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Old 09-29-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
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2014 Trip Plan

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip for next year. I will be traveling from Tennessee up to Illinois and then through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Idaho (again), Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and on back home. I know this is a lot of ground to cover, but I have plenty of time. I'm hoping you all can suggest sites and places not to miss, and places not to bother with, and the best roads to take. I'd like to see as much of this part of our country as I can. I'm not interested in the tourist traps, but in the natural beauty of the scenery and our natural wonders. And, of course, I have a limited budget, so please suggest inexpensive sites and campgrounds. I would like to hit the main attractions. I know many of you have made this trip and can give me the best information. Where would we be without this forum?? You can post here or send me a private email.

Chillbilly - Maryville, TN - Forest River Rockwood 5th Wheel - Ford F250 - Semper-Fi
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:40 AM   #2
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The only suggestion I could make is to purchase a Passport America membership. You can save the cost of the membership with your first or second stay in a campground. Yes, there are restrictions, plan around them. You can save campground costs by staying at casinos, www.casinocamper.com, boondock at Cabela's, look at www.freecampgrounds.com, there are many city & county parks listed in Don Wright's Free Campground books, available at Amazon (eastern & western editions), it lists many forest service campgrounds you probably can't get into but the we have found many low cost places to stay. You also should have a Good Sam membership, you get a 10% discount with that card at campgrounds, it's our last resort. Check state parks too, some are still reasonable and some have hookups. County fairgrounds used to be a good value but many have raised their prices to $25 & $30 a night. Use www.gasbuddy.com to look for best fuel prices, usually off the interstate. Get a Next Exit guide to see if a stop is rv friendly.

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Old 09-29-2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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About what time of the year are you going and about how long?

For a several month trip across the country I calculate $100 a day and that includes gas, RV parks, food, tours, etc. Everything.

I use KOA and Good Sam memberships and also use the Elks campgrounds. You must join the Elks to use their RV spots.
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Old 09-29-2013, 02:48 PM   #4
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If you're 62+ be sure to purchase your Senior Pass from the national parks service. This will give you 1/2 off dry camp sites but if you get an electric site you pay for the electric. This is a big cost saver for not only national parks but national forests, Corp of Engineers and BLM campgrounds. We use it all the time. This will be where your cheaper campsites will be - in public parks. You can always spend a night every so often in a private campground to charge up your electric, do laundry, etc. In the West there also also some easy boondocking areas to stay.

For the national parks, the cheapest campsites will always be IN the parks themselves. It will most likely be dry camping but all you have to do is conserve electric and water. You'll soon learn how to do this by trial and error!

If you're concerned about mountain highways, purchase the "Mountain Directory-West for Truckers" It will be very, very helpful. We tend NOT to drive interstates with our 40' motorhome. You will really see this beautiful country of ours by driving the secondary roads. For the most part, most are very doable with an RV.

As far as specific places, naturally any of the national parks are recommended. You also might to just start individual posts on perhaps one state and gleen recommendations from that. Us trying to give you specifics on all the western states at one time will just have you running in circles! Basically, you can't go wrong wherever you go in the West!!!

We've been full-timing and volunteering in public parks in the West for 16+ years and still haven't seen it all! Have a great trip.
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Old 09-29-2013, 03:01 PM   #5
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Out West it's going to be kind of hard not to like everything you're going to see. Everyone has their own interests. I would pick each state your going to visit and scan places of interest and pick the ones that interest you. You'll be simply amazed of what you're going to see even if it isn't on your list. My advice, take your time and ejoy yourself. You're going to love this trip. That I can guarantee you.
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Old 09-30-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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Instead of going back across Wyoming, why don't you swing south and see the really spectacular national parks and monuments in Utah and Colorado?
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Old 09-30-2013, 11:02 AM   #7
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I agree with Yarcola.Bryce and Zion canyons inUtah are awesome.We stayed at Zion when are children were younger.We camped along the Virgin river.Tubed down the river.There is a lot to see.Completely different than the Grand Canyon.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:53 AM   #8
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I also think Bryce and Zion are magnificent. However, we have already traveled there. The only states we have not seen are North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Thus, our travel plan. We plan on leaving next year around the 1st of June and travel for three months. We are members of Passport America and Good Sam, and I have my Senior Pass. Please continue with your suggestions of what we should plan to see. Thanks!
Chillbilly - Maryville, TN - Forest River Rockwood 5th Wheel - Ford F250 - Semper-Fi
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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Glacier National Park is the most amazing place that I have ever seen. Stay in an RV park near the east or west entrance, use your towed on the Going to the Sun Road and to Many Glacier...or use the free park buses and shuttles...or the somewhat pricey tour cars. The road may not open until July 1. Grizzly bears, moose, deer, goats, sheep...you will not be disappointed. This is one place on my bucket list that I will try to get back to.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:43 AM   #10
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I just did a trip to Montana and Glacier it is fantastic - if you are a hiker plan extra time there. I was there for a week and barely hit 25% of the trails although I will camp closer to the park this year. Use caution free range cattle and horses will be in the roadway in areas. I would not want to haul my camper up Rt 89 to the east side and am grateful I didn't after driving it - I will choose a campsite this year at the west entrance. No guard rails, high winds, sharp turns, etc...but beautiful drive in a regular vehicle - you will be stopping at every turn for photos. Every day looks different - just don't drive it at night unless you have a death wish (very scary at night). As long as you have a tow behind vehicle accessing Going to the Sun Road from the west entrance daily will be fine. If you plan to hike two things # 1 - spend the money and get bear spray ( hike in groups - you are in grizzly country & you will see them its also effective for other prey and moose who are aggressive) and # 2 - Go to the Montana Grizzly Encounter in Bozeman off the highway. Its a great cause and extremely educational. They talk to you about the bears and what to do if you have an encounter. Photo opportunities are great too - the bears are let out in stages through out the day its only like $7 for a two day pass. I stayed at the KOA in Livingston Mt - they are awesome there, great place.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:26 AM   #11
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If you are going up that far, you might consider dipping into Canada and going to Banff and then dropping back down into the US again. Pretty spectacular stuff there and easy to jump back into Washington or Idaho and take in some of the sights there. Or head west to Vancouver and then come back down along the coast of Washington and Oregon before heading back east again.

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