Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Driving the Oregon Trail

We are driving all the way to Oregon so there's definitely planning that has to go into such a trip. We have to make sure we buy enough ammunition, spare wagon parts and clothing at the general store which can be hard on a carpenter's salary. We have to stop and talk to people to get their opinion on what we're doing and how we're doing it and most of all, we have to ready the oxen.

Oh wait, sorry, we're taking the trail for real by car, not on pix-elated computer screens by wagon. My mistake.

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I'll probably never stop making Oregon Trail jokes so you should just go ahead and accept that. The original OT traveled from Independence, MO (where I almost booked our Day 1 hotel just for kicks) to Oregon City, OR. Our fair city of Tualatin lies just 11 miles west of Oregon City so we're going a bit further than the true OT but we're also in a car and not a wagon so I think we'll make it like the true explorers we are.

And there's your geography lesson for the day.

Recall this little image:


A photo posted by Rennay Cooke Marshall (@rnay225) on

We have a lot of ground to cover so like the planner that I am, I signed up to handle logistics. I had a few things to keep in mind like how many hours can I and the pets comfortably travel (The Colonel loves to drive so he doesn't count), how many miles will that equate to per day, where are there actual cities to stay the night in within those limitations (Nebraska is not known as a bustling metropolis), are the hotels pet friendly, oh yeah, how much does it cost?

That may sound like a lot but I love a good plan and got right to work. I decided we'd like to travel for around 8 hours per day so I didn't go crazy and my cats didn't pee themselves. It turns out only 1 day will be a bit longer than that which I'm counting in the win column. In looking at hotels, I found that the most affordable, well rated by TripAdvisor and pet friendly ones all fell under the Wyndham Group of hotels. I contacted the company to see about discounts and although they weren't jumping at the opportunity to give me free stays, they signed me up for the rewards program and pointed me to rates where I can stay in budget and earn extra points towards future free stays. An added bonus of the hotels I chose is free breakfast. That's a must for people like us and will allow us to save money on the first meal of the day, eat well so we aren't starved after only a couple hours on the road and stock up on "free" fruit and other snack food for the ride. #clutch.

Now for the big unveiling. Here's the travel plan I've come up with:

Day 1: 7 hours 27 minutes and 513 miles from Louisville, KY to Kansas City, MO
Day 2: 9 hours 29 minutes and 648 miles from Kansas City, MO to Cheyenne, WY (remember what I said about Nebraska? We won't be stopping there unless we see something super awesome like the World's Largest Rubberband Ball)
Day 3: 6 hours 30 minutes and 443 miles from Cheyenne, WY to Salt Lake City, UT.
I thought we'd need a shorter day after nearly 10 hours the day before and I've always wanted to see SLC.

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Book of Mormon anyone?

Day 4: 6 hours 40 minutes and 468 miles from Salt Lake City, UT to Baker City, OR.
Funny story about deciding on Baker City. Boise is only 4-5 hours from SLC and we wanted a longer leg than that. Eastern Oregon isn't crawling with cities so it was between Baker City, La Grande or Pendleton. Of the 3, Baker City is the only one that had a single hotel that allowed cats. And seriously, it's just 1 hotel. The other pet friendlies in the area are weirdly dog only to the point they even write ABSOLUTELY no cats. Um, alright...

Day 5: 4 hours 57 minutes and 313 miles to our new home in Tualatin! This is also our move in day so we'll be able to get there and get our keys right away so no more hotel stays! Also, no more beds...because we won't have one. But that's another story.

So what do you think? Did I miss anything?

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