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Old 01-24-2016, 08:22 AM   #71
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Sept. Oct. is best. Start going across, So. Colorado threw Durango and Mesa Verde then on to UT. Arizona and New Mexico. Be sure to see Santa Fe.

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Old 01-28-2016, 10:19 AM   #72
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Our router fried in a power outage during the blizzard this past weekend. Just got the replacement. I'll be checking all the posts! Thanks!

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Old 01-28-2016, 02:01 PM   #73
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As a computer security wonk, I'd recommend a small UPS with surge protection for the router and modem. Cheap insurance against outages. Keeps the network up so you can use it in an emergency too.

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Old 01-28-2016, 02:54 PM   #74
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You just described a 3 month vacation. Pick Utah, Wyoming or Montana it will be hard to cover one location.
South Dakota is great in the Black Hills, but don't go in the end of July or 1st part of August if you are not into Motorcycles if you want to spend some time, very busy.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:47 PM   #75
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First, for everyone who mentioned Sturgis to us...thank you a ton. We had no idea and that is definitely something we want to avoid on this trip.

Second, again thank you all for your awesome input. I would love to spend 3 months checking out all these natural wonders, but unfortunately, 3 weeks (or as someone said, 23 days) is all we could squeeze out with work. Plus, as much as we'd prefer going after Labor's just not in the cards for us because of school. My thoughts are, go to sleep early and get up really early and start sightseeing to hopefully beat some of the crowds.

That being said, we have evaluated the info & places - we decided for this trip, the focus will definitely be Yellowstone & Tetons. We're planning on a few days of hard driving on both the way to and from & then spending most of the trip in Yellowstone & the Tetons. SD (Badlands, Rushmore & Custer) is a good stop on the way, as long as we can avoid Sturgis traffic. We'll drive a bit of a more southern route on the return trip to avoid the crowds there.

We are pretty active, so my only real quandary, is whether we need to give up one day at Yellowstone to add to the Tetons. As we have conservatively planned, it is now 7 days in Yellowstone and 2.5 days in the Tetons. We have one extra day planned for the drive home or to be home for a good full day before work. Maybe we'll give that up and use toothpicks to hold up our eyelids at work. If we love hiking (nothing too brutally steep, though even my son loves hiking mountains) would the Tetons offer less crowded views than Yellowstone?

It seems to avoid SD, we would probably take the middle route, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, etc. on the way home. If anyone knows of a fantastic place to take a break & overnighter in one of those states, please let me know.

Again, thanks so much! I've never been on a thread before & I can't believe how helpful everyone is.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:51 PM   #76
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I think you have come to an excellent plan, especially the part of getting out early each day to beat the crowds. Also, you don't have to get very far down a trail to leave the vast majority of the visitors behind.

If it were us, we would take one day off of your Yellowstone week and add it to the Tetons.
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Old 01-30-2016, 04:05 PM   #77
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Sounds like you have a good plan coming together.

Yellowstone can be broken into 4 quadrants. Pick a slice of the pie each day and focus in that area. It's a very kid friendly park with a good ranger program. You will see Bison, they are plentiful.

Tetons are majestic. It was explained that to us as "most mountain ranges have layers, so often the peaks are deep into the range, with the Tetons you are right at the base and see all the splendor " . The lakes are beautiful and clear.

Enjoy you've got a great trip planned.

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Old 01-31-2016, 01:12 AM   #78
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That sounds like a great trip. Like field & stream said, you don't have to get very far down a trail to lose most of the tourists. Sadly, most people stop the car, get out and take a few pictures, and head on down the road. Ask any ranger for good hikes. There are plenty.

The best wildlife viewing is usually in the evening, before dusk. Look for people on the side of the road with "spotting" scopes, especially in the Hayden Valley. They are always more than happy to talk with you about what they have seen and are seeing. Everyone else is eating dinner or is back at their motel outside the park. I have seen bears and wolves mostly in the evening in Yellowstone. Don't forget your binoculars!

Have a great time.

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Old 01-31-2016, 02:01 AM   #79
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Nice to see the Forum doing it's job by helping you with your trip. I do think you will want to "steal a day" from Yellowstone for the Teton's. Be sure to see Jackson Lake Lodge and "Lunch Box Hill" (read the sign on Lunch Box Hill).
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Old 01-31-2016, 09:27 AM   #80
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Thank you! These tips are priceless to us. It's such a long drive we don't want to miss out on things, so all this information is awesome. We will be sure to bring our binoculars and a spotting scope!
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Old 01-31-2016, 11:09 AM   #81
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Good strategy to focus. From Yellowstone you can get to the Tetons and back in the same day, though you may not wish to rush it. They are truly beautiful.

Depending on what you want to see, I would suggest a focus on the west/southwest side of Yellowstone because there are more thermal features per distance traveled. The central part of the park has a big figure-8 set of roads, with roads in & out of the park connecting to it.

If you plan to hike the trails (great way to see the park,) we suggest taking along some bear spray. You should be able to buy it in any of the shops in the area that cater to visitors, especially hikers. It looks like a small canister with a spray nozzle, sort of like a fire extinguisher. Then just study how to use it and keep it on your hip, vs. inside a day pack. The chances of your needing it are slim, but it's a good precaution. We like the solitude and silence of the wilds, but if there is a chance of a bear encounter, it's best to make some noise as you hike, such as talking loudly, singing, clapping your hands (vs. the petite "bear bells" that look like big jingle bells & don't transmit sound so well.)

The staff at the park visitor centers are really helpful for advice on good hikes, depending upon your level of ability and how much time you want to spend on the trail.

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