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  1. Default First Road trip with kids- So Cal To Chicago LOOP

    Going through the Las Vegas, Moab, Denver, Mt Rushmore gthen 90East to Chicago. Eventually Route 66 on way back.

    I am calculating about 7 days to get to Chicago, with several stops on way at National Parks, just not sure where else to break up the nights. I think between 5-6 hours of travel along with misc stops along the way. Would try mixing up hotel & camping for overnights. Have pet too.

    Any suggestions for places to stay?

    I have the stops somewhat planned but not sure if its planned right.

    I am trying to break down travel time vs overnight stays.
    Last edited by cmtrivi71; 06-14-2016 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Show us what you have.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I think you may be underestimating travel times as you would have to travel for at least 6 hours every day following your planned route, and that's before adding mileage detouring into National parks or anywhere else. Sure it would be a relaxed pace but it's not going to allow time to visit several National parks or spend much time at them.

    I have the stops somewhat planned but not sure if its planned right.
    Rather than us suggesting places you should stay, [it is your trip after all] why not share your plans and then we can tell you if it's possible and possibly make suggestions. It's not just a case of travel time and overnight places to stop, it's how to fit in anything you may have planned along the way. For example if you want to visit Arches NP near Moab then your travel day will be need to be shorter which in turn will make others longer.

  3. Default

    These are the stops I have so far. Some are tentative and some I would definitely want to do, the national parks are top priority. I figured at least 2 days for National Parks, not sure how much time the small roadside attractions will add into drive and some can be scratched.

    Start San Diego
    Las Vegas, NV
    Zion National park, Springdale UT
    Arches National park, Moab UT
    Yampah Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs, Colorado
    Red Rocks Ampitheatre, Morrison, Co
    Flinstone Theme park, Custer South Dakota
    Mount Rushmore, Keystone SD
    Roberts Praire Town, South Dakota
    Wounded Knee Museum, Wall SD
    1880 Town, Midland South dak
    Lewis & Clark Interpritive ctr, Chamerlain SD
    Corn Palace, Mitchell SD
    Devils Gulch Park, Garretson, SD
    Spam Museum, Austin Minnesota
    National Mustard Museum, Midelton Wisconsin
    Pink Elephant, 94 Interstate, Wisconsin
    WInsonsin Dells, Sun Praire WI
    Chicago, il.

  4. Default

    Hi cmtrivi71,

    I just got back from almost the same locations. Seven days will not give you a lot of time at any location. We drove from Madison to Oceanside(3 days of steady driving with short stops) and back via different routes.

    When leaving Oceanside we took 78 out to Borrego Springs and stopped Christmas Circle park which was very interesting for a short break. Great restaurant in the newer gray building across the street. Great pizza and salad

    Cedar Break route was recommend by GLC and the route they gave me is very scenic "option is go into Panguitch and pick up UT-143 and take that to Cedar Breaks, then UT-148 to UT-14". You would need to reverse this. I never heard of Cedar Break before but this was the best view we had on our entire trip, very cool. Highly recommend it. Great pizza and salad place in Cedar city. See my need two great route thread for other routes remember to reverse them.

    SR24 in Utah to I 70 out of Hanksville north has construction speed limit of 35 or so. It looks like they are done but need to remove the signs. Seems to take forever.

    Glenwood Springs is neat. We stayed at the Hotel Colorado years ago. Great history. The bike path is very scenic but noisy and you get road grit from I70 but worth it. The river looked like it was running pretty good for rafting. My son was around 10 when we did it.

    Idaho Springs right off I70 has Smoky Yards BBQ. Eat outside overlooking the river.

    Red Rocks is worth the stop. We found it by getting off the interstate. Get off on SR74 to Evergreen. An hour or two should do it.

    Not sure if the Pink Elephant is still there. I remember it from 50 years ago. This would be a very short stop.

    Dells is interesting but a big tourist area. Great water parks and go karts. When leaving the Dells drive through Devils Lake State park, south shore drive. No fee if you do not stop. If you like to hike this is a great place to stop. Leave the park and had to Lodi, WI via 113. Free ferry 24/7 across the Wisconsin river than on to Middleton. Kids enjoy this.

    Never been to the Mustard Museum, I am guessing from its size, on hour or so for a tour and shopping. If you stop, the Capital Brewery is a block away and I think there is also distillery close by check for tours on both. Also a skateboard park if the kids are into that.

    If you hit Madison on a Saturday check out the framers market on the Square. I am told it is one of the best in the nation. Also the Art fair on the square is coming up soon. Also go to the Capital and go to the top outside viewing area, great views of Madison and the lakes. If you are a Frank Lloyd Wright fan go to Spring Green and Monona Terrace(this is a short walk from the capital). Also Henry Villas Zoo is small but free.

    If you have an extra couple of hours of time I would recommend go to Lake Geneva between Madison and Chicago. If you have time and there at the right time do the Mail delivery boat trip. You than come in via 12 on the north west side of Chicago.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Me thinks not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ra4miles View Post
    Not sure if the Pink Elephant is still there. I remember it from 50 years ago. This would be a very short stop.
    Today I drove 94 all the way to the twin cities, and am sure if the pink elephant is still there, I would have seen it. But all along 94 in WI, there ain't no pink elephant.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    I think you have a lot more there than you are going to be able to do in 7 days. Remember that it is about a 5 day drive to Chicago via this route. So you only have about "2 days" to play with.

    Start San Diego - OK.

    Las Vegas - it will take you 5-7 hours to drive to LV, depending on when you leave (day of week and time of day). Between Barstow and Las Vegas, the 15 can become a slow moving parking lot if you catch it on a Friday or Sunday.

    Zion National park, - this gets crowded, especially this year. Allow a full day.

    Arches National park, - another one that, to do it justice, allow a full day.

    Yampah Hot Springs, - not sure about this one, haven't been there.

    Glenwood Springs, - hubby and I love this area. The springs themselves are now in an area that requires admission. However, just driving the "hanging freeway" and stopping at the many beautiful, unusual rest areas, is well worth the time.

    Colorado Red Rocks Ampitheatre - this is about 100 miles (round trip) out of your way.

    Flintstone Theme park - drove past it, couldn't comment on it.

    Mount Rushmore - allow 1/2 day, wonderful for the kids to see this.

    Roberts Prairie Town - couldn't comment, don't know it.

    Wounded Knee Museum - I would allow 2-3 hours.

    Wall SD - we allowed an hour, but Wall Drug can be a tourist destination for a day in itself.

    1880 Town - not familiar.

    Lewis & Clark Interpritive ctr, Chamberlain SD - haven't been to that one yet, but have enjoyed the two we've been to so far (Independence MO and the one for Fort Mandan, ND). Allow 2-3 hours.

    Corn Palace, Mitchell SD - hubby has been, says he never wants to go again, spent 2 hours there. But he's not a "kitschy" traveler.

    Devils Gulch Park, Garretson, SD Spam Museum, Austin Minnesota National Mustard Museum, Midelton Wisconsin Pink Elephant, 94 Interstate, - haven't been to any of these, though the Spam museum sounds fun.

    Wisconsin Dells - the Dells is a major resort area for the Midwest. You could spend days there and not see everything. To do the natural beauty of the area, you could take a boat tour on the lake.

    It seems that you are going to have to do some serious trimming -- I know, "so many choices, so little time!" Get your kids involved, if they're old enough.

    Chicago to San Diego is about 4 days on I-55/44/40/15. Those are LONG days, too.

  7. Default

    It looks like the Pink Elephant is on 18 in Iowa at the Lady Luck Casino and I think it was always on 18 in this area. Which makes sense now.

  8. Default

    Thank you for the feedback! I will be adding in the new routes/sights. I have flexibility with days that is why I am open to adding or eliminating. I would love to do red rock but if doing so would technically add another day due to detour of just drive time..might not be worth it, if I can add onto one of the other big parks.

    Just based on the adding of at least a full day in 2 of the parks I am looking at 10-11 days..I am ok with the time just wasn't sure how much time these little side stops would eat up.

    I am excited, kids are excited, It is summer and kids are off so if necessary will add on the additional days, just would like to keep costs low by camping along the way or airbnb if possible. We will be driving in a SUV so now I just have to make sure we bring along what we need.

    So far breakdown for night stays are- Zion and Moab at least one night and 2 days each.
    Zion - 1 night 2 days Camping
    Moab 1 night 2 days camping
    Glenwood springs or Yavapah- overnight AIRbnb or hotel/motel
    Mt rushmore- 1 night 2 days camp nearby
    Chamberlain or Mitchell- lewis & clark- overnight 1 night
    Somewhere between Devils gulch and Middleton, Wi (Mustard Museum) 1 overnight
    Wisconsin Dells- 1 night 2 days..
    Chicago final

    That sound more doable? We will be spending about 4-5 days in chicago..then heading back down route 66 :)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    If you are planning one night and 2 full days at Zion and Arches you will not be able to travel too far the day before or the day after, so perhaps you would be better to plan 2 nights at each so if you have a half days drive on arrival and departure days you get your 2 day visit. Between Zion and Arches I would break the journey with a night at Bryce canyon and then drive UT scenic 12 to UT24 through Capitol Reef NP.

  10. Default

    Red Rock is about an half hour to an hour detour drive time off 70. Depending on how much time hiking or viewing you plan on, this is a nice break depending on when you drive by. Another neat drive is get off of 70 to 6 to Golden and than back on 70/76 at Denver.

    Again depending which way you come into Wisconsin it might make more sense to go to the Dells first than when driving to Chicago stop in Middleton. Might save some drive time.

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