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Old 01-20-2016, 07:18 PM   #29
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Again, I appreciate the input!

ScottinNJ, I hear you, but we've spent a ton of time traveling the eastern part of the country - Canada to Florida - especially New England, which we do yearly. Thankfully our kid loves to travel, every part of it - the drive (of course he does sleep a lot), the adventures, the setting up, etc. I think he's more like 55 at heart!

We would love to have more time for a trip out west, but 3 weeks is our max. It will be many, many years before we'd be able to have more time to spend doing it. Over the last decade or so, we've seen many of our friends and family members pass away. Some were very young and seemed healthy, until they weren't. You just never know when your time's up....so we're up for a crazy amount of driving to see some splendor! I realize reigning it in quite a bit is necessary!

Thanks again all!
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:10 PM   #30
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Again, I appreciate the input!

ScottinNJ, I hear you, but we've spent a ton of time traveling the eastern part of the country - Canada to Florida - especially New England, which we do yearly. Thankfully our kid loves to travel, every part of it - the drive (of course he does sleep a lot), the adventures, the setting up, etc. I think he's more like 55 at heart!

We would love to have more time for a trip out west, but 3 weeks is our max. It will be many, many years before we'd be able to have more time to spend doing it. Over the last decade or so, we've seen many of our friends and family members pass away. Some were very young and seemed healthy, until they weren't. You just never know when your time's up....so we're up for a crazy amount of driving to see some splendor! I realize reigning it in quite a bit is necessary!

Thanks again all!
Sounds like your mind is made up and you have valid reasons.

Perhaps you can do a huge day or two to start the trip? Do you have two drivers or one? At least that way you can knock off a 1000-1200 mile chunk right off the bat.

We recently drove to disney in florida (without the trailer) and did the trip in one shot driving overnight with two drivers and a sleeping (mostly) child. Both there and home. So I do know about long drives and will plan that when warranted. Just not ideal.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:50 PM   #31
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I didn't see Devils Tower or Cody, WY. mentioned. Crazy Horse at night is something to see. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody is more than a full day. So much history and incredible dioramas.
I would plan the trip to Utah for another vacation. It's just too much driving to make the trip enjoyable. You won't have time to see much.
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Old 01-20-2016, 11:54 PM   #32
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I think your trip is doable, but it would just require a straight-out shot from Pennsylvania at least until you reach the Dakotas, with long days in transit, then maybe focus on Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP as they are close together.

Some Montana folks have recommended staying in Mammoth Hot Springs at the north end of Yellowstone. They're a bit isolated from the other thermal features, but apparently the CG and gateway village of Gardiner, MT are less busy than the other main entrances and campgrounds. We stayed last summer at the Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone which was nice, expensive, and relatively close to the west side of the park. The really neat thermal features are mostly on the west/southwest side of the park. We've also stayed at the Grant Village and Bay Bridge campgrounds in the park, and they take reservations. Both were nice, but bring lots of levelers if you stay at Bay Bridge as some of the sites are not entirely horizontal.

If you want to reserve a site in the park, I'd suggest you find out from the park website Campgrounds - Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service) or Xantera (the concessioner) how soon you can reserve one (6 months in advance?) and then reserve one as soon as you can.

You can avoid some of the crowds at the thermal features & Yellowstone Falls by getting super-early a. m. starts.

For future reference when you get back out West again, a much more doable second trip would be to cluster some of the southern Utah parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and/or Capitol Reef) plus the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is much further away.

Have a great trip!
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:00 AM   #33
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For future reference when you get back out West again, a much more doable second trip would be to cluster some of the southern Utah parks (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and/or Capitol Reef) plus the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is much further away.
I have to agree with Len n Jeanne. As much as I LOVE southern Utah, and the Grand Canyon, that's a bit much to add to an amazing trip to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier and stops in Wyoming and the Dakotas on the way out or back. I'm pretty much right in the middle here in Salt Lake City, and I have spent 3 weeks in Montana, and a different 3 weeks in Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and the Grand Canyon. And I have been to both destinations many times. I never tire of either trip.

The west is amazing, and once you visit, you will want to come back. So break this into two trips. I would suggest 2 days in Grand Teton, at least 3-4 days in Yellowstone, and 2-3 days in Glacier. The trip between the three parks is spectacular as well.

Here is a little video to tempt you back to Utah in the future. Totally worth another trip! Fall is a beautiful time to visit, and maybe we could hook up. I'm always up for another trip to southern Utah (or Montana)!

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Old 01-21-2016, 06:27 AM   #34
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Cody, WY was a fun stop for us on our trip as it was around the 4th of July . We stayed at a park in town but drove by the Buffalo Bill state park on our way into Yellowstone and it looked like a nice place to stop .Having done this trip last summer and much more over 55 days the advice here by others is spot on. Keep it relaxed once you get out west. I could spend the summer in the Tetons . Have Fun!
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:35 AM   #35
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Add up the miles, do the math, divide up the driving duties, and cut your trip down to something you can enjoy. "The West," as a lot of easterners call it, is a really, really big place. Not only that, there's another really, really big place, called the Great Plains, between you and Yellowstone.

With only three weeks available, you're going to have to put this in "financial" terms and make a budget--not a money budget, but a time and human endurance budget.

I think your trip is worth doing, but don't miss once-in-a-lifetime scenery because you're busy driving or too tired to really look at it.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:22 AM   #36
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You guys are all awesome! Thanks so much for all these great suggestions!
I'm sure this will be addictive!

Yes, I think we do plan on doing at least a couple of long drives for the first couple of days & last couple on the way home. We can take turns driving. As long as I don't have to back it in to a campsite, I am ok with it.

Not only has this forum got me scaled down to a more doable trip, it's got me even more pumped up for it!
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:58 PM   #37
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if we have a destination in mind, we don't really mind 500-600 mile days. tough on the toush but doable.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:41 PM   #38
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if we have a destination in mind, we don't really mind 500-600 mile days. tough on the toush but doable.
Agreed. Some of us don't have the luxury of time! You do what you have to do given the time you do have. If that means 500 mile days for a few days in order to reach your destination, then "so be it".
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:50 PM   #39
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This might help

This was our Itinerary, some formatting was lost pasting it in, PM me if you would like a copy in Microsoft Word.


YELLOWSTONE – TETONS 2015
~ ITINERARY ~

June 30: LEG 1 - Drive to Cabela’s (446 miles, 6.57 hrs)
Destination: 2003 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga, NY 14225
Campsite: Cabela’s, (716) 608-4770
 Camp at Cabela’s

July 1: LEG 2 - Drive to Indiana Dunes State Park (493 miles, 7.49 hrs)
Destination: 1600 N 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304
Campsite: Indiana Dunes State Park, (219) 926-1952
 Camp at Indiana Dunes State Park

July 2: LEG 3 - Drive to Lebanon Hill Regional Park (460 miles, 7.04 hrs)
Destination: 12100 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Campsite: Lebanon Hills Campground, (651) 688-1376
 Girls Arrive at 11 pm via Sun Country Airlines Flt # SY 0254

July 3: LEG 4 - Drive to Badlands, SD (554 miles, 7.54 hrs)
Destination: 20681 South Dakota Highway 240, Interior, SD 57750
Campsite: Cedar Pass Campground, (877) 386-4383
 See Okaton, SD Ghost Town
 Stop at Corn Palace
 Hike Badlands Notch Trail
Potential
 Boondock, Rim Rd, South of Wall
 Visit Wall
 Visit Launch Facility (Missile Silo) Delta-09

July 4: LEG 5 - Drive to Black Hills NF, SD (127 miles, 3.15 hrs)
Destination: 12325 Rafter J-Bar Rd, Hill City, SD 57745
Via Badlands Scenic Loop/Sage Creek Rd
Campsite: Flying J Bar Ranch, (605) 574-2527
 See Badlands
 See Scenic, SD
 See Mt Rushmore
 Lighting/Fireworks
 Hike Presidential Trail

July 5: Black Hills NF, SD
Campsite: Flying J Bar Ranch
 Bike Mickelson Trail ~ Shuttle from Rabbit Bicycle & Repair, Hill City, SD, (605) 574-4302
 See Crazy Horse Monument
 Eat at Laughing Water Restaurant
Potential
 See Custer State Park
 Drive Wildlife Loop

July 6: LEG 6 - Drive to Bighorn NF, WY (471 miles, 7.5 hrs)
Destination: Bighorn National Forest, 3061–3063 E US Highway 16, Manderson, WY 82442
Campsite: Sitting Bull, Lost Cabin, or Boondock along Cloud Peak
 See Devils Tower
 Hike around Devils Tower “Tower Trail”

July 7: LEG 7 - Drive to Cody, WY (xxx miles, x hrs)
Destination: 47 Lakeside Rd, Cody, WY 82414
Campsite: Buffalo Bill State Park, (307) 587-9227
 Drive thru Crazy Woman Canyon
 See Cody, WY
 See Rodeo
 See Buffalo Bill Museum
 Eat Prime Rib at the Ira

July 8: LEG 8 - Drive to Yellowstone NP, WY (xxx miles, x hrs)
Destination: N44° 33.873' W110° 22.478'
Campsite: Fishing Bridge RV Park, (307) 587-9227

July 9 Yellowstone NP, WY
Campsite: Fishing Bridge RV Park, (307) 587-9227
 Circle of Fire Tour

July 10-13: Yellowstone NP, WY
Campsite: Fishing Bridge RV Park, (307) 587-9227
 Yellowstone Rough Riders Pack Trip

July 14: LEG 9 - Drive to Tetons NP, WY (xxx miles, x hrs)
Destination: 750 W Broadway, Jackson, WY 83001
Campsite: Virginian RV Park, (307) 733-7189

July 15: Tetons NP, WY
Campsite: Virginian RV Park, (307) 733-7189
 Oil Change, Woody Smith Ford, 535 S. Yellow Stone Highway 191, Rexburg, ID, (888) 841-7659
 Bear World, Rexburg, ID
 Spud Drive In
Potential
 Jackson Hole Rodeo

July 16: Tetons NP, WY
Campsite: Virginian RV Park, (307) 733-7189
 Tram based backing trip
Potential
 Elk Island

July 17: Tetons NP, WY
Destination: 100 Colter Bay Village Rd, Moran, WY 83013
Campsite: Camp Colter Bay RV Park, (800) 628-9988

 Jackson Lake Dinner Cruise

July 18: Tetons NP, WY
Campsite: Camp Colter Bay RV Park, (800) 628-9988
 Girls’ fly home out of Jackson, WY

July 19-20: Tetons NP, WY
 Climbing School

July 21-22: Tetons NP, WY
Climb Grant Teton

July 23-26: Drive to....
Drive Home
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Old 01-21-2016, 05:18 PM   #40
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Skimmed the comments and agree with most everyone. We have been across country twice and you really can't go wrong whichever way you go.

HOWEVER, watch out for "Bike Week" in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year it is August 8-14. We were unknowingly caught up in it in 2013 and even in Custer, SD were lucky to get a camping space. With over 700,000 bikers most every accommodation within 70 miles of Sturgis is full to overflowing. Not a bad crowd, just lots and lots of people!


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Old 01-21-2016, 05:32 PM   #41
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Looks to me like you are planning on averaging between 65 and 70 MPH. When do you plan to eat and pee? Let alone fuel up.
Sure hope you don't have ST tires on your coach.
What are your plans for bad weather, road construction etc?
We don't drive in excess of 65MPH. We plan on average 40MPH which includes all stops for food, fuel and restroom. 14 to 16 hours on the road is way more than we would enjoy.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:33 PM   #42
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On our way home from WY to MA we drove for a day and made just 400 miles. We both said, "We gotta get home!!!!"

So from eastern WY to MA we made it in two 1000 mile days, back to back, driving 2 shifts. Crazy. But so are we.
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