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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Rosalia, Washington, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default Spokane to Albuquerque w/ 3 Kids in 10 Days

    We'll be travelling from Spokane to Albuquerque the first week of June. We live near Spokane, have friends in ABQ and our final destination is Tampa (2 month relocation for work, taking the family since it is over the summer, we're originally from Tampa).

    Last year we went to Yellowstone in August and loved it and would like to spend a couple days camping there/sightseeing as the beginning of our road trip. It is about 10 hrs from Spokane, so not someplace we can go often. It'll be nice to go in early June versus mid-August for our last trip.

    But after that ... I have no idea. There is soooo much in Utah/NM/CO to choose from and the area is soooo big that what looks to be a small detour turns out to be 200 miles!

    We think we want to do the Grand Canyon...north rim, south rim, west?? No idea. But really just want to see some spectacular country where we can get out of the car - gentle hikes (I'm overweight, and we have a 4 year old) preferably with variety. I like the idea of choosing maybe two or three places and really taking the time to take those places in as oppose to trying to see everything tour bus style.

    I'm looking for suggestions:

    We have kids - 4,9 & 12. Places that are kid friendly and have opportunities to play/run/museums/educational/adventure (4 year old keeps us from some of that though). We're on a budget and are more willing to spend money on activities than accommodation/food.

    Any famous artists, leaders, or scientists inspired by or from this part of the country? Historical places? One of us is a teacher and loves the opportunity to make anything (and everything) educational, especially STEM.

    Every night will be tent camping. Ideas for camping spots inside the parks (or even along the routes) would be great.

    Time is not too much of a factor - as long as we can make the entire trip from Spokane to Tampa in 10-12 days (a week plus two weekends). The goal is to spend most of that time in the southwest exploring. This will probably be the only time we see the southwest/UT/AZ area of the county.

    Our vehicle - minvan with 170k miles. Okay in the mountains - but would prefer not to push my luck with a lot of steep mountain driving.

    Only one driver - I am usually done after 8 hours, but have done 12 max in one day with the 3 kids. They are pretty good little road-trippers.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Lot's of options, little time.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    If you are heading to Yellowstone then the North rim to Albuquerque and then on to Tampa, you will need at least 6 days for the driving. If you plan on spending a couple of days in Yellowstone and the same at your friends in Albu then you really don't have a lot of time to play with. The Tetons are worth visiting just south of Yellowstone and then you could get on Interstate [15] south or drive on Highways, perhaps past Flaming Gorge Res and into Utah with a visit to Bryce canyon or Zion NP. If the GC was not a 'must do' for this trip, you could drive to Arches NP from Flaming Gorge and head towards the historical remains at Mesa Verde NP near Cortez. You do have a lot of options but not a whole lot of time and you will need 3 to 3.5 days at the end of your trip just for the drive to Tampa.

    Have a good look at the map and once you have marked out your main attractions we can help fill in the blanks to match your time scale.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Public Lands Campsites.

    Quote Originally Posted by raincrow33 View Post
    Every night will be tent camping. Ideas for camping spots inside the parks (or even along the routes) would be great.
    The area through which you will be travelling has an abundance of public lands campgrounds. I got most of the information of their locations from the local Forestry Dept offices and BLM offices. In Pinedale there is an old KOA which is now run by the town, which has showers and a large grassed area for tent camping.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 12-20-2014 at 05:58 AM. Reason: grammar

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Educational.

    Quote Originally Posted by raincrow33 View Post
    Any famous artists, leaders, or scientists inspired by or from this part of the country? Historical places? One of us is a teacher and loves the opportunity to make anything (and everything) educational, especially STEM.
    If you head out of Spokane on I-90 then take US-287 into Yellowstone, it will take you past the 1959 Earthquake Geological Area. I think you will find this contains at least the STE of the STEM.

    There is a self guided tour of about twenty miles, If you visit all the sites, take the short hikes to the cabins, drive the road which disappears into the lake, etc., leave a few hours. I was not able to take most of the walks, but it took me many hours to study and learn from this excellent self guided tour. Leaflets available from the Visitor Centre on top of the slide, which was caused by the quake. They also show an old, but none-the-less interesting short film.

    Lifey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default a bigger factor than you think

    Quote Originally Posted by raincrow33 View Post
    Time is not too much of a factor - as long as we can make the entire trip from Spokane to Tampa in 10-12 days (a week plus two weekends). The goal is to spend most of that time in the southwest exploring.
    I think you're looking at a much bigger time crunch than you think here. The title of your post is Spokane to ABQ in 10 days, but that's a whole lot different than Spokane to Tampa in 10-12 days. ABQ to Tampa alone is going to require a minimum of 3-4 days, especially if you are planning to tent camp the whole way. Camping is a great way to have fun and save money on your trip, but it really does require shorter travel days. To make just that section in 3 days, you'd have to be on the road for at least 10 hours a day, which is hard with kids and factoring time to find/setup/tear down a campsite.

    When you factor in a couple days at Yellowstone, and the time you need for the rest of your drive, you've only got a few days left to explore the southwest. The Grand Canyon also isn't really on the way from Yellowstone to Albuquerque. Certainly, you can add it in, but that adds another 300 miles or so, so that's more driving you'd have to factor into your plans. Of course, the options for what you could see are plentiful, but you will have to ration your time, and it really won't be possible to spend "most" of your time exploring the southwest, unless you make some other changes to your plan (perhaps skipping Yellowstone this time).

  6. #6

    Default Vehical prep for trip

    Sure hope you've had your mini-van serviced for a long trip. With high mileage and that trip you need a reliable vehicle.Hope you've replaced the timing belt with in the last 50000 miles / upper and lower radiator hoses/ thermostat and drive belts/ good tires and brakes just a few things that can cost a lot to repair on the road. I travel a lot so I also carry AAA with 200 mile tow coverage as lots of west and mid-west have long stretches of road with no service.THE Arches and Canyonlands National parks are close to each other and mesa verde is only 145 miles south on your way to albuquerque 265 miles from mesa verda. THE Grand Canyon is a Joke compared to any of these.Mesa Verde is more mountain driving as altitude is quite high but those cliff dwellings are unbelievable to see.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Lots to learn, but it all takes time.

    If Mesa Verde is on your plan, then be sure to call at least the day before to book into the ranger led tours. There is no guarantee that you will get into a tour just turning up. And to really get value from this park is to do the tours.

    It will be one of the most educational tours you'll do.

    Not only that, but be sure to book your children into the Junior Ranger programs at each park you visit. It will teach them, and you heaps about the land, conservation and the National Parks.

    But looking at Michael's post above, you simply may not have enough time for these educational pursuits.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Rosalia, Washington, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thank you very much! Based on that advice, it looks like we'll have to choose between spending our time in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons or seeing the parks in the southwest. Thanks, Lifey, I'll check out the Earthquake Geological area!

    That is true about camping taking more time that hotels - we'll probably do hotels btwn Abq and Tampa as we didn't really think about hotels as a way to save time. Just camping as a better way to enjoy the outdoors.

    We will check out that route, Southwest Dave, thank you - Flaming Gorge, Zion, Arches & Mesa Verde. We'll also make sure to check out the local forestry depts for camping locations.

    And Dave95212, we are already working on the van - just last paycheck we got new front brakes and two tires, she'll be ready by June. Thanks for list, we'll certainly get it all those items looked over. Do you find that AAA saves you money when travelling? We have roadside assistance - 100 mile free tow. It wouldn't hurt to have a back up 200 mile tow service.

    No one said the Grand Canyon was a must, in fact Dave said it was a joke :) I would like to see it - but if those other places are just as 'grand', we don't necessarily need to drive the extra miles to the Grand Canyon.

    While we won't be making the drive across the southwest again, we will likely, fly into Abq every 3-5 yrs or so to visit with our friends and could make the grand canyon part of one of those trips.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default What's peace of mind worth?

    Do you find that AAA saves you money when travelling?
    I have never looked on AAA as saving money. It is the peace of mind which I value. Twice I have needed towing of considerable distances, which were both covered. When you choose to explore the more remote areas, it is almost essential.

    Lifey

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