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Thread: PNW Trip 2017

  1. Default PNW Trip 2017

    Hi, my name is Peter.
    I am new to this site, I registered because this past Summer, I helped to facilitate an adventure program that started in the Wisconsin Dells and took 3 charter busses over to Washington, then up to Jasper National Park, and finally back to the Wisconsin Dells. The trip was great, but kind of poorly planned, so my coworkers want me to take a crack at the planning for this next summer. Based on what we did hit this last summer, I have a general outline in my head of what it should look like next Summer, but there are some things I could use help with that I am not sure how to tackle. Hopefully this is the right website.

    1.) I want to head through North Dakota, but I can hardly find anything in the state. Anybody know any stops worth seeing? Just to break up the driving, if nothing else.

    2.) I want to have a physical copy of plans, because I think it will be easier to look at than an all digital copy. You know those brochures that you can get in rest areas as soon as you get there? I am not sure how to get those without actually going to the state itself, which is a bit of a hassle if I need 9 states worth of brochures and would prefer to plan this from home

    3.) This trip is done with charter busses, 45 foot long ones. Is there an easy way of finding out how "bus accessible" an area is? obviously we are going to be on back road some times, but there are areas that get pretty dangerous to take a bus.

    I am sure I will have more questions the more I dive into the planning process

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Unusual

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Typically a 'big' group on this website consits of a couple of generations of family members sharing a mini-van, but yes, I think you've come to the right place. Since you don't say otherwise I'm assuming that you're basically repeating the Dells-Jasper trip. Let's deal with some of the simpler questions first.

    1) If you're heading through North Dakota, then I would guess you're basically using I-94. As with all Interstates, there are places to stop every few hours as well as the South Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

    2) I generally plan two or three RoadTrips a year for my wife and I and never have any trouble getting materials. The easiest way to get hardcopy brochures is to ask state and local tourist boards to send them to you. For example, a simple web search on "North Dakota Tourism" led me to this site and about two-thirds of the way down was a link to "Order Destination Brochures". Couldn't be easier. The other thing I do, which makes it easier to carry a single item, is to make my own 'book' from web site information. These I put together in PowerPoint with about a half page for each site I plan to or may visit, including info on location, entry fees, and major points about each attraction. I then just print it on my home printer and put all the pages together in a simple binder.

    3) This is a bit tougher as I have no experience driving anything as large as a 45 foot charter bus. But I would think that as long as you stick to Interstates (absolutely), US highways and the Trans-Canada Highway (fairly certainly) and state and provincial highways (far more likely than not), you should be fine. The charter company may be able to offer more help once you get a preliminary plan worked out or you can get a copy of Rand McNally's "Motor Carriers' Road Atlas" which at least lists "Low Clearance Locations" for each state and province.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    As Buck indicated, Contacting the Department of Tourism for the various states you'll be visiting should get you more information than you could even use.

    For the busses, are you planning on driving them yourself, of are you hiring a charter company? I would think the bus companies would have a pretty good idea of where they can go, and where they can not, and should be able to provide you a lot of answers in that regard.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    There is usually early notifications along the roadway with regards to vehicle size restrictions, steep grades and tight turns etc and with careful planning you should be able to work out where they might be along your routes. If this is [or going to be] a regular thing you can buy a 'Truck Sat Nav' where you can enter size of vehicle details, but even then it is most important to have paper maps available and know how to use them.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post

    For the busses, are you planning on driving them yourself, of are you hiring a charter company? I would think the bus companies would have a pretty good idea of where they can go, and where they can not, and should be able to provide you a lot of answers in that regard.

    In a perfect world, the bus companies would be of some help, but as I figured out from this past Summer, they have less information about their route than I do. We hit a couple areas that could not reasonably fit a bus, and we actually rolled the bus on a soft shoulder because of this, while we were in Canada.

  6. Default

    Thank you all for the tips on ordering brochures, I just requested 8 States worth of travel information. I will probably have more questions in the future that I will post on this forum.

  7. Default

    New question:
    obviously I am going to have to book very large campsites, which means I have to find campsites with the space to facilitate around 120 people camping near eachother (or at least camping near eachother in groups of 30 or so). Does anyone know an easy way of finding such sites? Right now I am manually looking at an area on google maps that is a set distance away from the starting point (say, about 8 hours driving, so we can make progress on the road) and then going through each camping site to see if they fit the criteria. If i am doing this for a 30+ day road trip this is going to take ages.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default This Should at Least Help You Get Started.

    Although neither exhaustive nor definitive, you'll find links to a number of useful resources here.

    AZBuck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default

    A large number of parks have group camping areas. Such areas generally require special reservations, and can book up quickly. Even there, camping for more than 100 people is going to be a very large challenge, as that is still larger than most group camping sites will allow.

    But any way you slice it, you're talking about an unusual request and I would expect such work to be very labor intensive.

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

    Default Time and distance.

    I am manually looking at an area on google maps that is a set distance away from the starting point (say, about 8 hours driving)
    Don't forget that Google time estimates are way optimistic even in a car as they do not allow for any rest breaks, gas and food stops or delays for congestion and construction. With carrying so many people those stops are likely to be more frequent and take much longer than is normal. With that in mind I would be thinking of 8 hours driving as covering around 400 miles at an average of 50mph to allow for those stops and not the 550 -580 miles Google are likely to suggest will take 8 hours.

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