I believe we are becoming accustomed to this lifestyle. Just 3 short years ago, my wife and I had never taken more than a week in a row off. Not for 20 years. There's been a change, and it's for the better! In the last 3 years, we have traveled over 20k miles, covered over 30 National Parks and probably as many states. This is a travel resume' that I didn't think in my lifetime would be possible. I had even convinced myself that travel was for "other people". People with time, that I'd never have.
Well, life and circumstances change. My family has been blessed. Not with riches, but with love and time...the all elusive TIME.
We just returned from another epic 40'ish day summer! Another "Perfect Family Trip"! This year took us to the Northwest. We covered parks that many would put near the top of their rankings. The cornerstones were Yellowstone and Glacier. We traveled almost 7k miles. And once again, we had our cameras by our side the entire way.
The thread in my signature titled "Southwest 2014: The Perfect Family Trip" was so rewarding for me. I enjoyed sharing, I enjoyed the feedback and comments, and I learned from the input. I hope to cover this trip as well as the first, and I hope for the same rewarding participation. Please join in.
We've had a different philosophy on this trip, and didn't know how it might change the experience. For SW2014, I had researched and planed down to the gnat's eyelash. 90% of our nights were reserved, and 90% of our daily itineraries were decided. In other words, the trip was intentional. This year, I'm not sure why the change, but we researched very little and planned even less. Of course, we had reservations for Yellowstone and Glacier, but the rest of our nights were left to the wind. We also had zero itineraries planned. We weren't even sure what was in the parks until we went to the visitors centers. Both strategies have pros and cons, and we now think we understand them better.
June 3rd was my last day of school. We finally left the house of June 4th. Our itinerary would be the following:
1. Grand Tetons
4. Black Hills
Much fewer parks than SW2014. We tried to fill in-between parks with whatever we came across. At times we did well and at others we struggled to find anything. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
In the first 3 days, we logged in some heavy miles. Day 1 was about 480. Day 2 was 575. Day 3 was somewhere around 500. It wasn't in the plan that way, but I was feeling good. We stayed in a campground the first night (due to it being hot), but the next few would all be Walmarts or Cabelas.
We high tailed it like this until we hit western Nebraska. We were on I80 and came into Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff. Thanks to my planning thread, we knew we would come across these and were ready to slow down.
I am out of town right now and don't have access to my photos, so, I'll stop here until I get back home. We weren't home a week when I decided to drive 1500 more miles to see my parents for a bit before the school year started. I'm a gluten for punishment.
Again, I look forward to this thread. I'll post lots of pictures, but it will take time. Bear with me. Speaking of bears...
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edited 08/07/16 01:01pm by tragusa3 *
Looking forward to your report! I've about abandoned the idea of big trips with our kids. They seem more interested in fussing and playing on their phones or tablets. I think Nana and I will use the camper and let the kids stay at their other grandma's. We did fly the kids to Oregon for a week, earlier this month, on the coast and Columbia gorge area, but just stayed in motels. Beautiful area and wonderful summer weather!!! Nana and I made a camper trip in June through Tennessee, southern West Virginia, and back through Kentucky. It was a pretty nice, but it doesn't grab me like the Rockies and West Coast.
Me 1954, Nana 1954, Grandson 2003, Granddaughters 2005 & 2008
2014 Keystone Bullet Premier 22RBPR
2013 F-150 XLT Supercrew 4X4 Ecoboost Max Tow
You said middle states don't have much to look at. Well, I guess you don't know where to look. 20 years ago, we we're on our way to Yellowstone and the motor on our van blew up. We got it replace but it set us back 5 days. Then we took off and broke a spring on the trailer ,that set us back another day. So we ended up in Manhattan, Kansas. I looked in the AAA tour book. We found the Territorial Capitol building of Kansas. 2 Pony Express Museums, the Eisenhower Home, the Museum of Telephany and the Greyhound Museum.We finally made it to Yellowstone this year and on the way back, we stopped at the Harold Warp Pioneer Museum in Minden,Nebraska. Wow. If you like history, old cars,trucks,motorcycles or tractors, this is the place.You may want to buy a copy of Readers Digest book. I believe it is called "Off the Beaten Path". It shows you out of the way places in every state. While the national Parks are great,some of the small local museums are just wonderful.
X2 Looking forward to your report. Really enjoyed reading yours for the 2014 trip.
DW and I returned last Saturday from a 60 day trip that included Grand Teton and Yellowstone. It will be interesting to compare your experiences with ours. Have to wonder whether we crossed paths along the way or were camped in the same campground at some point.
I'm looking forward to the report as well. My kids and I enjoyed looking at the photos of your last trip.
You're right, not many have the time. That's our problem. My 3 kids travel well and I know we'd be fine with 40 days to tour, but we max out at 16 days off from work, and that limits the destinations.
I'm so glad to see someone take advantage of their opportunities. I have a friend that has 4 kids. Both parents are school teachers. They have the entire summer off and don't go anywhere........makes me sad they miss those amazing opportunities.
2012 Shadow Cruiser 280 QBS
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3 growing kids and 2 big dogs
Eco, always good to hear from you. If your sig is right (are those ages or years?) then yours are younger than mine. Mine are 11 now. They didn't complain once, on either trip. They are glued to their devices these days, but we were fair about when we allowed it and when we didn't. Hahahaha, they even developed a song and dance they did when we needed the generator for charging. They knew that this also meant some Playstation time. It worked for us. They averaged about an hour a day of gaming. Some days much longer, like driving the mid west. We'd love to do the Pacific Coast, but just can't swing it driving. We are starting to look into Flying out and renting a class C.
My "middle states" comment wasn't meant to stir a debate. I should have refrained. I suppose when you've driven for days, you are hoping for more than world's larges pile of dirt. You'll see as my story unfolds, that we DID stop at many things in these states.
CloudDriver, I bet you had a fantastic trip! I often think about who I unknowingly camped near that is active on this forum. We were in Tetons early June and started at Yellowstone June 13th for 5 nights.
michigansandzilla, my friend, good to hear from you! The time issue can become a sensitive subject amongst working people. Our friends take every opportunity to let us know. Not in all cases, but in a few, they could free up the time but chose not to make the sacrifice. My wife had to play her cards just right in order to get the summer off. She got it, but in return, she works the rest of the year without a day off and we loose about 2 months of her income. I speculate it also impacts her future growth. For us, this is a no brainer...we do it and take advantage of the summer. But for many, they either aren't disciplined enough with their time or finances to do so. I realize that the majority of people wouldn't get the time off no matter how they played their cards. People use what they have in different ways. We know people that go to the same spot at the beach every summer. They seem in awe of what we do, but they aren't willing to give up the beach trip. I don't get it, but it isn't my life to get.
Sorry, you hit a topic I'm becoming passionate about. I know what a powerful experience these trips have been for my family, and will advocate hard for others to find a way. In our wildest imagination we didn't think this path would open for us.
MSZ, I know you take great advantage of your time. I, too, have enjoyed your reports. My children and wife have read yours as well.
bikendan, I hear you. I cringe when I hear people call the Carolinas, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, "the south". Being from New Orleans, some of those states are pretty far north from my perspective! LOL I'll change the title of the trip when we make another one further. Of course, I might call that one "The Pacific Northwest"?
BTW, I'm visiting my parents right now and everyone is a late sleeper. I'm typing so much so that I have company with my morning coffee. I won't be so prolific once school starts back.
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edited 08/07/16 12:58pm by tragusa3 *
My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting tragusa3 on their return, as they live close by. We will be heading out mid August on a similiar adventure. Their journey is an inspiration to us both. Their travel experiences and insights provide a sense of comfort and confidence. Enjoy their postings, as we sure will.