July trip to Edmonton - long driving

Mar 31st, 2006, 09:06 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2
July trip to Edmonton - long driving

Hi there -
I like to read your forum where people talk about their trips esp what worked out and what to avoid. You provide them good feedback and make them trips unforgettable.
I would need your help/suggestion. We are visitng our family in Edmonton in July. We need to be there on the 20th for a wedding on 22nd. I will be travelling with my husband and 3 boys, 4,7,10 yrs old. It will be our first long cross-country driving and I really want to prepare for it. We will be starting from Sacramento on the 15th and wish to visit Glacier Nat'l Park. is it possibly to see Waterton as well? I checked the map and the closest route is along Idaho. Is there anything interesting for the kids in Idaho? We plan to spend a night in a hotel on each State and check around for 1 day then drive again.
We are going to Vancouver then Oregon on the way back. The itenerary is being taken care of our relatives in Edmonton since we are travelling with them.
Hope to hear from you soon.
happy_mom is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Hello happy_mom,

>>>>>>The itenerary is being taken care of our relatives in Edmonton since we are travelling with them.<<<<<<

This confused me. I wondered why you were asking for our advice if your Edmonton relatives had taken care of your itinerary. Then I realized that you were referring to the return portion of your trip, that is, Edmonton - Vancouver - Oregon - Sacramento. At least that's what I think you meant. I mention the clarification in case anyone else around here is as dense as I was when I first read your post.

I'll give some more thought to the first leg of your journey.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 10:17 AM
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Happy_mom, if I go to Map Quest and plug in Sacramento as the starting point and Edmonton as the destination, it tells me to go to Reno, cut across Nevada into Idaho, from there into Montana, towards the east end of Montana, and then up through Helena and Great Falls towards Alberta.

Of course that route bypasses Glacier National Park, but I warmly endorse your desire to visit GNP. You could include GNP if you stuck to a more westerly route, drove east through GNP on the Going to the Sun Road, and then drove north to Alberta.

But I suppose you know this trip will involve a lot of driving every day, regardless of which way you slice it. I don't know what your kids are like and how well they tolerate driving. Hopefully you can stop at a place that has a pool every evening and let them unwind.

I remember these kinds of trips from my own childhood. We used to take lots of games with us, the kind where you would fill in a sheet when you spotted a train and a windmill and this feature and that feature. The first person who completed the sheet won.

In spite of that I used to fall asleep. Then my mom used to say, "Judy, we've driven hundreds of miles so you could see this scenery and now you're sleeping."

When my own kids were young and they fell asleep in the car, I did not wake them to show them the scenery. I used to let sleeping dogs lie, so to speak.

But, when we got out of the car, my husband and I used to try to show them things up close, like the fact that moss grows on the shady side of a tree and stuff like that.

These days I see TV ads for all kinds of entertainment systems in cars. I guess they help everyone to keep their sanity on long trips, but I'm not a great believer in canned entertainment. I think it dulls people's creativity.

I'm glad I don't have young children now, and I don't have to agonize over whether or not to let them have those entertainment systems. Video games already had come onto the market when my kids were young, and my husband and I agonized over what to let them have.

But video games have come a long way since then, so I think a parent's dilemma is even greater now. But luckily for me, it's now someone else's problem.

Ironically one of my sons works for a computer company that designs video games, so I guess he's now part of the "evil empire," so to speak.

Well, happy_mom, I've digressed. Daunting though it may be, I'll share my suggested itinerary with you in the next post.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 10:45 AM
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Here's that suggested itinerary.

Sat 16 : Sacramento - Reno - Winnemucca - Battle Mountain - Elko - Deeth - Wells, Nevada. Map Quest says that's 7 hours, not counting stops.

Sun 17 : Wells, NV - Twin Falls, ID - Pocatello - Idaho Falls - Dillon, MT - Butte, MT. That's 7.5 hours according to Map Quest.

Mon 17 : Butte - Misoula - Kalispell - West Glacier. That's "only" 5 hours according to Map Quest. It should give you some time to unwind and do some stuff in Glacier National Park in the afternoon.

Tue 18 : Drive the Going to the Sun Road. Then at Saint Mary turn north. Consider spending the night in the Many Glacier / Swiftcurrent area at the east end of Glacier National Park. Nominally it takes only a couple of hours to drive through Glacier National Park. But this is one of those occasions when a website that gives you estimated driving times is meaningless. You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to scenic lookout points and hikes that you potentially could do.

Wed 19 : I suggest you head to Drumheller for this night. According to Map Quest, it's 5 hours from Swiftcurrent, MT to Drumheller, Alberta. If you made a detour to see Waterton Lakes National Park, which is contiguous with Glacier National Park, but is on the Alberta side of the border, it would involve 7 hours of driving. I think it would be worthwhile to visit Waterton, and doing a couple of activities in Waterton Park would break up the driving.

Thu 20 : As soon as the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology just outside of Drumheller opens its doors at 9.00 a.m., be there, waiting to go inside. Luckily it will be a week day, when it won't be quite so busy, but any day in the summer tends to be a bit on the busy side. It helps to go first thing in the morning or else between 6.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.

The dinosaur skeletons at the Tyrrell are awesome. I bet your kids will love them.

In addition to going through the museum itself, there also are optional programs for kids. For example, they can go for a guided walk and get some sense of what it's like to dig for fossils.

In the afternoon, drive to Edmonton (3.5 hours).

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Well, Yellowstone National Park is partly in Idaho. Does that count?

Other than that, there are Craters of the Moon National Monument. They are not what I would call pretty, but the cinder cones and lava flows are interesting.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,944
Cowboys and dinosaurs should be big parts of the up-bound trip.

Plan to go our of your way and visit Drumheller, which the boys will love.

And at some point, which might still be in the USA, it will be time to buy them real cowboy hats, in kids' sizes.

After Edmonton, lumberjack and, once you get to the coast, fisherman, may become the magic words.

And Tim Hortons is the snack place of choice in Canada. Clean washrooms, good soup, excellent doughnuts, much less sweet than Dunkin or Krispy Creme, and there's a Tim's everywhere.

Driving with kids... some kids are better travellers than others. For the poorer traveller, the miracle of the portable DVD player and Gameboy Advance are wonderful, but MAKE SURE YOUR DONT'T LEAVE IT CHARGING IN A HOTEL ROOM.

Once you get into Montana, and then Alberta, it will stay light well into the evening.


BAK is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 09:38 PM
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Posts: 2,087

I have driven every conceivable route in these states and I do not recommend cutting across Nevada. That route is not exactly a scenic way to go to say the least especially boring for the kids. I would avoid it at all costs. I know you mentioned Oregon on the return but if you are going via Vancouver you will probably just come down I-5 or the coast. So this is the route I recommend even though it takes you through Oregon you will be seeing the south eastern part of the state which has some lovely scenery. I think you should take I-5 to Shasta and cut over on 299. At Alturas pickup 395. Stay on 295 to Burns and then Hwy 20 to Payette Idaho. Take 95 North. This is all very very beautiful. At Grangeville takey hwy 13 (a short distance) to Hwy 12. Again - very scenic. This runs into Hwy 2 south of Missoula Montana. Take 2 north and by looking at the map you can see which route you want to take to see Glacier. Judy has suggested a route from Glacier so I will leave it at that. This seems like a long way but it isn't really all that bad and as I said the scenery on this route is spectacular. If you get a map of the western states it gives you a better idea of the direction you will be travelling in. Hope that helps. Actually we are going to be going to a wedding in Edmonton exactly 2 months to the day before you. Have a great time.
traveller69 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Thanks for your repsonses. Keep 'em coming. I'm really taking notes on all your suggestions and I can't wait for our trip. Seems like the highlight of our trip is the Royal Tyrell Musuem. My kids are dinosaurs fanatics and this will surely be a click.
happy_mom is offline  
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