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  1. Default grandsons's 1st road trip; Tucson to St Louis

    My husband and I are driving our 10 & 12 year old grandsons from our home in Tucson, AZ to the "family farm" east of St. Louis. Since they have never been on a long road trip, we'd like to go a scenic route with some natural wonders, maybe National Parks, along the way. The boys think their entertainment will be video games along the way but I'd rather they learn to love the journey. Suggestions for routes or sights to "wow" them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Creating life long memories.

    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    What lucky boys to have grandparents like you.

    One way to keep them interested - and I know others will come up with more local attractions - is to get the boys to write a journal of the journey. A great thing to look back on in years to come. Works best, if you too are writing a journal.

    Each night before bed they can record the most memorable things of that day. This can be done in text, drawings, stubs from entry tickets and maybe something obtained or found along the way. Later you can print photos to add and illustrate the journals.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Traveling with Grandsons

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My wife and I have a tradition of taking our two grandsons on RoadTrips. As we found on the first one, the trick is just to have some kid-sized activities for them each day. Such activities don't need nearly the "wow" factor that adults think is required. As you correctly surmise, national parks are a great source of activities, particularly the Junior Ranger programs at each one. State parks are another often overlooked resource. Almost anything that's simply different from what they experience daily in the Old Pueblo will have enough of a "wow" factor for them. And don't underestimate the joy they'll have in simply being on the road with Grandpa and Grandma.

    Now to some specific recommendations. I'm going to assume that you've got five or more days. Otherwise, you should just take the shortest possible route, which is considerably different. In any event, with sufficient time, I'd suggest that you first head northeast out of Tucson going through the Salt River Canyon, visiting Petrified Forest National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and possibly Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, making a quick stop at the Four Corners Marker and a more prolonged visit to Mesa Verde National Park. You could then head north on the Million Dollar Highway through Durango and Silverton and then east on US 50 through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, over Royal Gorge in Caņon City and then out onto the Plains from Pueblo. US-50/US-400 would take you through Dodge City, Greensburg (world's biggest hand-dug well) and Wichita (aviation museums), and then I-35 would get you to Kansas City where I-70 would take you the rest of the way to St. Louis.

    By the way, if you're grandparents of a certain age, you can get a lifetime pass that gives entry for you and everyone in your car to all national parks and monuments. Well worth looking into.

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    What a wonderful suggestion! Will certainly do this. Their great uncle wrote in a journal every day of his life. What a treasure that is!
    Thanks.
    MoMoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    What lucky boys to have grandparents like you.

    One way to keep them interested - and I know others will come up with more local attractions - is to get the boys to write a journal of the journey. A great thing to look back on in years to come. Works best, if you too are writing a journal.

    Each night before bed they can record the most memorable things of that day. This can be done in text, drawings, stubs from entry tickets and maybe something obtained or found along the way. Later you can print photos to add and illustrate the journals.

    Lifey

  5. Default

    AZBuck, THANKS so much for this suggestion. I just purchased the $10 lifetime pass to National Parks, Forests and BLM Land areas which "got me thinking" along these lines. The route you've outlined would take us through some areas that my husband and I haven't explored yet, so that's a bonus! Since we'll be in a car, rather than RV, perhaps I'll check if any of these Parks have family accommodations within them. Thanks so much for the leads.
    MoMoe
    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    My wife and I have a tradition of taking our two grandsons on RoadTrips. As we found on the first one, the trick is just to have some kid-sized activities for them each day. Such activities don't need nearly the "wow" factor that adults think is required. As you correctly surmise, national parks are a great source of activities, particularly the Junior Ranger programs at each one. State parks are another often overlooked resource. Almost anything that's simply different from what they experience daily in the Old Pueblo will have enough of a "wow" factor for them. And don't underestimate the joy they'll have in simply being on the road with Grandpa and Grandma.

    Now to some specific recommendations. I'm going to assume that you've got five or more days. Otherwise, you should just take the shortest possible route, which is considerably different. In any event, with sufficient time, I'd suggest that you first head northeast out of Tucson going through the Salt River Canyon, visiting Petrified Forest National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and possibly Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, making a quick stop at the Four Corners Marker and a more prolonged visit to Mesa Verde National Park. You could then head north on the Million Dollar Highway through Durango and Silverton and then east on US 50 through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, over Royal Gorge in Caņon City and then out onto the Plains from Pueblo. US-50/US-400 would take you through Dodge City, Greensburg (world's biggest hand-dug well) and Wichita (aviation museums), and then I-35 would get you to Kansas City where I-70 would take you the rest of the way to St. Louis.

    By the way, if you're grandparents of a certain age, you can get a lifetime pass that gives entry for you and everyone in your car to all national parks and monuments. Well worth looking into.

    AZBuck

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

    Default A few details.

    In the Royal Gorge there is a lovely train ride the boys might enjoy. It is an hour each way, but only 12 miles, so slow going and lots of time to see and take photos. Great to learn that it is a mere 150 years ago that the other side of the river there, was not yet United States territory. A lot of history to learn along the way.

    Greensburg KS, as well as the 'well', which the boys will love going down in, is a great example of a town completely destroyed by a tornado in 2007, and rebuilt as a 'green' town. Interesting to note how all the buildings are new and energy efficient. Even the school has its own wind turbine.

    If you go to Mesa Verda, you need to do the ranger led tours to see the best and most significant parts of the park. If you want to be sure to get on both tours the day you are there, you need to book in beforehand.

    The boys will be learning a lot without even knowing it.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,545

    Default

    Petrified Forest NP does not have any accommodations within the park. There is a small cafe on the north end of the park, along with a gift shop, and a snack bar at the southern end. The nearest lodging would be in Holbrook, AZ. In Holbrook, I believe you can still "sleep in a teepee", in the Wigwam Motel. Your boys might like something like that!

    There is just one lodge at Mesa Verde NP, and that's the Far View Lodge. If planning to utilize that lodge, you might start calling as soon as you get your dates firmed up.

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP is another park with no lodging facilities within. There aren't even any food facilities there. The nearest lodging and restaurants are in Montrose. So you'd have to pack a picnic that day -- if I recall, that's what we did when we went.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default A quick read

    Some general tips from another of our grandmother trippers active on RTA...

  9. Default

    Lifey, thanks for the added details! Train ride sounds great and I'm glad to know we must plan the tours of Mesa Verda ahead of time. With little boys, leaving things to chance is "chance-y". ;)

  10. Default

    Donna, you've saved me HOURS of checking! I'm so glad to have found this site and for people who take the time to share info. Thank you, thank you!
    MoMoe

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