Thursday, March 20, 2008

History lessons on the road

As those who know our family can attest, we tend to take our children's studies on the road, whether that be botany studies on local trails or long drives to historic points of interest. In 2005, we toured the Pacific Northwest with a heavy emphasis on Washington. Among the highlights: we visited the functioning interior of Chief Joseph Dam, met a Native American artist at the Grand Coulee Dam Visitors Center, learned about the salmon life cycle at Bonneville Dam, hiked to a glacier in Rainier National Park, held a mountain lion cub and fed a baby bear near Bandon, Oregon. In 2006, it was a trek through the Native American lands of southern Utah with particular attention to pictographs and points of geologic interest (Goblin Valley and Arches National Park, to name a pair).

Researching our own area, writing the book and then following up with its distribution and sales took up most of 2007, so it's certainly time to hit the road again. And Grandma has, once again, invited us to spend a week with her in Washington, so...of we go!

Though the plans are still in the works, this is basically what we've developed so far.


Central Coast to Yuba City, CA
Stay with family
(370 miles)
to Lava Beds National Monument - camp
(297 miles)
Visit Lava Beds National Monument
Move on to Crater Lake area - camp
(100 miles)
Tour Coburg RV factory
(332 miles)
Visit Mission Mill Village
Tillamook (hotel = hot shower)
(102 miles)
Tour Tillamook Cheese factory
Long Beach Peninsula, WA (stay with Grandma & Grandpa D.)
(83 miles)
DAY 7-12Enjoy the peninsula
DAY 13Visit Multnomah Falls
Revisit Bonneville Dam
Tour Luhr-Jensen fishing lure factory
(206 miles)
DAY 14
Revisit Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, The Dalles, OR
See American Stonehenge @ Maryhill State Park
Tamastlikt Cultural Institute
(157 miles)
Day 15
Tour Pendleton Woollen Mill
Visit Whitman Mission National Historic Site
Lewis & Clark Trail State Park
Hell's Gate State Park - camp
(155 miles)
DAY 16
Hell's Gate State Park with day trips to Nez Perce National Park
Visit Lewiston, ID
(nominal mileage)
DAY 17
Tour Potlatch Paper Mill
Ant & Yellowjacket
Canoe Camp
Heart of the Monster
Lochsa Ranger Station
Camp - lots of options
(168 miles)
DAY 18
Hang out at camp, on river, fish, relax
(0 miles)
DAY 20
Head to Glacier National Park via National Bison Range
(236 miles)
DAY 21-23
Remain at Glacier National Park
DAY 24
Glacier to Gates of the Mountains
(140 miles)
DAY 25
Ulm Pushkin State Monument
C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, MT
(93 miles)
DAY 26
White Cliffs
Dip our toes in near Missouri-Marias Confluence (mile 2343)
(100 miles or so)
DAY 27
Tour various points along this Lewis & Clark Route
Louis Toav's Tractor Museum
Camp - Fort Buford
(300 miles or so)
DAY 28
Visit Fort Buford State Historic Site
Visit Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site and nearby Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Center
(nominal mileage)
DAY 29
Visit Affiliated Tribes Museum, New Town, N.D.
Pit stop in Garrison for Wally Walleye
Visit Knife River Indian Village
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center/Fort Mandan
Fort Abraham Lincoln - Camp
(311 miles)
DAY 30
Visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (mile 3009)
DAY 31
Visit a variety of locations in Bismark, N.D. which may include:
Bismark Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
Dakota Zoo
Riverboat ride
Keelboat Park
Return to camp
DAY 32
More of Bismarck
DAY 32 - Veering off Lewis & Clark Trail
Stop in to visit the World's Largest Cow (New Salem, ND...we're driving right by! Might as well stop!)
Visit Theodore Roosevelt Natl Park - Camp
(170 miles)
DAY 33
Remain at TRNP
DAY 35
Eat our sack lunch at Castle Rock, S.D., the geographic center of the 50 U.S. states
Visit Devils Tower National Monument - camp
(268 miles)
DAY 36
Visit Tatanka and the Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood, SD
Homestake Mining Museum, Lead, SD
Black Hills - camp
(184 miles)
DAY 37
Guernsey State Park - explore and camp
(100 miles)
Day 38
Explore Guernsey Park
(nominal mileage)
Day 39
Scott's Bluff National Monument
Fort Laramie
Return to camp
(142 miles)
Day 40
Move camp to Black Hills
(roughly 100 miles)
Day 41
Enjoy Rapid City including any of a number of attractions such as:
Sioux Pottery & Craft Center
Museum of Geology @ SD School of Miles
Sjyline Drive
Storybook Island Park
Black Hills Caverns
Black Hills Maze & Family Adventures
Reptile Garden
Flintstone Bedrock City Campground
DAY 42
Visit Wind Cave Visitor Center
Visit Mount Rushmore
DAY 43
Explore Black Hills
Custer State Park
Day 44-45
Visit Badlands National Park
(66 miles)
DAY 46
Visit Lakota Museum
Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD
Cruise through Manchester, S.D.
DAY 47-48
Visit De Smet, S.D. - Home of the Laura Ingals Wilder Society
DAY 49
Visit Spirit Mound State Park
Visit the Ice Cream Capital of the World!
Stone State Park - camp
(260 miles)
DAY 50 - Back on the Lewis & Clark Trail
Visit SGT Floyd River Museum, Sioux City, IA
Tour Fort Atkinson
Honey Creek State Park - Camp
(117 miles)
DAY 51
Visit Lewis & Clark Trail Headquarters in Omaha, NE
Return to camp
DAY 52
Visit Mayhew Cabin (John Brown's Cave)
Visit Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center
Homestead National Monument
(142 miles)
DAY 53
Visit Patee House Museum, St. Joseph, MO
Visit Fort Leavenworth
Amelia Aerhardt Museum
(166 miles)
DAY 54
Visit Frontier Army Museum
Visit Shawnee Indian Mission (mile 5297) and other Kansas City sites including Marion Park, 58th Ave Ruts and Minor Park
Blue Springs Park - camp
(105 miles)
DAY 55

Laura Ingalls Wilder Cabin Replica and other sites, Independence, MO
Visit Fort Osage Museum
National Frontier Trail Center
return to camp
Day 56
Picnic at Arrow Rock State Park (mile 5461)
Horeshoe Lake State Park - camp
(290 miles)
DAY 56-58 - End of the Lewis & Clark Trail
Visit various points in St. Louis such as:
Forest Park
St. Louis Zoo
Grant's Farm
Cahokia Mounds
Chain of Rocks Bridge
Museum of Westward Expansion/Gateway Arch
Science CenterBellfontaine Cemetery (where Clark was buried)
East Alton National Rivers Museum and Loks
Day 59
Tour Chrysler minivan plant
Pitstop/lunch at Purina Visitors Center and petting farm
Meramec State Park
(96 miles)
DAY 60
Visit Wilder home & museum in Mansfield, MO (mile 5907)
Visit Wilsons Creek National Battlefield (mile 5962)
Visit George Washington Carver National Monument (mile 6031)
Twin Bridges State Park - camp
(125 miles)
DAY 61
Travel along the Trail of Tears
Visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Route 66 sites
Oklahoma City - hotel
(196 miles)
DAY 62
Visit Omniplex Science Museum
Route 66 sites
Foss State Park - camp
(107 miles)
Day 63
American Quarter Horse Heritage Center, Amarillo, TX (mile 6538)
Visit Palo Duro Canyon State Park
(201 miles)
DAY 64
Visit Bandelier National Monument
(410 desert miles)
DAY 65
Explore Bandelier
same camp
Day 66
Visit Chaco Canyon (aka Chaco Cultural Reserve)
Red Rock State Park - Camp
(219 miles)
DAY 67
Visit Arrive Petrified Forest National Park (mile 7270)
Meteor Crater
(218 miles)
Day 68
Visit Wupatki National Monument
same Camp
DAY 69
Visit Walnut Canyon National Monument
Lowell Observatory, Flastaff, AZ
Play in Colorado River; Dinner with Kirque
(233 miles)
DAY 70
Arrive Home

SUMMARY (as calculated by mapping software):
Driving distance: 8529 miles
Trip duration: 70 days
Driving time: 173 hours
Fuel Cost: $1,984.90


  1. I'm so jealous! We were gonna do a very similar trip (only in 3-4 weeks) last summer and the summer before but between football and going to Hawaii it just hasn't happened yet! One of these years... Have fun!

  2. Now THAT is homeschooling. Kudos to you all. Be safe!

  3. Now THATS homeschooling at it's finest! Kudos to your family. Sounds like a most awesome trip. Be safe!

  4. Now THATS homeschooling at it's finest! Kudos to your family. Sounds like a most awesome trip. Be safe!

  5. Your trip is something that can be repeated many times over, you are driving by a multitude of great side trips. I would recommend repeating segments of your path in greater detail in the future.
    You just don't have enough days to take up everybody's suggestions.

  6. Sounds like an awesome adventure! I'm in Michigan so I am not on your route or I'd say that I'd meet you somewhere or show you some sites!

    Can I put your blog on my blogroll?

  7. Karen M. White says: While you tour, think of me making fruit jam in my kitchen for your arrival home. Be safe and have lots of fun for me.


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