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Old 06-28-2013, 03:10 PM   #1
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Ohio to Grand Tetons/Yellowstone and Glacier

We are planning a month long trip out west with our two teenage boys after the 4th of July and I've been pouring through maps, routing and campground info on the Forums, web and in print (forever) and I'm wondering if anyone has some good advice on where to stay along I-90. We'd like an alternate route to avoid some of the Chicago traffic and tolls on the way to I-90. We are planning to get to Madison WI. the first day or south of Madison, and we'll be heading on 90 to the Badlands, Rushmore, into Wyoming and down to Yellowstone and Tetons for about 7-10 days, then heading up to Glacier for another 10 days. Any campgrounds or routing advice would be great! We'd also love to hear if there are some alternate routes that are more scenic even if they are more miles. We'd alos like to know if anyone has visited some interesting sites, oddities on the road, weird museums, any of those kind of fun things along the way. It's the journey that counts, right! Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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We route from further south but once we are west of the Mississippi, we look for long, straight state roads and get off of the interstate as fast as possible. By using htis ethod, we have stumbled across some really cool sights, including the largest and second largest balls of twine.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:27 PM   #3
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I would avoid I-90 during early August because of the Sturgis motorcycle rally. We made that mistake once. It will never happen again.

We love the areas you are heading to. Many wonderful sites to see. We have not been to Glacier but have been to Yellowstone and the Tetons many times. We really like Madison and Grant Village campgrounds inside Yellowstone. We prefer the RV Park vs. the Campground at Coulter Bay in the Tetons.

Be prepared for hot weather until you start getting into higher elevations. I am from Tennessee and I was amazed at how hot it is in Nebraska and South Dakota in the summer.

There is a smart phone app that is called Allstays Camp & RV that is very helpful in planning your campground route. It costs about $10, but is worth much more when traveling with a travel trailer.
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Old 06-28-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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To locate campgrounds, use Google Earth and SEARCH for "campgrounds near XXX", where XXX is the "city, state" or tourist destination/stopover point:

Google Earth: Google Earth Download

Note: You do NOT need to purchase the "pro" version. The FREE version works fine for most home users.

Google Earth also allows you to determine the easiest access/route to campground, and in many instances, to see a street view of the campground entrance. In many cases, the satellite view is sufficient to determination whether this location is desirable/acceptable. Also, Web sites and phone numbers are usually listed, so that you can contact the campground/RV resort for more information and/or make reservations.

We also use Google Earth on our laptop (with our mobile broadband Internet connection) while on the road to locate last minute campgrounds, restaurants, auto dealers, etc., when making unplanned stops.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:03 PM   #5
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don't miss Wall Drug Store just east of Rapid City, also check-out the wild donkeys in Custer State Park(south of Rapid City)...just be aware they are not shy!!!! Last Spt we stayed at Hart Ranch on the southside of Rapid City. This is a membership campground, but if you take their one hour tour (not hard sell) you can stay 3 nights for a total of $39.00 plus taxes. Really nice campground convenvient to Mt Rushmore, the Black Hills and Custer State Park.
We stayed at 7th Ranch campground at Garryowen MT near Little Big Horn National Battlefield. Not a fancy place but good for an overnight and convenient to Custer's Last Stand. Don't refuse the free huckleberry ice cream sandwich.
We continued on to Livingston MT before turning south to Gardiner MT and Yellowstone. We stayed Rocky Mountain RV Park in Gardiner MT. Originally we had planned to stay in West Yellowstone at Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park, but the weather was predicted to be in the mid teens (about 10 degrees colder than in Gardiner). West Yellowstone and Grizzly are much nicer than Gardiner, but Gardiner is much closer to Yellowstone and particularly Mammonth Hot Springs.
We are planning another trip to Yellowstone and will cross the Big Horn Mountains between Sheridan and Cody WY, overnight in Cody before entering Yellowstone thru the East Gate and weather permitting stay in West Yellowstone. We have been told that this is a very scenic route.
Safe Journeys
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:26 AM   #6
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We're planning on a trip to Glacier later this summer after school starts again... Please keep your posts active with lots of pix! Be safe and enjoy the road trip!
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:57 PM   #7
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My wife and I have been to some wonderful places in the area you are going to. We did not have our rv at this time, but it is where we caughg the bug. We found little bighorn battlefield fascinating and also we loved devils tower. Gorgeous country. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 06-29-2013, 08:38 PM   #8
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For something kind of weird and wacky, stop by Mitchell, South Dakota and see the Corn Palace!
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:54 PM   #9
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Have you been to the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum in Elkhart, IN?
They have courtesy parking...without any amenities in the parking lot.
Clear Lake, MN has a wonderful Airstream Park. Beautiful place to spend a day or two and they have laundry and a pool.
Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, ND is gorgeous if you go across ND.
Hardin, MT has a nice little campground called Grandview Camp and RV Park which is about 35 min. west of the Little Bighorn Battlefield NM.
When we got to Glacier we stayed at W. Glacier, MT at Glacier Campground. It was 2 mi. away from the West entrance. Beautiful small cg. When you get into Glacier be sure to hike up to Hidden Lake, Logan Pass.
We also loved Custer SP at Custer, SD.The little burros were awesome and too friendly. They have a wildlife loop which is a great drive. Leave the trailer and drive down the Needles Highway and see the sight.
Echo Valley Park and Campground was right around the corner from Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. Very small CG. You could see Crazy Horse really well from their driveway.
At the Badlands we stayed at Cedar Pass CG. We spend time at Wall Drugs and had a great meal there. Definitely a neat historic tourist trap, but fun!!!!!!

We would highly recommend going way south of Chicago and going north through Rockford rather than through the city.
Give us a call if you want to talk. You have our number.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayandre View Post
We are planning a month long trip out west with our two teenage boys after the 4th of July and I've been pouring through maps, routing and campground info on the Forums, web and in print (forever) and I'm wondering if anyone has some good advice on where to stay along I-90. We'd like an alternate route to avoid some of the Chicago traffic and tolls on the way to I-90. We are planning to get to Madison WI. the first day or south of Madison, and we'll be heading on 90 to the Badlands, Rushmore, into Wyoming and down to Yellowstone and Tetons for about 7-10 days, then heading up to Glacier for another 10 days. Any campgrounds or routing advice would be great! We'd also love to hear if there are some alternate routes that are more scenic even if they are more miles. We'd alos like to know if anyone has visited some interesting sites, oddities on the road, weird museums, any of those kind of fun things along the way. It's the journey that counts, right! Thanks!
Stop at Devils Tower KOA is nice. one mile walk around the tower. Little Big Horn Battle Field. Thermopolis Hot Springs. Crossing the Big Horn mountains from Buffalo Wyoming to Thermopolis is nice. You can then roll into Yellowstone. Stay just outside Yellowstone and arrive in the morning to get a campsite in the park. The only place that takes reservations is a "parking lot". You could stay there one night and then go to one of the campgrounds.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:44 AM   #11
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Out of Yellowstone

When leaving Yellowstone, think of leaving through West Yellowstone and going up MT 191 toward Bozman. It is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done. It is a Montana scenic route for a reason. YOu travle north along the Gallitin River. A must in my opinion.
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:31 PM   #12
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We loved the history and ambiance of the saloon at Chico Hot Springs north of Yellowstone. Allegedly, Kevin Costner and his band occasionally stop by and jam. We enjoyed sitting in the hot springs while it was snowing outside (this was in late June a few years ago)!
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:12 PM   #13
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Actually, five of the campgrounds in Yellowstone take reservations. They are all managed by Xanterra, the park lodging concessionaire. Only Fishing Bridge RV Park has hookups and it is a parking lot with trees. The others, Canyon, Bridge Bay, Grant and Madison are beautiful but are all dry camping only.

We are waking up to the mid-40's right now and it is reaching 80 in the afternoon.

Mike
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Old 07-01-2013, 02:12 PM   #14
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I've driven US 2 between Minot, ND and Havre, MT (hwy comes straight out of Glacier). It's a decent two-lane and traffic wasn't bad along that stretch (though did run into construction). Be warned that it is also very sparsely populated so don't pass by a town without filling up. It is all fairly remote high plains so mostly it's boondocking. If that is not your thing, then I-94 is a decent alternative to get to the Twin Cities. On US 2, I head south from Minot, ND to Bismark and pick up I-94. That interstate is lightly traveled until you get near the Twin Cities. Much better than I-90

Camping wise, I stayed at the Wolf Creek COE campground on Lake Sakakawea between Minot and Bismark. It's strictly a boondock, but nice area. There is a campground below the dam that has electric, but haven't been there in many years though lots of trees (unusual for ND). They have tours of the dam/powerplant that are interesting if you've never been in a hydro power facility.

I know there is a convenient COE campground at Fort Peck Dam, but haven't visited it. I stayed on another campground on the shore of Fort Peck lake. 50 miles of gravel to get there, probably not what you are looking for.

At the mention of hot springs, I should point out Norris Hot Springs in MT (if you go from W Yellowstone to Bozeman via Ennis, not 191, you pass right by it). Small wooden bottomed pool, live music on some days.

Sounds like a magnificent trip. I love MT.
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