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  1. #1

    Default Traveling from Washington State to Indianapolis

    Our family will be traveling from Washington to Indiana this summer. We have 2 or 3 weeks and plan on making it a full road trip, seeing sights and having fun along the way. As well as trying to keep costs to a minimum. Any ideas on the best route? I90 or I80? Do you know of places to see as we head to and from? Also ideas on make-ahead meals/snacks? I definitely don't want to eat fast food the whole time and only have so many ideas myself. Are there other sites to help plan?
    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Is this 2 to 3 weeks one way or round trip? How many in the family and what are the kids' ages? What are you using for a vehicle and do you plan on staying in hotels/motels or camping?

    You can start by getting good PAPER maps and looking to see exactly what is along the way on various routes, see what catches your interest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default Figuring out the best route.

    Some of the best maps are those produced by AAA (free to members) and Rand McNally. The benefit of these maps is that they have many attractions - historical, natural and touristy - marked on them. They also hilight the scenic routes with a dotted line. As you look at the maps you will see there are many routes besides I-90 and I-80 from which you can choose.

    I would start with getting a map of each and every State through which you think you may travel. Rand McNally also have a great road atlas. I note that the 2015 edition is already out. I like to carry both, as they seem to have just slightly different information on them.

    Once you see which attractions appeal, and mark them on the map, it will become clear which route will be your family's best route.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Also ideas on make-ahead meals/snacks? I definitely don't want to eat fast food the whole time and only have so many ideas myself. Are there other sites to help plan?
    Travel with your family's favorite fruits and vegetables, maybe in a cooler. For the first day out or so, my family always liked deviled eggs. You can carry sandwich makings in a cooler as well, and of course, your own drinks. This saves a bundle and is much healthier for you (usually) than fast-food.

    Many motels these days offer a continental breakfast. Some are more elaborate than others, offering waffle irons and scrambled eggs. Some have fruit. Yet others we've run into have had only a few dry cereals and some sweet rolls and donuts. Of course to partake of these, you must not be early-to-rise, early-on-the-road people, as most run either from 6 or 6:30 am to about 8:30 or so.

    My husband and I started carrying an electric fry-pan, utensils and serving pieces, and cooking in the motel. We do travel in a pick-up so we have space to store this -- it wouldn't be easy in a sedan. Before we did that, we'd be likely to hit a grocery store and pick up some microwave meals, a fresh salad, or other already-prepared food there -- much cheaper, and often healthier, than eating out at a restaurant or fast food place.

    As for where to do your planning -- well, here, and the help of some good maps (as mentioned above). We saw one person put his plans on an Excel worksheet, which is great if you are familiar with Excel. I just type ours out on Word -- I've been doing that for years.

    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default With Assumptions

    Assuming that this is a round trip, and that you're starting from somewhere near Seattle, and that your family consists of two parents and 2.5 children....

    You're going to need about four days each way just for the straight-through diving. Add a couple of days each way for sight-seeing and detours, and that still leaves you two days (out of two weeks) to nine days (out of three weeks) for additional sight-seeing. At the short end of that, your 'spare' two days would presumably be spent in Indiana. At the long end of it you could spend more time at your destination and at the stops along the way, but I wouldn't try to cover a whole lot more ground or add many attractions, just make better use of more time at the sites I got to.

    With that in mind, and to maximize what you get to see, I'd recommend a 'loop' trip wherein you take different routs eastbound and westbound. You can go either way, but I'll describe it clockwise. For the most part the outbound eastward leg simply follows I-90 into Wisconsin with some possible stops at the Little Bighorn Battlefield near Garryowen MT and Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming. Then there are several sites in southwestern South Dakota including Mount Rushmore, Wind and Jewel Caves, and the Crazy Horse Memorial, but check that you will not be in the area during the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Then in Wisconsin there's Circus World Museum in Baraboo WI and the town of Wisconsin Dells which is known for its water-themed amusement parks. And if you venture into Chicago, there's the world-class Field Museum of Natural History.

    Westbound you'd take I-74/I-72/US-36 through Hannibal MO (Mark Twain's home town) to St. Joseph (original eastern terminus of the Pony Express) to I-29/NE-2 to join I-80 in Nebraska. I-80 and the parallel US-30 follow the old Oregon Trail along the Platte River with several historic sites and natural landmarks. Leave I-80 at Rawlins WY and follow US-287/US-26/US-191 up along the Wind River Range and into Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. Leave Yellowstone westbound on US-20 past Craters of the Moon National Monument to I-84. If you have time you can check out Bruneau Sand Dunes and Bruneau Canyon before continuing on to Oregon and I-82 back up to I-90 to complete the circuit.

    For some general and specific tips on traveling on a budget, check out the Art of the Cheap RoadTrip. Generally, I tend to stay at medium-level motels because I find them to be the best value for the buck. Check to see if any place you're considering staying offers free breakfast. Even a minimal menu of cereal, coffee, and some fruit can help save you the cost of one meal a day, and the more in your party, the more that saves you. And if your motel serves breakfast, chances are they'll have a microwave for your use if you have purchased supermarket items that need warming to make a dinner.

    AZBuck

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,937

    Default Art of the Cheap RoadTrip

    Great link with lots of good ideas. Pity the prices are so way out of date. Even the NP's pass, stated as $50, was $80 in 2007.

    Lifey

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