We made a rough itinerary for our drive from Gaithersburg, MD to Seattle, WA almost immediately when we decided to move, but the specifics are still up in the air. Our extensive road trip of the southwestern US three years ago taught us that no matter how well we plan our route things will change once we get on the road. This is of course complicated by the fact that we’ll have Cooper with us this time. We are not sure how he’ll do in the car for long stretches or for so many days in a row, so we’ll be playing it by ear and adjusting as necessary.
Highlights of our itinerary include two National Parks (Badlands and Yellowstone), Mount Rushmore, and the Wizard of Oz festival in Chesterton, IN (gracias to Jim for the tip on that one). Glacier National Park had been on the itinerary until about five minutes ago, when we found out that there are road closures in the park that would prevent us from driving through it (we aren’t really crazy about out-and-back drives in National Parks, they take forever). Also, the camp ground we were thinking of staying at in Glacier has been experiencing “mountain lion activity,” and we’re not so keen on taking Cooper anywhere near potentially aggressive wild animals.
So, now things are even less well-defined, with plans becoming especially murky once we get through Yellowstone National Park on Day 5. At that point we can either go north and pop into Glacier for a quick look-see at a glacier (and beautiful surrounding scenery), or we can go south and see more of Idaho and also a little bit of Oregon. I think either route (Montana or Idaho/Oregon) would be beautiful, it’s just a question of what we’re up for by the time we get out there. Please leave a comment if you have thoughts on which route would be prettier or more interesting! Although we really have no idea how things will go, here’s our itinerary as it stands right now:
Saturday, September 13th
Gaithersburg, MD to Angola, IN
We’ll camp at Pokogon State Park, which has a nice lake.
Sunday, September 14th
Angola, IN to Winona, MN
We’ll camp at Great River Bluffs State Park, which also seems to have a nice lake.
Monday, September 15th
Winona, MN to Kadoka, SD
I’m sure this drive will be pretty, but we don’t have any plans for sightseeing/stops on this day.
Tuesday, September 16th
Kadoka, DC to Cody, WY
Highlights of this day include driving through Badlands Nat’l Park and seeing Mt. Rushmore.
Wednesday, September 17th
Cody, WY to Butte, MT
Alternate: Cody, WY to Idaho Falls, ID
Either route will allow us to drive through Yellowstone Nat’l Park, which is the main goal of this day.
Thursday, September 18th
Butte, MT to Browning, MT
This would allow us to visit Glacier Nat’l Park, drive across the Continental Divide and see a glacier.
Alternate: Idaho Falls, ID to Baker City, OR
We’d get to see more of Idaho, including the supposedly-lovely city of Boise, if we choose this option.
Friday, September 19th
Browning, MT to Seattle, WA (this would be a 12-hr drive, probably not doable)
Alternate: Baker City, OR to Seattle, WA
The big highlight of this day will be signing the lease and getting keys to our house!
We’ll be posting quick updates from the road at least a couple times a day, and hope to write longer posts when have access to electricity for the computer. And again, please leave a comment if you have an opinion on which route we should take after we leave Yellowstone!