You start with one route and it multiplies like gremlins as the possibilities and permutations branch off. My husband is terrified of the gremlins being produced at a pace faster than imagination. He doesn’t even look at the critters even if he is the designated driver. He reasons, plans keep changing anyway so I look for other people to bounce off ideas with and get feedback. When a planner hooks up with a planning-averse, the planner has to do what the planner’s got to do — find fellow research aficionados who have as much fun in the preparation stage as in the journey itself.
Along the way, we hope to stay with families and friends, find couchsurfers who welcome families with kids, meet up with worldschoolers, homeschoolers, unschoolers. I’m also hoping we could stop over some democratic schools, self-directed learning centers and check out other alternative forms of education.
Following is the evolution of options thus far that I’ve been tweaking and toying around with for the past nights. I’d wake up earlier than usual itching to edit the power point but it backfires, making me an ill-assembled combination of tired and cranky. The Mexico part of the trip still needs more investigative work but since it comes at the tail end, we have time to gather more information.
In case we pass near your area and you have suggestions or would like to set playdates for our kids (ours are age 7 and 4) or if we could stay at your place, please do drop me a line:
I posted the first three original routes on the Worldschoolers Facebook page and received a number of useful suggestions.
Shannon Jones I vote NOT 3 as it skips Omaha lol.
I am partial, but our city is amazing, has beautiful green spaces and downtown, the best zoo in the country…I could go on and on. 😉
Lynn Perriera Honestly I think it would be a huge shame to do a route like this and skip South Dakota. Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the bandlands, Blackhills gold, corn palace, so many amazing things to do in South Dakota that are highly overlooked.
Carma Wallace My two kids (8 and 6) and I are taking a 6 month road trip next year. But we are starting later trying to avoid winter. I second the suggestion to go through South Dakota. On such a long trip, you are driving through a lot of the fly-over states
Tricia Denning McGhee I know this isn’t helpful, but I really liked Albuquerque! And you are skipping Kansas City too (ok. It’s my hometown but there are some fun things to see). Also Nashville or Louisville would be gorgeous in the fall, that part of the country is breathtakingly beautiful in those months.
Barbara Nebenfuhr Hoffer We did a three week cross country trip last April. We started in South Carolina then went to Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.
If this route interests you, pm me with questions!
Barbara Nebenfuhr Hoffer Also, if you are hitting some of the northern states before May, some state park roads may be closed due to snow. This is the reason we went a more southern route.
Rebekah Brinner Don’t do any of them. They all skip Yellowstone
Mary Gordon Fonde Berman It all depends on what you are wanting out of the road trip. I am a southern girl and love all the southern states. Food, culture, music and scenery are great.
Kelley Myhre My only comment is that you’re driving through tornado alley during the beginning of tornado season (April-June). The timing also means you’ll miss out on several parks and need to double check whether roads are statistically open due to snow and winds (WY, MT, ND, SD).
Jessi E Hubbard Doula I would adjust your route to go through Michigan if you’ve never been. Our upper peninsula is pretty great.
Kayla Mac Looks like you’d have the possibility to do colonial Williamsburg at the end. Don’t miss that! If I had to pick D.C. as a kid vs Williamsburg, I’d pick Williamsburg a hundred times (we saw all the monuments and toured the White House, but seeing history alive was cooler than architecture as a kid).
Starr Gajdosova Ack, this is so hard! You’re missing out on many amazing things in the South! (Texas gal talking here.) Atlanta, Georgia! New Orleans! Austin/hill country/Marfa/Big Bend. Not sure if you’re looking to do the big cities or travel more off the beaten path.
Melissa Brander I agree that it all depends on what you want out of the city. But looking at the last map with the dots, it seems as if you are just driving through Milwaukee, which is a shame because we have many wonderful things here depending on what you are looking for.
Nicole Ratliff In Colorado go to Estes Park, it’s about 2 hours from Denver. You could spend a whole day doing the Trail Ridge Road in the mountains from Grand Lake to Estes Park. And then you will end up in either a Longmont or Loveland depending on how you exit the park. Either way you can take the highway back to Denver, about an hours drive from either city. I live in Loveland.
Esther Brumme Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, obvs! And Estes Park if you can time it to view the Elks. If you are sporty, you can climb one of the 53 fourteeners.. (mountain tops of 14000ft). Might also be worth coming in from Moab and Arches national park.. spectacular. Have so much fun!
Denise McKelvie Gonyea I would really consider going north from Moab to Salt Lake City instead of going east to Denver. So, north from Moab to SLC, then north through eastern Idaho to get to Yellowstone in Wyoming, then east to South Dakota to stop at Mt Rushmore and Keystone…
Denise McKelvie Gonyea I’d also suggest getting a National Parks passport which is a little book with all the parks in it that you stamp and put sticker in for each National Park you stop at. It’s just makes it more fun. http://www.eparks.com/store/home/9221/Theme-Passport/
Melissa Music If you decide on Route 1 or 2, keep Northwest Indiana in mind. We are 50 minutes east of Chicago and have the most beautiful lakeshore. It’s actually a National Park called Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Michelle Marie VanGurp If you school a kiddo in the general fourth grade age range, get the FREE Fourth grader National Park pass. Go to everykidinapark.org
People were also generous with their advice regarding the choice between a 4×4 or a gas saving VW van.
Robin McKee save the gas money and buy the most space for best gas mileage.
Robin McKee honda oddyssey is pretty good.
Valerie Jean Toyota previa. Great travel van… so much better than vw. If you can find an all Trac it’s awd…best of all worlds and 18 to 20 mpg
Joy Bell We have a Toyota Sienna. It’s reliable with great gas mileage and plenty of room. We get about 28 mpg, or close.
Robin McKee Toyota Sienna and Honda Oddyssey are both great (similar gas mileage).
Joy Bell Yes, I think the Sienna was a little cheaper. That’s how we ended up with one of those. I would have been fine with either. It drives through anything.
Caleb D. Nelson 4×4. It might not be as fuel efficient but it will get you into a whole lot more interesting places than a mini-van will!
Heather Todd I would get a class b or small class c motor home.
Ashley Severson Gilman 4×4 diesel! And like Caleb said, you’ll get through a lot more places than a minivan would.
Tim Lemons You might opt for an awd.. we have an AWD Rogue.. we enjoy the AWD at certain times.. but still have great gas mileage
Robin McKee My brother and I traveled across the country in a Honda Odyssey. We slept in it at night (saved money on accommodation), and visited nearly every place we needed. Rarely are you going to be going off-roading to need a 4×4, and if so, u’ll need more gear etc. We went down some pretty sketchy roads with our minivan and just had to be careful, but were fine there too 🙂 We did not miss-out by having a mini van.
Michelle Elizabeth Depends on what roads you want to explore. My husband likes at least one off road experience a week. Totally worth it because it makes us all happy!
Michelle Elizabeth We did the old wagon trail across the Mojave desert and in Death Valley. We love exploring old roads (need a 4×4 for that).
Ashley Swierczek Have you priced up the vw vans? We got a 4×4 diesel truck with camper for half the price of the underpowered but agreeably adorable vw vans.
Somebody suggested a website or an app that chooses the most scenic driving routes. I can’t find the particular thread that mentions it, but googling yields enough answers.
New GPS app lets you find the most scenic route
When I asked about the pros and cons of renting a camper vs. buying and selling at the end, somebody shared that they couldn’t sell the camper right away so they had to leave it with a friend to sell it for them.
If interested, get connected to Worldschoolers on Facebook. It’s unbelievably amazing to see how many certified bat crazy families are out there engaged in this sort of thing. And that’s just one site. It dominoes, leading you to many more. Just tonight, it pointed me to the Inions — a family of eleven (yes, 11!) going around the world and who have been awarded Travelers of the Year by National Geographic in 2014. You have to click and read it to believe it!
Meet the Inions