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Old 07-22-2019, 03:16 PM   #1
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Advice for first time Road Trippers with 16 month old twins

We are going to Colorado at the end of August, pulling our hybrid camper from Iowa City, Ia, to Denver Colorado for our first big road trip with my twin 16 month old sons.

What advice do you have for us first timers? We have camped 4 times, but have never been in a car more than 2 hours with the babies.

Should we leave at night or during the day?
How many miles should we attempt in 1 day?
Interstate 80 or highways?
Good places to camp along the way?
How do you break up the trip to keep the babies entertained? (they are active and need to run around!
Best campgrounds within a couple hours drive from Denver we should definitely camp at(we do need electricity)

Any help, tips, advice, places to camp,etc. are welcome.

Thank you!
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:56 PM   #2
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I-80 to I-76

Chatfield State Park in Littleton, Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Dakota Ridge in Golden. You will definitely need ressies at any of these.
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Old 07-22-2019, 03:58 PM   #3
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I like to drive at night with the kid along, especially on the first leg. If we leave after dinner, he (and his mom) sleep and I crank out miles. If we're driving when he's awake, we stop often. Rest areas, fuel stops, "potty stops", etc. We try to stop and eat at rest areas where my son can run around relatively uninhibited. If not, we try to eat at a restaurant with some kind of play area. If all else fails, we let him watch a movie (we used a portable DVD player when we were towing our trailer).

Driving at night is nice for traffic, but not so great for wildlife. Knock on wood we've only ever had one "close encounter", but it's something I keep in mind as a risk of driving at night.

I would try to keep it to 400 miles in a day. Using the trucker's rule of average travel speed to be 50 MPH, that's 8 hours. We've found the 50MPH average to hold true for the most part. If you're the only driver, that's a long day.

For multi-day journeys, we try to have a "layover" day at an interim destination. We'll spend a day somewhere along the way out of the camper and find something to explore and then finish the journey the next day. I'm the primary driver, and I can go a LONG time behind the wheel, but I have my limits.

We try to stay on major roads as much as possible (Interstates when available). Primarily because there are resources along Interstates if something goes wrong. If you get too far off the beaten path, you could have a problem if something goes wrong. Fuel is another consideration; I like to make sure I have plenty of fuel options available.
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:06 PM   #4
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Anyone else have tips for us first time road trippers?
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Old 07-29-2019, 03:30 PM   #5
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I'd say to service everything to perfection before the trip. You sure don't want to be sitting on the side of the road with two little ones for hours.
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Old 07-29-2019, 07:18 PM   #6
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I see the benefits of traveling at night but it’s not for me.

It looks like pulling a trailer you have about a 12 hour drive, i would most likely break that up into a two day trip. Leave early, Get to the first destination early, spend the rest of the day wearing the little fellas out get a good night sleep in the camper and do it all over again the next day.

Also DVD players and iPads are a life saver for keeping the little one occupied. Yours might still be a little young but you will appreciate these devices shortly. I would much rather hear “baby shark” on repeat than whining unhappy kids.
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riverman View Post
I'd say to service everything to perfection before the trip. You sure don't want to be sitting on the side of the road with two little ones for hours.
Thanks and yes, i just took the camper in last night to my buddies shop. We are replacing tires with Goodyears, repacking/ greasing bearings, and adjusting the brakes!
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Originally Posted by mark.nowak View Post
I see the benefits of traveling at night but it’s not for me.

It looks like pulling a trailer you have about a 12 hour drive, i would most likely break that up into a two day trip. Leave early, Get to the first destination early, spend the rest of the day wearing the little fellas out get a good night sleep in the camper and do it all over again the next day.

Also DVD players and iPads are a life saver for keeping the little one occupied. Yours might still be a little young but you will appreciate these devices shortly. I would much rather hear “baby shark” on repeat than whining unhappy kids.
I like the idea of leaving in the morning and having a destination point at the half way mark. this allows me to stay rested as well. Baby Shark has been a life saver on a couple of our longer rides home. lol
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:02 AM   #8
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We started camping when our daughter was 5 months old. First trip was 3.5 hours. We drove early afternoon and she slept the entire trip! So we were up at 3 in the morning trying to get her back to sleep.

When our guys were your kids ages we drove long distance over night. About 11 - 12 hour trips. We'd leave at their bed time and then arrive early in the morning. They'd sleep the entire night. Driving at night means less traffic, no stop for meals and only quick potty breaks and fuel fill ups.

When ours got a little older, we'd leave around 3 am. The kids would usually fall back to sleep after an hour or so. We'd usually pack breakfast, so we only had to stop for lunch, potty and fuel fill ups. Since most of our travel is up and down I-95, timing is important to avoid problem states like VA and MD. Leaving at 3 am generally allows us to avoid rush hour in all the major cities.

If you plan to drive during the day, just plan lots of stops. If they are walking well, get them out of their car seats. Try to find truck stops with large shopping areas that the kids can roam around in with you so they can exercise their legs. Planning multiple days to get to your destination will save your sanity.

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Old 07-31-2019, 10:38 AM   #9
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I didn't mention this before, but one of my favorite tactics is what I call a "bonus drive". We will leave shortly after work on the eve of our first day off and drive as far as we can. Usually about 5-6 hours or about 300 miles. Then we'll stop to sleep (parking lot/rest area/etc.), get up early and hit it again early in the morning.

This way my son will sleep most of that first night and I can crank out some miles. The next morning is a little bit more difficult because we have to keep him entertained somewhat, but if we can hit our destination shortly after lunch, then I've managed to complete most of the journey with my son asleep. And when we get there, he can burn off the energy he built up sitting in the MH all morning.

I can't remember if he was quite as old as your twins, but my son used to take a morning nap as well as an afternoon nap. Man, those were the days. We would use our "bonus drive" while he was asleep, then we'd get some peace during his morning nap, and even more during his afternoon nap.

We had a few difficult trips where he would get antsy and throw a fit, but overall he became accustomed to riding in the truck (and now the MH) for long periods of time. He began to ask a lot of questions; whatever hit his mind. And we encouraged it. Many a mile have been logged with simple conversation, and he seems to be more and more happy to do that on long journeys. I'm sure that will end soon enough, and he'll spend most of those trips with ear-buds crammed in his ears staring at a device or listening to music I don't approve of...

Of course, things are a bit easier now because of the motor home. I can usually make it between fuel stops (2-300 miles) before I have to "use the facilities", but DW and boy are not so "talented". It's nice not to have to stop every time someone has to "go". Plus he and his mom can play games at the dinette, or watch a movie, or even take a nap...

I tried to accommodate this as much as I could when were towing a trailer. I had a generator so I could run the AC when we stopped overnight. I had a portable DVD player for "in-flight" entertainment. I even picked up a few travel games and activities. As my son gets older, I'm going to get him more "involved" with our trips. He's going to learn to read maps so he knows where we are. He's going to be "tasked" with certain "chores" or scavenger hunts, etc while we're on the road.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:00 PM   #10
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We started out on Illinois to the Grand Canyon with our first at 9 months old with no AC in the car (70s). The next two came along beginning and joined our summer trips everywhere from both ends of Canada, New Mexico, Utah, Florida (Mouse world).

Always lots of stops, hydrate and restroom then time to run around. If we had the beagle along, a good walk around to exercise. Lots of books read to them and by them. Games like car bingo and such as they matured.

Now they are all grown and gone and they all talk about the trips and how they saw so many places their grown friends haven't.

PS I know it looks cruel to some but they make little backpacks that include a "leash". Great when you are worried they could fall off the trail, scenic overlook or disappear into the woods or mall.
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