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  1. Default Vancouver to LA - Vegas - round trip - - ~w/kids

    My hubby and I have taken road trips together to the Oregon Coast, and East from Vancouver to Banff for quick getaways... now we have two boys.. and the Mouse is calling them. We have rented a Van Conversion for 10 days and were planning on driving straight through to Disneyland, staying there for 3 days - from there I dont' have a clue as to how we can manage to see Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon before driving back home. Is this trip a pipe dream? Is there anyone who can offer suggestions as to routes? Vegas is not meant to be a long visit.. but Circus circus might be a welcome break for the kids after being couped up in a vehicle with mom and dad. Am I crazy for thinking this is possible?

    Hubby has made the drive in 26 hours apparently.. (dare I question him) and seems to think if we left in the late evening from Vancouver we would miss Seattle's rush hour - he would drive through the night and let the kids and I sleep... I would take over after Portland and follow I-5 until Daddy woke up again. I have activities planned for the kids, and we plan to take advantage of the loo in the van for the boys. I am praying that Disneyland will burn out the boys and allow for us to make it to Vegas in half a day. I would trade Vegas if I had to sacrifice either GC or LV... Disneyland is enough commercialism for one trip. . .
    Last edited by tickittyboo; 03-09-2008 at 01:16 AM. Reason: more specific queries

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

    Default overwhelming

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Can you do the trip you have laid out? Possibly, but I'm not sure you'd want to. Driving through the night is usually a pretty unwise and self defeating manuver, especially when you'll be driving a much larger vehicle than you are used to.

    Really, how are you going to feel about being woken up at 3am and told to drive, after probably not getting the most restful sleep in a moving van, and then make sure you'll stay away driving through the early morning hours while everyone else sleeps?

    Also keep in mind a few things, Disney is a pretty big and tiring place. Are you going to want to do that right after doing a marathon drive where you and your husband are pushing yourselves to your limits to make sure you "get there" as quick as you can? Also remember, that while you might be able to limit stops with restrooms on board, that time where the car is stopped for bathroom breaks is also time where kids can get out, run around, and burn off some of the energy they'll build up from being couped up in the van.

    It does make sense to use some time where your kids will be asleep to make some miles, so driving late into the first night isn't a bad idea. But I would think stopping at some point, being if its portland or whereever, and just being off the road for a few hours before continuing on in the morning is a better and safer bet that pushing yourself with a marathon all night drive.

    I'm not sure how many days you are planning to stay in La/Disney area, but Grand Canyon is a very full day drive (10 hours-ish) from Anaheim, and detouring to Vegas would be a couple hour detour off of that route. You could probably squeeze that all in, but you might start pushing your limits (again) to do that.

  3. Default Long drive with your family...

    I've driven pretty much this route (Orange County, California) to Bellingham, Washington numerous times (Bellingham is just across the border, south of Vancouver BC).

    It is about 26 hours drive time, but that's a long time to drive. I've driven it once or twice with friends in a marathon run, trading off behind the wheel all night, but that was with like 4 drivers in the car, not two.

    Typically for safety, we like to have 2 people awake. One as the driver, and one as their backup and company -- someone to talk to, someone to pour you coffee when you need it, and someone to make sure the driver is awake and attentive.

    My recommendation is make it 2 days down, and 2 days back, with 1-2 days at disney, and 1-3 days between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon. That's doable in a 8-9 day trip (Saturday to the next week, plus sunday) A good place to break the trip coming down is between Yreka and Redding. Redding is a larger town with more hotels, but it's at the end of 10-12 or so hours of being in the car and on the road.

    If you want to avoid Seattle traffic, starting late works well -- but as noted above, driving through the night, through the mountains between Ashland and Redding will be at your worst awake period, just before or around dawn. Plus, 24 hours later you'll be pulling into LA just in time to meet the afternoon rush hour -- at the end of both of you being absolutely exhausted.

    And then you plan to spend something like 12 hours on your feet the next day at Disneyland/ California Adventure???

    If you really wanted to push it, for about a week, I'd do something like
    Friday night - leave Vancouver about 6 pm. Pass through Seattle at about 8 pm+, after rush hour. Portland would be about 111 -- and 'd say somewhere between South Portland and Salem Oregon. Carry the kids into bed, get at least 6-7 hours of sleep, then head out the next morning at 7-8.

    You could theoretically make it to Anaheim the next night, its about another 950 miles, which translates into about 16 hours in the car to get there. An 8 am start time, puts you into Anaheim about midnight and you'd be hitting the LA area and its traffic at about 8-9 pm, well after rush hour.

    However, to be conservative
    Sat Morning -- start, end near Mt Shasta area
    Sun - End Anahime
    Mon-Tues Disneyland
    Wed - head to Grand Canyon. Long day on the road -- about 9-10 hours, but you can reach the south rim of the Grand Canyon in a day.
    Thursday, all day Grand Canyon.
    Friday -- to Las Vegas, via Hoover Dam. About half to 2/3rds day drive. Night in Vegas.
    Saturday - Las Vegas back to Redding -- another long drive day, probably 12 hours.
    Sunday Redding to Vancouver -- about 10-12 hours in the car

    It *is* doable, but that's a lot of driving, for the kids. You'll both end up exhaused, and the kids would have basically spent 5 days in the back of a van. If I had to pull out something, I'll pull out the Grand Canyon leg, and just to Las Vegas -- find a hotel with a great swimming pool and let them play in the water for a full day. They'll remember that with a lot more pleasure than 2 more days in the back of a van at high speed. It'll also let mom and dad recharge for a day before heading back.

    Your other option, depending upon when you're driving is to drop the Las Vegas/ Grand Canyon side trip, and pick something more on the direct route. Some options might include:

    - Spend a day on one of the beaches in Southern California. Kids play in the water, mom & dad relax.
    - Yosemite Valley, not too far off the route in California's Central Valley.
    - A day in San Francisco. Ride the cable cars, tour Alcatraz, have a nice dinner, etc.
    - Crater Lake, Oregon

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I agree with Larrison

    Let me just add a few things.

    I've done the drive from Washington state to Anaheim several times myself. I'm in the SW corner of the Washington and, therefore, don't have to deal with the Everett-to-Olympia I-5 traffic which adds a few miles and hours to your trip and the time for border crossing, too, for that matter. We've always done it in two days. 1st night: We stop either Medford, OR, or Redding, CA, or several points in-between (Ashland, Yreka, Weed, or Mt. Shasta). Redding is best if you can make it because it shorterns up that next day's drive.
    2nd night: Then we get up early and drive to Anaheim the next day. And I mean early! I like to be on the road no later than 6am that day so that we can get into the Los Angeles area before the worst of the evening rush hour traffic starts. This is easier to do if you stay in Redding than the more northern places.

    This gets us into Anaheim early enough to relax by the pool and go to bed early that night so we can get up in time to enjoy Disney early, and be refreshed enough to actually enjoy it. At the pace you're suggesting, I agree that you're all going to be too tired and cranky to really enjoy yourselves at Disneyland.

    I suggest that you leave the evening before, adding a 3rd night. This will let you cross the border and get through the traffic. Nowadays, the thick traffic isn't just in Seattle. To really get past any rush hour traffic the next morning, you'll want to get to at least Olympia, WA, for the night. In fact, I'd suggest going to the Centralia/Chehalis, WA, area about 30 minutes south of Olympia to stop for the night. I think the Castle Rock, WA, area is about as far as you're gonna want to drive that night. Much more than that, and you're pushing getting the rest you need to get up early and drive safely the next day, imho. (This is assuming that you're not leaving Vancouver until after you get off work at around dinnertime, or so. If you get out earlier, than you could go a bit farther. Follow your gut and how tired you are.)

    Personally, I would bag the Las Vegas and Grand Canyon portions of the trip and stick with all the things to see and do in the LA area. Enjoy your three days at Disneyland. Consider adding some of the other theme parks to your trip. I enjoy Universal just as much as I enjoy Disney (and I'm a big Mouse fan) so you might want to have a day there. Knott's Berry Farm is great, too. Heck, there's even 6 Flags Magic Mountain with some of the most amazing rides. Each theme park has a different "flavor" and they're all good. And this doesn't even brush the surface of the fun things to do there.

    If you want to make the same dash home, we have usually left LA in the late evening after the traffic has thinned and get to about Buttonwillow, CA. From there, we get to someplace around Medford, OR, for the second night and then home the next day.

    I really think this will make your best trip. If you add in GC or LV, you're just going to be exhausted. There's no way around it. Sorry.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies, but I have some how magically convinced the kids that we can fly down there next spring and will focus on magical wonders this time. I have posted another thread..

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