Is this doable?

RDWRER

Active Member
Jul 31, 2015
335
Kentucky
I'd love to take my family out west to see the Rockies and the canyons/National Parks. We live in KY. Is this a realistic trip to take with a pop up pulled by a minivan? (Weights have always been carefully considered).
 

xvz12

Super Active Member
Apr 6, 2017
926
ID
I don't see why not, if both TV & pup are in good repair. Sounds like it would be a lot of fun.
 

kstephens

Active Member
Jul 28, 2014
243
I've made the trip several times from Ky- not with a minivan. However, I can tell you 95% or more of that trip to any of those places is as flat as can be. The grades around the rockies are much more gradual and long as compared to those nearer to us (if you have towed in the smokies). The uphills out west have not been bad at all for me (I have a trans cooler), but the downhills get a little nerve wrecking if you don't have good engine brakes/downshifting. If you are within your towing limits and trust your ability to remain slow do long gradual descents - you will be fine.
 
Jun 5, 2017
10
Chelsea, Michigan
Good to hear all these responses. We have two TVs -a Yukon XL and a minivan, but since the Yukon is pretty old, we would rather town with the minivan on long hauls. We were very careful in considering tow weights when we purchased our PUP also. However, as a novice tow driver, I need to practice a bit before I am ready to take on the Rockies!
 

RDWRER

Active Member
Jul 31, 2015
335
Kentucky
We just towed through the Alleghenies and it was no problem-haven't been through the Smokies. It's an awful lot of driving to get out west. Is there a place in Missouri/Oklahoma that you would recommend staying for an overnight (or a couple nights to break up the trip)?
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,845
Albuquerque, NM
It's an awful lot of driving to get out west. Is there a place in Missouri/Oklahoma that you would recommend staying for an overnight (or a couple nights to break up the trip)?
Yes there is a lot of driving to get east and west. We live in NM and I drive every other year or so to visit family back east.
If you want to visit national parks, these days, you need to plan and make reservations for camping in most, especially if you're on a limited schedule. It's possible to luck into a cancellation spot, but depending on it with limited time and a family waiting to rest or sight-see just doesn't sound like fun.
Check out each national park on nps.gov. They have a "plan your visit" section for each, plus alerts. For example, this year, there is major road work in Arches NP, and the campground is closed until fall. They update as progress is made, as one section is opened and another closed.

As for stopping on the road, it depends on the route you chose and the types of stops you want to make. I stayed a couple of times at Onondaga Cave SP in Missouri. It was at the end of the season, so we didn't get to tour the cave. I've also camped at Red Rock Canyon SP in Oklahoma, not sure how it'd be in high season, but it was nice in the fall. On a more northern route west, friends enjoyed driving through Nebraska and stopping at a state park or two there.
[When I was in high school, many years ago (46!), we made a (non-camping) circle tour from WNY, through Ontario to Michigan, Wisconsin, stopping at Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park, Rocky Mountain NP, headed home through Kansas, etc.]
 

CamperChrissy

Active Member
Nov 25, 2016
656
Chicago suburbs
I'd like to answer this from the point of view of the parent who's in charge of packing! Sounds like you'll be hitting many campgrounds along the way. That means lots of setting up and tearing down. And packing, unpacking, repacking, answering questions about where things are packed, etc. So for me, this depends on the age of your kids. If they are old enough to be responsible for their own clothes and toiletries and to help (like actually help, not "help") with cooking and cleaning, then sounds doable. If they are little or not good at helping, then honestly it sounds like a lot of work for you & spouse.

We are going on a non-camping roadtrip in a few weeks and this will be the first time I'm making the kids pack and be responsible for all their own stuff. Hoping it goes well so we can consider longer PUPing trips like yours in the future!
 

RDWRER

Active Member
Jul 31, 2015
335
Kentucky
I'd like to answer this from the point of view of the parent who's in charge of packing! Sounds like you'll be hitting many campgrounds along the way. That means lots of setting up and tearing down. And packing, unpacking, repacking, answering questions about where things are packed, etc. So for me, this depends on the age of your kids. If they are old enough to be responsible for their own clothes and toiletries and to help (like actually help, not "help") with cooking and cleaning, then sounds doable. If they are little or not good at helping, then honestly it sounds like a lot of work for you & spouse.

We are going on a non-camping roadtrip in a few weeks and this will be the first time I'm making the kids pack and be responsible for all their own stuff. Hoping it goes well so we can consider longer PUPing trips like yours in the future!


Yes, I am CEO in charge of packing and logistics. I guess that's what makes this daunting-the increased set up/tear down. So far, we have only camped in places that are a days drive away. Or on one occasion, we split the trip in two. But we've never done overnight stops on the way before. It's so much work, but my kids ARE old enough to help-2 teens and a tweener. I am maybe thinking of this trip for possibly next year, or the year after that. We are limited to summer months (June/July/aug) for a trip of this length. Would one month be better than another?
 

Spawndn72

Member
Jul 29, 2016
69
We just took a trip to South Dakota from TN which was 1296 miles one way. We took three days getting there and two coming back. It was a lot of sitting up and taking down but it was doable. For the one night stays we did not unpack much at all and only hooked up electricity. We have a 9yo and 15 yo.
 

MNTCamper

Super Active Member
Jun 14, 2014
1,346
MN
It is completely doable and you will create great memories for your family with a trip like this. We have done trips like this for many years. This year we will head out from MN to the west coast for a three week trip - WA, OR, and CA and then back with a short stay in the Black Hills. We do a few days of long distance driving on trips like this (800+ miles). You kind of have to. Everyone gets into the routine and so on. I sit down with a spreadsheet and google maps and plan the whole thing out and then I make reservations about the first of the year for the summer time. The one thing that I would say that we have found is that once you get into your trip (after the long driving days of getting there) we try to plan it so that we are at a site at least two days (sometimes more). It gets very draining having to set up and take down each day, so it is nice to be able to stay for at least two days each place you stay. What I have found is that if you don't dream it and plan it, it will never happen and then the years just go by.
 

94-D2

Happy Campin'
May 21, 2010
2,283
Sutter Creek CA
It's an adventure! Do it!. It helps to get your routine down to a muscle memory, automatic science. That way setting up and tear down is not as daunting. Also plan on at least 1 night stay at a motel to break it up. $100 night stay is worth the break and enjoy the pool, shower and such.

I've done it (1K+) road trip. Doesn't matter what type of highway. Mountain etc. it's just driving just like your short trip only longer. Highly recommend a club tow service. I have 3A premiere myself. DW and both have a card and that will get me 400 miles for both tv and pup. Just make sure you get both covered so one or the other is not stranded.

Good luck and enjoy the adventure.
 

RDWRER

Active Member
Jul 31, 2015
335
Kentucky
All your responses have been very encouraging and have moved me from "I don't think we can do this" to "maybe we CAN do this!"
 




Latest posts

Top