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One of the great parts of being a miles and points “travel hacker” is the ability to take more (and longer!) vacations together as a family.  Before getting into miles and points, we sometimes struggled to find the money to take family vacations.  But later this summer, my family and I are headed off on a 11-state summer vacation extravaganza through the western United States!

Crossing things off of my travel bucket list

My travel bucket list has about 50 items on it, and this trip will cross 3 of those off the list!

  • #9 in “See the sights” –  See Old Faithful
  • #16 in “See the sights” – See Mt. Rushmore
  • #5 in “Vendomy-style travel goals”: Take an overnight train trip

I’m also picking up 3 new states (Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota), bringing my total up to 48, and visiting 66 new counties, bringing my total up to 1493 (out of 3143)


The map of my visited counties (color coded by year of visit). The new counties I’ll get on this trip are in grey

You can see the grey line(s) – that is the path that we’ll be taking.  We’re taking an Amtrak train from Ohio out to Denver, then renting a car (actually TWO cars!) and going up to Yellowstone, over to Mt. Rushmore, then back to Denver before heading back on a train.

I’m hopeful that it’s going to be a lot of fun, but I’m a little nervous about the behavior of all the kids on the train.  I mean we have had several instances in the news lately of families having trouble with other passengers (and flight crew?).  The stereotype of Amtrak travel is that it’s filled with college kids and old people, neither of which are usually super excited to see a ton of kids.  I like to say that “old people” sometimes like kids, but they very rarely like SIX kids, all at once 😀

We have actually been practicing “train manners” in preparation for the trip.  Everyone is excited so wish us luck as we’re heading off!


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