How long is a leg? A week? A month? The top half of the country? Some percentage of the whole trip? Having never traveled for an entire year, we really have no idea how to divide up and plan this trip into manageable chunks. We don’t want to overplan (we are free! we can go anywhere!) but we also don’t want to get stuck with no place to park the Woodebago (we are exhausted! it’s raining! we might strangle the kids!).
So we are planning legs as we go, organized only by our rough sketch on our U.S. map and some long-standing reservations we have at a few of the big national parks (we need, for example, to get to Yellowstone by the end of August, and then to Glacier by Labor Day).
Our first leg looks like this:
July 26 and 27th: Pittsburgh! We have reservations at a local campground and plan to set up the Woodebago, unhook the toad (who really needs a name) and explore Pittsburgh. Topping the list are the Carnegie Museums and the very first Carnegie Library. Any great eats in Pittsburgh?
We leave Pittsburgh and head through Erie, which has gained fame among crossword puzzle enthusiasts (4 letter Pennsylvania port-city) but otherwise seems to be just a nice small city on Lake Erie. We may stay here, or may keep going to our next destination…
Buffalo is the hometown of a few close friends, so we have to at least stop by and cover a few bases. We’re told to go to Ted’s for hotdogs, or to stop at “Charlie the Butcher” by the airport for Beef on Weck sandwiches, and to also stroll the mansions and maybe check out the canalside.
Then we are on to Niagara, where we’ll be staying for a couple of days at a state park on the Niagara river. The kids are crazy for the barrel-over-the-falls stories so no doubt there will be some silly related picture forthcoming. Otherwise, it’s Maid of the Mist and Cave of the Winds and maybe the aquarium.
Crossing into Ontario, we will be driving along the Georgian Bay to Parry Sound, with plans to go paddling, visit the Bobby Orr museum, and listen to whatever’s happening at the festival of the sound.
From Parry, we head via Sudbury or Spragge (still don’t know which…) to Sault Ste Marie. We had considered continuing west and heading down Wisconsin but a dear friend and her Michigan-based family convinced us to go the Michigan route. So we will cross back over at SSM, visiting the Soo Locks one day and Mackinac Island the next.
We will head down along Lake Michigan to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for a few days, and then via Grand Rapids towards Chicago.
That seems like a long enough first leg…