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  1. Default Connecticut to Oregon history themed travel w/ kids

    Our best trip ever was a cross-country road trip when we moved from California to Connecticut 4 years ago. This forum was a great help for ideas! Now, four years later, we are moving from CT to Southern Oregon in August and would like to take to take a more northern route this time. We have at least two weeks free. My idea is to have a little bit of a "theme". Our older daughter is really interested in history, the Oregon trail, pioneers and Laura Ingalls, etc... and I'm wondering if I can incorporate some of her interests into the trip.

    I don't *mind* driving the interstates and staying at Motel 6, but I really would prefer having some chances to actually see the countryside/towns. We like camping and hostels and bed-and-breakfasts. We did a no-fast-food trip the last time and I loved seeking out local shops and bakeries and cafes and diners along the route in order to have some more authentic (and healthy!) non-franchised experiences.

    So my questions are this:
    Which route would you take that would get from CT to Southern Oregon and include a wide range of scenery and sights that a 5 & 7 yr old (good travelers) would enjoy?
    Which towns have a historic district worth visiting?
    Any suggestions for particularly interesting accommodations or food?
    Any awesome campgrounds? (Yellowstone? Badlands?)
    If the weather is hot, we might like to stop at a pool or water park along the way. Any thoughts on that?

    Thank you for any tips!

  2. Default

    If it was me, I would say you have to see The Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore. They are national treasures and they aren't that far apart. From what I've heard, the Crazy Horse Memorial is even more amazing that Mt. Rushmore. So if you can only see one, see that one. Just don't go around the back of Mt. Rushmore, because there is a very phallic formation in the rock behind Lincoln. (I think its lincoln)
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-25-2009 at 10:35 AM. Reason: quote block not required here

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default In Their Footsteps

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    A regular contributor here planned and executed a Laura Wilder themed trip a couple of years back, so have a read through those threads. Another great resource is this Iowa State University site for the Oregon Trail. As a general rule, you'll be following I-80 all the way with the ever-present option of switching off with the old Lincoln Highway.


  4. Default Connecticut to Oregon

    We're a family of 4 (kids age 5 & 7) relocating to Oregon next week.

    Our itinerary looks like this:
    Norwalk, CT - Hershey, PA - Millersburg, OH - Chicago, IL - St. Paul, MN - De Smet, SD - Rapid City, SD - Buffalo, WY - W. Yellowstone, MT - Boise, ID - Ashland, OR

    We're planning to spend an extra day in Hershey (amusement park), Chicago (museums) and Yellowstone.

    1. Our plan is to do a breakfast and picnic lunch on our own and go to a restaurant for dinners. Any suggestion for good casual restaurants anywhere along the way? I'd like to focus on local businesses and authentic regional food over national chains.
    2. If we want to check out the Badlands national park, but don't have time to spend an entire day, it sounds like a drive along Rte 240 is the way to go? What about 44?
    3. Is Mt Rushmore a good place to check out? What about Crazy Horse? How about Jewel Cave? We're not staying a complete day, but can certainly spend the morning hanging out in that area... Is there anything we *can't* miss?

    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 08-11-2009 at 07:33 AM. Reason: merged with first thread about this trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default options

    Its really hard to get good restaurant recommendations on a forum like this, simply because there are so many option is every town, and the turnover is pretty high. What's usually better and easier is simply to ask the locals where they recommend when you arrive in a town for dinner.

    With the short time you have, I'd just focus on the Badlands loop road (240), which will give you easy access back to I-90 (right near Wall Drug!).

    All of those things are great things to potentially see. Mount Rushmore is probably the easiest to see quickly. You might stop there first, cover some miles, and then stop again at Devils Tower so you've got 2 stops to break up the day.

    One comment about your route, I wouldn't go all the way up to St. Paul if you are just going back down to DeSmet. I'd either stay on I-90 all the way to Sioux Falls, then head up I-29 to Brookings and over (the fastest way) or I'd take I-90 to Rochester, and get on US-14. That will take a little longer, but will go through several other Wilder locations, like Walnut Grove.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Wall Drug

    Since you will come right by it, you may as well stop and check it out... the kids will love it. Walk all the way through the store - picking up your five cent coffee and free iced water - to the mall in the back. Here the young ones can pan for gold while you check out some of the history on the walls... and the dinosaur feeds every 10 or 15 minutes.

    Lifey thinks its well worth a stop

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