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Old 02-01-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by maconswife View Post
Is the museum in Drumheller worth the 120mi trip out of the way? Is it small? We are planning to stop at the Mammoth dig site, mentioned above by another poster.
In a word, the Drumheller exhibit is WONDERFUL. My wife and I both enjoyed it immensely when we went through it a couple of years ago. As I was reading your plans I was going to suggest Drumheller for the whole family. It is well laid out, well thought out and a very fun place for your family.

While we were there I didn't hear one child complaining about the experience. In fact we hear more "Oh Wows" than anything else. I am sure you will really enjoy this place as a family.


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Old 02-02-2012, 11:55 AM   #16
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Day 8: Do not take the TT to Devil's Tower. Once on the National Monument grounds, there is no place to park the auto/TT mentioned in your post. You are correct, it will be a long day.

Day 9: Consider taking I90 to exit 274. Take 287 North to Helena. Get in I15 North there.

I have found consistent speed is best to maximize the miles per day. The Interstates provide that consistent speed. I cruise at 60 MPH. With potty, fuel and food stops I average 50 MPH. This is an Interstate highway statement. This is a cruise control statement. With the roads other than Interstate highways on your route, for me, it will be difficult to average 50 MPH for a day's travel.

Once on the Al-Can consider lowering your average MPH to 40-45.

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Old 02-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #17
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So the military is giving you __ days of traveltime?

What is wrong with taking a week or so of ORDINARY LEAVE adding on to the traveltime?

Just a thought (stress factor will be lowered a whole bunch).

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Old 02-02-2012, 04:00 PM   #18
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I haven't driven to Anchorage -- YET. It's on my list. As part of your family's learning experience, may I recommend that when you get to the merger of I-90 and I-94 in Montana (at Billings), detour about 30 miles east on I-94 to Pompey's Pillar. There you can see the last remaining physical evidence of the Lewis & Clark expedition. William Clark carved his name and the date in the rock of the pillar, and it's still there today. That's high on my bucket list when I travel that direction, probably next year.
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:38 PM   #19
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Some thoughts......
The dinosaur musem at Drumheller is great! Youngsters will love it.

I am torn between recommending, or not, the Icefields Parkway. The scenery is absolutely some of the most spectacular we have encountered in our 88,000 miles in the MH. Most of the grades are nothing severe, with the exception of northbound just north of Saskatchewan River Crossing. It is not windy, just a long, long grind uphill. If you have confidence in your tow vehicle - do it.
The other part of me says it is a lot of extra miles. Going directly up the 2 to Edmonton is an easy drive. From there follow the 43 W and NW to Dawson Creek and the Mile "0" marker on the Alaska Highway (not the Alcan, anymore).

All this time you will be on the eastern side of the Rockies, no bad grades (other than that mentioned). By the time you get to beautiful Muncho Lake in upper B.C., and in the midst of the Canadian Rockies, you will finally cross the Continental Divide and be surprised to know you have crossed over!

Most of the Alaskan Highway is along rivers or in a river valley - relatively easy travelling.
We found the worst part of the Highway is between Destruction Bay and the Alaska border. Yes, there are rough spots and, yes, they are well marked. Take it easy.

For the most part, I found Alaskan highways to be mostly 50 to 55 mph two-lane roads. If there is a frost heave it will probably be marked by an orange cone or flag at the shoulder.

This will be the "trip of a lifetime" for you and your children. Prepare well, drive safely and enjoy all that scenery God put out there.

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Old 02-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #20
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Being your Active Duty Military traveling with/under orders, you need to check this out and use these FamCamps where they assist with the route you are planning to take. U.S. Military Campgrounds and RV Parks

I have been reading your thread with great interest as I am planning a trip now myself from Seattle to Florida, with stops at the Carlsbad Caverns, and Sonora Caverns at Sonora, TX just north west of San Antonio, TX. I have decided to avoid all of CO except the Four Corners area to avoid Mountains (Not because I can not handle them, I just don't like the stress). We also only drive day light hours, as we found several years ago it is very hard to see and enjoy the sights in the dark as you drive along.

Like someone else said, don't over plan and make reservations that happen stance may make you miss, or cause you to bypass something interesting you stumble onto along the way. My first long trip I was going to make reservations for every stop along the way, until joining this forum, we then played it by ear and never had a problem.

I am making some reservation on my upcoming trip, but only because I have to work around taking a cruise in Florida and Family flying out to FL to spend time with us and mind the motorhome while we are on the cruise.

Relax and enjoy the trip, it will be as good for you as for your children.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:51 PM   #21
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We PCS'd from San Antonio to FT. Lewis,Washington back in the mid 80's and the Army gave us 10 days travel (400 miles a day back then). If your orders entail a partial Dity move(call the local transportation office) you can get an extension on the time allowed and then still use some of your normal leave. Had a friend PCS from Anchorage to FT. Riley, Kansas last year (partial Dity move) he got 17 travel days plus the leave he used.

Make sure you talk to transportation office- different folks in same office to find all of the little extras. Not everyone "knows" as much as they think, if your read the travel regulation you would be amazed at how much extra you are authorized with the right signatures.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:03 PM   #22
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If I were you I would re-think your plans to stay in Vaughn, NM. Try to make it to Clines Corner on I40 or Santa Rosa if you are going more to the east.

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Old 02-02-2012, 07:31 PM   #23
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I know I may be the odd voice out here, but is it essential that you preplan your entire trip? You are already overwhelmed and there are months left before you leave. How frustrated will you be if your carefully planned schedule gets destroyed? And it will, perhaps several times, over such a long trip with kids.

Could you instead collect info about possible routes and interesting sites and decide the next day's destination at the dinner table each night? I assume you will have an internet access device with you. You can find up to date road info online and get ideas for great adventures. Plan in some time to rest as well.

Have a safe and fun trip!
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #24
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I'm a planner. I think it comes with the mom territory. And a worrier.

My plan isn't a set in stone kind of thing- just a good guideline of where we want to go, what we want to see and do, and the best ways to get there. I absolutely do not want to find us in a situation like our last trip with the GPS snafu! That was terrifying!

Most of these places (okay, all of them) we've never seen and it's important I ask for all of your wisdom- you've been there, done that. So, naturally, you know the best ways to go and the roads that should be avoided. (Thanks for the tip on Devil's Tower; we'll skip it.)

I've set aside 3 days for the Black Hills area and another 3 for the Icefields Parkway. It seems to be one of the most beautiful areas and 3 days will give us plenty of time to gawk. I'm planning to spend two nights in the Whitehorse area to just relax and play tourist. As you can see, we are not in a huge hurry, but we are under time constraints. As I have it planned now, it's going to take us 23 days. Through the US, I'm planning to travel around 300 miles each day, but I'm cutting that down to around 200 in Canada. I don't want to push the kids too much...or the truck. And there's the not so little consideration that our youngest is nursing and eats every 2 hours or so. On the other hand, that should coincide nicely with regular potty breaks for the older ones.

We're in a tight spot with our time limitations. My husband's report date is set. Prior to that, he has a class to go to, then his current unit is requiring one week (M-F) for out-processing, and we can't leave until that Friday afternoon when he's released. (Hence, our plan to not go past Ft. Stockton.) Plus, my worry-wort nature makes me need to have a cushion of time built into our schedule. I finished our itinerary today and I'm happy to say we will have 5 extra days for "just in case." If all goes well, we should be in Anchorage by my birthday! Yay.

We are doing a DITY move; I'm sick of having my stuff stolen and broken due to carelessness. I have to pack it all up, but someone is is going to drive it.

Aside from Devil's Tower, does anyone see anything wrong with the highways Yahoo chose for us? Also, I put Drumheller into Yahoo maps, and it suggested taking CA-1E to Hwy 21N then E on Hwy 72/9. Has anyone gone this way with a tt? I'm considering just continuing on through Calgary, exiting onto 72, dropping the tt off in Beiseker's rv park and continuing on to the museum. What do you think?

We'll backtrack through Calgary to the Icefields Pkwy, to Jasper, then hit the Yellowhead Hwy to Edmonton. For some bizarre reason, my husband wants to go to the mall. If you went to Edmonton, where was your favorite place to stay/eat? I'm hoping to make it to Dawson's Creek when the farmer's market is open (Saturdays).

From there, I'll look for a campsite somewhere after Fort St. John (maybe as far as the Sikanni River Campground), visit Trapper's Den, the Ft. Nelson Heritage Museum, and stop at Toad River Lodge. We want to visit the Liard River Hotsprings and possibly stop at Coal River Lodge for lunch. (Is it yummy?) From there, we're off to Watson Lake to see the Sign Post Forest and the Northern Lights Centre. I want to see the Rancheria Falls Recreation Area. From there, we're off to Whitehorse.

At Whitehorse, there seems to be a lot that would appeal to my boys, so we'll stop here for the night, spend the next day playing, and leave the following morning. Since we will be living in bear country and that's pretty new for us (well, the kids- not me), I plan to have them listen to the bear safety program at Klaun Nation Park Visitor Center. Somehow, I think having them hear from a stranger in a uniform that bears are not sweet, fluffy critters to be squeezed will have more of an impression than hearing it from the same people that say to eat your vegetables. Klaun Museum of Natural History, Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, camp somewhere in the Tok area, take the Tok Cutoff. We will stop somewhere along the way, probably 155-200mi out of Tok. I'd like to see the Musk Ox farm, but we'll live reasonably close to it, so I'm fine with skipping it right now. Drop the trailer in Palmer or on post and go explore. I want to get the lay of the land before I make contact with a realtor and figure out where we want to be and how far is a reasonable distance for my husband to commute.

So, along this route, are there any RV parks you do-or don't- recommend? Any good places to eat? I'll mostly cook, but it would be nice to not have to do dishes every night. I'm really sad Mukluk Annie's closed; we were looking forward to stopping there. (Yes, we've been trying to get AK for a few years now, and I got an old copy of The Milepost at the library when we began dreaming. )

Thanks for the advice and tips. I'm going to incorporate as many as possible into our trip. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with a newbie and family.
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Old 02-03-2012, 04:05 PM   #25
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Instead of staying in RV parks every night, you might consider overnighting at Walmart or a rest area some nights if you can. Maybe drive longer some days so you can play longer the next

You can park free in any US. National forest as long as you drive at least 1/4 mile off the paved road. We did this at the Grand Canyon. Just 5 miles from the south
rim visitor center you will find several forest service roads that are easy access and I found several that had fire rings made of stones. It sure beat paying for a noisy cramped space in an RV park.

Have fun!

Barb (RVM18), Sena (capuchin monkey, RVM Head Mascot) & Lily (Maltese/Yorkie)
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