Hello everyone! I've been reading this site for a long time, but only recently worked up the guts to start posting in the forums. I'm planning a Summer-long road trip with my children to Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton. That's the destination, anyway.
I'm leaving Pensacola, FL on (or about) June 6th.
First leg of the trip: Jonesboro AR to stay with family for a day or two. It's about...oh, 9ish hours and we've all made this trip in a day before so we know we can do it.
Second leg: Jonesboro to Tulsa. We'll be camping at Keystone Lake for 5ish days and going down to Ada to see an air show and a BBQ contest. Lots of fun stuff in Tulsa, we've done this part before, too.
Third leg: Tulsa to Colby KS (possibly as far as Burlington CO) first day is just a driving day, we'll be checking into a hotel and then heading out again. Second driving day I'd like to make it as far as Casper WY where we'll spend a day figuring out what there is to do in Casper WY. This is another hotel day. What is there to do in Casper WY? This is the big drive, after a day off, we'll head straight up to Yellowstone. I'm considering a night in Cody WY and then getting up the next morning to drive in and set up camp in the park.
Fourth leg: I have reserved campsites in the park (Canyon, Grant and Madison Campgrounds...we like to move around) for 12 days beginning June 18th. We'll do lots of nature and lots of day trips into town and then we'll all stink really bad.
Fifth leg: Here's where I get stuck. We leave Yellowstone on June 30. I'm thinking about driving back through South Dakota and doing the whole Mt. Rushmore thing. This will add some time to the trip (instead of going through Nebraska and then heading South...you have to excuse me, I never commit to a specific road until I get there) back to the point...
What you should know: We are experienced travelers, we live in a hurricane prone area and have to evacuate...a lot. We've done the Grand Canyon and most of Colorado, but I would camp in Colorado any day, we love it there. The kids are 4, 6 (almost 7) and 12 and they know all about camping and they are wonderful road-trippers. We have to be back in Florida before school starts in the Fall, August. If there is a major hurricane (I'm a disaster services worker) I have to drive straight through and come home...bummer. I really hate to say this last part, because it just seems so ridiculous, but here it goes: I don't have to worry about money, but I'm not going to throw it away on stupid things. We camp (tent) and stay in hotels when necessary, but avoid them when we can. I've budgeted $2000 for gas for the whole trip, but it won't be then end of the world if we go over.
What I want to know: What do ya'll think about adding Mt Rushmore to the plan? I'm crazy, but after 12 days in Yellowstone with 3 kids, I'm going to want a SHOWER and a meal that isn't boiled, freeze-dried, or filled with raisins. A hotel will be in order. After leaving YNP, I'm heading in the general direction of Austin TX to stay with family for a little while, then heading home to Florida...Julyish.
This is really why I haven't posted before, because we don't have (or really need) a specific time frame and because of my job, I have to be very flexible. The only place we absolutely have to be is in Wyoming on June 18th. Any ideas? Please feel free to ask questions or offer any criticism (I can take it!) and help me plan the way back home!