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Old 08-29-13, 09:27 AM   #1
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Anyone ever just decide to pack up one day and head somewhere for a long road trip?

I am in a possible situation where I might have a new job opportunity. So, between the job I have right now, and the new job, I'm thinking about taking 2 weeks to just get out and travel out west. Currently I'm pretty much stuck here in central IL.

Who has experience traveling via car for a couple weeks in places like Colorado, Utah, etc...? One thing that might put a stop to it, is that we have a 3 month old.

We really want to go see places like Arches National Park, check out towns like Aspen, Breckenridge. Maybe go to Black Hills national forest... but this isn't a must for me at this point.

Any advice? Too much trouble for a car trip with a 3 month old? 2 weeks not enough time to enjoy it all? I'm thinking we might have to just choose 1 place and stay in that area... but maybe not? What are your favorite places to visit out west? West meaning not *too* far west. A trip to California for me is out of the question, or Washington, Oregon, etc...
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Old 08-29-13, 09:36 AM   #2
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Not with a 3-month old, I wouldn't. Also talk with your spouse.

I use to live in New Mexico and liked going up to Colorado. However both I-70 and I-80 are nothing but boring to drive from Illinois.

I'd recommend just staying near home and seeing local sights.
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Old 08-29-13, 09:40 AM   #3
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Make sure you are comfortable driving in the mountains and that your vehicle is up to all the ascending and descending. I LOVE Colorado, but I do not so much love driving in Colorado in the car I have. Give me a Jeep or similar vehicle that is made for going up and down steep grades and I am a happy camper.

I have not found anyplace in Colorado that I do not like. Have spent time in Estes Park, Grand Lake and Lake City and done quite a few day trips to various areas like Vail, Aspen, Boulder, etc.

I would love to see the Grand Tetons, Yosemite, Utah, Grand Canyon, etc.

I do not mind driving and would love to just take two weeks and go and see places. We did not travel with our little ones that much, normally left them at home wtih grandma and grandpa, so no input there.
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Old 08-29-13, 09:45 AM   #4
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Do it. Don't overthink it.

I do think that Utah and Colorado may be stretching it though. With a baby, I'd want to travel less, unless you really want to chew up half of your time just driving. Nothing wrong with that, but you have to enjoy it. There's plenty of places to visit that are closer to you. If you want mountains, how about the Ozarks or Great Smoky Mountains. Maximize your get out, wander around and relax time.

Slap your mountain bike on back and come out to Arkansas and enjoy the Womble Trail, a world class mountain bike trail. The Buffalo National River is great kayaking. Big Spring is enormous. There are a lot of caves near Branson, and plenty of family entertainment there. Lots of fishing in all the lakes. And it's all pretty close to you.
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Old 08-29-13, 11:36 AM   #5
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I am in a possible situation where I might have a new job opportunity. So, between the job I have right now, and the new job, I'm thinking about taking 2 weeks to just get out and travel out west. Currently I'm pretty much stuck here in central IL.

Who has experience traveling via car for a couple weeks in places like Colorado, Utah, etc...? One thing that might put a stop to it, is that we have a 3 month old.

We really want to go see places like Arches National Park, check out towns like Aspen, Breckenridge. Maybe go to Black Hills national forest... but this isn't a must for me at this point.

Any advice? Too much trouble for a car trip with a 3 month old? 2 weeks not enough time to enjoy it all? I'm thinking we might have to just choose 1 place and stay in that area... but maybe not? What are your favorite places to visit out west? West meaning not *too* far west. A trip to California for me is out of the question, or Washington, Oregon, etc...
Oh heck yes... have done this via bicycle (long tours between jobs) and in the car. The 3 month old complicates things a bit, but consider at that age, they are "packable" by putting them into a car seat/carrier. At three months they are a bit young to put into a backpack, which would make things even easier.

All the trips I have done involved camping to some extent. The last trip I took like this was back about 3 years ago when I did a trip around the west with my wife... we camped in a couple of parks in CA, then went to Oregon, stayed with family for a day there, then up to Puget Sound where we camped on Orcas Island. We then headed back to Oregon, then off to Idaho, camping in places like "the wilderness gateway" for a day or two. Finally we headed to the Grand Tetons, and ultimately Yellowstone, where we spent a week at each park. Incredibly beautiful.

We also stopped in Utah in the old state capitol before stopping in with relatives in AZ and heading home. The whole trip took just over a month.

Years ago I did bike tours to Texas, around So Cal, down the CA coast, and Baja, and northern AZ/Utah... all different trips, all at least 2 weeks or more.

With the baby you have the issue of needing more support, and thus perhaps motels, and certainly I would ensure I had good warm gear for all if camping, and limit the camping. If you have a camper or RV (or can rent one) your pack up and travel issues become easier at each site.

The baby won't remember a bit of this, but you will have a lot of close time together as a family.

Throw away schedules and just take it all in stride... and take the baby to relatives... let the family see the new face.
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Old 08-29-13, 12:14 PM   #6
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Utah, Montana when it's warm, and Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are all favorite spots.

The black hills are cool, but you will have more fun with better scenery if you drive further.

It might be getting late in the season to be that far north and high in elevation, but Missoula and Glacier National park are ****ing fantastic places to visit and enjoy being outside in some of the world's best wilderness, and plus you won't be surrounded by hillbillies, instead it's like Berkeley in the 60's, including the vintage cars and hippies.
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Old 08-29-13, 01:55 PM   #7
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A three month old may be easier than a toddler if he/she is still sleeping a lot. When I lived in MD we did the drive to New England with an infant without any difficulty (7-8hrs).
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Old 08-29-13, 07:36 PM   #8
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If you have two weeks, just pick a few places with day's drive between them, spend a few days in each place and see the local sites. The places you could pcik can have a famous natl or state park, but spend a day or two seeing the local sights. I've found it to be quite rewarding, and found a lot of cool places. If you're an Auto Club member you can get a travel book at their local office for particular states and see what sites the recommend around a city/famous place. And don't overthink or overplan your schedule - nothing ruins a good vacation like rushing around trying to 'see' everything. No harm in just 'vegging out for a day, just sitting back beside a pool watching the grass grow.
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Old 08-29-13, 08:17 PM   #9
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If you have two weeks, just pick a few places with day's drive between them, spend a few days in each place and see the local sites. The places you could pcik can have a famous natl or state park, but spend a day or two seeing the local sights. I've found it to be quite rewarding, and found a lot of cool places. If you're an Auto Club member you can get a travel book at their local office for particular states and see what sites the recommend around a city/famous place. And don't overthink or overplan your schedule - nothing ruins a good vacation like rushing around trying to 'see' everything. No harm in just 'vegging out for a day, just sitting back beside a pool watching the grass grow.
+1. That's why I suggested the Ozarks. It's different than Illinois, plenty to see and one day of driving there or back.
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Old 08-29-13, 08:37 PM   #10
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do it,
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Old 08-29-13, 08:38 PM   #11
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Yeah when I was 17, took of traveled across the us and Canada. Good times.
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Old 08-29-13, 08:38 PM   #12
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3 months old is the perfect time to travel. They still sleep a bunch and the car usually keeps them snoozing. Find places where you can walk around with a stroller and have a good time. I do think 2 weeks is a bit long, you might be ready to pack it in after a week. Find family friendly attractions and hotels, which shouldn't be a problem, especially with internet research.
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Old 08-29-13, 10:48 PM   #13
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I did a couple trips with my parents when I was a teenager in the opposite direction: Southern California to the Midwest and back. If you're planning on 2 weeks, I wouldn't go much further than Utah or Wyoming.

Don't drive all day and then expect to enjoy the evening- drive 4 to 5 hours, stop, explore, find someplace to spend the night. Lather, rinse, repeat. Take pictures of the kid as you go along- you can torture him (her) with the photos when they're a teenager.
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Old 08-30-13, 02:30 AM   #14
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Anyone ever just decide to pack up one day and head somewhere for a long road trip?
Yes ... many times. I've done heaps of shorter trips in Canada, US, Europe, and Australia, but of note would be ...

2004 - I quit my job, gave up my apartment, packed up my stuff, and headed to Australia for a 3-month cycling tour:
http://www.machka.net/australia/ride.htm

2012 - Rowan and I took about 8 months and did a multi-modal trip around the world ... Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Europe, Canada, US, and Australia:
http://www.machka.net/RTW_2012/RTW_2012.htm


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Who has experience traveling via car for a couple weeks in places like Colorado, Utah, etc...? One thing that might put a stop to it, is that we have a 3 month old.

We really want to go see places like Arches National Park, check out towns like Aspen, Breckenridge. Maybe go to Black Hills national forest... but this isn't a must for me at this point.

Any advice? Too much trouble for a car trip with a 3 month old? 2 weeks not enough time to enjoy it all? I'm thinking we might have to just choose 1 place and stay in that area... but maybe not? What are your favorite places to visit out west? West meaning not *too* far west. A trip to California for me is out of the question, or Washington, Oregon, etc...
On our 6-week trek through the US in late 2012, we spent some time in Colorado/Utah ... beautiful part of the world!!
http://www.machka.net/RTW_2012/RTW_N...erica_2012.htm

Lots of photos of various parts of the US including Colorado and Utah ...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7630063425035/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...7632647183684/


2 weeks is pretty short for a decent trip. Is there any way you can take 3 weeks or a month?

If you do only have 2 weeks, I'd suggest spending a few days at Ruby's Inn near Bryce Canyon, so you can check out Bryce Canyon and Zion. And a few days in Grand Junction, so you can check out Colorado National Monument and Arches National Park. There are heaps of photos of all of that (except Zion) in the above photo links.



Incidentally, I started travelling when I was about 3 months old. My parents love travelling, and having children certainly didn't stop them.

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Old 08-30-13, 02:50 AM   #15
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We packed up the house today and are currently on a road trip we have been looking forward to for many years...

Our baby is our 15 year old cat, a toddler would be easier to deal with.
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Old 08-30-13, 02:56 PM   #16
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I am in a possible situation where I might have a new job opportunity. So, between the job I have right now, and the new job, I'm thinking about taking 2 weeks to just get out and travel out west. Currently I'm pretty much stuck here in central IL.

Who has experience traveling via car for a couple weeks in places like Colorado, Utah, etc...? One thing that might put a stop to it, is that we have a 3 month old.
We really want to go see places like Arches National Park, check out towns like Aspen, Breckenridge. Maybe go to Black Hills national forest... but this isn't a must for me at this point.

Any advice? Too much trouble for a car trip with a 3 month old? 2 weeks not enough time to enjoy it all? I'm thinking we might have to just choose 1 place and stay in that area... but maybe not? What are your favorite places to visit out west? West meaning not *too* far west. A trip to California for me is out of the question, or Washington, Oregon, etc...
I say you'd be a fool to even try to take a 3 month old on a road trip....unless it involves rode trippin' down to the local market to buy pampers and baby food/supplies.
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Old 08-30-13, 04:30 PM   #17
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You might might be surprised to know that don't need to go any further west than Wisconsin to have a great vacation.
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Old 08-30-13, 10:55 PM   #18
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So I do agree on Lake of the Ozarks.... but we've been there... a lot! I have family that lives in Osage Beach, so we've been in that area so much I can't even count the times. As far as Wisconsin, we've lived up there a few years ago... done the Door County thing, Madison, Milwaukee, etc... Haven't ventured north west Wisconsin though... but really not interested in doing that - yet. I think I'm just gonna wait and see what happens with the job opportunity. If I don't get it, then it's a no brainer... we won't be takin' the trip... it'd be unthinkable to take that long of a vacay where I'm currently at :-( I've been to the east coast, pretty much up and down the East coast from Maine to New York City. Been to Florida, haven't been to Louisiana. Been to the other Appalachian mtn states like PA, NY, VA, WV, KY. Have been to TN but only for a short visit, didn't really get to explore. But I've (we've) never went west of Missouri & Iowa... even Iowa we've never been past the eastern part of the state. Another thing to note is that my wife is possibly preggers again!! I feel like we've gotta take a trip soon before she gets too imobile! When she was pregnant with our 3 month - she was down for the count past basically 7 months pregnant :-O
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Old 08-31-13, 04:50 AM   #19
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But I've (we've) never went west of Missouri & Iowa... even Iowa we've never been past the eastern part of the state.
Then you must go to Colorado and Utah ... you'll be blown away.

And travelling with a 3-month old might lead to instilling a desire to travel in your 3-month old. When he/she gets older he/she might want to travel the world.
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Old 08-31-13, 05:43 AM   #20
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I say you'd be a fool to even try to take a 3 month old on a road trip....unless it involves rode trippin' down to the local market to buy pampers and baby food/supplies.
This. A 3 month old will get nothing from a road trip and if it isn't happy, you will get even less out of it than the child. People do it and my wife and I did it, but it wasn't fun.
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Old 08-31-13, 06:50 AM   #21
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Then you must go to Colorado and Utah ... you'll be blown away.
Colorado Monument ...





On the way to Arches National Park ...





Arches National Park ...





Pike's Peak ...



Bryce Canyon ...





Click photos for lots and lots more ... but they just don't do it justice. That area has to be seen to be believed!
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Old 08-31-13, 07:13 AM   #22
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Do it. Don't overthink it.
This.
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Old 08-31-13, 05:53 PM   #23
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Colorado Monument ...





On the way to Arches National Park ...





Arches National Park ...





Pike's Peak ...



Bryce Canyon ...





Click photos for lots and lots more ... but they just don't do it justice. That area has to be seen to be believed!
If you haven't been out west, you've gotta come out here and see all this. Get thee to the Rocky Mtn states.
I'm from New England. 20 years ago I went to Wyoming on a vacation. I pretty much went home and packed my stuff and moved to WY. After a few years I moved to Colorado (to be closer to Utah).
Now I live in Colorado at the foot of the Colorado National Monument (Grand Junction). I try not to take it for granted that the CNM is a regular road ride for me.
All the great rocks out here motivated me to go to college (in my 30s) to get a degree in geology.
You never know where life will take you.
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