Am I Insane?
I'm brand new on the forum. Spending two weeks in July driving a deisel Excersion with my parents (in their 70's) and my four children Fe 17 & 13, and Male 5 & 3, and a dog from Lafayette, Louisiana to Princeton, Idaho and back. So my first question is do I need to up my dosage of Prozac before we take off? And then I would like suggestions of how many miles a day four drivers could split up without anyone ending up overly tired. I have been planning on spending four days getting there, spend four days there, and another four coming back, possibly a different route. On the return trip, the older girl children will not be returning with us. My parents want to spend a day somewhere in Wyoming either way. Any other suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Just to answer your initial question....YOU ARE INSANE.
I hope your family is really loving for long periods of time.
All smart-alecky comments aside...
I assume that nobody is being 'made' to undertake the trip - with teenagers sometimes the hardest part is overcoming the martyr factor...
I would say that most confident drivers can take on three hours or so without any fatigue, experience can add to this time depending on the person.
It really, truly does help to make stops every few hours - real stops where everybody gets out and walks around for a while, not just pull-into-the-rest-stop-and-switch-drivers stops. I've taken a couple of trips with young kids, and one time their parents had given them each a disposable camera (they were 5 and 8), and we stopped at every state line and some spots inbetween and took pictures. It was their 'job' to pick the statue/tree/whatever for us to pose by, pick who stood out to take the picture, and then keep the pictures safe. We even made a couple of u-turns to stop by strange things roadside that the kids spotted as we went past. When the cameras ran out, we'd stop for lunch near a Walgreens and have them developed.
I think the stops did as much for us grown folk as it did for the little ones.
Forget the Prozac! You can do it! I think you need to spend a little more time enroute though. My reasoning:
The quick route is 2395 miles. If you drove 8am to 6pm, 68 mph, you could do the trip in roughly 36 hours of driving time. But you wouldn’t enjoy it, traveling with a family. You will need to stop more frequently to meet the differing needs of your passengers, meals will take longer, etc. Given these circumstances, you will find that it won’t be possible to average 68 mph. In fact, it isn’t for most people; professional drivers and asphalt zealots can average better, but we LIVE for road punishment!
Normally, I figure 52 mph or so for rough planning, block to block, for family (or leisure) trips. For this route, that’s about 46 hours of time on the road. If you drive 9 hours per day, you can do it in 5 days. That’s a light load for 4 drivers split equally, but 9 hours per day on the road will be hard enough on all of you, no matter who is driving. I think you’ll still be tired.
For <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Wyoming</st1:place></st1:State>, if I had only one day to spend with my family, out of all the wonderful possibilities, I’d probably choose Jackson and the Grand Tetons. By myself, I’d spend it exploring historical sites on the old Bozeman Trail in the <st1:place w:st="on">Powder River</st1:place> country. By the way, the poor dog… you might want to give HIM the Prozac!
I agree w/ Moderator Bob. Might take longer than you think. Not only for rest stops / but dog walking / kids exercise time.
Sounds like a fun if not interesting trip though. I also agree about seeing Grand Tetons / Yellowstone if you can enroute. The kids would love it.
Even an Excursion may not be big enough.
You've got 8 people (counting the dog) and they're going to need some space. The Excursion is an 8-passenger vehicle. Where will all the luggage go? People are a lot happier if they have some personal room, otherwise be prepared for shouts of "Mom, he/she's touching me!" starting about ten minutes into the trip and continuing nonstop. That, I think is going to be your biggest problem on the trip, everything else is solvable.
Make sure everyone has a vested intrerest in the trip. Along the lines of the comments you've gotten about stopping for serious out-of-car time every 2-3 hours, I'd suggest having each participant propose things they'd like to stop and explore along the way, then sit down beforehand and pick a set (some big, some small - space them out) that includes something from everybody. Turn the BIG trip into a series of smaller trips where the next attraction is never more than a few hours away.
Definitely opt for a different route on the way back. It will help keep everyone interested and give you the ability to include more of everyone's choices for things they want to see or do. On a trip of this size, you can usually find two completely separate routes that are not that much different in length but that offer totally different perspectives.
I have to agree with Moderator Bob, though, that 4 days will simply not be sufficient for a one-way travel time. It's just too much "together" time in the car and not enough time experiencing the places you're travelling through. For the sake of your sanity (No, I don't think you're insane to want to do this) you need to squeeze every day you can away from whatever responsibilities are tying you to Lafayette. If you take 5 days each way, that only leaves you 2 days to decompress in Idaho, which will make it seem like one VERY long trip rather than just two long ones.
One way or another, it will be an experience that everyone will remember, and I, for one, love the multi-generational aspect of it!
Last edited by AZBuck; 04-13-2005 at 02:51 PM.
Yes, but the right kind of crazy
There are some good tips on the Family Link page that we have put together.
Plus, be sure to read Chris Epting's article with the Ten Rules about the joys of family roadtripping!
I'm forwarding all these responses to my dad, who is doing the main portion of the planning. He's "retired." I'm also concerned that an Excursion isn't quite big enough, either, but my father is an excellent packer. Except for the 3 year old, we are all seasoned road trip travellers. And this will be our last full family vacation (one kid is 17). I actually have 16 days total off from work, so we may get that extra day in, but we don't want to stay in Idaho longer than 3-4 days, because we are staying with (ex) family and the 3 day rule applies with this many people!!! Thanks again.