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Old 04-16-2014, 08:31 PM   #1
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Exclamation Need Advice on Cross Country trip!!!

Hello and thank you in advance for any help in planning my road trip . I have 45 days, 2 kids (7-11 yoa) my wife and a 2013 Ford Flex towing a 2004 Jayco Kiwi 18f trailer camper. Looking for best route from NJ to California and must see attractions, best parks to camp or any advise. Would like to come back from the south of the Country but NO FLORIDA on my way back home. Have to go by Texas though. I was thinking MT Rushmore, Yellowstone, California (from san Francisco down, visit vineyards, the big trees place , Hollywood for my daughter) VEGAS, Grand Canyon, Utah parks ( heared there are nice places to visit here) and that's all I have for now. Any help with advise will be greatly appreciated. I would also like to spend a week at least on a campground by a beach in California. Heared there are many. Thank you all

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Old 04-16-2014, 11:44 PM   #2
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O.K.... Are you sitting down? For lack of something to do I made you the most direct route for seeing all the things you want from New Jersey, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, CA Redwoods to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Grand Canyon, a few Utah parks and Texas (didn't know where exactly), and finally back to New Jersey.

NJ to California is 4300 miles taking in all you want to do.
California to Texas and back home is 3300 miles
TOTAL: 7600 miles!!!
Estimate 300 miles driving days day after day it would take you 25 days of solid driving; plus 1 week at a beach = 32 days. Then you have to figure in days for all your stops/siteseeing. You honestly cannot do it in 45 days especially with a 7 & 11 yr. old.

I would suggest you get a paper atlas from WalMart and highlight this whole route and then choose what you really NEED to see in this one trip.

Here's the route:
Starting in New Jersey at I-80, go to Omaha, Nebraska and north on I-29 to I-90 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. (Mt. Rushmore) Then I-90 to Buffalo, Wyoming
Pick up Hwy 16 to Worland, WY, North to Greybull and west on 14/20 to Cody, WY and into Yellowstone.
Leaving Yellowstone head south through Grand Teton Nat'l Park to Hwy 26 west to Idaho Falls, ID.
Take I-15 to I-84 to Boise, ID. Then US20 to Bend, OR to US97 south/138 west to Diamond Lake, Oregon/Crater Lake Nat'l Park.
230/62 south to Medford, OR; 199 west to Crescent City, California at CA 101 and the Redwoods. THIS IS 3300 MILES.

Follow 101 south to San Francisco to SR1 along the ocean (beach time 1 week somewhere) to Los Angeles (Hollywood for daughter).
SR210 east to I-15 north to I-40 east at Barstow, CA to Grand Canyon Nat'l Park. Exit the park via Hwy 64 east to Hwy 89 north to Zion NP, Hwy 12 east to Bryce NP and Capitol Reef NP.
SR95 to US191 Bluff, Utah to US64 at Shiprock, New Mexico. US 491 to Gallup, NM.
Pick up I-40 east to Albuquerque, NM, Amarillo, TX and 287 into Dallas or wherever you need to be in Texas.
Return home to New Jersey via I-30, I-40, I-81, I-76, I-276.
Crescent City, CA to home is 4300 miles

Personally, I wouldn't advise trying to do a trip like this. You wouldn't be a happy camper and your children surely wouldn't be. You might consider flying to Denver and renting a car for moteling or renting a RV (expensive); or cutting out a lot of stops. Good luck with your plans!

Full-timed for 16 Years
. . . Back in S&B Again
Traveled in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:08 AM   #3
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I have to agree with twogypsies. It won't take long at 300 miles/day for everyone to get irritable, being confined in a car. Your intended stops do not include anything you will see along the way or a scheduled stop taking longer to see than planned.

Perhaps you can split your trip, the northern half this year, the southern part next year. When I was working and the kids were about your kids ages, we crammed a lot into a weeks vacation. The only thing it did was cure my kids of ever wanting to RV again.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:09 AM   #4
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Patrol. Absolutely DO NOT MAKE THIS TRIP A CHORE. 300mi/day is about right. 4 people crammed in the car/trailer for 45 days will make for some UNHAPPY campers. See if there are ares that can be eliminated. We stayed just in the canyons of Utah for 3 weeks and still did not see it all. Are you biting off more then you can chew ???
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:34 AM   #5
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I agree with the Judge. Two years ago the wife and I did the northern route. We took 70 days in the fall when there were no crowds, and never went south of Colorado. After traveling a long ways to get to a beautiful place, it would be a shame to take a quick peek and then leave.
By the way if you drop down to I-70 you could visit St. Louis,Mo., and enjoy the Gateway arch, the Louis and Clark Exhibits, ride on a Mississippi river boat, visit the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Etc.. and rest a day before heading north to Sioux Falls. And I think that the Badlands of South Dakota are worth a day or two before you get to Rushmore. JMHO.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:17 PM   #6
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Several years ago my wife and I and our then 8 and 12 year old daughters took 26 days and drove from California to New York. Must awesome thing we have ever done but couldn't imagine doing it in in a car pulling a trailer. I paid $6500 cash for 1985 Winnebago had it all checked out, drove the heck out of it and sold it for $6500 when we got home.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:45 PM   #7
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There are just too many things to see and do to cram into 45 days. My wife and I left Seattle, WA in January, drove to California down I-5 as we have see the Red Woods to Bakersfield, over to Phoenix, AZ, then down to Deming, NM, up to Albuquerque, NM, back down to Carlsbad Cravens, then into Texas and across to Houston, & Livingston, TX. From there to New Orleans, LA, Mobile, AL, and down to Key West. From Key West we went to Philly, PA then turned west stopping in WI and then SD at Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, then on to Yellowstone National Park and home to Seattle from there. We got home the first week of June and put just a shade over 10K miles on the Motor Home.

All of the places listed are great to visit, but each of them takes time to be really appreciated as they should be. I would suggest you sit down with the Family and make a list of each place a family member would like to see (Maybe need to have a US Map when you do this), then sit at the computer and use Google Maps or Expedia maps or any other where you can list your starting point and each of the locations you wish to visit. That will show you the shortest or quickest route, mileage between points and total mileage.

You can then refine that to suit a daily travel schedule (Some days you may travel longer/farther then others) and cut it down to the must see locations and allow enough time to really see what the location has to offer. Some places part of a day is enough and others a full week would not be enough, so you have some work cut out to plan a good trip for everyone in the family.

Good Luck and ask more questions as you get into this deeper. Don't discount the Oregon Coast when looking at coastal locations to see, there are more there then in California in my view.
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:51 AM   #8
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July 24 is Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City. Good luck getting a campground without reservations way before then.

4th of July anywhere out west you need reservations way in advance.

Temperatures in Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California will be over 100 degrees almost everyday in the July, August time frame.

Campgrounds anywhere near the ocean in June, July and August are normally booked solid.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just stating the facts as I've experienced them.

You WILL run into road construction and that can slow you down on some days.

Enjoy your trip, I know it will be memorable.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:26 AM   #9
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Wow, did this twice from NJ along the north route, the last time with 3 grand kiids 8-5-3yrs. #1 don't make any long term reservations. #2 sign up for Passport America. #3 have a copy of Next Exit. #4 get a National Park Pass. Better yet where in NJ are you?
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:36 AM   #10
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I really thank you all for your comments and advise. I know that time on the road is a major player in this trip. My intentions are to make it to Cali as soon as possible and then take it easy from there. I know that kids could get silly but will have to adjust. I really don't want to stop at every silly attraction but do plan to stop at the most important ones for us. I really wished I had more time. Thank you again for your help!
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:37 AM   #11
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I am in Kenilworth, Nj.
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:45 AM   #12
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TWO GYPSIES... thank you so much for taking your time to route trip and opinion. I really appreciate it and will def consider modifying my trip. Thanks!!
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:52 AM   #13
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I plan to leave on June 15th or so till AUG 1ST.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:01 PM   #14
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We have taken several cross-country trips with our pop-up. We have 5 kids so it has really saved us on hotel costs. Last summer we used it to visit our 2 older kids who are now married and in college.

This is what I have learned in my 8 years with the pop-up:

My kids are amazing travellers. I know from experience that we can do long driving days and still have a bit of energy left for setting up and enjoying our evening.

We include everyone in the set up and take down process. Many hands make light work.

Air conditioning is a must. Bunk end covers really do make a difference. We got ours here: http://www.popupgizmos.com/

We like to drive longer days to get to our destination, and then stay for a few days. That said, we have made a few memorable "pauses" to check out cool local sights.

We take occasional breaks from the camper by crashing with relatives for a few days. We have even taken breaks from relatives by crashing in the camper!

If you have the desire and time to do extended travel with your kids, you will never, EVER regret it. Good luck, and feel free to message for more info.
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