The itinerary and budget really went hand-in-hand. This might be a good time to bring up the fact that I don’t camp … except that I do …. but not really, it was really an accident, I didn’t mean to start camping but I’m not good at staying at home and until I make my millions it seems to be my best (only?) available travel option …. but don’t tell my husband, we don’t need him knowing I’m willing to camp he’ll have me eating tree bark in the wilderness after a 12 mile hike uphill I just know it! – eak!
As far as the budget goes I needed to figure out how many nights we would have on the road in order to know what I was dealing with. My goal was to do as many of the nights as possible with hotel points (when I can get a good value for them). To figure how many nights there would be I started by splitting our drive up into 4 segments.
Starting Point: Southern California
Ending Point: Middle-Of-Nowhere-Oregon
Starting Point: Middle-Of-Nowhere-Oregon
End Point: Middle-Of-Nowhere-Massachusetts
Starting Point: Middle-Of-Nowhere-Massachusetts
Ending Point: Washington State
Starting Point: Washington State
End Point: Southern California
Segment 1 – I decided to make this part of the drive as quick possible since any time spent making this drive longer would have to come out of the front end and make the whole trip longer.
Day 1 – 9 hour drive; Hotel
Day 2 – 7 hour drive – Arrive!
Segment 1 complete! Well that wasn’t so bad.
Segment 2 – After reviewing how long the total drive was and how many days it would take if we were to drive straight through at about 8 hours; I decided 2 things. The first was we would probably abandon our car and fly home if we tried that particular plan. The second was it required more nights in hotels than I was hoping for.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this (or type this) – After looking at how many nights the drive was going to be and the fact that I wanted to add some extra nights and stops to break it up I decided camping for at least a portion of the trip was the best (or only) option. The upside is that camping goes hand-in-hand with stopping at National Parks along the way, which are a great family friendly, low cost destination and experience.
Day 1 – 8 hour drive; Hotel
Day 2 – 5 hour drive; Camping (what am I thinking!)
Day 3 – Yellowstone National Park
Day 4 – Yellowstone National Park
Day 5 – 5 hour drive, Hotel (home-sweet-hotel-home!)
Bighorn National Forest enroute
Wind Cave National Park enroute
Day 6 – 4 hour drive; Camping
Mount Rushmore enroute
Day 7 – Badlands National Park
Day 8 – 8 hour drive; Hotel
Day 9 – 10 hour drive; Hotel
Day 10 – 9 hour drive – Arrive!
Segment 2 complete! We hope! This is also the halfway point for our adventure. Hopefully the down time before segment 4 will be spent enjoying time with family and friends and not finding a place to live because I refuse to get back in the car!
Segment 3 – This is going to be very similar in pattern to segment 2 along a slightly different route with different sites to see!
Day 1 – 6 hour drive; Hotel
Howe Caverns enroute
Day 2 – Niagara Falls
Day 3 – 9 hour drive; Hotel
Day 4 – 8 hour drive; Hotel
Day 5 – 9 hour drive; Camping (here we go again!)
Day 6 – 9 hour drive; Camping
Day 7 – Glacier National Park
Day 8 – 9 hour drive – Arrive! (that wasn’t so bad)
Segment 3 complete, bottoms up!
Segment 4 – Home we head!
Day 1 – 7 hour drive; Camping (if I haven’t wimped out and started booking hotels yet)
Day 2 – 9 hour drive; Camping
Day 3 – Yosemite National Park
Day 4 – 6 hour drive; Hotel
Day 5 – 5 hour drive – Home-Sweet-Home!