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 > Planning a trip for next summer 2010!!

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Ryanjb01

Syracuse, NY

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Posted: 08/25/09 05:45am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tankcar wrote:

Hi.

What time of the year do you want to start?


End of June thru end of August sometime. We are off those months.

I would like the driving to be part of the experience also. I'm sure there has to be enough attractions on the drive. I just don't know what they are or where.

I will look at the sites a few of you suggested.

This is going to be quite a process, that is why I'm starting now.

Thanks again,

Ryan


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DaveG39

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Posted: 08/25/09 09:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having done 6 cross country trips, my view is your outline has too few days and too many miles. Much of what you will see is road signs. I would suggest you identify two or three places you would want to visit, plan about 3-5 days at each, then plan the driving to get to each. You will find the days get eaten up fast.


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tonyandkaren

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Posted: 08/25/09 10:59am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ryanjb01 wrote:



I would like to stay off the Interstates as much as possible. Except where we are driving for hours with the landscape is not changing. We made a trip out to Colorado several years back and I remember looking out at the horizon and thinking "it looks like a big storm front coming at us". The "storm clouds" kept getting bigger and bigger until we realized that it was not a storm system, it was the Rockies. Yikes!! But before that it seemed as if we were driving for hours in circles. Going 70mph but not getting anywhere.


We enjoyed our year of traveling so much that we became fulltimers after our daughter started college so we've made many cross country trips. We drive the back roads as much as possible but this type of traveling really slows us down. It can take twice as long to get anywhere because of small towns ; narrow ,hilly and winding roads and just stopping for interesting sights. If we have to get somewhere fast we use the interstates. Also remember that driving any type of RV will probably necessitate driving at a slower speed than normal.


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katleman

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Posted: 08/25/09 02:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We've taken 3 lengthy trips with our three kids

5 weeks, 8000 miles, ages 5, 8, 10
4 weeks, 6000 miles, ages 7, 10, 12
4 weeks, 5500 miles, ages 10, 13, 15

Goal of each of the trips was a good overview (highlights) trips to the western national parks, none of the trips made it east of the Mississippi (but 2004 did include the headwaters of...)

Our youngest remembers bits and pieces of the first trip, much more of the last two. The last trip, which was this summer, will likely be the last such trip, not that it wasn't enjoyable by all, rather the teenagers want to stay home next summer, get jobs, etc.

Did notice my 13 year old looked out and commented on how beautiful the landscape was this summer, on more than one occasion this summer, he's never ever done that on earlier trips. This year was the first he really understood how special these trips are.

I'd have to say the ages between 6-12 are your magic traveling times with children, old enough to have some real memories, and young enough to still want to be with your parents. Each child is different...

And we still covered the east coast during that time frame, a three week New England trip and a two week Washington DC area trip, but those were fly and drive trips, both out of necessity of time and I considered those trips to be more urban and not as well suited for an RV. Again, personal preference.

From our experience, the 5 week 8000 mile trip was too many miles for that many days. We were rookies and knew only from car trips as far as mileage, etc. I wouldn't try going from East to West coast and back again with anything less than 6 weeks and even that would be rushed.

I think the trip is better divided into east and west, with the latter being long drive days to get to the western portion, and then settle into the scenic touring. To split it like that would mean a shorter "eastern" trip and a longer "western" trip the next year. Advantage would be you'd know how your children hold up after the shorter first trip and could replan the more ambitious trip for the next year. Might even turn out that you split the trip into three parts, east, northwest and southwest.


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DesertHawk

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Posted: 08/28/09 01:38pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Also retired school teachers here. [emoticon] We used summer vacations to do a lot of RVing with our two. Greatest time of our lives. Never tried see all 48, but neat idea. We mainly stayed in the western states & Canada. 34 years teaching art.

Here is some places in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas & California you might find interesting. As well as North Dakota & Iowa.

City of Rocks State Park Rocks
City of Rocks

Oliver Lee State Park Lee

Pancho Villa State Park Pancho

El Morro National Monument is neat to see & has a small campground (no showers or water in Winter but free then); there is a private campgound near by. ElMo
Mo ElMo

Bandelier National Monument would be a nice place to visit near Los Alamos and not far from Santa Fe. It was a pleasent campground when we stayed there. Bandelier
Campground

In Arizona:
Canyon de Chelly National Monument Canyon
Campground

Chiricahua National Monument by Willcox is great, been there will go back. Chiricahua

Close by Chiricahua Nat'l Mon there is the neat ruins of a fort, some hiking to get to it. Fort Bowie National Historic Site is worth the 3 mile round-trip walk for the best experience of Fort Bowie National Historic Site. If you physically can not walk the trail, please contact the visitor center staff at 520-847-2500 for directions to the alternate access. Fort

In the Bisbee Area: The town itself is neat to walk around in and we enjoyed the art galleries. The Queen Mine Tour was neat, we enjoyed it. Tombstone is very tourist trap site, if you get my meaning. The old Court House was interesting. Site of a lot of wild west history, but very commercial. Queen

Near Wilcox is The Amerind Foundation Texas Canyon a ethnological, anthropological, archaeological museum and art gallery with paintings by 20th century Anglo and Native American artists. We enjoyed the art gallery and the museum. A neat out of the way, hidden site in the boulders of Texas Canyon. The Amerind is located in Cochise County, one mile south of Interstate 10, only about an hour east of Tucson, between Benson and Willcox. It is easy to find - just look for Dragoon Road exit, #318, and head south until you see mile marker 1 on one side of the road and the Amerind entrance on the other. http://www.amerind.org/
Cochise Strong Hold is in the same area. Stronghold

In the Tucson area: Saguaro National Park near Tucson is great to see. Two sections seperated by Tucson. East and West.
Saguaro
No campground at either but there is camping very near the West as well as some not far on the East. We have never camped in them but we have visited the Nat'l Park both West and East.

The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is really great (a zoo mainly without bars mostly) is over on the west side of Tucson by the Saguaro Nat'l Park and Old Tucson (the movie set/theme park). The Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum is a must see for sure. Zoo
Old Tucson

Colorado & New Mexico Border AreaSan Juans

Santa Fe, NM & Art Art & Santa Fe

Attractions near Albuquerque, NM

NM Campgrounds & Attractions

NM, Texas & Arizona places to see

Lincoln Nat'l Forest - Cloudcroft, NM

Near Alamogordo, NM

Valley of Fires is a very neat area, with an almost new campground.
[image]
Vally of Fires

Valley of Fires Campground is GREAT! AAA CampBook is not up to date on it. All looks pretty new, great sites. Most with water & electric, very new bathhouse with showers (clean and lots of hot water), dump site, nice hiking trail into the Lava Flow. We didn't need the electric nor the water with the showers. $12 without electric, $18 with electric and some non improved for $7. With the Senior Pass we got it for $6. It was pretty cool due to T-storms in the area and it cooled off nicely to sleep. We stopped close to the Hwy and there was some traiffic noise but not bad, did not bother sleep. On leaving, we found the campground goes well away from the Hwy. and some are down off the ridge line and closer to the lava. There were some trees near if not by the lower camp sites, none along the ridge line. But farther from the showers/flush toilets. The shower was great before bed time and again in the morning. They also have a vistor center/gift shop, but it had not opened by the time we were leaving. With A/C any time would be ok, but Fall and Spring would be best. Winter would be a good time as well, maybe see some snow on the lava and plants. With the low camping fee, you get the showers and dump site free. No entrance fee if camping. $3.00 for day use. We plan to go back when it is cooler. An A+ for Valley of Fires Campground. [emoticon]xactly: We stayed over night July 16, 2008 with the day time heat cooling down from rain showers in the area at the time. It was starting to heat up by the time we left around 9 am. It was a nice walk on the nature trail in the cool of the morning. Very nicely paved, roads, sites and nature trail.

This BLM Recreation Site is located Four miles west of the Town of Carrizozo on US 380 in South Central New Mexico. Volcanos

BLM

Valley of Fires recreation area is located immediately adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.

For North Dakota
If you need a campground in Bismarck or Mandan and if you can get into General Sibley Park my son said it was really nice, but was filled up when they were there. General Sibley

They stayed at a small place in Mandan. Colonial Motel & Campgrounds 4631 Memorial Hwy, Mandan - (701) 663-9824 We had passed by it in 2007. It is in a commerical area, not very resort like from the entrance off Memorial Hwy, however later on we rode by the back side on a bike path and it looked good. As it turned out it had water, electric and sewer hookup for $19. The bike path leads accross the river and by the zoo and a nice park. On the Google map, the location is off in this map. Motel is on the other side of the over pass close to 46th Ave.

From the web site Gen. Sibley is $20 with water and electric but the setting is much better. Closer to the river. Both have trees. At Colonial the sites are very close together. Sibley they are space out. Sibley has over 100, Colonial maybe 20. It did not fill up while my son was there.

Fort Lincoln State Park also has a nice campground & neat things to see (It was where Gen. Custer was living before he went on his last ride):
4480 Fort Lincoln Rd
Mandan, ND 58554
(701) 667-6340?
Fort Lincoln

In July of 2007, we stayed at the KOA Bismarck, over priced and dusty. We had passed the Colonial campground but it did not look very inviting from the entrance, but seemed OK from the back. Not a bad price with water, electric and sewer for $19.

On the western side of North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is very worthwhile to see. The colorful Little Missouri River Badlands provides the scenic backdrop to the park & home to a variety of prairie plants and animals including bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn, elk, mule deer and wild feral horses. The South Unit entrance is in Medora, ND. Medora is accessible via Interstate 94 Exits 24 and 27 in North Dakota. Medora is 133 miles west of Bismarck, ND and 27 miles east of the Montana state line. The Painted Canyon Visitor Center is located 7 miles east of Medora on I-94 at Exit 32. Camping
Cottonwood Campground - South Unit Cottonwood
Juniper Campground - North Unit Juniper
Things to do

If following Hwy 2 in North Dakota, Lake Metigoshe State Park which is on the border with Canada about 10 miles north of Bottineau, ND. A very nice campgound in the woods (hard to find in ND at times) and up in some hills called the Turtle Mts. All very pretty, nice lake with bike/hiking trail, boating, fishing. Lake M SP

There is also Turtle River State Park located 22 miles west of Grand Forks on Highway 2. Turtle River

We stopped at the Teddy Roosevelt Nat’l Park North Unit near Watford, ND for a night around July 19. We had been there last year, but this year we found the first 6 or 7 miles from the entrance is under construction, very dusty and slow going. But we got to see many Bison. It was very quite there, overall we enjoyed it a lot.

Friday morning found us sleeping late. We had less than 200 miles to drive. But they proved to be slow miles, using much gasoline. Fuel wise and ease of driving, I believe if we had gone to the South Unit, then followed I-94 to Bismarck, ND then US 83 to Minot it would have cost less in fuel. US 85 is at times very rough, with a lot of hills and dells, ups & downs. At Watford where we took ND Route 23, it is much the same. Both have many large dump trucks and tanker trucks roaming them as well.

[image]
Juniper Campground - very nice, very quite!

[image]
Clifts in shadows

[image]
Little Missouri River

[image]
One of Many Bison

[image]
Traffic Jam at T R's

[image]
Camp Site in Morning Light

[image]
Were should I take a Dust Bath this morning?

[image]
Bison near PicNic area & RV dump site.

[image]
Dust Bath Area by Pic Nic area

Yellowstone Camping

This year at Yellowstone Aug. 2009 **** Yellowstone & Tetons

Clear Lake, Iowa

Texas State Parks are really nice: Parks
South Llano River State Park adjoins Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area, south of Junction is great as is Pedernales Falls State Park in Blanco County east of Johnson City. We have been to both. Llano
Falls
LBJ's Ranch is near Johnson City as well as a Texas State Wildflower Museum-like place, the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site is between JC and Fredericksburg (neat place to see as well), across the road from the LBJ Ranch a National Park now. LBJ Ranch
LBJ State Park
City
Nimitz

Balmorhea State Park is located in the foothills of the Davis Mountains southwest of Balmorhea and nearby Davis Mountains State Park (along with the famous Big Bend Nat'l Park) are very nice places and one could spend a long time at each. Been to all except Davis, but it is nice areas, be sure to visit the old Ft. Davis a nice place to see. Balmorhea
Big Bend Park may not be an ideal place to visit in the heat of Summer; but Spring, Fall and even Winter, it could prove very nice.

Goliad State Park is located by Goliad with a nice campground on the San Antonio River. (a lot of Texas History in this area, some from same time as the famous Alamo fight) Been to it and would go back.Goliad

Almost forgot Califonia ** San Diego

Seems like I got carried away again! [emoticon]

* This post was last edited 02/07/10 07:57pm by DesertHawk *   View edit history


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Ryanjb01

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Posted: 08/29/09 07:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Deserthawk - Thanks, and wow!! Great info. Appreciate it.

indymom2009

Lawrenceburg, IN

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Posted: 09/21/09 09:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DesertHawk, Super information, thanks for the pics and taking the time to answer my question.

Ryanjb01

Syracuse, NY

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Posted: 08/25/09 03:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I am glad I posted this. At first i did not think that 3 weeks was going to cut us short. But I need to reevaluate that.

Secondly, about the kids ages. I may put this off a year or two. I do want to do it for them AND for us. Waiting till they are a little older will be a benefit for all involved.

Thanks for the input and I still plan to work on the trips.

Thanks again,

DanET

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Posted: 08/28/09 04:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wanted to chime in that the magical years for this type of trip would be the 7 to 12, maybe early teen years. When I was a kid, my parents took us on a cross country trip between my second and third grade years.

I still remember it well, and remember the fun times. I am sure there were many miserable moments of fighting with my older brother, but those have faded. To this day, when I happen to catch the smell of a skunk, it brings me back to our hike up to Grinnell Glacier and I can see it like it was yesterday. The smell of sulfur brings back memories of Yellowstone (I think of it every time I light the stove or campfire) and we spent 3 months, covered 21 states and some of British Columbia. The best memories are the hands on type, getting out and exploring, while my parents set up to make dinner along the way somewhere.

I do have very vague memories of earlier trips to Florida (not school age yet), but they are not so frequent or vivid. I guess it depends on each kid. I would say that these were some of the best choices my parents made. I'm sure that money and finances would have been a lot easier had my father not folded up his construction business for an entire summer, and can only imagine the stress that placed on life back then. But it was an investment, one that was supported by our teachers 100% when my parents approached them about getting out of school early in May to make the trip. We were given work to do while sitting around the fire at night or on long stretches of highway, and I don't think it mattered if it was mailed back to them or not.

We are planning a western trip for summer 2010 with three kids, 10, 11 and 18. This will be a graduation present for our oldest, and this was what he wanted to do. Here's hoping he still feels that way next summer!

Ryanjb01

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Posted: 08/28/09 06:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After reading these posts and talking with my wife, I think I may have "jumped the gun" a little bit. I need to reconsider our trip for next year. I'm thinking about maybe the N. East States/New England. That should be able to be done in three weeks due to the lack of travel time needed. We live in central NY.

The post about having teachers sending work for you to do while on vacation brought back a flood of memories.

My parents made the same requests of our teachers. Sent a stack of papers every year as we made out april trips to Melbourne, Florida. It seems that it kept us bust for about 3-4 states and then it mysteriously dissappeared. funny how that always happened. I learned more just looking out the window. My first memory that I can think of is the red dirt in Virginia. I thought that was cool.

My parents made the trip with all four of us(kids-boys) 6 of us total in a caravan in 1987. The following years my older brothers each brought their girlfriends. 8 total in a 4-cyl 1984 Caravan pulling a pop-up camper. Looking back at it I do not know how they did it. I dont know how they did a lot of things, but I am sure glad they did. I see my kids have a much easier life than we did growing up. But I guess that is the way it should be.

I want to do these trips for our kids, so the longer trips that we will not be able to do again will be done when they are a little older and will remember.

I will focus the trip to the NE. Any suggestions for this trip would be great.

Thanks,

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