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  1. Default Houston, TX to Billings, MT - Thanksgiving week

    We will be travelling from November 22-30th from Houston to Billings. We will have our 12 year old with us who has never been though we both have.

    Any thoughts on interesting/fun stops along the way?

    Our only travel must's is to be in Billings by early morning the 27th so I can shop for Thanksgiving meal items and cook for Thursday.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,399

    Default Tell us a bit more.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    To be able to help you we need to know what things you consider interesting and fun ? Have you got any ideas of your route or attractions that appeal to you ? With good weather you could technically do this trip in 3 days so you do have time to wander if you wanted to. There's a lot to see and do in the 4 corner States but do you want to add miles or just take it real easy ? I would sit down as a family and get out a good map and see what appeals. Include your 12 year old as their input will make it a real fun family affair ! It will be worth keeping your options open and having alternatives as weather could play it's part travelling around Christmas. Once you have a few dots on the map and give us a little more info we will be able to offer some meaningful advice and add suggestions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,823

    Default Getting Started

    You need a minimum of three full days to drive from Houston to Billings, so having five, the 22nd through the 26th, leaves you plenty of time for possible weather delays and stops to show your (son?/daughter?) something of the scenery and history along the route. Your drive will fall naturally into two sections, the first will be the drive on the High Plains from Houston to I-25, and the second portion will be along the Front Range to I-90 at Buffalo WY for the rest of the run into Billings.

    The first portion, up I-45 to DFW and then US-287 to Amarillo and US-385/US-87 to Raton NM will be a lot of flat open country, so you're probably going to need to look for museums, especially in the DFW area, and man-made attractions such as Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo for breaks as you set ou9t. But there will be no shortage of scenic roads and parks on the second portion, most notably: Pikes Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park, but also several national forests, grasslands and wildlife refuges. For historical interest, you'll be crossing the old Oregon Trail near Guernsey WY where there is a State Historic Site where wagon wheel ruts are preserved among other artifacts, and then there's the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

    But as Dave pointed out, we'll need more information on your interests before we can give you more detailed advice. And by the way, how much time do you have for the return drive and would you be open to taking a completely different route if you have the time?

    AZBuck

  4. Default

    Thanks for the tips both!

    Fun to us is something we cannot do here at home and do not really have anything we are against doing. For us, living life means making memories and we travel frequently with our kids however we typically fly or take shorter road trips.

    A few random things I have found for quick stops/pictures: VW Slug Bug Ranch, Tea Pot Rock, Life Size Metal Dinosaur

    AZBuck - that is basically the trip I had somewhat mapped out. Our son is coming with us. And OMG at the Oregon Trail! That is exactly the kind of things we would all love! Thank you for that tip!

    We are 100% open to come back a different route and would actually prefer it.

    Here is what I tentatively mapped out.
    Houston to Amarillo = 9 hours (All Friday
    Amarillo to Echo Park – 8 hours (All Saturday)
    Spend Sunday at the ski park doing the tubing/snowboarding.

    Echo Mountain to Billings – 8.5 hours (Monday)

    Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Billings

    We actually have until the 1st to get back however was wanting to be home late Saturday the 30th to give us Sunday to rest/unpack before going back to school/work on Monday.
    Last edited by smhud1313; 10-14-2019 at 01:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,781

    Default

    wanting to be home late Saturday the 30th
    Not happening, sorry. It's a 3 day drive no matter which way you go. Do your sightseeing on the way, maybe adding a day or part of a day, arriving in Billings sometime Tuesday. Take the fastest route back with no detours.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,399

    Default 'Real world' driving.

    Here is what I tentatively mapped out.
    Houston to Amarillo = 9 hours (All Friday
    Amarillo to Echo Park – 8 hours (All Saturday)
    Spend Sunday at the ski park doing the tubing/snowboarding.

    Echo Mountain to Billings – 8.5 hours (Monday)
    Your timings look as though they are based around Google maps or the like, totally unrealistic in the real world ! A computer doesn't have to deal with 'real world' stuff like congestion and construction nor human 'flaws' such as needing to eat, rest go to the bathroom and that's before we get started on possible weather delays. Your first and last days are more likely to be closer to 11 hours on the road in good conditions, not a lot of family fun being stuck in a tin can all day. I think you may be better off forgetting about a full day at a ski park and break your journey up into more enjoyable segments that will allow some wiggle room if you see a winter storm.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,823

    Default Three for Three

    Please note that you've now had three of our top advisors tell you that it is a MINIMUM of three full days between Houston and Billings, and that the same applies from Billings to Houston. Setting out with less than three full days to make the return drive, or counting on getting anything done on the day you arrive home is simply a recipe for disaster. Don't ruin a great trip by trying to break all human limits in order to make it 'work'.

    AZBuck

  8. #8

    Default

    I tend to think it is more of a 4 days of driving journey each way especially when considering human 'flaws' factors. At least you don't have many city traffic jam challenges to speak of except for Dallas-Fort Worth and Denver.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Ft. Collins, CO.
    Posts
    342

    Default

    There's more than Guernsey to see that's Oregon Trail related.

    There is Fort Laramie not far off the interstate. That fort was the prime landmark for the opening of the west. Free to visit and a surprisingly large site with several restored buildings.

    There is also Ft. Fetterman, the Fetterman Massacre site, Ft. Caspar museum at Casper WY, and of course the Little Bighorn battlefield.

    Not sure what's open and when but the run thru Wyoming and into Montana is Oregon Trail / opening of the West/ Indian wars territory.

    There is also the Lewis & Clark contribution of Clark's run down the Yellowstone to consider once you cross the ridge down into the valley that Billings is located in.

    Then again, weather can be a significant issue depending on cold fronts and strength of storms. Travel at that time of year could be easy or could be quite difficult. Have a backup plan. You could wind up in a motel for 2 days waiting for things to clear.

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