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Road trip - is 1500 miles over 3 weeks ok? And has anyone camped in the USA?

(22 Posts)
FritesMenthe Sat 26-Sep-09 08:43:51

DC will be 8,7 & 6.

Just tried out a possible itinerary on google maps, and to see all the sights will mean driving:
three 5-hour trips
five 3-hour trips

This isn't too much over a 3 week period is it? I like the idea of camping in the National/State parks to save cashfor the adventure. Anyone got any tips or tales?

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 26-Sep-09 09:05:24

thats not a bad distance at all. Where are you thinking of going?

FritesMenthe Sat 26-Sep-09 09:10:57

pacific northwest - oregon, washington. we would fly into Seattle and head for Portland where we have friends.

vinblanc Sat 26-Sep-09 09:11:40

The distance is fine.

What kind of camping do you mean? Camper Van (RV) or canvas? State and national parks also have lodges for rental at reasonable rates.

I've never been out West, but have been to state and national parks in the East. They are great. They are not like National Parks here - no villages or activiites, although there do have their fair share of touristy stuff on the outside.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 26-Sep-09 09:14:11

thats not an area I know but I am very envy I'd love to see that side of the States.

Pennies Sat 26-Sep-09 09:20:19

Years ago I did NY to Washington, down to New Orleans, through Houston, up into Texas for the Grand Canyon, into Mexico for a day, up to San Diego, LA, Yosemite, San Fransisco and in to Salt Lake City. I can't remember the distance that it was in total. It took 8 weeks and was fun but a LOT of driving and whilst some of it was stunning there were a lot of boring bits too. I remember seeing a sign saying that the next MacDonalds was something like 95 miles away and realised we were in the back of beyond big time.

We camped and did motels. It was fun but I was 18, and no children in tow. We ate a load of junk food though because we stopped at a lot of diners and Maccy D's / Wendy's. Not sure what we would do now about food to avoid eating the same as we did then though.

sarah293 Sat 26-Sep-09 09:25:20

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Pennies Sat 26-Sep-09 09:30:11

We camped in Yosemite. I was bricking myself about the bears!

We also camped slap bang on the Salt Lake - never been so cold at night nor been so hot in the morning.

FritesMenthe Sat 26-Sep-09 09:40:50

Thanks all. Camping as in canvas, or possibly renting a cabin - would still need camping gear for that though.
DH has camped and he wasn't worried about bears but the chipmunks steal the food apparently. Was thinking BBQ or maybe one of those clever stove thingys that can be BBQ/oven etc.

Motels are an option, but we'd need two rooms. We'll stay in a hotel in seattle, with friends in Portland and do day trips, but I'd like to be in the wilderness (-ish) for some of the time. Don't mind the odd McDs though.

Pennies Sat 26-Sep-09 09:40:51

Right - just done a tally of my trip and it was about 5500miles shock so I expect that your 1500 trip would only be a bit more relaxed than mine. It worked out at an average of about 685 miles a week, whereas you're looking at 500 miles per week. We never stayed in the same place for more than 3 nights and that was only on a couple of occasions.

My DD1 is 5 and she would really struggle with being in the car for that long now, and I wouldn't think she'd be that keen on it at 6 either.

FritesMenthe Sat 26-Sep-09 09:43:48

Am out now for the rest of the day (Beaver day camp - so will brush up my firelighting and 'sitting on hard damp ground' skills) but do carry on with the advice smile

sarah293 Sat 26-Sep-09 09:53:35

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thedollshouse Sat 26-Sep-09 09:57:10

envy

A fantastic experience for your children. smile

sarah293 Sat 26-Sep-09 10:57:41

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FritesMenthe Sat 26-Sep-09 20:02:36

Riven - seriously? Hang your cooking clothes from the tree? shock

vinblanc Sat 26-Sep-09 20:35:37

You really need to be well aware of your environment when backwoods camping. Chippies (chipmunks) are the least of your concerns. The big problem is bears. You have to be a good camper and do your bit to not attract bears to the site.

Any food that you don't keep in your car has to be tied up on a giant washing line, so the first thing you have to do is erect one of these.

You also need to be fully bug-proofed. If you are blase about mosquitoes and blackflies, they will make your life miserable.

My best advice is to take advice from seasoned campers for your area. It will differ across the US, and the Pacific Northwest has its own peculiarities.

vinblanc Sat 26-Sep-09 20:36:46

Seconding Riven's comment about hanging food and anything with food aroma from a tree.

sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 09:51:34

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FritesMenthe Sun 27-Sep-09 13:25:58

Yikes. Might re-think the camping then!
Riven, did you have any problems sleeping five to a room, or is that quite normal? Two doubles & a pull out would be fine for us. Have had a quick look and there is a motor lodge in the park we want to visit. Each room has two doubles and a rollaway is $10.

sarah293 Sun 27-Sep-09 15:10:44

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vinblanc Sun 27-Sep-09 15:41:26

I don't think I have ever been in a US motel/hotel that did not have at least one queen and double combo.

State parks are usually really family friendly. The last one we were in had 2 queens and a set of bunk beds. This meant that that it slept nominally 6, but with queens, you can easily fit in a little one.

Depending on where you are, I would recommend off-park accommodation. A few years ago, we stayed in Gatlinburg, TN - just outside of the Smokey Mountain National Park. We had the most amazing cabin - three storeys, fabulous bedrooms and living room, hot-tubs, verandah (for listening to the bears). We were just a few miles from the park where the kids played in the water etc., and we took photos of us on the Appalachian Trail (as if we were doing the whole thing). We also did all the trashy things in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

It is so easy to book exactly what you want in terms of accommodation. There is a lot to be said for off-park places, which you can mix in with back woods camping. You don't have to do the same thing every day.

Waswondering Sun 27-Sep-09 15:47:16

We did 4000km in 3 weeks with a 3yo and 6m on through Canada. It was Christmas, so there was no chance of camping! grin

Driving was fine but we did take a twin screen dvd with us - and it was a life saver, as ds was easily placated with Peppa Pig on repeat (and at 3, not remotely interested in the flora and fauna).

We stayed in motels and it was common for these to have a lounge as well as bedroom - so the dc were in the bedroom and we slept in the lounge on a pull out - it meant that we had evening time to ourselves. In two of these places, there were swimming facilities too, and (3 years ago) it equated to about £60 a night which we thought was well with it.

We also found Trip Adviser pretty accurate in its reviews of accommodation.

Have a great time!

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