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Old 04-18-2016, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,129 posts, read 5,090,517 times
Reputation: 6343

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dude1984 View Post
Driving through mountain passes in a small car is fun. I've done it in a Fiesta hatchback and a Chevy Sonic!

Anyways, that is a lot of driving. Since you have 8 weeks, why not...
Drive out there...
-Get on I-88 in Chicago and cut across IL to the Mississippi River (I-88 to US-30) and follow the Mississippi up to I-90. There are some really nice hikes and great views from the road along the way. You can take a little detour west of Dubuque to see the Field of Dreams and then stop to see the Gas Station Jesus outside of Dubuque (not as epic as the trailside Green Jesus I saw in Argentina...LOL). You can find a variety of off the beaten places on Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions.

The Return...
-Cut across WI and head up to northern Michigan and the UP to check out Sleeping Bear Dunes, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore;
-If you have passports you could cut across Ontario to visit Niagara Falls on the return.
I think you've got us going the opposite ways, but I see your point. Thanks for that Uniquely Odd tourist attraction guide... just the kinda of thing I love about road trips!

We lived in MI and never went up to the UP while we were there (didn't have the money!). On the other hand we spent a LOT of time driving from East Lansing to WI via I-94/Chicago to visit relatives up there.. I could definitely do without! My mom once took a route through the UP when going back to MN from visiting us.. I should ask her about it. I feel like we missed the best that Michigan had to offer.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:32 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,123 posts, read 17,129,667 times
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Try to "Sightseeing" in the Morning,

So afternoon is mostly driving to next hotel, Try to get there in time for the boys to do some pool time, when you get there, or after dinner.

Kids do better on Roadtrip 1st thing in the morning, and can spend the afternoon sleeping/video/dvd in the car ride in the afternoon. Get Ear Phone/head sets for them, USB extension cords (To get to the back seat), and a USB Plug Box, for multiple USB to charge in the car.

http://www.amazon.com/iXCC-4-Port-Fr...charger+4+port

For Hotel room -

http://www.amazon.com/Iogear-GPAW4U4...er+4+port+120v

Since you are going to China, you may also want to look for one that will work in both 120v or 220v
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,129 posts, read 5,090,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I've done a similar drive with (only) kid and I think you'll have a great time.

I also hope you'd have different expectations regarding the car. That's a lot of people to fit in a Fiesta!

Seriously, while I think your idea is fine, out of due diligence I'd also do a math exercise that has you flying to the east coast and renting a car there. Now you may not want to shorten the trip, but if you did that would cut at least two weeks out of the total, and any number of peanut butter sandwiches, motel nights and antsy are-we-there-yet teachable moments, if you get my drift. You could extend the itinerary to include, e.g., Montreal and Quebec City, maybe the Gaspe Peninsula and the Canadian Maritimes for a break from the heat and humidity of the rest of the region. With the weak Loonie, things in Canada are pretty affordable too.

If you do drive both ways, I'd consider hitting the Black Hills in one direction (super easy off I-90) and the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area in the other. I'm a big fan of the Black Hills (provided you avoid the Sturgis motorcycle inundation) for a 2-3 day stopover; there's lots for the kids.
We are no strangers to the Tetons/Yellowstone. My grandparents stayed in the same cabin at Jenny Lake Lodge for over 20 years. We had a couple reunions at Signal Mountain and Jackson Lake Lodges. My sister got married up there. As much I would LOVE to hang out there, my plan is to spend the night in Jackson and drive through the parks, coming out at Cody, WY. Take a mid-morning short hike, have lunch at Jackson Lake... take in a few sights in Yellowstone and that's that... I'm buying the 2016 park pass for $80 because I intend to visit Badlands, Mammoth Cave and Shenanadoah.. maybe a few more!

I also like the Black Hills and we plan to revisit Mt. Rushmore. We did see it when we moved to Seattle, but that was 5 years ago and my younger son says he doesn't remember it much.
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Old 04-18-2016, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,129 posts, read 5,090,517 times
Reputation: 6343
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyonpa View Post
Try to "Sightseeing" in the Morning,

So afternoon is mostly driving to next hotel, Try to get there in time for the boys to do some pool time, when you get there, or after dinner.

Kids do better on Roadtrip 1st thing in the morning, and can spend the afternoon sleeping/video/dvd in the car ride in the afternoon. Get Ear Phone/head sets for them, USB extension cords (To get to the back seat), and a USB Plug Box, for multiple USB to charge in the car.

http://www.amazon.com/iXCC-4-Port-Fr...charger+4+port

For Hotel room -

Amazon.com: Iogear GPAW4U4 GearPower QuadSmart 4-Port USB 4.2A Wall Charger - 120 V AC, 230 V AC Input Voltage - 5 V DC Output Voltage - 4.20 A Output Current (IogearGPAW4U4 ): Electronics

Since you are going to China, you may also want to look for one that will work in both 120v or 220v
Thank you! You sound experienced at this.

Yes, the plan is to be in the car during the hot part of the day. While heat can be tolerated, none of us like direct sunlight so travelling between 11-4 makes the most sense. I'm sure it won't work at some points, but that's the general idea. We did this when we toured the southwest national parks in late August.. we would leave early, do some hikes then return to the motel for internet/tv/relaxation before an afternoon activity... worked out super well!
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Old 04-18-2016, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
6,153 posts, read 6,321,355 times
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By all means take the trip. When I was 10 my dad had to go to Oklahoma City for the summer. The whole family went. We drove back to Alaska via the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Tetons, Glacier National Park and then up the Alaskan Highway. Now 49 years later I still have fond memories of the trip.


If your boys are into baseball you might want to stop by Cooperstown and go to the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Maybe stop in Hershey, PA and munch on some chocolate. If you pass thru Baltimore there are several ships located at the Inner Harbor you can tour including a submarine.
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Old 04-18-2016, 05:19 PM
Status: "Support the Mining Law of 1872" (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,570 posts, read 10,914,867 times
Reputation: 19190
One of the joys of traveling is experiencing regional cuisines. A trip to New England without plenty of lobster dishes is unthinkable just as a trip through the South needs to include the several varied cuisines of Louisina where food is a religion. Rocky Mountain Oysters are a staple of cattle country and shouldn't be missed. Chokecherry syrup on ice cream is another. Leave the cereal at home. Take them for chicken-fried steak or trout and eggs for breakfast when you're in the West. You're apparently properous so travel as the prosperous do. That means the best of the food that you'll seldom have the opportunity to eat.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:41 PM
 
2,970 posts, read 2,747,804 times
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Depending on your children's interests and your determination to drive the whole trip here's a sample itinerary. Pick up the local travel brochures along the way to see if anything is deemed visit worthy for your and children's tastes. Your avatar makes me think Space Museums may be of interest?


East bound: I-90
Devil's Tower (WY) (have kids watch Close Encounters sci-fi film)
Black Hills SD Mt Rushmore Rapid City
across I 90 to Lacrosse WI then go south following upper Mississippi to Quad Cities
East to Chicago (Hancock Tower observatory, Navy Pier,)
East to Sandusky (Cedar Point amusement park - ride roller coasters)
Cleveland/Akron (Rock Hall, Stan Hywet Hall) avoid CLE the weeks of July 10 through 21st) due to RNC
Pittsburgh approach via Washington tunnel so they can see the grandeur of a city appearing out of nowhere
visit(Carnegie Museums, ride funicular up Mt Washington)
if they like Baseball catch a game at either CLE or PGH both have great setting of ballparks in downtown.
Go North to Rochester (Letchworth State Park, then George Eastman Museum/ Mansion)
On to Chimney Bluffs / Sodus Point on Lake Ontario
then south along Seneca lake to Watkins Glen (hike the glen)
Watkins Glen to Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame)
Cooperstown to Albany then north cross Lake Champlain on US Rt 2 then to Montpelier
Montpelier to Concord to Portland spend time on Maine Coast
unto Boston to Plymouth landing site
Then to either Springfiled (NBA Hall of Fame) or Hartford to Samuel Clemens home then south to Atlantic coastline to NYC (Ellis Island, whatever the kids like)
Philadelphia Liberty Bell / Independence Hall
Gettysburg blue ridge parkway south to Asheville (Vanderbilt Mansion)
Asheville to Charleston (Antebellum south)
Charleston to Savannah
Savannah to St Augustine (south to Cape Canaveral Space Museum) then onto
Sarasota (Ringling Brothers museum)
Tallahassee to Montgomery to Huntsville (another space museum)
North to Nashville and onto Mammoth cave and Bowling Green KY (Corvette factory / Museum)
Down via 68/79 (Land between the lakes)
S on 45 to Natchez Trace to Port Gibson (Union army Gen. refused to destroy) then Vicksburg (civil war battlefield memorial) Antebellum south architecture and onto New Orleans.
New Orleans (enjoy the cuisine, French quarter) to Austin TX (State Capitol building)
west unto Guadalupe Mtns, to (Carlsbad Caverns and Hueco tanks on way to El Paso.
El Paso to La Mesilla NM and Las Cruces (White Sands for sledding sand dunes)
I 25 north to Denver, Cheyenne, seas of Sunflower fields (Scottsbluff, Fort Laramie)
over to Tetons and Yellowstone (20 to US 86 to US 84 follow Snake River valley)
Boise, then Ontario OR, (Four Rivers Cultural center)
and return back to Seattle

Whew that was fun... you're a great mom!

As someone else mentioned, when you do road trips, I found getting to your destination for next sight to be best done late afternoon and evening hours. Then get up early, stay at places that have complimentary breakfasts (the low end motels run the gamut so some strategic grocery shopping will be needed) and then go directly to the visitor / tourist site first thing and spend however much time you need. Many of these I have been to too but in much shorter excursions than you are planning. A few are still on my list.

Good luck and Safe travels
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Old 04-18-2016, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,849 posts, read 15,937,480 times
Reputation: 4348
What a wonderful trip you're planning!
I just want to suggest that if you carry a tent (many are easy to assemble), you would be able to spend some nights camping and save a LOT of money. Often campgrounds are in wonderful places, and have swimming pools, storytime around the campfire, stuff like that to keep the kids busy and happy.

We took a trip driving from Alabama out to the Grand Canyon and back. Wondeful trip, but my husband tends to look at a map and think, "Wow, that's a neat place and it's only 3" away on the map!" Forgetting that 3" equals 500 miles! So don't get so ambitious to cover territory that you miss the relaxing part of the vacation!
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Old 04-19-2016, 03:01 AM
 
2,542 posts, read 5,990,751 times
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We're circumnavigating the country this summer, too! But we're camping the whole way (and staying with family and friends along the way). I wouldn't fathom spending a day at a theme park while on a road trip, but that's my family's style. We're going SE, then up the Eastern Seaboard, then northwest, then straight west to the coast and home.

Don't forget to get your free National Park Pass if one of your sons is in fourth grade. It is good not only for parks, but national forests, BLM land, fish and wildlife sites, etc.
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Old 04-19-2016, 03:59 AM
 
11,262 posts, read 8,421,299 times
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Whatever else you do, PLEASE do some white water rafting. It's the coolest mom thing I ever did with my youngest son. Tubing down a lazy river is awesome, too. GA Aquarium can't be beat ANYWHERE. There are hot air balloon festivals all around.... Ride a trail via horse/mule back in lots of places. (Grand Canyon?) In Arkansas there are gem fields you can search for diamonds. Lots have been found.
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