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Old 02-06-2020, 07:40 PM   #1
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First BIG roadtrip Maryland to Grand Canyon!

Hi all! I'd love some suggestions on things to see on our road trip this October! We have a Shamrock 233s, 4 kids ages 1-9, and a small dog, and have learned in 5 years of camper pulling that we need approx 150% of googlemap's indicated drive time to get anywhere, lol. (So, a 6hr drive on paper will take us about 9hrs).
We camp several times a year, mostly locations within a days drive of home. Four years ago we took the camper to Toronto and Niagra Falls for 10 days. Twice we've taken the camper to Georgia/Florida for 2 weeks at a time. The last trip was in November so we experience camping in low temps (electric blankets, flushed with antifreeze, etc). This trip looks like about 4 weeks, and the first time heading west!

I'd love feedback on length of each leg of the trip, routes to avoid, MUST SEE sites near the route for my ages of kids, etc!

We've never been west of the Mississippi so this is pretty exciting!

Frederick MD to Columbus OH (stay with friends 1 night)
Columbus OH to Gateway Arch MO (sightseeing, stay in KOA 1 night).
St Louis MO to Rose Hill KS (stay here 3 days, work conference).
Rose Hill KS to Del Norte CO (stay here a few days with friends)
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Pueblo Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park
Del Norte CO to Trailer Village RV Park Grand Canyon AZ (stay a few days)
Grand Canyon to Petrified Forest National Park, sightsee (stay in KOA 1night)
Petrified Forest to Tucumcari NM (stay in KOA 1 night) what's cool here?
Tucumcari NM to Fort Smith AR (stay in KOA 1 night) what's cool here?
Fort Smith AR to Nashville TN (stay with friends 1 night)
Nashville TN to Mammoth Caves National Park (stay here 1 night, cave tour)
Mammoth Caves to Big Bone Lick KY, camp 2 nights, drive to Ark Encounter and Creation Museum.
Big Bone Lick KY to New River Gorge Bridge, WV (sightsee, stay overnight)
New River Gorge WV back home to Frederick MD.

What do you think?!?
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:19 AM   #2
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you'll get a ton of suggestions. i really only know the west as i have not been back east. without being longwinded i would suggest meteor crate outside of winslow. there is a nice rv park there. trailer village in the grand canyon is nice.

it looks like you have it correct about travel time. whatever you ultimately decide be safe and enjoy yourselves!
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Old 02-25-2020, 10:49 PM   #3
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Wow. That's a major trip!

October should be nice out west. You will likely see some snow in Flagstaff or Colorado.

Are you the interstate highway type or like driving the 2 lane highways? Prepare to slow a bit in CO and AZ due to altitude and long climbs, even on the highways. Also, know your fuel range and plan your fuel stops with room to spare.

The kids might enjoy the Williams to Grand Canyon steam train. Even if you don't ride it make sure you stop and see it at the South Rim.
Sedona and Jerome might be worth a day trip from the GC. Hoover Dam?

If you can time it, October 19, 2020 is Bridge Day at New River Gorge. Drive down the gorge if you have time. North to south only.
Pie's and Pints in Fayetteville, WV has good pizza.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by StrwbryShrtck View Post
What do you think?!?
I think it sounds like a great trip, but if it were me, I'd back it up to September.

Please verify your camping arrangements. Many of the campgrounds close at the end of September or the middle of October.

To find attractions around those KOAs you're planning on camping at, click on the campgrounds 'Local' tab. You can check the KOA dates on their individual calendars.
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:11 AM   #5
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i while it is true that weather can be finicky, i wouldn't hesitate to make this trip in october. we have been to the grand canyon, the albuquerque ballon festival, and southeast colorado all in october. now we did have a light dusting of snow during one of those trips, but it was only a dusting that melted real fast. of course earlier october is probably a better bet than late october. it also looks like you are going west using a northern route and going east on a more southern route. that is also good. you should be fine but just pay attention to the weather.
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:24 AM   #6
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i while it is true that weather can be finicky, i wouldn't hesitate to make this trip in october. we have been to the grand canyon, the albuquerque ballon festival, and southeast colorado all in october. now we did have a light dusting of snow during one of those trips, but it was only a dusting that melted real fast. of course earlier october is probably a better bet than late october. it also looks like you are going west using a northern route and going east on a more southern route. that is also good. you should be fine but just pay attention to the weather.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta would be really amazing, October 3-11, 2020
https://balloonfiesta.com/Event-Schedule
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Old 02-26-2020, 08:39 AM   #7
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I'll be watching this, as this is on my list. When you finally take the trip, on the itinerary you posted, please update each leg with time and mileage for each leg so I can plan accordingly. Also please post if there are alternative stops you would have rather used after you take the trip! Good luck! Wagons West!
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Old 02-26-2020, 09:10 AM   #8
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I used to live just west of St. Louis and we camped in the area for about 5 years. I was not a fan of St. Louis. There are two things, however I will miss now that we are in Columbus, OH. The CMH to STL leg is a solid 8 hour drive without a trailer. Be prepared for construction in IL on I-70.

For sight seeing you have to do the arch which you are probably planning on anyway. I'd be interested in hearing your feedback. My 5 year old daughter's was priceless. I share after you post about it to not spoil it for you.

In St. Charles, MO they have a great Halloween event on the old main street. Check out the Legends and Lanterns event. It starts on 10 Oct and runs through 25 Oct on Saturdays and Sundays. If your trip in either direction coincides with those dates it is fun. They also do a Christmas version in December. Babler State Park is pretty close by with year round camping and water available through Oct.

In STL the City Museum (https://www.citymuseum.org/) is a fantastic place. It is hard to describe. My friends and I took our kids here a few times and we all had a blast. In my opinion it is the best family attraction in the city.

Grants Farm is good for younger kids (<10) and it's free. My daughter loved going here for her birthday each year. She got to feed the elephant at the end of the elephant show.

For a more outdoors related adventure in the Ozarks I loved the Current River National Park. It's a 8ish hour drive from STL. We stayed in the Round Springs Campground. I know they are open through Sep but not sure about Oct. In case you do decide to move your trip up this place is worth about 2 days time for an enroute stop. You can do a half or full day float trip where the outfitter will pick you up at your camp site, drop you off up river and you float back down to your campsite. The water is very cold due to it being mostly spring fed. It is also a crazy turquoise blue color, almost like Caribbean water from all of the dissolved minerals. If you do not want to float, there is a great cave tour and you can visit some of the massive springs while staying on dry land. By massive I mean 81 million gals per day. It looks like a full size river just appears out of a hill.

There are several nice state parks within two hours of Columbus, but it looks like you are just passing through.
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Old 02-26-2020, 05:12 PM   #9
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Hi! Being from Western Maryland I wish I could help a fellow Marylander a little more. We have travelled out West quite a bit over the last four years but not to most of the areas you mention. You do need to find out if you can find a place to camp near any of the big National Parks before you leave. You should have no problems along the road if you call ahead to places a couple days in advance. The major tourist areas are a different story many times. I see you are planning a few days at Grand Canyon. I don't usually count the day of arrival as a day because you will probably arrive late in the day and not feel like doing much once you get there. I did not research your whole itinerary but We usually limit our travel days to 300 miles a day. You may want to consider doing less with the kids. There is a lot of nowhere in between stops in the West. It can get pretty boring. I will suggest that the trip from Grand Canyon to Tucumcari NM is too ambitious. You may not have enough time to sightsee at the Petrified Forest if you only spend one night. You should stop in Winslow AZ on the way to the Petrified Forest not for the kids so much as your self. Everybody needs to Stand on the Corner in Winslow AZ. They also have a nice Restored Train Depot. If I can be of any more help you can send me a private message. Check out the website Roadside America.com for oddball things to see along the way the kids will get a kick out of some of the things they discover.
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