Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Northwest Roadtrip

    Hi everyone! This is the first time I've planned a really long distance road trip. I will try to be as specific as I can. We will be leaving Paducah Kentucky and traveling to Snoqualamie, WA for the Twin Peaks Festival.

    Since I've never been west of Missouri before I thought it would be great to see as many things as we can on this long trek. We will be leaving either very late July 19th or early on the 20th. The Festival starts July 24th and we have to be there by about 10 to register. I think we would spend more time on the part of the trip when we are leaving Snoqualamie, WA. I really want to keep the driving to a minimum of 10 hours a day if we can as well. That's more of a concern for the first part of our trip though.

    We will also be looking around the Puget Sound Area because we may eventually relocate to that area. I've kind of fallen in love with the idea of it, and want to see the reality of it.

    The route I plan to take is basically this.
    Boulder, Co
    Sea Lion Caves, Florence, OR
    Snoqualamie, WA
    San Juan Islands, WA
    North Cascades National Park, WA
    Glacier National Park, MT
    Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Crazy Horse Memorial. SD
    Mount Rushmore, SD
    Chicago, IL
    Paducah, KY

    I'm really not interested much in Missouri or Kansas for this trip, so I will be pushing to drive through that part as quickly as we can. I understand there are great things to see there, but just not this trip.

    So... I guess, I'm wondering where the best places to camp might be, or cheap clean hotels. It will be my husband, myself and our daughter who will be almost 2 at that point (and possibly my 8 year old son). I will need to schedule in stops for her as well as breaks from driving for us. We love nature, museums, libraries, and I wouldn't be opposed to going to theme park type places for the kids. I'm doing this on a budget which is why we'll be alternating between camping and hotel rooms.

    I don't have to see Boulder necessarily, but I would love to see the mountains of Colorado on this trip. If there is a better area that is more direct that would be great.

    I know that I also went off the course a bit because I want to see the Sea Lion caves in Oregon, but I just can't imagine being that close and not seeing them. I know this got a bit wandery but if you can help me or give me advice I'd really appreciate it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-28-2014 at 11:22 AM. Reason: addes some line breaks for easier reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Reality check.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It really boils down to the fact that you have 4 days to get to Snoqualamie, which means that by the most direct route you would be looking at 4 x 10 hour days on the road with only basic stops. You don't want to be leaving late at night as it will put your body clocks out of whack for the whole trip and even worse, when you are exhausted in the middle of the day the Kid's will be wide awake. To go via Boulder and the Sea Lion caves would take an extra day plus any sightseeing. Given the fact that you may camp and you have two young children to consider, this will already seem pretty tough. Doing one 10 hour day is one thing, doing it for 4 or 5 days on the trot is another altogether and there is no way that you could make Boulder your first stop and expect to arrive there safely and be ready for another long drive the following day. You need to break the journey into 4 even segments and treat it like a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to head out via Colorado to create a loop then you would be looking at overnighting in Abilene KS, Laramie CO, Twin Falls ID and then perhaps a night just short of your destination for a short run in in the morning. Even this is going to be really tough, especially on the Kids !

    You don't mention how long you have after the festival to get home so before we go into detail on that, please let us know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I agree with Dave that you really don't have enough time to do much more than just drive to Washington on a fairly direct route. You need a solid 4 days just to cover the miles, before factoring detours to the Oregon Coast.

    I suspect you've probably fallen into the common trap of believing the travel time estimates of online mapping programs. 10 hours on the road means you're looking at 500-600 miles a day on the road, and that's only factoring in the minimum of stops for food, fuel, restrooms, etc. Once you factor in even short stops at museums, parks, or other places to let the kids burn off some steam, your actual travel time will be even higher.

    Also keep in mind that camping is a great way to keep your costs down while traveling, but it does require more time. You have to factor time to setup/tear down your camp, and also remember that most campgrounds are not located right alongside the highway, like most motels.

    Based on your goal of seeing the Colorado Rockies, you might consider taking I-70 across Colorado, which is a great scenic highway and will let you enjoy great scenic views, even if you don't have much time to stop. However, this pushes you up to the very limits of what you can safely do in 4 days. If you did that, you'd use the same stops recommended by Dave, but instead of Laramie, Wyoming, you'd look to spend your second night around Eagle or Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Then head up US-6 in Utah to get on I-15, and head onto Twin Falls for the 3rd night. Those would all be around 600 mile drives, so you'd be looking at 10-12 hours a day, before extra stops.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Near Abilene KS: Milford Lake State Park, has camping. About 15 miles off of I-70.

    Near Eagle/Glenwood Springs: Sylvan Lake State Park, has camping. Also a White River National Forest CG. Both are at least 20 miles off of I-70.

    Near Twin Falls, ID -- Three Island Crossing SP has camping, but it's a little further from Twin Falls, like 35 miles further. There's a state park a little short of Twin Falls, Lake Walcott SP. That was a very pretty lake (passed it this summer).


  5. Default

    Thank you all for the responses. After looking at the time a bit closer I will not be going to the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon. I have plotted out a course that will take us from Paducah to Estes Park in Colorado. We will take 70 going there, then we will be staying in Utah, then in Oregon (we may push up to Seattle though). It depends on how everyone is doing really. After we get up to the Seattle area July 23/24 we then have until August 4th to get back. I have been pretty happy with all the campsites we have found along the way. The only ones I'm not thrilled with are the ones we found in the Seattle area and Ancortes as well. I have still stuck with those KOA campsites, but if anyone has some good non KOA websites we could check out that would be great. I might even look into resorts since we will be in that area for the entire weekend. I'm a little concerned with tent camping in that area when we are novice campers and we have little kids, particularly a 2 year old. I know that the weather can turn quickly in the Ancortes area, so I'm worried about freezing temps.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Freezing temps pale in comparison to other dangers...

    I suspect you really aren't taking our recommendations and suggestions about driving distances seriously enough. If you're trying to drive from Paducah to Estes Park in 1 day, you will be putting your lives, and the lives of everyone else on the road in danger. You simply can't drive from more than 1,000 miles - well over 20 hours on the road - and expect to get there safely, much less be in any condition to continue driving hundreds of miles the next day.

    For that matter, if you only have 4 days, you really don't have time to even detour as far off the interstate as Estes Park. Trying to drive more than about 600 miles a day, even with multiple drivers, very much puts you in the danger zone - which is also the limit for professional drivers. Frankly, even that distance is more than we recommend on trips with children. The stopping points we've previously suggested are already at the absolute maximums you should be looking at for a single day on the road, so unless you can get more time for your drive west, you really have to treat this portion of a trip like a job - focused on getting there safely as your first priority.

    KOA is not really a place I will ever consider when camping, the vast majority of the time, they are way too expensive and too focused on RVs. I'd recommend trying to find state parks, national forest campgrounds, or other city/county parks with camping in the area you'll be traveling. It takes a little more work to find these places, but is usually well worth it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default That's still too much when camping with a child.

    Over and above Michael's well worded comments.... if you are driving even 500 miles per day with a child and have to set up camp and pack up camp each day, you are going to be exhausted before you have even got a fraction into your trip. The two year old deserves more consideration than you are presently planning. (Most of us here have travelled with small children and are only too aware of their needs over a multi day roadtrip.)

    Even following the advice above, is far too much for an enjoyable camping trip with your family.


  8. Default

    Thank you all for the great advice. I will take everything you said into consideration. Thank you for your input!

Similar Threads

  1. Help wanted: Advice on Two-week Northwest Roadtrip
    By YOMorales in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 06-19-2011, 02:39 PM
  2. Roadtrip #6 Preview: The Pacific Northwest
    By Kinless in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-07-2011, 08:38 PM
  3. Northwest Roadtrip 2008!!!
    By dwiseman15 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-20-2007, 09:34 AM
  4. LA to Northwest
    By DodgerFan123 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-26-2007, 01:54 AM
  5. Chicago to the Pacific Northwest RoadTrip
    By snert in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 02-04-2006, 07:26 PM

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name