45 Day 'Round the US Camping Trip w/ Grands

We did a smaller version of what you are going to do back in 2002. Mt Rushmore was the farthest we got from home. We took a chance and booked nothing. I’m not suggesting that, just sharing. We used Good Sam info, maps, and we had this huge book, that has every interstate exchange in America, and what was available at each. Obviously, this was before google on phones. A lot has changed technology wise. We were on a tight tight budget, and did it fairly cheap. 5700 miles, 2300 bucks, for 23 days, not including a mechanical repair of 600 bucks in Denver. As I said, times and economy were different. Gas was 1.15, most sites were 25 or less, ate out very little as well. The only time we had a problem camping was at the very end of the trip, we wanted an extra night or 2, but it was July 4, and there was nothing between gatlinburg, and north Florida, so we booked it home, 12 hour day. Keep holidays in mind like that. The wife would thumb through the books on the road, and find campgrounds to call while traveling. We were going to stay in a state park in Wyoming, but poor planning on our part, we didn’t fill the water tank in the camper, so we found another spot, late in the day. It worked out. We would have stayed at the SP with no power, but no water, we decided not to.
 
Thread starter #62
now Meeno is wanting to add in a day at the Ark in Ky, and we are looking at that.

I think y'all are right, at least a 10k trip. But man, it should be one that the kids never forget.

I am not too worried about entertaining the kids except on those long 8 or 9 hours of driving days. I might buy a video player so they can watch different shows while we are traveling. The oldest girl would be just fine with a stash of books and a couple of snacks for a all day trip. The boys, not so much
 
This will be bog excercise, but so "worth it". On a smaller scale, we used to "torture" our kids with all the camping trips and outdoor activities.

When they were studying Georgia History in Middle School and the 7 natural wonders of Georgia, they suddenly realized they had been to almost all of them already in their lives. Suddenly, boring old mom/dad became much "cooler". :rockon:
 
Thread starter #64
Dave, I hope that as they study history in school, the trip will help them put things into perspective. I think WW2 will have a lot more meaning to them after visiting the memorial and the Holocaust museum. And visiting Mt Rushmore and Yellowstone should be a lifetime memory.

at least that is what I hope to do for them.
 
Thread starter #65
I don't think I have mentioned it in here, but I am planning on taking a color laser printer, my camera, and lots of scrapbooking material. When we have a bad weather day, or just need a break from running around, I am going to let each child work on their own scrapbook of the trip. I figure if they put it together with pictures that were made in the past 2 or 3 days, it will help them to remember, and hopefully a keepsake to remember years later.
 

Boondocks

Senior Member
I think your trying to do to much.Pick East or West not both.You will have 3 kids who do not like to ride.Are we their yet,I am hungry,I got to potty,John hit me,I am bored,my game is not working.You get my point !! They can be entertained where ever if it is fun to them and they can run and play.
 
Thread starter #67
I think your trying to do to much.Pick East or West not both.You will have 3 kids who do not like to ride.Are we their yet,I am hungry,I got to potty,John hit me,I am bored,my game is not working.You get my point !! They can be entertained where ever if it is fun to them and they can run and play.
good suggestion. I know if it is one or the other, we are gonna have to do the eastern side so my wife can visit her grandbabies. I really want to do the western side. And getting the kids 2 summers in a row might be difficult. I am gonna have to ponder on this a while......
 

Milkman

Retired Moderator
good suggestion. I know if it is one or the other, we are gonna have to do the eastern side so my wife can visit her grandbabies. I really want to do the western side. And getting the kids 2 summers in a row might be difficult. I am gonna have to ponder on this a while......
IMO.
New England is a cheap 2 hour flight that could be done anytime. Maybe you and her could go now to scratch that itch.
Then you can get serious about a long western loop.
 
Thread starter #69
IMO.
New England is a cheap 2 hour flight that could be done anytime. Maybe you and her could go now to scratch that itch.
Then you can get serious about a long western loop.
I tried to talk her into that. so far no go.

My son lives in Torrington, so we either fly into Boston and rent a car, or fly into NJ and rent a car. Either way it is a 3 to 4 hour drive after that.

She does have a week off work coming in October. Maybe she would be agreeable to that and then head out west next summer
 
Thread starter #70
I ordered a 4ft x 6ft wall map yesterday to plot this trip out and really try to get an idea of what we are looking at. When you do these things on computer, it just doesn't seem to register with me all the ins and outs of the trip.

Right now, I am thinking of planning the trip with the eastern side included, and then plan a trip without the eastern side, and then sit down with Meeno and see what she thinks about the whole thing
 

Milkman

Retired Moderator
I ordered a 4ft x 6ft wall map yesterday to plot this trip out and really try to get an idea of what we are looking at. When you do these things on computer, it just doesn't seem to register with me all the ins and outs of the trip.

Right now, I am thinking of planning the trip with the eastern side included, and then plan a trip without the eastern side, and then sit down with Meeno and see what she thinks about the whole thing
Good thinking. There will be many stops that can’t be planned. Those highway signs are there for a reason, to draw us in. Not to mention the unpredictable human bladder.
 
How about cutting out that part of the trip with the grandkids. Do a 30-40 days trip with them. You and the bride go visit with the other grandskids. Spend a few days, go camping for a week or so and stop back by for a few days.
 
Thread starter #73
Good thinking. There will be many stops that can’t be planned. Those highway signs are there for a reason, to draw us in. Not to mention the unpredictable human bladder.
good thing about the bladder is I will be hauling the relief station 30 ft behind me. lol
 

cjones

Senior Member
Sounds like an awesome trip! I have hinted at the idea to my wife of doing a smaller but similar trip with our kids before they get too wrapped up in their own activities to be willing to do an extended trip from home. I have the 'luxury' of working from home - all I need is internet access and power for my laptop - so technically I could be sitting in a campground doing what I do from home every day. I'm curious to see how your trip planning goes and any gold nuggets of info you turn up.

To add to the suggestions - I'll second what was said about Mt. Rushmore. We did it earlier this summer and only spent about 30 minutes there. Definitely something you should check off the list, but not much to do other than look at it. The accompanying museum was closed for renovations when we were there, so that may have added some interest to the stop. We went on up the road to Crazy Horse, and while interesting, not sure it was worth the effort and $30 entrance fee. We also drove out to Wall Drug, which was NOT what I was expecting. After hearing about it for years, I was expecting an old timey Drug/General Store. Turns out it's borderline a large flea market. Restaurant inside wasn't bad, and if it's on your route, not a bad stop to make, but I wouldn't go very far out of the way to get there.

As someone else mentioned, the views through MT and ID are awe inspiring if you haven't been out that way before. I told my kids they were spoiled, because I had dreamed of seeing that kind of scenery since thumbing through magazines growing up, but they get to see it at ages 7 & 5. I still don't think they fully appreciate it. ha.

One other suggestion I would make after travelling for 3 straight weeks with kids this summer -- remember patience. There will be days that even the 'best' kids are flat-out buttheads. That's just how it is. Just grin and bear it and realize it doesn't mean that they really are buttheads, it's just they're having a bad day for some reason and are wearing it on their sleeve. There will be days where they have the map out before you do trying to figure out what the next cool stop will be and then there will be days where they say "This is dumb. When are we leaving." but then when they DO get home, they'll be running around wanting to tell everyone about the stuff they did/saw on that dumb day. I had some very proud moments and some very "I'm about to leave you on the side of this trail if you don't shut up" moments on our trip to CO and ND this summer. Just try to remember the proud moments and laugh at how you were ready to tie them to a tree for the bears to find on that one trail...
 

specialk

Senior Member
all i can say is to spend as much time on the carolina coast, williamsburg, and jamestown....so much history there.....
 
Thread starter #76
all i can say is to spend as much time on the carolina coast, williamsburg, and jamestown....so much history there.....
I have been to Williamsburg a couple times. It will be a first for the children.

My wall map got here today. Now to find a place where Meeno will let me hang this sucker... 4 x 6 is a big ole map.
 
I don't know if they still teach about the Civil War, it seems to be taboo these days. But I went to Gettysburg on a road trip with my brother when I was around 19-20. It was very moving. To think of these AMERICANS standing a few hundred yards apart (at the most) shooting back and forth. The numbers that died and the shear size of it gave me goosebumps. If memory serves there was an armory museum there too. Shouldn't be too far from the Amish communities either.
At the age of your grand kids, history lessons would be high on my list but you got to have fun.
I did a "graduation" road trip with my aunt and uncle around 93 or 94. Started in New Mexico and drove to Las Vegas. I was 21+- and wanted to see "Sin city". We did the painted desert, Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and other places. Loved it.
My Brother and I did the Mt, Idaho, Wy etc a long time ago. We came out of South (or north don't remember) Dakota into Mt, FLAT!!!. Then saw the first hint of the Rocky mountains, So excited, thought we were only an hour or 2 away. WRONG, about 6-7 hours later finally made it to the foot hills. It is truly GORGEOUS!. Did a couple of parks but not Yellowstone. I will make it back one day.
What you are planning is Awesome. Wish my Grandparents had that ability or want when I was a kid. (maybe not then but now). Hope you do it and wish you the best. Even the headaches will be memories you cherish.
My standout memory from my trip with my aunt and uncle. I was 21 or so, never really been out of the south east and Georgia was still the south. They had a camcorder and we were watching our videos we shot earlier. That was the first time I had really heard my self talk and realized I had a southern accent. Stupid but that stands out.
Good luck and God Bless.
 
Thread starter #79
anyone ever been to Mammoth Cave Park? I was wondering if it is worth a 2 hour one way detour? It will cost us 4 hours of driving time to get there and back on the route
 
Thread starter #80
Well, I don't guess anyone has ever been to Mammoth Caves. I saw some pictures of it, and was wondering if it would be worth a 4 hour drive total there and back to let the grands see it.

Any other ideas, just keep them coming.
 
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