My husband and 5 small children (1,3,5,7,8) plan to drive from the SF bay area to Boston and back in 6 weeks. On the way there, we will drive via Yellowstone. To be at two different family reunions (in Yellowstone and Boston), we will need to drive from Yellowstone to Boston in 6 days (kind of a rush with kids, I think). Right now, we are considering taking I-94 and then continuing due east in Michigan and onto Canada's highway 17. We are also considering I-94 or I-90 to Milwaukee or Manitowoc, WI and taking a car ferry across Lake Michigan and then continuing east into Canada and onto I-90 in New York. We plan to do some camping and some motels (whatever works best wherever we are). We are more interested in outdoorsy things than cities, though we plan to visit Chicago on the return trip (so want a more Northern route going east, so we won't have to drive the same route there and back). My questions are:
1) How does going up onto Canada's 17 compare to taking the more southern route across Lake Michigan? Has anyone ridden the ferries and what did you think ?
2) We would love to take part of the stretch from Yellowstone to Boston on a train, but can't imagine lugging camping gear, car seats, and luggage for 7 from rental cars onto trains and back off again. Our dream would be an auto train, but I couldn't find one. Is there one along our route (either through Canada or the U.S.) that I missed? Any creative ideas for combining train travel with roadtripping for a large family with lots of stuff?