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  1. Default Help planning roadtrip for family with kids from Austin, TX to Estes Park, CO

    Hello,

    Ours is a family of 2 adults (both pretty healthy), 2 kids (5 yr old & 8 yr old) and my mom (cannot walk more than a 1-2 miles a day) We will be driving a rented minivan from Austin, TX to Estes Park, CO & back.

    The plan is to start around 10 am Wednesday, July 16 from Austin and drive for around 10-12 hours (15 hours with stops for breaks/meals) and then hopefully stay overnight somewhere close to Pueblo, CO. I couldn't really find any decent sightseeing spots for kids between Austin and Pueblo, CO.

    Our schedule is pretty open from July 17 - 20 (Thursday - Sunday). We need to be in Estes Park by around 9 pm on Sunday, July 20. We have reservations in Estes Park from Sunday, July 20 to Friday, July 25. Plan is to depart Estes Park on Friday, July 25 and drive back to Austin by 11 pm on Saturday, July 26.

    I've done some preliminary research and am thinking of doing the following:

    Thursday, July 17 - Pikes Peak (drive or train - will minivan be appropriate for driving up to Pikes Peak) followed by Garden of Gods.

    Friday/Saturday/Sunday - July 18-20 - open - thinking about Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder.

    Monday, July 21 - Trail Ridge Road, ok with adding more spots if appropriate and doable.

    Tuesday, July 22 - Thursday, July 24 - open - we are ok with doing a day trip to anywhere so long as we can be back in Estes Park by night. My mom can stay at the hotel if the trip involves a lot of walking.

    What do you'll think? If my choices/scheduling seems wrong, please feel free to suggest options?

    We are looking to make this a real fun trip for the kids, so any help is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default not fun at all

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you're looking to make this a fun trip for the kids you really need to go back to the drawing board on day 1. Driving 800 miles in one day is miserable, not to mention unsafe. You are right, it will take you at least 15 hours (probably more with kids/your mom), and as you should really know, keeping 2 children in a locked cage (a moving car) for 15 hours is going to make them miserable, and make you miserable too. Heck, keeping adults looked up for that amount of time is not at all comfortable.

    Even as you planned it, you wouldn't get to your hotel to stop for the night until at least 1am, when everyone will be beyond exhausted. It's just a rookie mistake to think you can do that and be in any shape to have fun for the next couple of days.

    You've got plenty of time, so there is no reason to try to push yourselves beyond the brink of exhaustion on day one. You really need to plan on the drive as far as Colorado Spring to take nearly 2 full days. You really shouldn't try to get past about Dalhart, Texas your first night. That's nearly 600 miles... or about as far as a professional driver is allowed to drive in a single day, and they don't have to deal with children or parents with limited mobility! Even that is going to take 10-12 hours, just covering the drives and basic stops, but at least will give you a little bit of time for the kids to get out of the car and run around and keep everyone from driving each other crazy! You'll also have time at the end of the day to actually recover, maybe enjoy the hotel pool, and stay rested for the rest of the drive and rest of the trip.

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you're looking to make this a fun trip for the kids you really need to go back to the drawing board on day 1. Driving 800 miles in one day is miserable, not to mention unsafe. You are right, it will take you at least 15 hours (probably more with kids/your mom), and as you should really know, keeping 2 children in a locked cage (a moving car) for 15 hours is going to make them miserable, and make you miserable too. Heck, keeping adults looked up for that amount of time is not at all comfortable.

    Even as you planned it, you wouldn't get to your hotel to stop for the night until at least 1am, when everyone will be beyond exhausted. It's just a rookie mistake to think you can do that and be in any shape to have fun for the next couple of days.

    You've got plenty of time, so there is no reason to try to push yourselves beyond the brink of exhaustion on day one. You really need to plan on the drive as far as Colorado Spring to take nearly 2 full days. You really shouldn't try to get past about Dalhart, Texas your first night. That's nearly 600 miles... or about as far as a professional driver is allowed to drive in a single day, and they don't have to deal with children or parents with limited mobility! Even that is going to take 10-12 hours, just covering the drives and basic stops, but at least will give you a little bit of time for the kids to get out of the car and run around and keep everyone from driving each other crazy! You'll also have time at the end of the day to actually recover, maybe enjoy the hotel pool, and stay rested for the rest of the drive and rest of the trip.


    Point noted Michael. I guess I was overly optimistic. The plan to drive upto Pueblo was flexible. Normally on road trips, I find it easier to keep driving once the kids fall asleep around 8 pm so I thought I could push it all the way to Pueblo.

    Assuming I split the drive up to Colorado Springs over 2 days, below is what I came up with for the 1st week. Thoughts/suggestions??? Again I'm totally fine changing the plan based on suggestions.

    Day 1 (Wed): Drive up to Dalhart, TX. Stay overnight.
    Day 2 (Thu): Drive to Alamosa, CO and visit Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. Stay overnight in Alamosa, CO or drive to Colorado Springs and stay overnight.
    Day 3 (Fri): Sightseeing in Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods.
    Day 4 (Sat): ????
    Day 5 (Sun): Do some sightseeing then Drive up Peak to Peak highway onto Estes Park.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Even 'Slower' (and 'Faster')

    With a 10:00 AM start from Austin, even Dalhart would be a stretch for five people (including children and a senior). The farthest I'd suggest you aim for would be Amarillo which would not only have a better range of accommodations to choose from, but also offers the chance to take the kids out to Cadillac Ranch where graffiti vandalism is encouraged. That would still leave a relatively easy Day 2 to get all the way to Estes Park, assuming you arrange your drive to miss rush hour in Denver.

    The other thing to consider on both your north- and south-bound main drives is that you should plan to stop every two to three hours to let the kids get out and run around a bit and for everyone to get a bit of fresh air. These needn't be elaborate amusement parks. A simple state park or even local playground near your main road will suffice nicely. Some options would be: Lake Brownwood State Park, Mae Simmons Park in Lubbock, Capulin Mountain, and Lake Pueblo State Park.

    AZBuck

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