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Big Trip!

Posted by on May. 5, 2015 at 10:12 AM
  • 12 Replies

My brother in law is getting married this coming September. He's in CO, and we're in WV, and it looks like we're probably going to be driving, so we're planning on making stops along the way - and possibly out of the way. 

For sure, it looks like on the way there, we are going to for sure stop at Mt Rushmore. I know there are TONS of other things to do right in that area, and we're considering them too - like the Reptile Gardens, all the different caverns/caves, the Mammoth Site, Wade's Gold Mill, the Badlands, etc.  We have a few stops before we are considering too such as the Lewis & Clark Recreation Area or the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes. If we do the Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff, I'm trying to determine if it is worth it when we start our trip in WI, to start at the landmarks for her in WI, and follow them through MN to SD, or if that is TOO much out of the way. If we do the Lewis & Clark thing, we are for sure stopping at the Gateway Arch in St. Lewis on our way home, and I'll try and find more stuff related to Lewis & Clark both there and back too.

One MAJOR detour we are considering - stopping at Yellowstone National Park after Mt Rushmore. I'm wondering how worth it would be. It's 8 hrs from Mt Rushmore, and apparently another 8 hrs from Yellowstone to Denver (which I hope is our actual destination....not sure where we're going in CO yet....I lost the wedding save the date thing). If we did that detour, I don't see why we wouldn't detour to Laramie then too and do an Oregon Trail thing as well - there are endless possibilities with this trip, and I'm trying to figure out which way I should take this or if I should do all possible paths.... :/   

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by on May. 5, 2015 at 10:12 AM
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Lordgodempress
by on May. 5, 2015 at 10:22 AM
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I live in Northern Colorado and I don't know how long you have to visit, but Yellowstone IMO needs more than a day but it is worth it also, I love Wind Cave National Park near Mt Rushmore and Fort Collins is awesome to visit ( I may be biased because I live here lol) 

No_Difference
by Silver Member on May. 5, 2015 at 11:03 AM
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Thank you!!! That's the kind of feedback I'm hoping for! I know there is tons to do, and there is only so many days we can do things, so I'm looking for others opinions that may have done it or live near by that is actually worth doing :) 

Quoting Lordgodempress:

I live in Northern Colorado and I don't know how long you have to visit, but Yellowstone IMO needs more than a day but it is worth it also, I love Wind Cave National Park near Mt Rushmore and Fort Collins is awesome to visit ( I may be biased because I live here lol) 


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kirbymom
by Sonja on May. 6, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Omg! I love traveling. Traveling is SO much fun. And educational too.

I would suggest that you take the options that give you more time to do stuff in. Save the options that take longer for another trip.

hipmomto3
by on May. 6, 2015 at 2:08 PM

We've driven from IN to CA and back many times, taking a few different routes. How long will you take for this trip? 

All of your extra trips are going to take you way, way out of the way (except L&C stuff in STL), that's why I ask. My kids are elementary aged like yours, but we find that any more than 8 hours a day of driving (with stops ends up being 10-11 hours) makes for a very miserable trip for everyone. 

If you end up going through Indy, a stop at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis would be great. It's not historical (though, many exhibits are) but it's one of the best in the country. We live 3.5 hours from there and go twice a year.

If you go out I-70, there is a fantastic KOA in Topeka, KS. It's situated on a little farm, with a huge red barn and lake with ducks and geese. They have a cabin (or you can do tent/whatever) and it's a nice break from cars-hotel-car-hotel, etc. (By contrast, if you are in Laramie, the KOA there is not very nice at all, though I didn't find much of Laramie to be very nice, though admittedly we only ever saw parts near the interstate.)

I definitely think a visit to at least one National Park is worthwhile, especially since out here (at least, where I am, in Indiana) they are so few and far between, while so many western states have them (or have multiple ones!). We have never been to Yellowstone, but we have taken a 3-hour trek off our path to visit Arches NP twice. Totally worth it. 

No_Difference
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM

I would love to save things for another trip, but it is not likely for us to go back out that way :/  We're just trying to cram it all in. I think we're giving ourselves a week to get out there, then we're going to be in the Denver area for about 5 days, and then we're taking only 2 or 3 days to get home. I think we're going to try to camp out most the time on the way out there.

Quoting kirbymom:

Omg! I love traveling. Traveling is SO much fun. And educational too.

I would suggest that you take the options that give you more time to do stuff in. Save the options that take longer for another trip.


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No_Difference
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Right now we have it planned out to take a week to get out there. The kids are very much used to being in a car. Twice a year we make the 13 hr drive out to WI to see my parents, which is going to be step one of the journey.  I'll have to check out teh Children's Museum for one of our other trips, since we go through there on our trips to WI!!  It seems the rest of the trip is broken up into 8 hr drive times, with a stop for the night, taking I-90 all the way to Mt Rushmore and spending I think 2 nights there, and 2 nights at Yellowstone. Leaving Yellowstone to go to our final destination is going to take about as long as our drive to WI (since we won't be going to Denver exactly, it's a passed it to some ski chalet). We are planning on camping as much as possible along the way too.  It looks like Larmie might get skipped out on anyway, since we're not really going passed it now that we have the address to get there. We might still do Ft Collins while we in CO for one of the days just to do something out there if my brother-in-law hasn't planned out the few days before his wedding for us :). 
We love going to National Parks, and where we are (Eastern Panhandle of WV), they are everywhere, but they're mostly all civil war focused, so it will be refreshing to see the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, and Yellowstone and get a different piece of history. I'm trying to print out their Jr Ranger books if I can, so I can get an idea of what to start talking to the kids about so they're not completely clueless about things when we get out there.  

Thank you for your input :) I do appreciate it!! We're looking into the KOA in Topeka as a possible stop instead of driving all the way to St Lewis on our return trip, and then stopping one more night in OH by the in-laws before getting all the way home.  

Quoting hipmomto3:

We've driven from IN to CA and back many times, taking a few different routes. How long will you take for this trip? 

All of your extra trips are going to take you way, way out of the way (except L&C stuff in STL), that's why I ask. My kids are elementary aged like yours, but we find that any more than 8 hours a day of driving (with stops ends up being 10-11 hours) makes for a very miserable trip for everyone. 

If you end up going through Indy, a stop at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis would be great. It's not historical (though, many exhibits are) but it's one of the best in the country. We live 3.5 hours from there and go twice a year.

If you go out I-70, there is a fantastic KOA in Topeka, KS. It's situated on a little farm, with a huge red barn and lake with ducks and geese. They have a cabin (or you can do tent/whatever) and it's a nice break from cars-hotel-car-hotel, etc. (By contrast, if you are in Laramie, the KOA there is not very nice at all, though I didn't find much of Laramie to be very nice, though admittedly we only ever saw parts near the interstate.)

I definitely think a visit to at least one National Park is worthwhile, especially since out here (at least, where I am, in Indiana) they are so few and far between, while so many western states have them (or have multiple ones!). We have never been to Yellowstone, but we have taken a 3-hour trek off our path to visit Arches NP twice. Totally worth it. 


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stormie1985
by Member on May. 6, 2015 at 5:00 PM
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Yellowstone is AMAZING. We went about a week out of our way one time to go to Mt st helens and down the coast of cali to end up at Disnegland then to the grand Canyon. Petrified forest etc. I would honestly MAKE time to go to glacier too if possible. That is my favorite place on earth.
Scribbleprints
by Group Admin on May. 6, 2015 at 5:31 PM
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Never been to Yellowstone so can't comment on that...but when you are in Colorado if you are going through Colorado Springs you'll want to visit Valley of the Gods (amazingly beautiful) and maybe the Cliff Dwellings in Manitou, near Col. Springs (they were moved from somewhere else, but still worth it...there's larger ones in Mesa Verde CO which were actually built there, but when we visited, didn't go that way).

Also, definitively hit up some Mexican Restaurants in Colorado. I'm from California and am now in Texas, so I've tasted some good Mexican food... and did not expect Colorado to have that, but it does, and it's unique (different in some ways from other Mexican food I've tasted) and really good.

If you hit up any Caves/Caverns I suggest reading One Small Square Cave by Donald M Silver. It's a kids guidebook on how to explore a cave, but also a book about caves and has experiments and activities you can do in the cave, and beautiful illustrations. We're just finishing a unit on caves...so you might enjoy my pin board on that too (though most of it is not so much stuff for the road...but maybe stuff to try when you get back or before the trip): https://www.pinterest.com/galel/cave-science/
hipmomto3
by on May. 6, 2015 at 5:54 PM
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There is also a great little KOA just east of Denver... Strasburg? Something like that. Really convenient to the interstate. :) We have done hotels, camping, tried all different ways of making the trek! Good luck! 

No_Difference
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2015 at 8:02 PM
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I will definitely look into that book!! Thank you :) thanks for the link to your pinter estate board too :) we will see if we get a chance to explore more of CO I will try and convince to explore the cliff dwellings :)

Quoting Scribbleprints: Never been to Yellowstone so can't comment on that...but when you are in Colorado if you are going through Colorado Springs you'll want to visit Valley of the Gods (amazingly beautiful) and maybe the Cliff Dwellings in Manitou, near Col. Springs (they were moved from somewhere else, but still worth it...there's larger ones in Mesa Verde CO which were actually built there, but when we visited, didn't go that way).

Also, definitively hit up some Mexican Restaurants in Colorado. I'm from California and am now in Texas, so I've tasted some good Mexican food... and did not expect Colorado to have that, but it does, and it's unique (different in some ways from other Mexican food I've tasted) and really good.

If you hit up any Caves/Caverns I suggest reading One Small Square Cave by Donald M Silver. It's a kids guidebook on how to explore a cave, but also a book about caves and has experiments and activities you can do in the cave, and beautiful illustrations. We're just finishing a unit on caves...so you might enjoy my pin board on that too (though most of it is not so much stuff for the road...but maybe stuff to try when you get back or before the trip): https://www.pinterest.com/galel/cave-science/
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