Vacation Planning

The kids are getting older.  In only a few more years, the eldest will (hopefully) be heading off to college.  A couple years ago Mr. WarmSocks and I looked at one another and realized that those “someday” vacations we talked about had better happen soon.  We’ve been trying.

Last summer we took the kids to Crater Lake and to meet relatives in California.  The year before we took the kids on a “field trip” to Pearl Harbor.  This year we want to hit a few more cool sites.  Our original plan included Custer’s battlefield, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, four corners, and the Grand Canyon.

With eight maps spread all over the kitchen table, we started trying to plan our route.  People added other places they want to go “since we’ll be so close.”  Someone had the bright idea to see how many states we could include, and since we’d only be 150 miles from N. Dakota, we decided to head that direction instead of backtracking.  Then, being so close to S. Dakota, we might as well go there, too.  One thing led to another, and now it looks like my kids will be able to say they’ve been in most of the western states.

To aid in the planning, I founds some cool trip planning software.  It lets me type in a list of places, re-arrange the order as many times as desired, add/delete locations, search for hotels in the area, and a whole bunch of features I haven’t experimented with yet.  It’s pretty cool.  I discovered that I can also click a spot on the map and have it added to the list!  Hitting the “get directions” button results in your route being highlighted on the map, and the automatic generation of detailed driving directions.

First draft:

We don’t want to spend all our time on the road.  It would be nice to stop and look at things instead of just driving past!  For a first-attempt, though, I thought this was much easier than eight maps spread all over the kitchen table and having to hand-calculate distances.  Now we’ll have the kids get out encyclopedias and see if there’s anything else near our projected route that they want to visit.  We also need to figure out how much time to spend each place.

Our list of destinations now includes:  Missoula, Glacier National Park, Little Bighorn Monument, the geographic center of the U.S., Mount Rushmore, The Badlands, Greeley, Denver, Four Corners Monument, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, the Great Salt Lake, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone National Park.

Anything else that it would be a shame to miss?
Suggestions on how much time to allow various places?
Tips on travelling with meds that have to be refrigerated?

 

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Comparison map for Pollyanna Penguin