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  1. #1

    Default here...we...go.... (Detroit to PNW)

    Hello everyone, newbie to the forum. I have used the site for some planning ideas but this is my first post and am looking for a little feedback, questions, concerns, etc.

    My sister just had a baby and lives in Edmonton, AB. My family (wife, 13 yr old girl, 8 yr old boy) drove to Canmore, AB for her wedding last summer and had an amazing time going across the Dakotas to Yellowstone and up through Montana. Took a direct line home.

    So we are tempting fate again.

    Leaving Friday, July 1 from Windsor, Ontario (essentially Detroit, Mi).
    Day 1: Detroit to Fargo, ND
    Day 2: Fargo to Medicine Hat, AB.
    Day 3: Dinosaur Provincial Park for hike and excavation activities, then on to Edmonton (staying with sister)
    Day 4: Edmonton (visiting)
    Day 5: Edmonton to Whistler via Jasper. Mountainous drive most of the way.
    Day 6: ferry (1.5 hrs) from Vancouver to the island, drive to Tofino. First time seeing the Pacific Ocean for all of us.
    Day 7: drive to Victoria.
    Day 8: ferry (3.5 hrs) from Sidney to Washington state, drive to North Cascades (Marlemount, Wa).
    Day 9: big hike to Cascade Pass and possibly Sahale Arm. Drive to Seattle afterwards.
    Day 10: morning in Seattle (market), drive to Rainier. Stay in Ashford.
    Day 11: Ashford to Cannon Beach, Or.
    Day 12: Cannon Beach (downtime)
    Day 13: Cannon Beach to Portland. Spend day in city (OMSI, coffee shops, etc). Staying at B&B in country.
    Day 14: begin journey home... no plans on where to stop/stay. Likely passing through Boise, Salt Lake and around Denver.

    Its going to be busy, but I've also made sure to allow for ample time to do whatever we want and flex driving times (morning or afternoon) depending on our mood and what we want to do.
    The long drive days are limited to the front and back ends of the trip, and the one day to Whistler.
    We also have 1 bonus day that we can use to add at the back end of the trip if we want to stay an extra day somewhere, or not have as long driving days. We could be back home by Saturday the 16th or Sunday the 17th.

    We went out last year in a Jeep Wrangler and the kids were great. Now I have a more comfortable ride (Subaru Outback) and have a cargo box for all the stuff. We are only planning to camp one night (in the Cascades) but may opt to do some more on the way out or home. But it can be a hassle with tent setup just for one night. That, and lack of comforts like nice showers, etc.

    There will be plenty of hiking, site seeing, and general low cost activities.

    Round trip is mapped at approx 11000kms (6800mi).

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your first two days are killer, literally. Driving more than 900 miles in one day is extremely dangerous, following it up with another drive of nearly 800 miles is just reckless. The human body simply can not focus on being a safe driver, after sitting in the car for the kind of hours you'll be sitting in a car - even with multiple drivers. It is a guarantee that if you move forward with this plan, you will spend many hours where your driving skills are similar to that of someone who has had too much to drink.

    If you have done something like this before, then your phrase, "tempting fate" again is very accurate. You should not think that because you completed such a trip in the past that your previous trip was safe, you got lucky, and you might not be so lucky next time.

    Similarly for the trip home, you should plan for at least 4 days back from Portland, really 5 if you're planning to detour all the way down to Denver.

    Professional drivers are limited to driving no more than driving about 600 miles in a day, because of safety laws - and they don't have to think about kids or passengers. For a family trip, we really recommend keeping things to about 550 miles a day, which will allow you to have a trip that is comfortable and safe for everyone.

    Please, take another look at your trip, and rebuild your plan with those guidelines in mind.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Not Possible

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As your itinerary now stands, you plan to drive over 1700 miles in two days! That's simply not possible. Note that if you were a professional long-haul driver, US law would require you to take more than three days for such a drive - for safety reasons. The fact is that long before you reached Fargo you would be come a serious threat to yourself, your children, and everyone else who was unknowingly forced to share the road with you.

    You should instead be looking at overnight stops westbound of central Wisconsin (around the I-90/I-94 split), Carrington ND, Swift Current SK and Edmonton. That would allow you a few hors to explore Dinosaur Provincial Park before showing up at your sister's in the early evening, alive.

    The same problem holds with your plan to drive from Edmonton to Whistler in a single day. That's over 650 miles on mostly two-lane, mountainous roads. It's just not practical let alone safe. That's a full day-and-a-half drive at a minimum. And again, the drive from the Oregon Coast back to Windsor is more than can be driven in four days. You really need to go back to the drawing boards and get a manageable plan that takes the welfare of your family into account. If you are getting your driving time estimates from computer mapping programs, don't. Those 'estimates' are pure fantasy, based on the assumption that you can drive at or above the speed limit for every second of every minute of every hour of every day. That you'll never get tired. That you'll never need to stop for food, fuel, or even to go to the bathroom. That you'll never get tired. That you'll never see any other traffic, or construction, or scenery that you want to stop and enjoy, That you'll never get tired. In short, fantasy. You really shoudn't plan on driving any more than about 550 miles a day, especially with children.


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


    As Michael said, you need to revisit the planning and try and make the trip more fun for the Kids and more importantly, safe for everyone. I just don't see that you have time for plenty of hiking and sight seeing when you need to drive over 500 miles every day of your trip bar the one you will be with family, that's 9 to 10 hours in a vehicle day after day after day. You really need to find more time, or cut back to make it a fun family road trip.

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