This will be my first long-distance road trip with my 4-year-old. We hope to do the trip in 5 to 7 days in early September, leaving from Milwaukee WI and ending up near Bellingham WA. Our 2 cats will be traveling with us. I am expecting this to be an "interesting" trip. My current plan is to use pet-friendly motels with swimming pools, Motel 6 or similar.
My big planning question at this point is about pacing the trip with frequent-enough breaks to make carseat travel easier on my 4-year-old daughter.
I would welcome any suggestions from folks who know this route (mostly I-90 is my current plan) about good spots for short or long breaks suitable for a small child. These might be as simple as favorite rest-stops or safe playgrounds, or a city on the route with a good zoo or other kid-friendly place, or a park area worth spending an extra day on about mid-way (Badlands? Rushmore? detour into Yellowstone?). And of course, if you've done this trip with a child this age, I'd love to hear any general road-trip suggestions you might have.
Thanks in advance...