I think it's way too much for anyone to really enjoy it. Excitement takes you through the first two or three days, but then fatigue really starts setting in. And travel fatigue is every bit as bad, maybe even worse, for passengers as it is for the one(s) doing the driving.
Our kids are similar ages, 13 and 16, and we did a 16 or 17 night (I forget which) trip to Nova Scotia this summer, and even that was pushing it too much. And I don't believe it averaged out to be nearly as many miles per day as you'll have.
We try to keep our mileage per day at 450, preferably less. When you tack on the time it takes to get ready to leave in the morning, set up in the evening, gas stops, traffic problems, road construction or other unexpected delays (which always seem to happen), etc. -- it makes for very long days. And we found that after traveling so far in the RV, and then tacking on lots more driving time in the toad for sightseeing . . . it was just way too much vehicle time.
Me and the DH
Two boys and two dogs (and two cats who prefer to stay home)
2008 Forest River Georgetown 350DS (bunkhouse model)
2001 Honda CR-V
Thanks to all for the good advice here! You've confirmed my thoughts and that's what I needed. It's hard sometimes to balance wanting to get it all in with the kids while we can. We see them growing up so quickly and feel time is running out!!
We've decided to break the trip in two, Yellowstone area this year and 4 corners SW next year.
Now just have to plan the details of the Yellowstone area with more time to see and do more things!
I'm sure I'll have more questions, thanks again!
2010 Nissan Armada Titanium w/BT Mirrors
2010 KZ Spree 240BHS LX
Prodigy 2 Controller
Equal-i-zer Sway Control Hitch
Unless you plan to get off the beaten path at Yellowstone you can see all the main attractions in a couple of days. The Grand Canyon has free shuttles and the more popular sites can be seen in a day or day and a half. Lots of forign tourist, some are quite rude. I think I would limit my driving distance to 400 miles max. Save some attractions for another trip.
To me, 500 in a day even towing is not that bad of a day. To some, 200 is enough. All depends on what you are used to and how experienced your crew is. 1600 miles to ABQ to visit my brother is always a 2 day trip. (no trailer) 1000 miles to Orlando is a straight shot. (getting harder the older I get lol)
We did a similar trip in 2001, but started off doing 800 miles on day one and had much shorter days the rest of the trip until we came home. 3 weeks to see Badlands, Black Hills, Devils tower, Little Bighorn, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, parts of Idaho, Glacier, Teddy Roosevelt and back home to Ohio. My kids were accustomed to it and we had TV and video games in a conversion van, thus plenty of space and things to occupy them while on the road. We had a fantastic time!
That said, it's not for everyone. My crew was very experienced and the kids have all been to 45+ states while they were growing up. A road trip in the "short bus" was par for the course to them. If you don't travel a lot, it could be torture to some people.
BTW, I could have spent all 3 weeks in Yellowstone, there is a ton of things to see there IMO.
I think you are moving towards a good plan. You have a reasonable rig and should be able to maintain a pretty respectable highway speed. Put in a few long travel days. Don't bother with the attractions along the way. Just drive a reasonable amount each day. Spend as much time in Yellowstone as possible and then for the return trip decide later if you want to cut short your stay in Yellowstone and see other areas on the return trip.
I absolutely disagree with the advice above about seeing all of Yellowstone in a couple of days. It would take more than that of non-stop driving just to cover the main roads in Yellowstone. I was there for several weeks and barely scratched the surface.
Don't worry too much about reservations for every night of the trip. Just make sure you have reservations for the first couple of nights-- probably Bay Bridge or Fishing Bridge. One big issue will be electric. I hope you do not need to rely on hookups. That will greatly limit you in Yellowstone. If you do not need hookups, consider a couple of days in the southern part and drive to Old Faithful and the major thermal basins. Plan on at least two days and plenty of walking. Consider another night or two in Norris or Canyon campgrounds and at least a night or two in Mammoth. You need to also make it to the Lamar Valley. That means driving from Mammoth or Tower campgrounds or staying in one of the two Lamar campgrounds. You are going to love this trip. Although one never knows when travelling with teenagers what their reactions will be.
I travel in a 19' class C that's very easy to drive, and did WNC to AZ and back in fall of '09. It was a 'quick' trip due to other circumstances. It was almost all I-40 both ways. Major stops were Palo Duro Canyon (3/4 day), Painted Desert/Petrified Forest (2 days), Meteor Crater (1 day), Flagstaff (1 day), and Grand Canyon (1 1/2 days). I lost one day to being wind-bound near Meteor Crater.
I stayed entirely in rest areas, truck stops, and national forest land, so check-in & -out and hooking up cost me no time. It was just me and the cat, so showers were usually every second day, and I took enough clothes that I didn't have stop to do laundry. I stopped for groceries about 3 times, and had maybe 3 fast-food meals.
It took 20 days, even paring it down that much. But yeah, it was fun.
Jim, "Regular naps prevent old age... especially when taken while driving."
'06 Tiger CX 'C Minus' on a Silverado 2500HD 4x4, 8.1 & Allison (aka 'Loafer's Glory') www.tigervehicles.com
Lots of driving. If you are sharing the driving, you can handle the 500 mile days. Just make sure the kids have enough stuff to keep them busy. If you are the solo driver cut back about 150 miles per day. I only travel 2 days and then take a day off. Your schedule leaves no time for traffic jams, a flat tire, bad weather or anything else. You should leave a buffer somewhere in the trip. My father took a similar trip and had to cut off the last three days because of "the stuff that always happens".
We did a similar trip in 21 days two years ago. Too much driving and not enough down time. The 500-600 mile days are not bad, but you have a couple of stops that are too short; like Black Hills area. It is worth stopping for. I would take a day or two from Yellowstone and see the Blacks Hills more.....
Also, on the short legs; are you going to stay hooked up? How involved is it to setup camp then hook back up? There are also some very, very windy areas on your route and with a TT you could be moving slower than you want. We did this trip and were able to drive 70-75 even in the wind but with a TT? I could only imagine how long your days will be if you are driving 50-55 because of the conditions. Something to think about....
We had a great time, if that matters!
2013 Fleetwood Discovery 40G
TOADS: 2012 Jeep JK Rubicon, 2012 Durango Citadel
2010 Harley Heritage Softail....American STEEL = American profits.