Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Summer Family Cross Country Trip - IN, SD, WY, MT, ID, UT, CO, KS SUGGESTIONS?

    We are just in the beginning stages of planning a big loop trip starting in Vincennes, IN. Family of 6. I'm needing suggestions for stops a long the way. And, honesty. I know our plan is too ambitious, and I'm trying to figure out what to cut. Our "must do's" are Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Grand Teton, Jackson Hole, Glacier, Moscow (my son's birthplace - he had never visited). Everything else is open.

    Our trips dates are tentatively leaving at 5pm on 6/28 and returning 7/16.

    Here is the loose itinerary:
    6/28 depart Vincennes by 5pm, drive until 10-ish pm
    6/29 drive to Badlands, SD - stay the night
    6/30 Visits Badlands until 1-2pm-ish, drive to Mt Rushmore, stay the night
    7/1 finish at Mr Rushmore, drive to Jackson Hole, WY (plan to stay in KOA cabins on Snake River)
    7/2-7/3 Grand Teton National Park
    7/4 Jackson Hole 4th of July festivities
    7/5 drive to Yellowstone
    7/6-7/7 Yellowstone (plan to stay at Yellowstone KOA cabins near West entrance)
    7/8 leave Yellowstone in the early afternoon, drive to Glacier National Park
    7/9-7/10 Glacier National Park
    7/11 drive to Coeur d'Alene, ID, then that evening, drive to Moscow, Id (where our son was born and a huge part of this trip.)
    7/12 depart Moscow late evening, drive 4-5 hours.

    From here we are pretty open. We would LOVE to hit either a place in UT or Denver (or both), and possibly a short stop in KS,KS. We do need to be back home by 7/16 or early 7/17. I think what I'm struggling with is the long gap between stops on the way back home. We have 4 kids, ranging in age from 4-1/2 to 14. They are very good travelers, but 1 or 2 short breaks on the way home would be lifesavers!

    Also, I'm trying to come up with a budget for this. Does anyone have guidance there? I have looked up cabin lodging expenses, so I do have a loose guide on that. But, I have no idea how to even start with food costs, gasoline, etc. And, packing lists. Any great resources for packing for a trip like this? We usually take long road trips to beaches, and rent a home - so this is a totally different ballgame.

    Sorry for the novel, and thanks for any helpful tips or suggestions!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default This Won't Work

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Sorry, but your plan is totally unworkable and one doesn't even have to read beyond the first leg of your proposed itinerary to realize it. Vincennes to Badlands National Park is over 1,000 miles. That's two full days' drive, not something that can be done in a day and a half. With only five hours to get down the road on your first day, you'd be lucky to get as far as Peoria IL. That would leave you trying to drive over 750 miles on the second day. Besides being physically draining and unsafe for the adults, such a regimen would leave the kids incredibly tired, fighting for every inch of space in their enforced confinement, and in no shape or mood to enjoy this trip.

    Similarly, your plan to leave Yellowstone "in the early afternoon" and drive to Glacier National Park is totally unrealistic. That is another 400 miles, again nearly a full day's drive, not an afternoon/evening jaunt. This whole plan needs to go back to the drawing boards. As you map out distances, realize that 550 miles is right around the maximum you should be considering for any day's drive. Most importantly, recognize that while computer-based ma0pping routines can and do give very accurate mileage estimates, their driving time estimates are pure fantasy. The assume that you will never have to stop for any reason, not for food, fuel, to go to the bathroom or even to change drivers. They also assume that you will never even have to slow down, will never see any construction or traffic or stop lights. Do any of those assumptions sound reasonable to you? And remember that the more people you have in the car, the more frequently you will have to stop for somebody's needs and the longer each of those stops will take.

    Finally, forget thinking about any portion of this trip in terms of hours. Think in terms of days - always. It is abundantly clear that you are biting off far more than you can possibly chew here so you will need to cut back significantly on both the total amount of driving you plan to do and the number of stops you try to make. More time at fewer major destinations would be a good mindset, another would be to make the drives less about getting as far as physically possible in a day (if not trying for even farther) and more about enjoying some fresh air and exercise along the way, even if it means spending another day on the road between Point A and Point B.


  3. Default

    Thanks for your honesty. I cannot imagine it being completely "unworkable" though. I am open to suggestions in modifying when we stop. But, those destinations are important to us. I should have mentioned that we can and do often travel 700-750miles in one day every summer, though not ideal. (And, you'll see there are only a few times that was even necessary. Mainly on the trip home.)

    The leg from Vincennes, IN to Badlands could be extended by driving 5-6hrs the 1st night, a full next day, then a few more hours on the 30th.

    The leg from Yellowstone to Glacier can easily modified to allow for a full day of travel to Glacier. But really, we travel from Vincennes, IN to Asheville, NC at least 1x per year and drive from 5pm-2am. So, leaving at 1pm should put us in Glacier by 10-11pm, I would suspect.

    Perhaps we should just skip particular destinations on the drive home and just stop when the timing is right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    First of all, A multi-day trip is a completely different animal than a one day sprint. Fatigue is cumulative, so pushing yourself too hard on one day will impact your driving ability for several days afterward. Second, you would also be well to remember than professional drivers are limited by law from driving more than about 600 miles in a day, because of safety laws. The reality is that any more than that and fatigue has a serious impact on any human's ability to safely operate a car - even if some of that time is spent as a passenger. Obviously, professional drivers don't also have the additional issue of having to think about the needs of children.

    In other words, you should not take your prior experience as being a good example or particularly valuable in the planning of this trip.

    So, I would agree you have to rework your plans. I think with the time you have available, you can probably fit everything on your list in, however, the idea of adding more stops and/or detours to places like Denver or Kansas really need to be thrown out at this stage of your planning.

    You might consider going from Yellowstone across Idaho to Moscow and CdA, then up to Glacier, and home from there, possibly via North Dakota (Teddy Roosevelt NP) for a little variety.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I agree that you do need to go back to the drawing board and start again. Driving 750 miles in a single day isn't great [or ideal as you said] but trying to do such long days as part of a multi day trip that is meant to be fun is no fun at all and fatigue is a killer. It's going to take most of the 4 days you have for driving home if you drive by the most direct route and make a few short stops to let the Kids run around and let off steam.

    Your routing could be made more efficient, to start with is there any reason why you are going all the way from Glacier down to Couer d' Alene and then back up to Moscow ID ?

    You really need to work it so that you are not travelling late into the night and you keep your mileage under 550 miles for travel days that include no major sight seeing stops. If nothing else it's not going to fun for the Kids and they will probably start on each other with the frustration of being couped up for long periods and lack of proper rest.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Southwest Dave View Post
    Your routing could be made more efficient, to start with is there any reason why you are going all the way from Glacier down to Couer d' Alene and then back up to Moscow ID ?

    Moscow is south of CDA. So, when leaving Glacier, CDA is just a pass through. We had just planned to stop for a few hours at most.

    I do like the option of heading to CDA/Moscow from Yellowstone. The mileage (from what I checked) is very similar. But, the return home from Glacier to Indiana is a shorter drive by nearly 300 miles. Plus, it allows us to break up all those National Parks a bit, which was a concern of mine.

    My husband and I prefer to drive in the evenings/late at night because our kids travel better during this time (less bathroom and food breaks). And, as a result, we tend to get started the next day just a little later than the average family (more like 9am.)

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I am going to rework some of the days and will post an update later. =)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default From a child's viewpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steph1223 View Post
    My husband and I prefer to drive in the evenings/late at night because our kids travel better during this time (less bathroom and food breaks). And, as a result, we tend to get started the next day just a little later than the average family (more like 9am.)
    That is probably fine for a one day sprint (though I doubt it), but it will not work the same on a multi day trip.

    Besides, what are the children going to see/learn when it is dark. Have you thought of giving the older children a map each so that they can follow the trip and learn vital map reading skills, as well as how many attractions there are along the way, at which you may/may not choose to stop for break.

    When we went anywhere with our five children, we always made a point of NOT travelling before 8am and to stop no later than 4pm. That way the children will have time for some games before dinner, and the smaller ones will have time to familiarise their sleeping accommodation for that night. There will be time after dinner to recap the day, as well as plan the next day...... and for bedtime stories.

    One thing you may consider is to get all the children to keep a journal of the trip. They are all old enough - the little one may need a bit of help - and get them to note down their thoughts as to the most enjoyable parts of the day. These journals are great to write, and a treasure to look back on later. A plain notebook is all that's needed.

    And for the next trip, you will already have what interested the children most, to help you plan.

    BTW what input are the children having for this trip?


  8. Default

    Our 3 oldest (8, 11, 14) have asked us to buy books for them for each national park. So, I am looking into several different ones right now. From there, they plan to each pick their top 4 "must do's" and top 4 "I'd love to" activities for each destination.

Similar Threads

  1. Summer '10 Cross Country Road Trip
    By qotsa1chris in forum Saving Money on Your Trip
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-15-2011, 09:36 AM
  2. Summer Cross Country Road trip
    By mq330 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 02-26-2010, 07:52 AM
  3. Suggestions for Cross Country Trip
    By ianp82 in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-16-2009, 02:47 AM
  4. Planning Cross Country Trip - Looking for advice or suggestions
    By ztabler in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-27-2007, 08:28 PM
  5. summer cross country rv trip
    By meatman921 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-06-2006, 02:14 PM


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