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  1. Default st louis to chicago to milwaukee to traverse city to detroit w/3 kids 14U

    Hello, blessed RTA! It's my annual sanity check-- every year you help me with my overambitious itinerary .

    Again, I seek everyone’s help again for kid-friendly tips for ages 14, 11, 8.

    We love:
    baseball, hockey,
    natural beauty, quirky local flavor,
    history and science, and
    comfort –that is, we are not campers or extreme-adventurers,
    not that we can afford luxury-- but a very occasional splurge is possible.

    I like having everything figured out beforehand: for each road trip your suggestions have been the foundation for binders I made with web printouts, maps, suggested detours and restaurants.

    This year we are going in a partial loop in the Midwest as one way.
    We have 16 days in August.
    Bringing our Garmin car navigator.
    Suggestions and advice from all experts and been-theres, please!

    What underlies our planning:

    -We are going to try to get to baseball games for the Cards, Brewers, & Chi teams to
    help along one son's wish to visit all the stadiums over time.
    -We are trying to hit all 50 states in our lifetimes.
    -We try to keep driving down to 3-5 hours a day.
    -We spend at least 1-2 nights at a stop.

    I can do research on my own re St Louis and Chicago--
    what do you recommend re this itinerary? Do you think this is too much?

    • St Louis
    • Springfield (Lincoln-relevant suggestions for Civil War buff?)
    • Chicago
    • Indiana Dunes National Park?
    • Galena (USS Grant-relevant suggestions for big fan?)
    • Milwaukee

    From Milwaukee is the leg that baffles me. Help!
    -I want to go to Traverse City-- it appears a ferry crosses over from Milw. but I saw a note that it's $300??
    -How long of a ride is the ferry? AAA says it's 9 hours from Milwaukee to Muskegon, which on the map looks like it is right across the lake.
    -It seems, when I map on the AAA online triptik, that I should stop on the way up to Traverse City once I cross-- where do you suggest?
    -Is the ferry the best way to get to Traverse City?
    ---->What do you think, for example, of going up to Green Bay and around to Traverse City? AAA says it cuts 4 hours from the trip!!
    -And what do you PREFER: Mackinaw City/Island or Traverse City?

    -I then want to go home to the DC area from Traverse City, and assume that I should leave from Detroit. There is no ball game when we're leaving! There is a game in Cleveland. What do you think about skipping Detroit and heading to Cleveland for a game and an exit home?

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


    Based on the cities you want to see, I think I would move a few things around.

    I'd do St. Louis first, then go up to Milwaukee (via Springfield, and/or Galena), then back down to Chicago and around the lake to Michigan.

    The ferry's are very expensive, and I've never taken them for that very reason. The one from Milwaukee only takes about 2 hours, but It would cost you at least $300. The one that's farther north (Manitowoc) is less expensive, but its still pretty expensive and takes about 4 hours.

    I am a little unsure about your overall plans - are you planning to drive the whole thing or are you flying into St. Louis and flying home from Detroit/Cleveland? What are the exact dates, as they might help with some of the other planning aspects.

    A few specific things along your route already:
    Here's a thread about St. Louis and one about Springfield.

    As you make your way north, several cities have very nice minor league parks that you might consider checking out. Peoria, Davenport Iowa (a nice park right on the Mississippi), and my personal favorite in this area, Clinton Iowa (which is a "classic" 1930's WPA park also right near the river).

    I haven't spent much time in Galena, as it is a bit too "snobby chicago getaway" for my tastes, however, in that area Apple River Canyon state park could be a nice break. You'd be less than an hour from the Field of Dreams movie site, and if you go that way the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is a great spot to spend a couple of hours. Also, just posted on RTA today, is this article about the Galena area.

    In Milwaukee, if you are there on a summer weekend, there will be some sort of festival going on, usually on the lakeshore. The Public Museum there has a nice collection and an Imax theatre that are nice and reasonably priced. There's also Discovery World (childrens museum), the Harley Davidson museum (kind of pricey), and depending upon when in August you are traveling, you might be around for the Wisconsin State Fair.

    And then as you head down to Chicago, make sure you stop in Racine to pick up a Kringle, and a stop at the Cheese Castle along I-94 is always a good final stop before you leave the Cheesehead State.

    I've got some baseball specific suggestions too- but those will have to be their own post.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Baseball

    I can certainly respect any one who is trying to get to all the major league parks - as I'm slowly working towards that goal myself. I'm currently at 19 mlb parks (16 active, 3 since replaced, and off-season drive-bys of 5.5 others), 10 minor leagues parks, 6 spring training parks, and 1 winter league.

    Here's my suggestions for the parks you're looking at:
    St. Louis might be my favorite of all the new parks (its very close with Pittsburgh), with great displays of history throughout the park, scoreboards that really keep you involved in the game (with stats and information, not just video board "races" and "where's the ball" games). My one game there so far was in the upper deck behind home plate - and I would gladly sit there again - great view of the game, the park, and the Arch beyond the outfield. For parking, I was able to find on street parking for free just a few blocks away when I showed up early for a day game, however there is also quite a bit of relatively cheap parking near the Arch that I've used in previous trips to old Busch.

    Milwaukee is a place where you really need to show up a couple hours early and tailgate if you want the Miller Park experience. I've never seen anything else like it at any other MLB park, even past game time, you'll have lots of people sitting out grilling, drinking, and playing games. I recommend using the lot off of Bluemound Road rather than the ones right off I-94, as its much easier to get in and out of, and its about the closest of the economy lots. The big downsides of this park are that the upper deck is very high (because of the roof which makes the park feel rather indoors, even with the roof open) so this is one of the few places where I'd rather sit in the outfield bleachers than the upper deck behind home, but if you've got a few more dollars to spend, the loge level probably offers the best value.

    Wrigley is in a class all its own, as it just feels like the definition of a classic ballpark - and in many ways is the exact opposite of miller park. You want to take public transit when coming here, since parking is basically non-existent. For seats, the upper deck is a great value in my opinion - since you can get seats here for $20 that are still very close to the field, although you have to watch out for the support beems blocking some views in the 500 level. The two places I recommend avoiding are the bleachers (too expensive and way more about being cool than anything about baseball) and the 200 level, unless you are in the first few rows. Once you get back aways in the 200 level, the overhang from the upper deck means you will lose sight of any foul ball.

    The Cell on the southside is another place where I'll try to get outfield seats rather than the upper deck. The upper deck at the Cell is rather notorious for its steepness, although that's been fixed somewhat during a recent renovation. Also, with upper deck seats, you can't access the lower level at all (in response to an attack by people coming on the field a few years ago), so you don't get the ability just to walk around the park. There is parking available here, but if you can take the EL, I'd do that instead.

    Cleveland is very nice, and you've got to like it for along with Camden Yards, being the first of a new breed of ballparks even though its been passed up by many newer parks since. I have only been here once, last season, and I was disappointed by a few things. First, almost every park will let you bring in sealed plastic bottles of soda and water (a real money saver for a family) however, they don't allow that a Progressive Field (I think juice boxes are allowed, but that's it). I'll also note that I went to walk through the Hall of Fame/monument exhibit in the outfield after the game - and even though it is supposed to stay open 15 minutes after game time - they had shut it down immediately, so I didn't get to enjoy it. On a positive note for you, Cleveland has the worst ticket sales in baseball this year, so finding a deal should be easy.

  4. Default

    Wow, you saved me 10 hours with those corrections per the AAA travel planner. We are flying in and out of the area early to mid August.

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