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  1. Default Our first road trip!

    Hello everyone, my name is Matt.

    Let me startoff by saying what a great site this is and that I'm glad I found you.

    We are planning a trip for june about the 15th. We will take 16 days for this trip. This will be a no interstate, highway...ect. This will be a tent camping only trip and we will be eating from the cooler and camp fire every night.
    This will be myself and my two boys (ages 11 and 7). We live in Alabama and we do local camping but never anything like this. I would love to here your insight.

    Let me tell you about the trip:

    We will start from Birmingham on hwy 411N heading to Sevierville, TN. Then we will head east to Cherokee, NC, and get on the "Blue Ridge Parkway". We will camp at Mt. Mitchell in NC. I here that there is some good fly fishing on the Toe River. We will then get back on the BRP and take it all the way to the end near Afton, VA. We will camp along the BRP, for the most part we will just wing it.

    I'm still looking for ideas of places to see, camp, hike along the BRP I've got a few that I will post at the end. When we get to Afton, VA we might head west to Monongahela National Forest. I would really like to go there I read that it was on the top 50 list of places to see. Although it will be 200miles out of the way. Leaving Afton, VA we will get on "Hollowed Ground Byway" and we will take it to DC. We will probably stay in DC for two days. I want to find a nice camping spot about 30miles outside of DC.

    After leaving DC we will get back on "Hollowed Ground Byway" and take it to Gettysburg. We will camp in or near Gettusburg, and then get on "National Historic Byway" and take it to Valley Forge. We will camp there, and then return to "National Historic Byway". We will take NHB to Pittsburgh, and make a few stops there. We will go to Mt. Washington, its really just part of the city but it has a great view. We may stop at a few more places in Pittsburgh. We will return to "National Historic Byway" and take it into Ohio. When we get to Ohio we will pretty much just drive through the state. We will probably go north in Ohio to "Omish Country Byway" and then return to NHB. I really don't have any ideas about what to do in Ohio.

    We will continue on the NHB into Indiana, again I don't have any ideas about where to go there. We will visit family in Indiana. We will continue on the NHB into Illinois. We will stop in Springfield, IL and visit Abraham Lincoln's tomb and other historic sites. We will continue on NHB to near the Mississippi River. We will then get on "The Great River Rd" and go south. We will stop in St. Louis and see the Gateway Arch. We will then get on route 66. We will probably only go about 100miles or so down route 66. I have no idea what to do and see on route 66. I would love to here some ideas. We will then double back to "The Great River Rd". We will head south on the GR rd into Vicksburg. I don't know what to visit between St. Louis and Vicksburg. After leaving Vicksburg we will for the most part head home.

    We will also try to do alot of 4x4 trail riding along the way so if you know of anything we would like to here it.

    This trip has turned into a trip through our nations history. It did not start that way but I love history so maybe I was alittle bias. My two boys are going to keep a nightly journal of the trip. I know buzz kill for them right, but I hope one day they will cherish the memories. They will also have there own cameras to take there own pictures that we will later post in their journals.

    Here are a few points of interest on or near the "Blue Ridge Parkway" I'm going to copy and paste these from another forum. These are not my words.

    Here they are:

    "There is some camping along the Toe River at the base of Mt Mitchell just east of Asheville that would be a good spot. Good trout river and you often hear the grey wolves calling up on the mountain. The roads along the stream and up into the park are dirt. There is a route I took out of Old Fort, NC into the park that was mostly unpaved and got a little rocky in places. I'll have to dig around to see if I can find it. It a fun ride but not too technical. If your coming into NC from the west the Waterville Exit right at the state line has some good camping and is right along the AT. There is also some fun unpaved mountain roads along there to explore. It will be tough to travel from place to place on dirt as many of them dead end or are loop roads. You'll probably have to take the highways from point to point and explore when you get there. There is a ton a good spots along the Blue Ridge Pkwy. One of my favorites-especially with kids is graveyard pasture. It's right before you get to the hwy 276/Brevard exit. There was a huge forest fire in the 1920/1930's time period and the stumps of the trees that were burned and those cut down to stop the fire are grown over and looks like old gravestones on the mountain side. There is also some great berry picking along the creek (yellowstone creek) a great water fall with a swiming hole at the bottom and the creek holds some nice native brookies. This creek is unique as is it not overhung by trees and/or bushes like most WNC trout water. You can make large Montana style casts without hooking a tree but you'll need to stalk the fish and use small tippets and flies as they can see you easier as well."
    "The road I mentioned from Old Fort to the Parkway is Curtis Creek Rd (st rd 1227) and is paved for only the first section then it is dirt/gravel and gets steep and twisty. From the Pkwy you can turn off onto Toe River rd to get to the fishing camping I mentioned. There is also camping along Curtis Creek Rd in a park (First Forest?)."
    "In the same area as Graveyard/Yellowstone Creek is also the Davidson River-just down 276 from the parkway. If the water is down the fishing may be off-but the tubing is also fun and the kids will love it. The is a good flyshop-Davidson River Outfitters and the town of Brevard is great. If you feeling generous there is one of the best toystores in the world in Brevard called OP Taylors but be warned they have an amazing selection of highly detailed die cast and R/C cars-as well as trains and planes. When I lived in the area my daughter would usually be ready to leave before I was. Be sure to also hit a Mast General Store some where along the way-go to the original in Valle Cruces NC is possible-cool place and don't leave out the swinging bridge on the top of Grandfather Mt (Boone/Elkin NC). If the weather is good the peak will be ful of hang gliders launching off the peak and sailing to the valley below"
    "I forget the Cradle of Forestry; they have festivals and events during the season. We've been to lumberjacking contests and bluegrass shows there that were lots of fun. "

    Wow I did not mean to make this so long, this is the first time I've written the entire trip out. I would really like to here your feedback. If anyone has any opinions, tips, places to see or not to see or any meaningless comment about life and adventure I would absolutely love to here them. If you made it this far I would like to tell you thanks for your time and help on this trip. Maybe I should also say thanks a few paragraphs up. haha. We are really excited for this trip and hope that this is only the first of many for our family.

    I will continue to add to this thread until we depart in June.

    Thanks Matt
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-31-2010 at 10:28 AM. Reason: added some block quotes for clarity & a couple of paragraph breaks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Lucky boys!


    What lucky boys you have. I bet there are thousands of boys who would love a trip like that with their Dad. Getting them to write the journal, and take their own photos, is of course, another educational and memorable thing to do. I sincerely hope you will be writing your journal too.

    Here's something you may like to get the boys to go along with their journal. My grandchildren love them, and mark in it all the trips they have and all the places they visit.

    And BTW, great trip you have laid out there.

    Lifey who loved camping with her family

  3. Default

    I like the kids atlas. I think my boys would enjoy participating in the navigation to. And yes I will also be writing in my journal as well.
    We are really excited about this trip, and I'm looking forward to the time with my boys. Building memories.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 01-31-2010 at 10:19 AM. Reason: block quote not needed in line

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The only thing I want to point out is Route 66 was decomissioned quite a few years back, so you may not have an easy time following it out of STL heading west. The MO stretch was replaced by I-44 and the remnants of the historic road are largely abandoned, overgrown, or paved over. There are stretches of the original road left but they aren't easy to find or follow. If you want to make Route 66 part of your plans, I'd recommend you do some prior web searching to see exactly what's left where. Whether or not you can actually find the road, there are still quite a few historic places along where the road used to be in various states of (dis)repair, restoration, and (dis)use.

  5. Default

    Well, that changes things. I will look into what is left, and hopefully I can find enough to make it worth the detour. Thank you for the tip.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-27-2010 at 06:49 AM. Reason: Quote of entire previous post removed

  6. Default Help with any events or must see places

    I'm really hoping to get some more ideas from any experienced travelers. Does anyone have any suggestions for me, I'm hoping to find some events and must see places. I'd really appreiciate any help on this journey. I'm getting ready to put in for my vacation. I dont want to regret my vacations dates later, when I find something else that would have been fun on the trip but out of my vacation range.

    Thanks Matt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Planning Family Road Trips

    I wrote an article about family road trips a while back -- and you might find some of those tips helpful as well.

    There's a book that I think you would love and it offers some great tips for exploring history and lesser-known historic events on road trips. The author used to be quite active here -- here's our review of their book.

    Sounds like a really great trip plan -- there's quite a bit of information on this forum for every part of the legs you listed above. I'll add this one thing about the Great River Road... The Great River Road is a 3,000 mile network of federal, state, and local roads on both sides of the Mississippi River, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Most, if not all, of the legs are marked with a special road sign that looks like a ship's wheel. However, it can be very tricky following the route. It was originally envisioned to be part of a "super" highway connecting Chile with Canada.

    But rather than build a dedicated highway, a decision was made in the 1950's to simply to signpost some of the existing roads that generally followed the Mississippi River, which makes it a bit challenging to follow. But there are some very cool places --and I'll mention some of those when I'm back here again.


  8. Default

    Thanks Mark.

    I was looking at the map for great river road and I noticed that it was several roads. I will check the book and your review. I look forward to your post about the great river road stops.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-01-2010 at 10:13 PM. Reason: removed quote of entire previous post (again)

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