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  1. Default Arches National Park Area to Chicago - finishing our road trip plan!

    Hi there,

    My husband and I have been busy planning our epic road trip loop from Southern Ontario to Grand Canyon and back for this August 2013. We have really done a lot of research, planning and booking for the first leg of the journey and are stopping at many of the great Route 66 stops along the way. This site has provided us with a ton of great ideas and attractions that we are really looking forward to. We have gotten as far as Arches National Park in Moab, UT and now have to work our way back. The problem is that we are not finding things to do between there and home that are really catching our interest. The most direct route home is Colorado (via Denver), Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois (via Chicago), Indiana, Michigan. We have about 5 days to plan for this leg of the trip. Any tips or advice regarding things to do, stops to make, historic sites to see would be very helpful!

    A key factor is that we are travelling with our teenage sons...looking forward to your tips!

    thanks a million!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Moab to Toronto (used as a mileage point) is about 1900 miles, which is 4 days by car if you don't want to drive long days. So here are some thoughts:

    Colorado - Rocky Mountain National Park, just north of Denver - allow a day
    Chicago - a day in Chicago at a museum or two of your choice

    What do the boys want to do? Are they invested in the trip?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Get teenage boys to help.

    I'd echo Donna.

    Why not hand this section over to the boys... see what they come up with. As teenagers they will no doubt have a good idea as to what your budget is for the trip. Who knows what they will come up with, you might be surprised. It could even give you a glimpse into their world of which to date you are not aware. Going their way, when they could be getting restless to get home, might be just what will ultimately make the trip for them.

    That will give you more time to get on with other aspects of the trip. :)


  4. Default

    Thanks so much for your quick response!

    The boys have definitely provided a lot of ideas and feedback regarding our trip. We all feel like this is an experience for all of us, not just for the parents!

    Chicago has sparked some interest for them - our only hesitation with spending a day in Chicago is that it is so close to home (really only a day's journey to get to), and we don't know if we will ever get back to the Denver area again.

    I had taken a quick peak at the Rocky Mountain National Park - but was unsure if we will regret not having spent time in Denver as a trade off...any thoughts?

    thanks again for the help!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Give me the Rockies every time.

    For me it would be a no brainer..... Rocky Mountains every time. But I can well imagine that teenage boys are much more attracted to cities and suffer from NP fatigue. If you do spend time in Denver, make sure you check out the REI store downtown. It is the flagship of the company in a converted building. If you ask, you might even get a tour by one of the staff. One could wander through there for a while, viewing the murals, seeing the original architecture of the building and on a cool day, warm by the huge wood fired stove. Of course you can also spend a fortune on camping gear and clothing, while you are at it. lol


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Alternative. [s]

    I too would take the raw beauty of RMNP over the city of Denver any time but it comes down to personal preferences for your family, but you have many options to choose from.

    You could actually take US50 to Dodge City which might appeal to the boys. From Moab you could head through Castle Valley/Fisher towers on 128 to I70 [a scenic alternative to 191] and exit at Fruita or Grand junction where nearby you will find Colorado National monument and it's scenic rim drive through the tunnels. As you head east from Montrose you will pass Black canyon, drive through the scenic Currecanti Nat Rec area and over the continental divide at Monarch Pass. From Salida you will follow the Arkansas river through Texas Creek to the Royal Gorge bridge near Canon City.

    From Dodge a long day on the road would put you in St Louis where you will find the Gateway Arch and from St Louis you would need an overnight stop on route home. That would give you a morning in St Louis and still make it to Indianapolis [or slightly beyond] for the journey home.

    Of course there are other options such as around Manitou and Colorado Springs including Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds and the Garden of the Gods !

  7. Default

    Thanks for the great tips...we are planning to travel through Castle Valley and the Colorado National Monument. We have decided to take our time in the Moab area, and then zip through Colorado and head towards Chicago. There we will have a day to explore before heading home.

    thanks for the advice!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Even if you are going to "zip through" Colorado, it would be well worth the small detour to get off I-70 onto US-6 over Loveland Pass instead of taking the tunnel. This will help make up skipping RMNP.

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