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View Full Version : Need ADVISE on "driving across the USA" vacation


Massillon Dad
06-16-2008, 10:16 PM
:cool1: Gas prices are never going down...we're doin it. The good 'ol american tradition of a driving vacation across the USA in mid July. Starting out in Cleveland, Ohio then driving to St. Louis, Mo for 2 nites.....then where? we don't know? any ADVISE? they'll be our family of 4 (son 14, daughter 10). We were thinkin maybe SW USA to lake Powell and carlsbad caverns Albuquerque (We're lookin for some adventures (already been to Grand Canyon, Colorado rocky Mts) any Ideas? lookin to spend 2-2.5 weeks

Michelle67
06-16-2008, 11:36 PM
When we road-trip we come from the opposite side of the country, and do a triangle from WA to OKC to Mastic Beach, NY and back to WA. Maybe with a spur down to VA. So I'm not a lot of literal help with places to go in the areas you are thinking of. But my best advice is to go online and order visitors guides. From every darn state in the union, if you want. Look through them, and you'd be amazed how many neat and interesting things will come up that you'd never thought of! Everyone knows Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and these are wonderful places. But the US has so much more to offer, if you work a little harder to find out about other things. :) Have a great time. It drags on sometimes, but I do love a road trip.

DevilDuckie
06-17-2008, 12:04 AM
I can post my trip reports from my Livejournal on our trip from the San Francisco area to Graceland last summer if you'd like.

Karlzmom
06-17-2008, 12:07 AM
I've done a couple of cross country drives, have you considered following one of the old pioneer trails west? It seems that Missouri was a jump off point for several. Stop at the national parks and monuments along the way, visit the silly "worlds largest/oldest/smallest" stuff you see. My uncle had a great policy of stopping to look at what ever someone in the car wanted a closer look at!:)
Eat at local places, you can do some interesting research before you go to come up with the "don't miss" local fare....speaking of fairs ;) any local festivals, street markets, etc. should be a stop, even briefly.

We are not Mormon, but we even did the Mormon trail to Salt Lake and it was fascinating to see the history...when you consider the migration was only about 150 years ago. The museum with the items carried across the plains was amazing. I'm also a family history nut, so I hit the library.

Further north, the Oregon trail would be another good route....or follow the '49's route into Callifornia and take the mission tour down the state. I'm so jealous as I am typing this...I can tell its time to get going again soon. Enjoy!

nunzia
06-17-2008, 08:49 AM
Well, if you are heading to Albuquerque and then to Carlsbad for the caverns, you might as well come over to Alamogordo on your way to somewhere else and go to White Sands National Monument. VERY fun area, HUGE White Sands dunes. (not really sand but Gypsum, which you will learn about in the little educational area.) Get snow discs for sledding, have a picnic..there used to be little grills in the picnic areas, you'd have to check to see if they still do. Depending on the time you come there could be special activities, like Full Moon night, etc.
About 20 minutes from Alamogordo. The other way 20 minutes away are some beautiful mountain areas.

daughtersrus
06-17-2008, 08:50 AM
My BIL and his family just got back from a 2-week road trip. They left the Chicago area and headed to Springfield (Lincoln Library...). From there, they went to St Louis to spend the night. They went through MO, OK, TX, NM and AZ mostly on the old Route 66. They also took some time to go to Dallas, San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, Roswell, Las Vegas and headed up through UT, CO, NE, IA and back to IL on the way home.

SoundDude
06-17-2008, 09:29 AM
howdy, neighbor.

in mid-July the southern parks will be packed and HOT.

from St. Louis you can high-tail it to Denver in one long, hot, miserable day across Kansas (apologies to the locals, its a great place to live!)

from Denver you can proceed west to Salt Lake, or north to Tetons / Yellowstone, then return via SD and catch Devil's Tower and Mt Rushmore.

If you have more time, head up to Glacier or west into the Idaho mountains for some really spectacular wilderness.

Enjoy!

mrsbornkuntry
06-17-2008, 01:19 PM
Our family is moving cross country in Sept. and we are making a trip out of it. The first thing I did was go online to each state's website that we want to visit and ordered free brochures/travel guides. Then DH and I went over the atlas and got a general idea of the route we want to take. Then we looked through the brochures and websites and made a list of what we would like to see along the way.

Our route will take us starting in WA, then ID, UT, AZ, NM, TX, LA, AL, and TN, probably ending in KY. We know that we are not taking the most direct route, we did that intentionally so we could see the Grand Canyon, New Orleans, San Antonio and some other places we would like to visit. I was really surprised looking through the New Mexico info on how much there is there.

And I second the poster that said stopping at whatever interests you. We did that on our way moving to WA from NC. We saw so much we wouldn't have known to look for, our kids got alot out of that trip.

Now I'm off to post another thread looking for tips on saving money on road trips.

Massillon Dad
06-18-2008, 05:03 PM
Michelle67...you'd mentioned they would be a wise idea......

mrsbornkuntry
06-18-2008, 05:50 PM
Michelle67...you'd mentioned they would be a wise idea......


I'm not Michelle67, but I'll tell you what I did. I just googled each state I was interested in and went to their official or "chamber of commerce" website. Each of them had an area on their website for ordering visitor's guides.

RNMOM
06-18-2008, 06:20 PM
We have relatives in Bernalillo, NM. and have visited often. I love it there. Do plan at least a couple days in Albuquerque. Do the Tram to the top of the Sandia Mtn. The zoo and the Natural History museum are great. There are lots of Native American things to do. Have lunch in Old Town. Love that place.

When you drive to Carlsbad, and it is a long drive, don't forget to stop in Roswell. They have a tacky little museum run by the seniors and it has a fun gift shop. We stopped on the way back too just to pick up a few more trinkets. You might consider driving over the Corpus Christie, Tx. and then to San Antonio, Houston and maybe New Orleans. You could then come back up via Tenn and Ky. or you could continue east if you wish.

Carlsbad is pretty remote and the small town above it is White City, I believe. It has only a couple small motels so don't expect much there. ;)

iheartdisney
06-18-2008, 06:33 PM
Carlsbad Caverns are BEAUTIFUL. I went there several times as a child and teen. I grew up in West Texas.
In that neighborhood is the Almagordo Space Center,
http://www.nmspacemuseum.org/
or if you really want to see how big the sky is, check out the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Texas. They have the big telescopes out quite often during the summer. I remember seeing the rings of Saturn back when I went through the Astronaut phase.
http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/
In Texas, you should check out the Monahans Sand Hills state park (my old home town, gotta put in a plug!) HUGE sand dunes. There are alot of museums in this area.
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/monahans_sandhills/
Between Monahans and Carlsbad, you can drive through Pecos, which has a little free zoo, right off of the highway, like you would see back in the day...great place to have lunch.
Or Big Bend National Park
http://www.nps.gov/bibe

Sorry if this is overkill, I really miss West Texas sometimes! lol!

dzorn
06-18-2008, 06:49 PM
When I was younger we drove through Michigan UP and across to Washington state, down through to Oregon back across Through Chicago to home. It was great we to Yellowstone & Grand Tetons, Mount Rushmore, the Bad Lands,Glacier National Park, Crater Lake, Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks Mackinaw Island. We did it by camping and hit many National Parks. We have never done the Southwest and would like to do that someday when the girls are a little older.

Denise in MI

iwannago!!
06-18-2008, 07:06 PM
offtopic, but RNMom
Your dog is really beautiful! I had an Irish Setter as a kid, a male from hunting stock - a great dog without the typical temperment issues that the breed is often known for. He was great & always 'took care' of my sister and I. Your dog looks just like him. :love:

MrsPete
06-18-2008, 09:18 PM
I'm not Michelle67, but I'll tell you what I did. I just googled each state I was interested in and went to their official or "chamber of commerce" website. Each of them had an area on their website for ordering visitor's guides.ADVICE:

We put the kids in charge of that task. They were SOOO excited to get all sorts of mail, and they charted the states on an internet printed map as they arrived.

kfeuer
06-19-2008, 10:50 AM
I'm loving all the suggestions on this thread. My DH just accepted a new position in Spokane, WA so we're going to be making a 2,400 mile drive pretty soon. I'm not sure how much time we're going to have for sight-seeing, but we want to make it as fun as possible for our kids. I've already promised them they can each pick out a postcard from each state we go through.

DH's family had a reunion in Ruidoso, NM a few years ago and we loved it. We drove over to Carlsbad Caverns and it really was amazing. One word of warning--you have to take a long elevator ride to get to the caverns, so if anybody in your party is clausterphobic this is not the place for them. When we visited there was a teenage girl who absolutely got hysterical...unfortunately she had already ridden the elevator down so there was no choice but to go back up. I felt sorry for her.

Last summer we went to Big Sky, Montana and that was a slice of heaven. We are so excited that we'll be able to drive to Montana whenever we want! I highly recommend it.

As soon as we plan a route, I'm going to order those visitor guides...

disneyfan55
06-19-2008, 10:58 AM
Michelle67...you'd mentioned they would be a wise idea......

I order mine directly from each state's website. Once I have that, we plan our actual stops based on miles to travel each day and availability of lodging etc. we request information from the town/National Park. The National Parks site has a wealth of information as well. You can request them to mail it to you as well. Once all the days etc have been planned, I make a 3 ring binder for each day and place the infomation in there. I will gather any local information, coupons etc. and place in in the divider for the day. We have done 6 cross country trips and they are really a lot of fun. Three were in the late 1980's before all the wealth of info was on the internet. The children were young and we visited almost all 50 states! The last three trips were in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and just my husband and myself. The National Parks has an annual pass available for $80 and good for a year for the family. A great investment! Any other questions, please ask. The planning is so much fun to do!!