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Driving from Seattle to Belgrade Montana with 2 kids for a puppy

Driving from Seattle to Belgrade Montana with 2 kids for a puppy

Old Sep 4th, 2022, 11:17 PM
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Driving from Seattle to Belgrade Montana with 2 kids for a puppy

Hi, just starting research for driving a car with a 7 and 9 y.o.

Goal to take two weeks for a round trip around end of September. Pick up a 12-ish week old puppy and drive back.

I have hardly any info other than I'd look to make a bunch of stops, avoid i90 where I can, and zero of any other knowledge.

Thank you (plating the seed)
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Old Sep 5th, 2022, 07:09 AM
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Follow US 2 east as far as Whitefish MT and Glacier NP BEFORE you pick up the puppy. Hope that you don't get an early season snowstorm. It could happen.
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 01:05 PM
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Or head down to Yellowstone NP. Do most of your sightseeing before you pick up the pup
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 02:00 PM
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They don't have puppies in Seattle?
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Old Sep 6th, 2022, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tomfuller View Post
Follow US 2 east as far as Whitefish MT and Glacier NP BEFORE you pick up the puppy. Hope that you don't get an early season snowstorm. It could happen.
I was thinking of getting to the pup early and taking more time on the way back with them.
Originally Posted by oldemalloy View Post
Or head down to Yellowstone NP. Do most of your sightseeing before you pick up the pup
Figured we can spend a couple of hours in a car and make frequent stops for the kids and the pup. Any particular reason you suggest doing the touristy stuff prior?
Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
They don't have puppies in Seattle?
Everything in my life is difficult, turns out the breed I chose is near extinct, with a couple of breeders in US.. so after a long wait, we're on the way to the nearest one. Next nearest one is in PA
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 12:18 AM
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"I was thinking of getting to the pup early and taking more time on the way back with them . . . Figured we can spend a couple of hours in a car and make frequent stops for the kids and the pup. Any particular reason you suggest doing the touristy stuff prior?"

Only common sense -- a puppy you don't know, a puppy that hasn't traveled, hotels not pet friendly, many sites including just about all state and national parks do not allow pets except in very limited ways -- only on paved trails/roads, never allowed to be left in a vehicle, etc. etc.

Do just about ALL your sightseeing on the way out and travel back home as directly/quickly as possible.

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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 05:19 AM
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Totally agree with Janis. A puppy is a baby and getting him or her into your home quickly will be much less stressful and confusing.
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 05:30 AM
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Nevereatalone--I completely understand about needing to travel to pick up a puppy. You don't need to explain that to people who are being snarky. I do agree about doing all your sightseeing on the way there, then just make a straight shot back here. This is even more important if the puppy has not had all of their shots yet, although you will be getting it right at that time frame. Many hotels are dog friendly, but you need to know which ones ahead of time so you don't just wing it on the way back and end up out of luck. Make those reservations ahead of time. La Quintas are dog friendly and often along routes such as this, so check those out.
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 07:36 AM
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I'd consider heading toward Belgrade via Oregon, Idaho and Yellowstone, then returning fairly quickly via I-90. There are numerous kid-friendly stops one could make en route, such as the Columbia Gorge, Timberline Lodge, the John Day Fossil Beds (especially the Painted Hills unit) as well as Yellowstone, to the degree things are available and the weather is okay. The second half of September is definitely getting close to things shutting down, but it's also a relatively uncrowded time around Yellowstone.

I'd return as quickly as possible, for the reasons stated. It's going to be a stressful time for the puppy, so getting him/her home asap is probably the best approach. I'd look at no more than a couple of nights en route, maybe around Coeur d'Alene.

Google the places on this map to see what appeals. https://goo.gl/maps/iCwK6PuwCPWZS5rP7
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 11:53 AM
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Even without the puppy in the equation, it is always the best move to cover places you really want to see on the WAY toward the farthest destination in a round-trip.

You get to goofing around, or know unexpected delays/problems, and before you know it you only have 7 hours left to cover 2 days of travel, and you leave all of the good stuff undone.


However, to have 2 weeks for a 1340-mile roundtrip is something of a time luxury.

(oh, another reason for seeing sights on the WAY toward such a destination as suggested, is (of course) that the kids will be so preoccupied with the puppy on the way back, that they won't really "see" anything at all)


Should we assume these are YOUR kids?? Or are they going to be (nearly) as strange to you as the puppy?


Given your unique path/direction and the seeming void of extremely touristy stuff in that area...

You might take the opportunity to help your kids understand what was "Glacial Lake Missoula".

glaciallakemissoula.org has much of the story.


I'm SURE that nearly everyone thinks that ages 7 and 9 are too young to be burdened with the big picture of Glacial Lake Missoula and its history...

but when you consider that they won't even likely BE in those areas for many years ahead, AND that when they are there next, they'll probably be racing to get a puppy or the like, and would never bother taking/having time to understand...

Just planting a little bit of understanding now, while there is TIME that you've created, could enrich them in ways that nobody can measure for some time.

When you pause in Missoula... you can stand in mid-town and look up at the canyon walls surrounding it, and see (natural) horizontal lines which represented the shorelines of the lake, each time it formed (then emptied) and re-formed, thousands of years apart.

(7 and 9 year old eyes are much better for spotting such a thing than are adult eyes) (clarity: most anyone can spot them)


You could drive through the middle of eastern Washington on the path east, and then opt for the Columbia Gorge on the way back. Many of the rock formations in the Gorge were greatly impacted by the repeated large floods of water which headed west and effectively washed much fertile topsoil from eastern Washington into western Oregon.

A spot to get some sense of the enormity of the long-ago floods is Dry Falls, WA... which is/was something like 3 miles across.

There are also spots in central Washington where along various highways you can see ginormous boulders sitting beside the highway well out in the middle of a large flat field... (no hills nearby) and those just had to have been carried there by ginormous icebergs back in the flood days. (The path between Coulee Dam and Moses Lake should reveal some of those rocks)

(oh, and since you have plenty of time... Lolo Pass is a reasonable alternative route to I-90)
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Old Sep 7th, 2022, 09:32 PM
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They don't have puppies in Seattle?

Fergoodnessake. Leave it to Fodors

Maybe you do not know this, but people drive (or fly) a lot further than this to get the dog they want, or sometimes the pup does the flying.
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthwestMale View Post
Even without the puppy in the equation, it is always the best move to cover places you really want to see on the WAY toward the farthest destination in a round-trip.


(oh, and since you have plenty of time... Lolo Pass is a reasonable alternative route to I-90)
Thanks for the reading list and ideas folks. Interesting ideas, and I'm seriously thankful to all for unpacking the 'see things on the way there' advice.
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I'd consider heading toward Belgrade via Oregon, Idaho and Yellowstone, then returning fairly quickly via I-90. There are numerous kid-friendly stops one could make en route, such as the Columbia Gorge, Timberline Lodge, the John Day Fossil Beds (especially the Painted Hills unit) as well as Yellowstone, to the degree things are available and the weather is okay. The second half of September is definitely getting close to things shutting down, but it's also a relatively uncrowded time around Yellowstone.

I'd return as quickly as possible, for the reasons stated. It's going to be a stressful time for the puppy, so getting him/her home asap is probably the best approach. I'd look at no more than a couple of nights en route, maybe around Coeur d'Alene.

Google the places on this map to see what appeals. https://goo.gl/maps/iCwK6PuwCPWZS5rP7
Thanks! I made a map and then realized you gave me one right here! I like the Bonneville Fish Hatchery suggestion.

I just realized that "maximum number of destinations has been reached", and you probably had other things you would add along that path. Any other suggestions? We're only up to 22 hours -_-

Last edited by NeverEatAlone; Sep 8th, 2022 at 11:46 PM.
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Old Sep 8th, 2022, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthwestMale View Post
Should we assume these are YOUR kids?? Or are they going to be (nearly) as strange to you as the puppy?
You read between the lines well. My kids, and the idea is to spend some time bonding.
No devices allowed. I figured if I bend to let them use something in the hotel, it'll quickly turn into we're bored, lets play in the car. So, I'm keeping it black and white.

Is Lolo Pass highway 12? Seems like taking that path would be a lot of twisty driving, but might get monotonous after a while.. ?

Would you mind taking a look at the return map? Perhaps there are other neat spots you could suggest. https://goo.gl/maps/EcDpK3To8bUoFP5a7
We recently started getting into crystals, pyrate, etc, so this would be a good time to explore these kinds of ideas.

On a related note - about 15 years ago I took a bus from Elat to Cairo along the bottom of the ocean and had the chance to admire the rock formations you described for hours, It really makes you feel small.

Last edited by NeverEatAlone; Sep 9th, 2022 at 12:15 AM.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 07:40 AM
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Highway 12 is slow. Speed limit is 50 mph, and itís a windy river road. Beautiful, but slow. There are some natural hot springs that you can walk to (Jerry Johnson). We drive it a lot to visit family.

Missoula would be a fun stop for the kids. Big Dipper ice cream, watch surfers in the wave, ride the carousel.

Butte has an excellent mining museum. Lewis and Clark Caverns may still have tours. Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by NeverEatAlone View Post
I just realized that "maximum number of destinations has been reached", and you probably had other things you would add along that path. Any other suggestions? We're only up to 22 hours -_-
Yeah, Google limits the number of waypoints you can put on a map. Bing maps doesn't, but it's otherwise a more clunky experience IMO.

Anyway, I'd probably add more stops in the Columbia Gorge - the waterfalls in particular, and I'd add the Maryhill Museum at Maryhill, along with the nearby weird replica of Stonehenge. Then I'd obviously add some more stops in Yellowstone, conditions permitting. There are various hot springs and geysers, the weird Minerva Terrace, on and on. I don't count myself as a Yellowstone expert - only been a couple of times - but there's no shortage of expertise, on this board and elsewhere. Weather will play an important role in any stops and itineraries in the Rockies, Yellowstone included. It seems unlikely right now, but things can get wintry quite suddenly.
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Old Sep 9th, 2022, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Weather will play an important role in any stops and itineraries in the Rockies, Yellowstone included. It seems unlikely right now, but things can get wintry quite suddenly.
Yep. We had temps in the 100's this week, and this morning it is snowing on Logan Pass in Glacier and the low for tonight in Yellowstone is 21 degrees.
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kureiff View Post
Highway 12 is slow. Speed limit is 50 mph, and it’s a windy river road. Beautiful, but slow. There are some natural hot springs that you can walk to (Jerry Johnson). We drive it a lot to visit family.

Missoula would be a fun stop for the kids. Big Dipper ice cream, watch surfers in the wave, ride the carousel.
Butte has an excellent mining museum. Lewis and Clark Caverns may still have tours. Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.
Ok - small update.
Reviewed the calendar, and realized that with delays we've had to make, and extending the trip to do adventures up front, we'd be arriving to a 12+ weeks old pup.

Decided that picking up a 9-week old pup is worth cutting the trip short, so instead we'll fly in on Wed, rent a car 1-way, and go back via the i90-ish route.

We'll still stop every couple of hours, and perhaps spend the nights in spots below:
Bummed out, but at the same time, still excited to salvage half of the trip. Now I don't know what to do with the extra time :/
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Old Sep 12th, 2022, 05:00 AM
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I think that makes the most sense. We added a puppy to our household this summer, so I know exactly what you will be going through. Ours is 16 weeks old now, so it is very fresh. Not that you asked, but bring some ginger snaps along in case the pup gets carsick. You can break them into tiny pieces and that works well. I hate to presume anything so don't want to lecture etc, but if you need more ideas regarding the puppy and the trip, feel free to send me a message.We have done this many times, and have even driven cross country with a dog.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by NeverEatAlone View Post
You read between the lines well. My kids, and the idea is to spend some time bonding.
No devices allowed. I figured if I bend to let them use something in the hotel, it'll quickly turn into we're bored, lets play in the car. So, I'm keeping it black and white.

Is Lolo Pass highway 12? Seems like taking that path would be a lot of twisty driving, but might get monotonous after a while.. ?

Would you mind taking a look at the return map? Perhaps there are other neat spots you could suggest. https://goo.gl/maps/EcDpK3To8bUoFP5a7
We recently started getting into crystals, pyrate, etc, so this would be a good time to explore these kinds of ideas.

On a related note - about 15 years ago I took a bus from Elat to Cairo along the bottom of the ocean and had the chance to admire the rock formations you described for hours, It really makes you feel small.
Darn, I didn't get back here in time to matter... BUT if I had, I would say that I instantly admired your return path.

(more "between the lines" : ) I sense that by the time the kids get to Spokane with the puppy they will have tired of fighting over him... and the puppy will seem/feel like part of the family... just in time for the kids to grasp what they can of the Coulee Dam path, and that farther to the southwest, and eventually they may see the giant rocks out in the middle of a flat area and you'll tell them that the only way those could have arrived there was for their having long ago been embedded in a barely-fathomable-sized (ice cube, if you must) and that's precisely where they were when the ice melted enough so that their incredible weight caused them to fall to the ground.

At times, on this sort of a path, you kinda neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed a puppy to entertain young kids. But you've prepped well for some highlights.
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