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  1. Default Road Trip frm NJ to Mt Rushmore,Yellowstone,Bryce Canyon,Las Vegas and Grand Canyon

    Hi Guys, Need you help, I am planning a road trip this summer (June 24 to July 18) from NJ to Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone , Bryce Canyon Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. I have around 22 days total ..
    Planning like this..
    Day 1 --> Start from NJ and Reach Chicago IL
    Day 2 --> Leave Chicago and Reach somewhere in South Dakota (after 6-7 hr drive from Chicago)
    Day 3 --> Reach Mt Rushmore , visit Night Lights
    Day 4 --> Leave Mt Rushmore and Reach Yellowstone
    Day 5, 6, 7 and 8 stay in Yellowstone and Grand Teton
    Day 9 --> Reach Bryce Canyon
    Day 10, 11, 12 stay in Bryce Canyon and Zion
    Day 13 --> Reach Las Vegas
    Day 14,15, 16 and 17 stay in Las Vegas
    Day 18 and 19 --> Reach Grand Canyon and stay there
    Day 19 --> Leave for NJ
    My wife drives too and we had been to Florida by car..I have two boys age 14 and 10.
    Please give your advice , is this plan looks feasible or too hectic...
    Thanks in advance..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Going to Happen

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'm afraid that your plans are not only wildly optimistic, they are physically dangerous. Let's start with the fact that professional long-haul truckers are prohibited by law from driving much more than 600 miles a day for safety reasons. They travel with a mini motel room literally right behind the driver's seat and typically stop only to refuel, eat and go to the bathroom. It's simply not going to be possible for you to cover the 700-800 miles per day that your plan calls for even before you factor in the safety of your children and the fact that they are going to need more frequent and longer rest stops. You need to go back to the drawing board and redo your itinerary with a hard limit of 550 miles of driving on any give day and no more than three of those in a row.


  3. Default

    Thanks a ton AZBuck..I appreciate your advice. I will replan as you suggested.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Still time for a nice trip.

    You can still have an enjoyable and relaxed trip with the time you have, you just have to make the driving days more 'family friendly' and most importantly, safe. You are going to need at least an extra day for the journey out to Mt Rushmore, but with two more you would be more relaxed, possibly visit Badlands NP on the way. Coming home is never fun and just making it a 4 day slog from the Grand canyon isn't going to help matters, it could be quite miserable and take away from the enjoyment of the rest of the trip. I would add a couple of days here and make it part of the holiday by stopping at attractions on the way back. If you haven't any extra time available then you would have to look at where you could save some. The first place for me with young boys would be Vegas, I really think a couple of days would be enough with youngsters, and if need be you could drop a day from Yellowstone and the Tetons but that's not because you won't have enough to fill your time there.

    Do not take any notice of electronic mapping time estimates. As a family, think of 550 miles on the road as a 10 hour day, by the time you have added basic rest stops and to get fuel and food.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default And there's more....

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    ..... but with two more you would be more relaxed, possibly visit Badlands NP on the way.
    Not to mention the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD, which I am sure will interest the boys, and Wall drug in Wall SD. Be sure to get your free cold water, and your 5 cent coffee. If you go right through the store to the backyard, you will find an amazing collection of history, both written and in artifacts. The store is a bit of a tourist trap, but if you can resist all their souvenirs and gadgets, none the less interesting. There is a travellers' chapel, most attractive, and a decent place to have a meal, if the time is right.

    These attractions are all marked on good maps, which I am assuming you are using. So much of what is on maps you will not find on a small screen, and it all makes so much more sense when you see the BIG picture rather than a snipped at a time.

    This trip would also be a great opportunity to teach both boys the essential skill of map reading. Good maps are so valuable to help plan a trip, and of course essential when on the road. If you are a member of AAA maps are free. Why not get each boy a set of maps of all the States you plan to cover. Who knows what interesting sites they may find along the way, which you are not even aware of.

    In fact you and they may find the suggestions in this paragraph useful to follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'd suggest splitting those first few days up a little. That's a big slog, as been pointed out, to go from NJ (You didn't say where) to Chicago in one 850 mile swoop. Your boys will hate it, and you won't be happy when they're grouchy and picking on each other. Unless you've got some reason why you have to stop in Chicago, I'd say make your first overnight in Toledo, your next one somewhere in central Iowa or Wisconsin (depending on which route you end up taking), your third night perhaps in Mitchell, SD, and then get to the Black Hills area of SD on the 4th day. That 4th day would be shorter, so you could do a drive through Badlands, stop at Wall Drug briefly, and pull into Keystone for your overnight, and see Mt Rushmore and the rest of the Black Hills the next day.

    Your boys won't be too happy about so many days in Vegas. There aren't all that many family-friendly activities, other than lounging around a pool and walking up and down The Strip. (Even that can be an education in some of the major problems of society today.) You could take them out to Red Rocks or to Valley of Fire, but after seeing Zion and Bryce, even Valley of Fire can be a bit of a let-down. So I would agree with the opinion expressed above - you might want to take off days in Vegas and give them to travel days.

    For a quick drive back home, get on I-40 eastbound, take 44 in OKC up to I-70, and from there, find your way home. At 2400 miles, though, it's going to be 4 very long 600 mile days. Promise your boys a pool at the end of every day and they'll probably be fine.


  7. Default

    Thanks a lot DonnaR57, Lifemagician and Southwest Dave for your valuable suggestions.It is so helpful in my planning. As per suggestions from you Guys, I am planning to stop at Toldeo, Des Moines, Mitchell and Keystone on my way to Mt Rushmore so that on any given day , not to drive more than 550 miles. On way back to NJ (I am from Cherry Hill) from Grand Canyon, I am planning to stop at Albuquerque NM, Oklahoma City OK, St Louis MO, Columbus OH. Also, I am planning to stay 2 days in OK if it becomes tiring. I am planning to cut down a day from Vegas and Yellowstone , and increasing 2 more days in my leave.
    Request your input and advice on return journey.
    Thanks again in advance!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Alternative route[s] home.

    For the journey home you could consider exiting the Grand canyon out of the east kiosk along Desertview drive and head through Monument valley. From there you could head up to I70 and through the Rockies via 191 to Moab, or head to Durango and continue on 160 through Pagosa Springs, or head north on US550 [the Million dollar Highway] through the mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray to Montrose and take US50 through Currecanti Nat Rec area and over Monarch pass. It will add 3 or 4 hours of driving time, but spread over 5 or 6 days it could be worth it for the scenery alone. If push came to shove, I would most likely take the 'Million dollar Highway' option. If you are happy to go with your original plan then that'll work just great.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Graffity

    Quote Originally Posted by anu763 View Post
    Request your input and advice on return journey.
    If you are taking the I-40 route home, buy each of the boys a can of spray paint and stop at Cadillac Ranch (marked on your maps). Graffity is encouraged!

    Maybe you'd like a can as well.


  10. Default

    Thanks a lot Southwest Dave and Lifemagician for suggestions.

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