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6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

Brooklyn, New York
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6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

I'm new here and have had so much fun reading the previous posts. You all offer such valuable insight and info; thanks so much!

This summer, I am taking a 6-8 week road trip with three little ones (8,6,3), and we are hoping for little nuggets of wisdom to help us along on our journey.

The plan is to take the Oregon Trail Route from Boston to Oregon, and then down the West Coast to Los Angeles, where we will take Route 66 to Texas, drive down to Austin, and then head to the Carolinas.

I know it's quite ambitious; it's hard to get a true sense of travel time and stops, this being our first time, but we feel we can cover both routes based on our research.

We will be in a mini-van, and stopping for lodging at friend's homes, some hotels, and hopefully a few camp sites.

We have a generous budget and would love to make kid-friendly stops as frequently as possible on both routes.

Our must-sees are Yellow Stone, Grand Canyon, San Francisco, and as many Route 66 roadside attractions as possible.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Thank you!!

Marcellus, New York
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1. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

In my opinion, this is probably too ambitious a plan, and I would bet you will find that this is way too much car time for the kids. We did 8000 miles in about six weeks (mapquest estimate before the trip was that it would be well under 6000 miles) and it was way more than I want to do again (and we didn't cover nearly the area that you are proposing). Our trip was fun, but there were some marathon driving days sprinkled in there.

Cleveland
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2. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

The trip report in post 73 of the trip report thread may be helpful if you haven't yet read it:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12567-k6822250…

Aubrey, Texas
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3. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

It sounds like a great trip to make. Is it your plan to drive to Independence then follow the Oregon Trail closely? Or will it be in a more general way making stops at main sites like Ft. Laramie? Looks like you leave the trail at Casper to go to Yellowstone. From there I suggest you go on to Grand Tetons NP and Jackson. Rejoin the trail at Pocotello enroute to Portland.

My rough calculation makes that 3400-3500 miles. Unless you spend some long days on the road, you'll easily take 3 weeks to get to Oregon, allowing 5-6 days for Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, but probably more than that. So I think it'll be more like an 8 week trip to finish out the rest of the itinerary. It's possible given the long stretches of Interstates out West where you can make good time on the road. You may have to content yourself with hitting only the Rt. 66 highlights, though.

I would get a rough idea of when you'll get to Wyoming and get cracking on NP campground reservations ASAP.

Minneapolis
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4. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

How good of travelers are your kids? I'm not so concerned with the 8 & 6 yos as I am the 3 yo. My kids were pretty good travelers because my parents live 350 miles away and they are used to 6-8 hour car trips. With a child that young, they are often not content to be strapped in for more than a couple of hours. Believe me, I know every park and McDonald's Play place (for winter drives) between my house and my parents. Stopping every couple hours is mandatory for everyone's sanity. Of course that takes extra time which Google Maps doesn't account for.

One other thing we used to do on heavy driving days was to leave really early in the morning. Keep kids still in PJs and let them sleep in the car until breakfast. Stop for breakfast around 8 or 9.

The good news is there are plenty of electronics to keep kids busy in the car these days.

Norwich, United...
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5. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

A couple of other places along the Oregon Trail route that you might like to visit:

At Scottbluff, Nebraska there's a good museum and visitor center at the base, and good views at the top. (BTW the town doesn't have a space in its name but the national monument does.)

Near Baker City, Oregon there's an excellent Oregon Trail museum.

In addition, just south of the mouth of the Columbia at Astoria, Fort Clatsop is a reconstruction of the fort where Lewis and Clark overwintered before setting off for their return journey to St Louis (not Oregon Trail of course, but extremely interesting nevertheless).

Brooklyn, New York
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6. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

Thank you so much for this. I, too, was a little worried about the kids being on the road for so long. I'm hoping that the planned frequent stops to break it up quite a bit plus the bevy of electronics, games, and snacks in tow, will help things go smoothly. I also, plan to do the bulk of driving during my youngest child's regular 2-hour nap time whenever possible.

Our current driving itinerary has the trip lasting 30 days if we drive an average of 6 hours each day (our maximum). We have 15 extra days to add to stopovers in our favorite spots, and I'm also hoping that the break in daily drives every 4-5 days will help with the routine.

Brooklyn, New York
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7. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

Thank you so much for all of the traveling advice.

I thought I could reply back to each of you individually, but I'm a newbie, and can't quite figure that out.

Thank you for all the stopover advice, especially the NP reservations. I'm on it!

For Route 66, we plan to travel as close to the route as possible, but we are open to doing mostly highlights if the detours add too much driving time.

Those are good tips about Nebraska and The Oregon Trail; we'll definitely have to check that out!

Seriously- THANK YOU all immensely for sharing your insight with our family. You have all definitely added to our trip's quality, and your advice is appreciated.

Feel free to send along any other wise nuggets that come to mind.

Tacoma, Washington
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8. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

Have you done road trips with your kids before? If not look at maybe just doing the Carolinas as a test run.

If this is a trip of a lifetime thing I feel you should wait a couple of years till your youngest is a little older to then be able to remember the trip. I was about the agge of your youngest when My family went to florida to see grandparents and visit disney the first year it opened. I remember nothing of that trip. In a couple of years your kids probably would be able to appreciate the oregon trail more.

9. Re: 6-8 Weeks on the Road with 3 kiddos in tow!

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