    Drive to Jackson, stay overnight

    June 15
    Jackson, WY
    After dinner drive to Cheyenne (~7 hours)

    June 16
    Drive to Lincoln (~7 hours)

    June 17
    Drive home (~5 hours)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default this and that

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are very few spots where I see any major problems, although I wonder if the overall pace is going to be too busy for traveling with 2 small children. There's always something nice about having a few days where you don't have to do anything, and that's even more true on a trip like this.

    About the specifics:
    For your first 2 days, its certainly fine to get out to CO in 2 days, but "boring" is not a word we use around here. There's something new every mile, even when you are on the plains. If you treat it as boring, your kids certainly will too.

    Arches, Canyonland, and driving to Durango is probably a bit much for a single day.

    Phx to Joshua Tree is going to be more like 5+ hours, and probably not a good idea if you aren't leaving until evening - especially since that implys you have to get across phoenix sometime around rush hour.

    The Sierra National Forest day really stands out as an unusual pick - especially since you are then only giving yourself a half day for Yosemite. Heading straight for the National Park seems like the no brainer here.

    Jackson National Park? I don't believe such a place exists - and the National Forest with that name is in South Carolina.

    Speaking of Jackson - but this time in Wyoming. It seems like almost a crime to be this close to the Tetons and Yellowstone not to visit them, however, that does mean finding at least a few more days. What is most certainly not reasonable is trying to drive 400+ miles (a trip largely on 2 lane roads at that) "after dinner."

    In fact, if there is a single biggest problem with your overall planning is that there are multiple times where you have significant drives you are planning for "after dinner." I can understand trying to cover a few extra miles when the kids are likely to nap, but trying to cover hundreds of miles like that is just going to leave you exhausted - and unable to sleep because your kids will be wide awake when your are trying to get your rest. You've got a good start here, in general though.

  3. #3


    Thank you for the advice. I'm working now on tweaking things a bit - I have firmer dates now too, evening of May 15 to home by June 18.

    I'm definitely a night driver more than a day driver - last big trip we took in October was to Florida and I banged out the first 700 miles (mid-MO to Macon, GA) just to get 'er done while the kids slept - we did leave mid-afternoon, stopped for dinner and then they fell asleep. I thought just getting into GA would be good, but wasn't tired, so I kept going and around 2:00AM realized I should stop since I'd need some sleep before the kiddos woke in the morning! Luckily they slept until 8:00, so I did manage to get in six hours and then we took a relaxing pace to get into mid-FL by dinner, stopping to do some fun stuff along the way to make it fun for the kids!

    Anyway, I'm going to post the new itinerary soon - once I get some kinks worked out and then see what others think and suggestions they have!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I suspect that "Jackson National Park" was a typo. Perhaps you meant Redwood National Park in Northern California, since you mentioned "Eureka".

    Getting from mid-Missouri to "somewhere in KS" should be easy. Using Columbia as a general "mid-Missouri" point, you could easily make Salina or even Hays for an overnight. Both have a good selection of motels, some with pools that would appeal to the 7yo. If you're looking for a good route down to Colorado Springs and still stay on the interstate, take I-70 to Limon and then US 24 down to Colo.Springs.

    I am a little concerned about both Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods in one day, though. When I was a kid, we enjoyed each of those for a day! But it's your pace.

    I'm guessing that your kids will love Craters of the Moon. My brother did at that age, and our girls liked it as early-teens. It's very stark, desolate, but makes you think about what the moon is like! (And the astronauts trained there before Apollo 11 to 17, too.)


  5. #5


    It's Jackson State Forest (my bad).

    I've nixed it though and have added Redwoods in since that's what I think will work better and DS will enjoy more!

  6. #6

    Default Revised Itinerary

    In an effort to limit driving as much as possible and doing only a few long haul days, here is what I've come up with now:

    Tuesday, May 15
    300 Miles

    Drive to Salina, KS (4 hours)
    Overnight Lindsborg, KS

    Wednesday, May 16
    400 Miles

    Breakfast in Lindsborg, KS
    Stop in Oakley, KS
    Monument Rocks
    Fick Fossil & History Museum
    Dinner in Kit Carson, CO
    Overnight Manitou Springs, CO

    Thursday, May 17
    175 Miles

    Western Museum of Mining and Industry
    Pike’s Peak
    Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
    Depart to Glenwood Springs
    Overnight Glenwood Springs

    Friday, May 18

    Glenwood Caverns
    Overnight Glenwood Springs

    Saturday, May 19
    190 Miles

    Depart for Moab
    DH arrive by flight to Moab (CNY)
    Overnight Moab, UT

    Sunday, May 20

    Arches National Park
    Canyonlands National Park
    Overnight Moab, UT

    Monday, May 21
    115 Miles

    Depart to Cortez, CO
    Stop at Wilson Arch
    Mesa Verde National Park
    Overnight Cortez, CO

    Tuesday, May 22

    Mesa Verde National Park

    Wednesday, May 23
    130 Miles

    Depart to Mexican Hat, UT
    Four Corners
    Valley of the Gods
    Overnight Mexican Hat, UT

    Thursday, May 24
    115 Miles

    Depart to Monument Valley (1 hour)
    Canyon de Chelly (2 hour 30 min drive)
    Overnight Chinle

    Friday, May 25
    170 Miles

    Depart to Petrified National Forest (2 hour 30 min drive)
    Drive Tour of Petrified National Forest (2 hours)
    Overnight Pine Top, AZ

    Saturday, May 26
    85 Miles

    Pine Top to Globe (1 hour 45 min)
    Day with family
    Overnight Globe, AZ

    Sunday, May 27
    88 Miles to PHX
    250 Miles to Palm Desert, CA

    DH depart Phoenix (PHX) ~ noon
    Depart to Palm Desert (4-5 hours)
    Overnight Joshua Tree

    Monday, May 28
    100 Miles

    Joshua Tree National Park
    Overnight Glendora, CA (2 hours)

    Tuesday, May 29
    250 Miles

    Day with family
    Overnight Three Rivers, CA

    Wednesday, May 30
    95 miles

    Sequoia National Park
    Kings Canyon National Park
    Overnight Oakhurst, CA

    Thursday, May 31
    200 Miles

    Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
    Yosemite National Park
    Overnight Carmel, CA

    Friday, June 1
    390 Miles

    Drive Coast Carmel to Monterey
    Half Moon Bay Lunch
    Drive Mendocino to Eureka Coast

    Saturday, June 2
    166 Miles

    Eureka Boardwalk
    Redwoods National Park
    Grants Pass
    Overnight Grant’s Pass, OR

    Sunday, June 3
    192 Miles

    Grants Pass Area
    Crater Lake National Park
    Overnight Bend, OR

    Monday, June 4
    135 Miles

    Rock Hounding
    Lava Lands Park
    Overnight Mount Hood, OR

    Tuesday, June 5

    Columbia Gorge Discovery Center

    Wednesday, June 6 - Wednesday, June 13

    Mt Hood area (we'd be in a rental for the week)

    Wednesday, June 13
    425 Miles

    Depart to Boise
    Overnight Boise, ID

    Thursday, June 14
    170 Miles to Craters of the Moon
    200 Miles to Yellowstone

    Craters of the Moon
    Overnight Yellowstone NP

    Friday, June 15
    85 Miles

    Yellowstone National Park
    Overnight Jackson, WY

    Saturday, June 16
    430 Miles

    Overnight Cheyenne, WY

    Sunday, June 17
    440 Miles

    Overnight Lincoln, NE

    Monday, June 18
    325 Miles

    Drive home!


    Where, if anywhere, would you make adjustments?

    Are there things you'd add?

    Things you'd remove?

    Places you'd stop longer and drive more each day to stay based in one place longer?

    I'd really appreciate restaurant suggestions for these areas - we prefer mom & pop places over chain resturants!

    Anythings that are "not to miss" or things that are not worth doing that I should be aware of?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    You're better off with the National Park. Jackson State Forest is part of the California State Parks system. There have been recent controversies regarding logging within the State Forest. Redwoods National Park is protected by federal law. There are also two or three other state parks in the area between Eureka and the northern border of California.

    I'm curious if your plans around Grand Junction CO include driving up to Dinosaur National Monument? Most kids LOVE to see real dinosaur bones!

    As far as restaurant suggestions....our advice is usually to "ask locally". So many times, a place will get a lousy or great review online and then, when you get there, it has changed proprietors and the food with it. Most of the time, the locals know exactly where their own great eateries are. We've been led to some wonderful places that way! One year we did almost all chain restaurants, and by the time we got home, we were sick of eating out. Last year, our goal was "as few chain restaurants as possible." It was so much more enjoyable! (Either way, I had to lose 7 lbs after we got home...)



  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post

    I'm curious if your plans around Grand Junction CO include driving up to Dinosaur National Monument? Most kids LOVE to see real dinosaur bones!
    I'm still waiting to see what time I can fly DH into Moab since he has to work the morning before his potential flights there; depending on that, I do have it on the list of things we can do to before we head into Moab to pick him up - looks like a place DS will really enjoy! I just need to time things well to pick DH up, so until I actually books flights, things on his fly-in and fly-out days are tentative.

  9. #9

    Default One Month Road Trip Starts Tomorrow!

    After months of planning, I finally have an itinerary I think we'll be able to do and enjoy! Input and ideas for places to see and things to do is greatly appreciated - I will be online through the trip, so can check back as we go!

    We'll start in Missouri and our first stop is in Lindsborg, KS (Little Sweden USA) for lunch and letting the kids (7 and 1) burn off some energy. Then we'll head to Oakley, KS for another stop and a visit to Prairie Dog Town or just playing around Monument Rocks, dinner, then heading for our overnight in Sharon Springs, KS.

    The next day we're off to Colorado Springs with Pikes Peak and the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine in the plans. We'll stay overnight, then head up to Glenwood Springs via Breckenridge the next day.

    Saturday, the plan is to swim at Glenwood Springs and relax before heading out to our first destination, Moab, UT. We'll be staying there for two nights and plan to take in Arches and Canyonlands before we head down to an overnight in Blanding, then explore Monument Valley and Four Corners the next day before we head into the Durango area for five nights to enjoy the San Juan's and Mesa Verde area.

    That'll take us to Sunday, when we'll head out for Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon (southern rim) for two nights.

    From there, the plan is to work our way up to Mount Hood in Oregon by June 5 via:

    Mono Lake, CA
    Carmel/San Francisco, CA
    Eureka, CA
    Grant's Pass, OR
    Newport, OR
    Mt. Hood, OR

    We'll stay at Mt. Hood for a week, then start the trip home via:

    Bend, OR
    Boise, ID
    West Yellowstone, MT
    Jackson, WY
    Cheyenne, WY
    Lincoln, NE

    What are the "not to miss" items in and around these areas? Yes, I've looked online and there are tons of resources, but I'd like to hear back from you too, especially since I have two little ones with me! What's totally hyped and a waste of time?


    Moderator Note: Please keep all questions about this trip in the same thread
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-16-2012 at 08:07 AM. Reason: Merged

  10. #10


    Thanks for the move of my older thread - I'd lost it and didn't know it was still around to post again!

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