Road trip with baby: Chicago to San Francisco

Jun 30th, 2008, 06:16 AM
  #1  
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Road trip with baby: Chicago to San Francisco

I'm planning a cross country road trip with my 4 month old baby and my husband. We'll start in Chicago and we're thinking to travel through Iowa, Nebraska, SD, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and California (we might also include Montana). We'd like to do it in about 2 weeks.

We'd like to make frequent stops (though they can be short) so the baby can get out, eat, stretch etc.

I'm looking for advice on:

(1) hikes
(2) art (museums)
(3) architecture
(4) good food
(5) great hotels.

Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore are so far on the list.

Thanks!!
andiamo08 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 06:55 AM
  #2  
 
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Have you calculated what your total mileage for this trip will be? I'd do that before I'd go further with the plan.
coldkelly is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 07:37 AM
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Is two weeks for a round trip?
trippinkpj is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 07:47 AM
  #4  
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Two weeks to get to California (we plan to rent a car and fly back to NYC).
Calculate mileage - for what specific reason?
andiamo08 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 08:35 AM
  #5  
dmlove
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I think coldkelly is suggesting it's going to be expensive to drive due to the price of gas - but flying to California would defeat the purpose of the trip, wouldn't it?
 
Jun 30th, 2008, 08:41 AM
  #6  
 
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I didn't know that you were flying back and thought that it seemed like a lot of miles.. But flying back does change things. I'd suggest Custer State Park in South Dakota when you're passing through.
coldkelly is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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I'm not trying to put you off but it sounds to me like a lot of miles in only two weeks. We drove Route 66 a few years ago, which I know goes much further south, but is probably of about the same length as you are planning. We drove nearly every day with only a couple of days where we stayed somewhere longer - the Grand Canyon for instance. We took just over two weeks to do it, with no baby to worry about. We put in a few long days of driving but mostly tried to find a place to stop by about 4 pm. We spent the last few days of our three weeks holiday relaxing and recovering from the trip. If we did it again, and we would love to, we would take longer over the trip. I don't think you will have a lot of time to see the sights let alone hike anywhere.

You are aware of the one way drop off fees for a trip like this - and I believe they have to have a California car for you to do it in.
hetismij is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #8  
LG2
 
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I was intrigued by your desire to drive this journey, although I have not. I would start my planning by estimating driving times and possible route to see what would be reasonable to me. Here's what I came up with as a first draft:

Days 1 and 2: Chicago 5 1/2 hrs to Des Moines, IA.

See Des Moines: (I arbitrarily selected state capitals)

2 hrs to Omaha, NE

See Omaha

Day 3: 7 hr drive to Rapid City, SD

Days 4 and 5: See Rapid City, Mount Rushmore area

Day 6: 8 hr drive to Yellowstone NP

Days 7 and 8: See Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

Day 9: 7 hr drive to Boise, ID

Day 10: See Boise, Idaho

Day 11: 8 1/2 hr drive to Crater Lake NP, Oregon

Day 12: See Southern Oregon

Day 13: 7 hr drive to San Francisco, CA

Day 14+: See San Francisco, California

Drives don't include stops. Hours are based on Google Maps.

Once I have a general idea of my itinerary, I would search prior posts for each area of interest. Good luck!
LG2 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 10:26 AM
  #9  
 
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Remember too that young babies should not be in car seats for hours and hours - it is very bad for them - 2 hours at most, then a long break where they can lie down flat is essential.
hetismij is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 11:54 AM
  #10  
jcb
 
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andiamon08 - sounds like fun.

hetismig - can you please post a link where it says babies should not be in a car seat for more than 2 hours and then should lay flat for a while? I most certainly have had a baby in a car seat for longer than 2 hours, and I have never read anything (or heard from a doctor) to the contrary. I'm interested in if this a new theory.

I have read (only in the past year) that babies should be put in a crib, bassinet, etc and not sleep in a car seat at the house at night.
jcb is offline  
Jun 30th, 2008, 05:22 PM
  #11  
 
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I'm also curious about the car seat issue. I've never read or heard anything about that, and my husband is a doctor (and we have a 1 yr. old baby). The baby will get restless, but I'm not sure that there is any specific health risk.

Andiamo08--your trip sounds like fun! Please post a trip report when you get back!
siena1 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2008, 07:09 AM
  #12  
 
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When we were young, we took a similar route. However we drove round-trip in two weeks. We started in Chicago and ended up in San Francisco where we stayed with relatives. We had three drivers and it was very tiring to drive that round trip in two weeks. If you are flying one way, it will help a lot.

You won't have quite the same constraints that we did since your driving will be cut in half. With the three drivers, we drove all night for much of the trip so that we'd have more time in California. One thing we had to keep in mind is that we needed to be certain places during daylight hours so that we could see them.

Our first big stop was Mount Rushmore. We also stopped at both Yellowstone and Yosemite.

I'd have to look at a map, but I'm not sure if Des Moines and Omaha would be the best route to take to Mount Rushmore.
traveler2005 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2008, 07:12 AM
  #13  
 
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We have a collection of our kids in front of various state capitol buildings. That's something that you might want to consider. You might also want to take photos of your baby in front of the "Welcome to..." state signs. It is fun to start something like that.

Many state capitol buildings have tours. That is something that we enjoy too. They often have interesting architecture.
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