U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 04-16-2016, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,119 posts, read 5,086,104 times
Reputation: 6343

Advertisements

Greetings travellers!

I am trying to formulate plans for this summer. I have a real desire to do something big and unforgettable. Several summers ago I drove with my boys (6 and 9 at the time) from Seattle to the Twin Cities by myself to visit family. On the return trip my husband flew in to join us and we turned it into a holiday by visiting 5 natl parks in the SW.

My boys will be nearly 10 and 13 by mid-summer and the last couple years they've stayed at home and played video games all summer long. It killed me to see all that potential go do waste. We thought about summer camps this year, but honestly for the same price I could go out with my boys and experience little piece of 'merica and they'd have a truly unique and different experience.. and likely, educational too. My husband is very supportive of this idea and I need a break from my job. I've had but one full week off in 20 months (self employed).

As much as it will pain me, I think we'll avoid California and the Rockies. I know my limits and I'm not comfortable tackling long hot desert stretches or high mountain passes on my own in my little Ford fiesta (we did the mountains on the last trip... I didn't know what I was doing at the time and I burned up my brakes until my husband woke up from his car-induced nap going "what the hell is that smell?!? Is that us?!? He taught me about engine breaking or whatever it is and it totally changed my life. ).

I think this year I will drive out the same way as last time, pretty much a straight shoot down I-90, but we'll visit Grand Tetons and Yellowstone this time (gotta make reservations if it's not already too late!). I'll visit the family in the mid-west and be ready to head off again by the 3rd/4th week. I've never been to many of the New England states... I've never been to Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont. I've never been to Boston. This isn't a contest to see as many states as possible... but 3 weeks meandering up to and around the northeast ought to be enough time to see a lot. My husband would like to join us by the 5th or 6th week in Washington DC. We might be joined by my in-laws that are from Mexico City. It would be like a trip within a trip with totally different expectations about where we eat and sleep (I'm planning on best westerns and peanut butter everyday). The trip back may just be me and the boys, and if so, I'd like to cut across the sun belt states to Texas. I grew up there and haven't been back in nearly 10 years. One of my boys was born in Austin. I've got all my friends there. It'd be a party!

Coming home would be the lamest part of the trip. I've done parts of the route several times already. I'd go up I-35 and probably intersect with I-90 again go get over the mountains. I anticipate that Lookout Pass (boarder of Idaho and Montana) is my only real mountain driving in the whole trip.

Sounds like a LOT doesn't it? But I think it could totally work. My car is a 2011 model and will have 69k miles by the beginning of July. Breaks were redone in 2014 and new tires in fall of 2015. I think I'll budget an average of $200 a day. We'll eat dry cereal and milk in the morning. Sandwiches for lunch and most the cost will be on motel, fuel and dinner ($100, $60, $40, respectively). We'll spend less in some areas (like the weeks I'm with family) and a lot more in others (Natl parks, Boston and DC). I'm anticipating $15k-$20k total.

The other reason I want to do this is because my husband is being offered a job in China and we would relocate by the beginning of 2017 if he accepts. He thinks at this point its a 50/50 chance we'll go, but I think he's underestimating it. The recruiting firm organizing the placement is top notch (has done top executive placements for Google, Microsoft, etc..) and I think they know what they're doing and the offer will be in the ballpark of expectation. I also want to go too, and experience something totally outside my comfort zone. So with that in mind, I really, really want to take the trip. I think it would be really good for my boys.

What do you think? Is my budget and timing okay? Anything I need to be aware of? Anything I have to see?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-16-2016, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Florida
5,233 posts, read 3,005,081 times
Reputation: 9582
If you are going to be in the northeast, it is not that far to go over the border and visit Quebec City and/or Montreal for a real change of pace. Go home by way of Niagara Falls.

Passports are required for border crossings.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-17-2016, 04:50 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,059 posts, read 18,985,577 times
Reputation: 24133
Many (most?) Motels will include some kind of breakfast. Even if it's only 'continental breakfast' take advantage of it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-17-2016, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,531 posts, read 1,310,974 times
Reputation: 3600
I've done a similar drive with (only) kid and I think you'll have a great time.

Quote:
I'm not comfortable tackling long hot desert stretches or high mountain passes on my own in my little Ford fiesta... My husband would like to join us by the 5th or 6th week in Washington DC. We might be joined by my in-laws that are from Mexico City. It would be like a trip within a trip with totally different expectations about where we eat and sleep (I'm planning on best westerns and peanut butter everyday).
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-17-2016, 01:12 PM
 
9 posts, read 5,048 times
Reputation: 25
Do yourself and your kids a favor and also include some just fun activities that you know they'll love. Maybe an amusement park like a water park or Six Flags or whatever. That helps to break up the monotony a bit so they don't get worn out on just seeing historic and natural sites.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-17-2016, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
1,300 posts, read 1,093,885 times
Reputation: 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by paintura View Post
Do yourself and your kids a favor and also include some just fun activities that you know they'll love. Maybe an amusement park like a water park or Six Flags or whatever. That helps to break up the monotony a bit so they don't get worn out on just seeing historic and natural sites.
This is a good idea and could be pretty cost efficient if you get a season pass which would allow you to go to all of their parks, I would look at their locations to see how many may be near where you plan to visit. They also offer meal plans but I think that they only become cost effective after 2 or 3 all day visits
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-17-2016, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Midwest
4,628 posts, read 3,968,578 times
Reputation: 6623
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-18-2016, 06:29 AM
 
32,055 posts, read 32,950,797 times
Reputation: 14942
Quote:
Originally Posted by engineman View Post
If you are going to be in the northeast, it is not that far to go over the border and visit Quebec City and/or Montreal for a real change of pace. Go home by way of Niagara Falls.

Passports are required for border crossings.
I definitely think the OP should add Niagara Falls to their itinerary but Montreal & Quebec City are too far out of the way. If they are potentially going to live in China that will be enough of a future change of pace in any case.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-18-2016, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,119 posts, read 5,086,104 times
Reputation: 6343
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
Many (most?) Motels will include some kind of breakfast. Even if it's only 'continental breakfast' take advantage of it.
I keep forgetting this! As long as the rate is $100 or less, I'll try to find the ones that include it!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-18-2016, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Portal to the Pacific
5,119 posts, read 5,086,104 times
Reputation: 6343
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
I definitely think the OP should add Niagara Falls to their itinerary but Montreal & Quebec City are too far out of the way. If they are potentially going to live in China that will be enough of a future change of pace in any case.
My kids have seen Niagara, from the Canadian side mostly. When I lived in Michigan we went to NYC via Sarnia, ON - Buffalo, NY. I've seen it twice and wouldn't mind seeing it again, but it's not a priority.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Travel
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top