The Planning Begins!

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Family night turned into a planning night as we dedicated the evening to mapping out the route for our big vacation next summer. This is one of those “once if a lifetime” trips that have been talked about and dreamt about for years. It is now going to be a reality. Toby is busy turning our school bus (purchased this summer at an auction) into an RV. Now we need to begin mapping out our route and booking our campsites.

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So that became the activity for family night.

The kids all weighed in with opinions and wishes. Oh, if only we could see them all! But, alas, we had to trim the fat (so to speak) and make tough decisions. Even with all our cutting, trimming, and refiguring we were left with a 24 day trip around the western United States…and a very full trip at that. We recognize this will probably be the only time we will take this particular trip, especially with our kids getting older, so we are trying to fit as many sites into this trip as we can.

We would love to hear from those of you who are familiar with some of these sites or who have made this trip yourselves. Any suggestions, recommendations, or things you’d do differently? What are the “must see sites” you’d recommend? Nothing is written in stone, so now is the time to share your knowledge and expertise. We’d love to hear it! 🙂

Here is the final schedule we came up with…our itinerary…for our family trip of a lifetime.

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Day 1- Leave home, travel all day to St. Louis, Missouri

in our big yellow school bus turned RV. (Travel= 10 hours)

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(Camp at St. Louis NE KOA)

Day 2- Tour St. Louis arch, drive through my old hometown of Waynesville, MO and onto Branson, MO. (Travel= 4 hours total)

arch

(Camp at Branson, MO KOA)

Day 3- wake early and spend day at Silver Dollar City.(Travel= 0 hours)

silver

(Camp at the same campground)

Day 4- Travel to Independence, MO where we will spend the day visiting Mimi Joy. (Travel= 3 1/2 hours)

IMG_6058 (2)

(Camp at Kansas City East, Kansas KOA)

Day 5- Travel all day to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, CO. (Travel= 11 hours)

(Camp at Alamosa KOA)

Day 6- Spend day at Great Sand Dunes National Park.(Travel= 0 hours)

sand

(Camp at same campground)

Day 7- Drive to Mesa Verde where we will spend the day touring Mesa Verde and Four Corners. (Travel=  4 hours)

four corners mesa verde

(Camp at Cortez/Mesa Verde KOA)

Day 8- Drive 5 hours to Bryce Canyon National Park. Hike and camp.(Travel= 5 hours)

bryce

(Camp at Cannonville/Bryce Valley, Utah KOA)

Day 9- Drive to Zion National Park. Spend 1/2 day hiking and exploring then drive onto St. George, UT. (Travel= 4 hours total)

zion

(Camp at St. George/Hurricane, Utah KOA)

Day 10- View Grand Canyon and drive through Las Vegas strip. (Travel= 3 hours)

grand canyon

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(Camp at Las Vegas, NV KOA)

Day 11- Drive to Sequoia National Park. (Travel= 6 hours)

sequoia

(Camp Visalia/ Sequoia, CA KOA)

Day 12- Tour Sequoia National Park and drive onto Yosemite to spend the night. (Travel= 2 hours)

yosemite

(Camp at Yosemite West/ Mariposa, CA KOA)

Day 13- Tour Yosemite National Park and then drive onto Great Basin National Park to spend the night. (Travel= 7 hours)

great basin

(Camp at Great Basin/Ely KOA)

Day 14- Drive to Provo, UT (Travel= 4 hours)

(Camp at Salt Lake City, Utah KOA)

Day 15- Tour Temple Square/ SLC (Travel time= 0 hours)

temple

(Camp at the same campground)

Day 16- Drive 4 hours to Rexburg, Idaho and then through the Grand Tetons. (Travel time= 8 hours total)

tetons

(Camp at Yellowstone Park/Westgate KOA)

Day 17- Spend the day exploring Yellowstone National Park and then drive onto Devil’s Tower Monument.(Travel= 4 1/2 hours)

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(Camp at Devil’s Tower KOA)

devils tower

Day 18- Spend the day touring Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Monument.(Travel= 2 hours)

mt rushmore crazy horse

(Camp at Mt. Rushmore KOA)

Day 19- Enjoy Rapid City, South Dakota. (Travel= 0 hours)

(Camp at the same campground)

Day 20- Visit Wall Drug and Badlands National Park. (Travel= 2 hours)

wall drug badlands

(Camp at Badlands/ White River KOA)

Day 21- Drive 4 hours to De Smet, South Dakota to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home and then onto Mitchell, South Dakota to see to corn palace. (Travel= 5 hours total)

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(Camp at Mitchell, SD KOA)

Day 22- Drive to Nauvoo, Illinois . (Travel= 8 1/2 hours)

(Camp)

Day 23- Tour Nauvoo, Il and then onto Hannibal, MO- birthplace of Mark Twain. (Travel= 2 hours)

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(Camp at Springfield KOA)

Day 24- Drive 10 hours home.

Day 25- SLEEP!! (Yeah, right)

AND

Back to reality 🙂

7 responses »

  1. i went on a trip to zion national park area. First we went to zion – we did one full day and then one morning hike the next day, then we went to coral pink sand dunes state park -http://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/coral-pink/map/ I think its not as large as the park you have planned for in colorado, but it was still really nice, what I would imagine it looks like in egypt, except the sand is coral colored. we stayed in nearby kanab, and then drove to bryce the next dayta and then stayed overnight there. we then had to drive back to las vegas (we flew in and out from the airport there). On the way we stopped in valley of fire state park and enjoyed a beautiful short hike. In each park the rangers did an excellent job recommending hikes that were beautiful and right on our level.

  2. There are detailed reviews of many specific hikes in most national and even some state parks on trip advisor that provide really helpful information.

  3. Looks so exciting! I’m not sure I would do Crazy Horse… It’s relatively expensive, not finished….,I also wouldn’t spend much time at Devils Toower…it’s just another rock sticking up. I don’t think you can climb it or anything. I’d give that time to Yellowstone – it’s very diverse in what you can see and do! Abnd maybe you could do something around Lincolns home in Illinois…a long weekend for you might be a great time to see the Chicago museum of nature and science – it’s amazing! I think it’s actuallgy called the Field museum.

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