cross country from Maine

Old May 17th, 2020, 12:25 PM
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cross country from Maine

My daughter and I are taking 3 teen boys across country. We leave after homeschool gets out, probably end of June. We will be leaving Maine with end in Flagstone. We don't have a time schedule as long as we are back by early August. This is our first time. What is the best routes with less traffic? We plan on stopping at Grand Canyon, P. Forest, Cliff dwellings and maybe the Arches. I have traveled I 40 and parts of 66 and like this route. We are not afraid of driving just the heavy traffic areas. Any help is appreciated.
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Old May 17th, 2020, 01:23 PM
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I assume you mean Flagstaff?
I always say==get a paper map, stick pins in it for where you want to go and connect the dots.

We took a 6 week trip across the country many many years ago with 3 kids--10, 12, and 14. It is only fair to them to do some things that THEY will truly enjoy--not just hiking and wild life, which they also may really enjoy.
You don't say anything about campping? Are you? If not, motels, hostels, etc. Hostels you might want to think about the current pandemic, as well as Air BnB.
We have NO idea of which routes with less traffic because we have NO idea where you are going or what you want to do.
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Old May 17th, 2020, 01:25 PM
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" . . . Maine with end in Flagstone. . . ."

By any chance do you mean Flagstaff ? . . .
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Old May 17th, 2020, 01:26 PM
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oh - we were posting at the same time
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Old May 17th, 2020, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by florencemason9163 View Post
My daughter and I are taking 3 teen boys across country. We leave after homeschool gets out, probably end of June. We will be leaving Maine with end in Flagstone. We don't have a time schedule as long as we are back by early August. This is our first time. What is the best routes with less traffic? We plan on stopping at Grand Canyon, P. Forest, Cliff dwellings and maybe the Arches. I have traveled I 40 and parts of 66 and like this route. We are not afraid of driving just the heavy traffic areas. Any help is appreciated.
And how will you get back? Why is Flagstaff the final location? Which cliff dwellings? I think that you need to have something more concrete if you want comments that will be more than generalities.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 02:42 AM
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Planning a trip across country for 5 people, choosing thr route, making a budget, deciding on sites, learning what the sites have to offer in history or geology. UMMMMM this is the ultimate home school assignment for the teens AND the teachers.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 04:42 AM
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I like to use Roadtrippers for road trips. The free version I think only lets you put in maybe like 6 spots, but for a very small charge- a few bucks you can do all you want. You put in where you want to go, they make the best route and you can choose what you want displayed within so many miles of your route. For examples they will show you all hotels within in 10 miles of route, or all historical interests within 15 miles of route. We have had a lot of fun with it and found some neat off the beaten path places.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 05:02 AM
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It is brave of you to plan a trip with the pandemic still around and some places closed.

Good advice so far. I will add some:

Get a National Parks pass at your first park , it is $ 80 and lets you and your family into all the National parks, monuments,historic sites, etc. If you are a senior you can get a lifetime pass and spread the cost over four years

Download WAZE or another routing program on a device that connects with the internet but do get paper maps for those places that have no service

Try to plan a loop that lets you see different things on the way back home.

Figure what is most important to you to visit and if you want to stay in a park try to get lodging now. Take the phone number in case plans change, if Grand Canyon is a priority, visit the south rim, stay in the park one night, see sunset sunrise, climb a little down into the canyon and enjoy the area before and after the day trippers get there. Perhaps plan your route on when you can get lodging.

Some cliff dwellings and other Native American sites you might want to see: Mesa Verde, Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, Aztec Ruin, Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Taos Pueblo, Accoma Pueblo, elMorro/linscription Rock, Canyon de Chelley, etc

With kids I would not want to miss Yellowstone and the Tetons., perhaps do a northern trip along I-90 one way and I-40 the other.

Keep a cooler with plenty of snacks,drinks, etc. and have everyone drink more water than they think they need.

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Old May 18th, 2020, 07:11 AM
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Have you considered other forms of transportation rather than driving your own vehicle? Flagstaff does have an Amtrak station. When DW and I went to Arizona in November we flew on Allegiant Air to Phoenix-Mesa airport and then rented a car. We stayed 6 nights in a Days Inn along the old Rt. 66 in Flagstaff. Allegiant does fly with a limited schedule from Cincinatti and Memphis to Phoenix Mesa.
It will get rather expensive if you have to have 2 hotel rooms for 5 people including 3 teen boys.
On my last solo trip in February, I took Amtrak trains (and buses) from Chemult Oregon to Tucson Arizona. I attended a geocaching event in Yuma on 2/9 and went over into Los Algodones Mexico on the 10th.
While I was eating lunch in Los Algodones, it started to sprinkle. I finished and paid and headed back to the border. I walked past more than 200 people to get to the end of the line to get back into the US. It rained a little harder while I was in line (thunderstorm in February). By the time I got back to my Yuma hotel, I was feeling a bit ill. I did see my doctor the day I got home (2/13). Luckily it was just a bad cold.
With the pandemic lingering, I would plan to have a good supply of cloth masks (hand washable) on hand whichever way you travel.
Welcome to Fodors! I see that you are a first time poster.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 09:06 AM
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Sorry but the last things I'd want to do in the middle of a pandemic is use train or bus for transportation, where you are stuck in small quarters with lots of strangers. I definitely think they should stick to their original plan of their own vehicle. As far as route, I agree with the put a map up on the wall and just begin planning, get the kids involved as already suggested by Gretchen.

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Old May 18th, 2020, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by florencemason9163 View Post
My daughter and I are taking 3 teen boys across country. We leave after homeschool gets out, probably end of June. We will be leaving Maine with end in Flagstone. We don't have a time schedule as long as we are back by early August. This is our first time. What is the best routes with less traffic? We plan on stopping at Grand Canyon, P. Forest, Cliff dwellings and maybe the Arches. I have traveled I 40 and parts of 66 and like this route. We are not afraid of driving just the heavy traffic areas. Any help is appreciated.

I think you should let everyone in the group participate in the selecting of routes. Start with one random person selecting ANYwhere along the path from Maine to (Flagstaff, AZ) ??

Then the next person has to select a desired spot to visit which is on either the path from Maine to the first person's spot, OR the path from the first person's spot to Flagstaff...

Go in order until you have laid-out a general route.

Because what you have now is a need for at least some added parameters so that those familiar can help to optimize whatever vague idea you come up with.

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Old May 18th, 2020, 12:36 PM
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I agree with getting the kids involved, that way if they don't like something and they had a say in the selection, they have no room to gripe.

Most hostels will be closed, I checked and Grand Canyon Hostel is, however with 3 boys and yourself, it would not be cheap compared to an inexpensive motel. Dorm beds at that hostel run $32-33USD per night plus tax and you pay by the BED, not the room, like you do with motels and hotels. There are a couple of private rooms with shared bath which run about $62 per night, but they have twin or double beds which I doubt you can get teen boys to share small beds like that.

It's a shame that Auto Club offices (at least here in SoCal) are closed, as in normal times you can visit the office and get maps and tour guides which list motels and places to eat and they will even map a route for you and print it out.
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Old May 18th, 2020, 05:13 PM
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Cities that have "opened up" are already shutting back down and starting from scratch (Amarillo TX is the first I've heard about). You won't be able to make your final plans until you're on your way in mid-June and you'll be continually changing and updating your route.

Last edited by Moderator1; May 18th, 2020 at 07:34 PM. Reason: deleted inappropriate language
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Old May 19th, 2020, 08:54 AM
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For Cliff dwellings, I would have recommended Walnut Canyon but the Island Trail (which gets you to the ruins) remains closed. I would expect that narrow trails, visitor centers and (most importantly) restrooms are likely to remain closed for a while.

Google Maps indicates which sites are "Temporarily Closed" but that might indicate a partial closure (eg roads and pullouts open but everything else closed). So you do need to visit each of the National Park websites for closure information and print or download maps in advance.

It looks like for now that the South Rim is closed except for pullouts along the South Rim Drive. If the park gets busy they might shut off vehicle access.

Probably a good idea to actually phone hotels to make sure they are open for leisure travelers.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 09:49 AM
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Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a Route 66 trip.
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Old May 19th, 2020, 10:19 AM
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I have honestlly never used theTriptik option via AAA, but there is an online planning tool as well as a AAA ap. Not sure how useful it is now, though.

https://triptik.aaa.com/

I don't have the added complication of booking for 5 people, but I'd probably use something like Expedia and the individual hotel chains once you have some locations set, to do bookings. And for sure get a flexible rate!

Also, I wouldn't pay more for included hot breakfasts and swimming pools, unless you can confirm that they are available. A refrigerator and microwave probably more useful.

Good Luck.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 09:21 AM
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Gas Buddy https://www.gasbuddy.com/

Interstate Exit app https://iexitapp.com/

Rest areas along interstate highways https://www.interstaterestareas.com/

Where you can park https://www.parkme.com/

Bathroom locator – https://www.nafc.org/bhealth-blog/th...m-locator-apps // Flushd: The Best Bathroom Finding App in the World. Join the Movement! | Get Flushd!



Some other tips:

1. Make it as stress free as possible.

2. Don’t over schedule

3. Pack something that can entertain them at a rest stop or later at your hotel – balls, balloons (they keep kids of all ages active and you usually can’t destroy anything with a balloon)

4. Listen to podcasts on your road trip.

5. Bring snacks and drinks, book or e-reader, tablet

6. Divide and conquer. Assign tasks – they are teenagers and can handle them.

7. Bring a deck of cards and/or games.

8. Don’t forget an extra charger(s), earbuds, trash bags for the car, emergency kit (for people and the car).

9. Download travel-related apps to help your journey.

10. Make it educational, for example: Nature App to identify birds, plants, amphibians (different than in your home state) https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/seek_app or Birds https://birdnet.cornell.edu/



As others have said, ask the kids what they want to do & see.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 12:42 PM
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We haven't asked but what kind of vehicle are you driving for 5 (pretty much assume) adults--AND their luggage? Could get to be very close quarters.
We took that 6 week trip weat with kids in a van. Part of the time we camped so had that equipment. It was LONG before any kind of tablets or tapes to watch on long stretches, but we made it without killing one another.
One mode of packing I found helpful was to each pack in a soft duffel and carry an extra duffel for dirty clothes. Then as an individual duffel shrank because of dirty clothes it didn't pack as large. Just a thought.
If you are planning on staying in national parks, accomodations in those fill up fast so advance planining for whenyou will be there will be good.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 02:38 PM
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As someone else said, get the teens input as to what they would like to see and do along the way of a basic route. Then, decide just how much driving you or another driver would be ok with per day, including stops for food, bathroom, and things you all would like to do, and then decide on accommodation that is close by, and if it is open. Maybe get the teens to decide on a day each, with a coin toss to decide on who chooses 1st etc.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 07:54 AM
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Maybe get the teens to decide on a day each, with a coin toss to decide on who chooses 1st etc.

But better is to draw 1 2 3. Then the teen who has #1 gets that choice. #2 is next #3 is next.
THEN the next round goes 2 3 1
Next round is 3 1 2 etc.
Goes back to 1 2 3

Interestingly we have not heard back from the OP about anything---size of vehicle, what they might like to see, etc. Crickets.
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