plans for 2004
Here's the plan so far.....
Three weeks in June, 2004. Leaving Phila. area w/a new Conversion van, wife, two kids (18 and 11). Plan on seeing Badlands,Yellowstone, Teton, Donner Pass, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon,and US 50 back to east coast.
Suggestions, comments? I drive a tractor-trailer professionally, so long hours behind the wheel is no biggie. Any good, casual, family points of interest I should make a note of? I'm hoping to see those cheezy "ball of twine, house of mud"-type of attractions, too!
long-hours not the only thing
Driving the Interstates as a professional is not the same as driving the hours necessary to see that much country in three weeks. Remember, in the national parks the best possible speed you can do is an average of 30-35 mph. If you factor in the stops to check out the waterfalls, the animals, the people... driving speed in the parks will be closer to an average per day of about 10 mph.
While you may be capable of driving 12+ hours per day is your family equally able? Plus there is so much to see in between the parks.
On the other hand, a conversion van is just about perfect for being able to travel the parks in comfort and style. My only caveat -- might be to cherry pick 2-3 national parks and really enjoy the experience and trhe road trip. I personallly have made the trans-USA run numerous of times in the 3 day stretches -- but I was never pretending to be on holiday. You are going there to have FUN -- not set personal records for driving endurance!
Slow down, enjoy the journey. Check out Megan's thoughts on the "Art of the RoadTrip" at http://www.roadtripamerica.com/mftdb/053198ca.htm
So is the three-week time period realistic? One of the reasons I'm planning this trip almost two years in advance is to get a handle on whether I'm being too optimistic about the time constraints. I don't expect to be able to see everything we'd like to-- If we did we'd have no reason to do it again !!
Can my family handle the long hours? No way, but that's never stopped me before! Thanks for the reply, and any other advice would be extremely helpful.
Traveling with kids
Good route,but add time if you can.We did a similar trip with two boys, 4&12 years old.We went from San Diego via Grand Canyon,Lake Powell,Zion,Tetons,Yellowstone,(stopped for an hour in Twin Falls,Idaho and watched Evil Kenevil jump into the Snake River),on to Tahoe,Yosemite,and Bass Lake.The 12 year old spent the night in a hospital in Jackson Hole and the 4 year old fell & gashed his eye at Bass Lake and we drove him 50 miles to Fresno General.We pulled a tent trailer behind a 69 plymouth and really enjoyed the 3 week trip.If I were to do it again,I would add a week.Suggest at least two overnights at Yellowstone and Bryce at minimum.Enjoy your trip.Richard
I thought Evel Kenevil "fell" into the Snake River!? (I was about 12 or 13 at the time)
A lot of people are telling me that the traffic in the Nat'l Parks is absurd, to say the least. I'm figuring we'll have been on the road 2-3 days before we hit destination #1 (Badlands). I can't imagine my kid's reactions to sitting in traffic jams at that point, but I figure if we can get through that, we'll be okay.
I could possibly add a fourth week, but I'm afraid my kids will be plotting my disappearance by the eighth or ninth DAY, so three weeks is all I'm willing to bet my life on.
Unfortunate to hear about your children's medical problems. That 50-miles with a bleeding eye must have been a real peach!
Evil "fell" under a parachute!!One thing I failed to mention about our trip.We went in August and that put us in Tetons/Yellowstone Sept.3-5.We camped in the Tetons and at night the temp. was 30 degrees.But traffic was very light and daytime temps.were pleasant.All of the several Nat'l Parks we visited were not crowded.We also made arrangements for our oldest son to miss school.Best to you,Richard
Questions and Comments
My question is why do you want to drive 850 miles out of your way just to see Donner Pass in California? Even if you wanted to go to Yosemite, I think you asking to much for a three or even four week trip.
I've traveled with kids since they were 7 months old until they were in their 20's. If you don't want them to plot your demise then don't ask them to do to many long days with out some fun.
I would suggest showing them what interesting places there are to see out here in the west and see if you can convience them to do 4 weeks.
Mt. Rushmore, SD
Custer State Park, SD
Devils Tower National Monument, WY (where they filmed the movie Close Encounters)
Yellowstone (you need at least 3 days to see this park. There is a lot more to it than just Old Faithful. There are many other gyeser areas, waterfalls, canyons, wild life, hot springs.
(skip Donner Pass)
Dinosuar National Monument, Utah
Moab, Utah area. Take them on an all day rafting trip on the Colorado River. Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse State Park
Capitol Reef National Park, UT
Scenic Hwy 12 throught the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument, Utah
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Zion National Park, Utah
Glen Canyon National Recreational Area at Lake Powell, Utah - Arizona border The all day boat trip to Rainbow Bridge National Monument is awsome.
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona & Utah border
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Even with 4 weeks you can't do all of these but there are places you might want to consider.
it sounds like most of what you want to see is on the western side of the states. if you are able to drive at night part of the time and just push it to get to the west tehn take it easy and enjoy the parks it shouldnt be too bad. i would definatley sit down with the kids and let them help plan as far as what they really want to see and do to help keep everyone happy. The badlands, zion, and grand canyon are my favorite national parks. and eveyone should see ol' faithful at least once in their life at yellowstone. good luck and have fun