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Our Road Trip West | Get Out and Go Camping

Our Road Trip West

As I alluded to in an earlier post, this year we took a road trip out west.  After contemplating what kind of vacation we wanted to do this year, we determined that we have never really taken a road trip together nor have we really spent much time discovering other US states.  We decided that we wanted to visit my brother and his family in Salt Lake City, UT, but we did not want to drive the most direct route, interstate 80, which also happens to be the most boring drive.  So we came up with a route that would be a little more scenic and give us a lot more things to do  along the way.

Preparation was a challenge for this trip.  First we created the route.  We knew that we wanted to visit National Parks and historic landmarks.  Then we also decided that we wanted to add a restaurant tour.  The restaurant tour would take us south to St. Louis and then Yellowstone National Park, which was the main park we wanted to visit, would take us north on the return trip.  This is the route we ended up taking out West: Interstates 39 to 55 to 70 and then I-70 all the way to UT and then 15 up to SLC.  The route home from SLC was I-80 to US 30 and then 89 to Yellowstone.  We left Yellowstone on US 16 which took us to I-90 which we followed back into WI.

Our route on Google Maps

The second part of preparation was coming up with a budget.  With the cost of gas around $4.00 per gallon, we knew that was going to be the major expense of our trip.  To help cut costs, we decided that we would sleep in the car.  Now, I have slept in a car on road trips before and it isn’t pleasant, however, we were going to be taking our Honda Element which allows both front and back seats to fold down flat.   They make great beds.  After testing the make-shift beds, but never really spending a night on them, we decided that would work.  And it actually did work quite well.  Now that we were going to be sleeping in the car, we mapped out a collection of state parks that we could stop at to sleep.  They were much quieter than a truck stop.  So we did have a small budget to pay for camping, but it was worth it.

Overall the trip was a great success.  There were days when we had to drive for almost 10 hours, but we came prepared with a lot of things to do in the car and we took turns driving frequently.  We experienced just about every kind of weather imaginable: severe thunderstorms in Missouri, high winds in Kansas, snow in the mountains, hail in SLC, hot temperatures in Southern Utah, and cold temperatures in Yellowstone.  We saw some amazing natural scenery and a lot of wildlife.  It constantly amazes me how diverse this country is from state to state.  And when we had finally pulled in the driveway at home after being away for 11 days, we had driven just shy of 4,000 miles.  For a trip that we were really unsure about even up until the week before we left, it ended up being an incredible vacation.  We enjoyed every bit of the trip and if we had more time, we probably would have extended it.

More will be posted about this trip soon, so stay tuned.
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3 Responses to “Our Road Trip West”

  1. chrystal says:

    Wow that is quite a road trip! Looks fun (except for the sleeping in the car part)! We’re planning a road trip in October – maybe we’ll add in some M v. F stops!

  2. [...] a recent blog post, I commented that we slept in our car thoughout an 11 day road trip.  It certainly wasn’t a [...]

  3. [...] realize I have written quite a bit about our road trip out west, but I think this topic definitely deserves its own post.  For 8 nights, our Honda Element (who we [...]

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