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Old 12-04-2015, 08:22 PM   #1
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2015 Trip Report!

I finally had time to post a write up of our trip this summer. We'd originally planned to go to Oregon & Washington but an illness and death in the family delayed our departure and we felt we just didn't have the time we needed for that trip. We wound up "winging it" and this was the 1st extended trip we've made that I didn't have almost all reservations made well in advance. We wandered around in Montana & Wyoming and ended up at Rocky Moutain NP in Colorado.

Our first destination was Cody, WY and we stayed in the area for about 5 days. Part of the tiime we were at Buffalo Bill State Park North Fork CG. That was our 2nd stay there and we'd stay again if we go that way in the future. We had no reservations when we left Cody and hoped to find something near Red Lodge, MT so we could do Beartooth for the 2nd time and lucked into a fanstastic Nat. Forest CG (Parkside) just outside of Red Lodge. Red Lodge is such a neat little town. The City Bakery is awesome and right next to it is a meat shop that is wonderful. Here are a *few* pics:





Haze is from the forest fires.


Who would have thought we'd see a plane on a train near Bozeman, MT?


Luck was with us when we found a site at another Nat. Forest CG about half way between Bozeman and West Yellowstone! Red Cliff CG is right on the Gallatin River and one we enjoyed a lot for the 2nd time.





One of several fish Gary caught on this trip.



The morning we left Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone the bison herd moved through. Gary was outside disconnecting the water and was sort of trapped between the rigs. He appreciated the small tight sites as he hunkered down between our rig and our neighbors.



We stayed at Flagg Ranch over Labor Day because we didn't think we could get into the next Nat. Forest CG that we targeted. Headwaters is a nice campground: decent sized sites, full hookups and tall trees.
We were able to get into the no reservation Gros Ventre campground on Labor Day (most were leaving) and will definitely be going back! It filled up fast though even then. We loved Teton Nat Park and Jackson Hole. A couple of pics from Tetons.

Jenny Lake


Jackson Lake


Gypsy & Cody enjoyed Teton NP too.


We'd been told there were moose around but figured they were like the bears in Yellowstone.... a rumor! We haven't seen a bear in Yellowstone yet. The moose though, proved to be real! A herd of 10 or so moved though the campground and this guy was in our site looking all macho.



He even smiled at us!



Gary was fly fishing when a bull moose crossed the river right beside him! This pic was taken by tourists from England who had been watching him fish! I like how neither are looking at the other.



We made a side trip to Slide Lake near Jackson Hole:



We decided to go to Rocky Mountain National Park when we left Teton and wow... was it ever gorgeous!





The elk were moving off the mountains into the valleys and this guy was browsing along a creek along with a couple of his girls.



Some odds and ends about the trip. Not having reservtions was a bit unnerving at first but we were so glad that we didn't because we extended our time at the CG near Red Lodge and the one near Jackson Hole. We had originally thought 2 nights but wound up staying 4 at both of those places. We didn't have any trouble getting in where we wanted except the worry about not finding a site at Gros Ventre over Labor Day. I don't think we would have been able to get in and we're glad we hung out at Flagg for a few days.

Traveling in the DP was SO much nicer than bumping along in the gasser. We wound up driving farther than I thought we would on several days because we weren't exhausted and our nerves weren't frayed from being pushed all over the road.

Our trip was just over 4,000 miles and we averaged 8.1 miles/gallon. That included the genny to charge the batts and oasis that we used several nights when the temps dipped below freezing. We were on the interstate from southern Indiana to Casper, WY then drove mostly 2 lanes for almost 1300 miles & towed a Jeep wrangler. I think I remember averaging 6.7 mpg with our gasser pulling the same Jeep so we were happy with the improved mileage. We kept our speed on the interstates at 62-63 but it's hard to determine average speed on the 2 lanes.

We had a great trip and I'm starting plans for our next one!
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Old 12-04-2015, 08:36 PM   #2
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Wonderful pictures and great report. Thanks so much. So hope to make a similar trip next year.

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Old 12-04-2015, 09:25 PM   #3
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What an awesome trip. Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 12-04-2015, 10:51 PM   #4
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Brings back good memories for us...been to those spots! You like the kind of campgrounds we do. I think I caught the same fish from Red Cliff campground but we do catch and release so threw it back for you! We rarely made reservations and didn't have any problems. It was a nice way to travel for us.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:09 AM   #5
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Brings back good memories for us...been to those spots! You like the kind of campgrounds we do. I think I caught the same fish from Red Cliff campground but we do catch and release so threw it back for you! We rarely made reservations and didn't have any problems. It was a nice way to travel for us.
We try to avoid the private "resorts" when we can but they do come in handy for dumping and refilling tanks & hookups for laundry. We love the NF & BLM campgrounds. Most are just beautiful. I'm very grateful for those that prefer to stay in the resort type facilities.

Gary catches and releases too so that guy is back in the river waiting for next year.

This was a much more relaxing trip since we were free to stay longer or leave earlier. I'd call on the way to the next overnight and never had an issue getting a spot. For Fishing Bridge, I think I called 2 days ahead and reserved a spot (all other CGs in the park were full or full for our sized rig).

Some of the overnight places we especially liked:

Cottonwoods RV Park in Columbia, MO

Grand Island KOA in Grand Island, NE <--- GREAT place! They make pizzas and some other snack food but also offer a home cooked supper during peak season. We were there for country fried steak night... very good and so nice not to have to worry about supper when we rolled in.

Cabela's CG in Sidney NE

Some not so much:

Eagle RV Park, Thermopolis, WY... Called ahead and reserved a pull through site supposedly large enough for our rig. It was a pull through but they expected us to unhook the toad. Since we were the first site on a loop, they allowed us to pull through and block the lane so we didn't have to unhook which we thought was a good compromise! Just beware that some of these older parks aren't designed for big rigs.

Rawlins & Laramie KOAs... They are what they are... convenient for overnighting but close to the interstate and road noise. We'd stay again if we had to but hope we don't. We were waiting to get into Spruce Lake at Estes Park and had to spend the 2nd night in Laramie.
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Old 12-05-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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Great report and beautiful pictures! We were in Yellowstone in June and enjoyed ourselves very much.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:15 AM   #7
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Thanks Karen.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:34 AM   #8
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Karen and Gary,

Great report! Looks like you had a wonderful time. The pictures were terrific and tell a wonderful story.

We are newbies to RV'g and to retirement. We therefore are transitioning away from destination driven with time constraints toward having less structured travel plans. Your post, along with many others (Twogypsies first comes to mind) shows us the benefits and enjoyment of travel without micro-planning.

Thank you for sharing.


Jerry and Leah
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:53 AM   #9
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The pictures were great.
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Old 12-05-2015, 11:53 AM   #10
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Is there a map of NF & BLM campgrounds in that area,thats my kind of camping to.
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:01 PM   #11
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Really nice review of your travels. I been all over the same area by motorcycle, coming from the east coast. Thoroughly enjoy it out there!
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Old 12-05-2015, 12:20 PM   #12
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Beautiful pictures of beautiful places, thanks a bunch for posting them.


We have made about the same trip a number of times on our way back from WV and EAA Oshkosh off I-90 and on our way back to OR, including last year. We probably stopped at some of the same FS campgrounds, which we also prefer. We never make plans and just stop at whatever is available when we are ready to stop, including rest areas along the interstates. We've been making the trip (OR-WV) with our TCs nearly every year since the late '70s taking various routes to see the things we want to see. It is truly a beautiful country we live in and we are truly blessed to be able to see it as we do with our RVs. I feel sorry for those who choose to fly and miss it all. Our mileage with a diesel truck and 11.5 camper has always been 15-16 with just the TC and 13.5-14 towing. I'm not looking forward to whatever fuel mileage we may get on the trip this coming Summer with our "new to us" 454 powered 26' Flair.


I'm envious of your photography (and fishing) skills. Thanks again for posting the great pictures and narrative.


Steve
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Old 12-05-2015, 01:45 PM   #13
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Is there a map of NF & BLM campgrounds in that area,thats my kind of camping to.
When we do forest service campgrounds we first grab two references:

Campground Directory and National Forest Campgrounds

This couple has visited all of the campgrounds and give very good details on the site sizes and roads going in. Of course, it's not 100% as most references are not. In fact, many of the forest campgrounds have been updated and some even with electric sites.

Another reference we used daily - not just for campgrounds but for back road traveling. We love to explore. It's called the Benchmark series of state atlases. There is one for each of the western states. It is so easy to read and gives lots of good public area information. We started our full-timing travels by using the Delorme atlases but found Benchmark superior in every way. You can purchase them online and sometimes your local bookstore handles them as does the public park visitor center book stores.
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Old 12-06-2015, 09:51 AM   #14
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Is there a map of NF & BLM campgrounds in that area,thats my kind of camping to.
I hesitated about mentioning the names or showing the pics of the FS campgrounds!

Some negatives..... many are dry camping only, some access roads are gravel/dirt and narrow.

They don't have street lights every 10 ft so those afraid of the dark in the middle of nowhere might not like it.

Most in MT, WY & CO are in Bear Country which means strict rules for storing food and cooking equipment.

Some only have pit toilets, no showers and no onsite water.

Leveling may be a challenge.

Extending all slides and awnings may not be possible.

Most sites are not concrete and gravel but gravel and dirt so expect more of the outdoors coming inside.

One needs to remember that many of these areas are where real wild animals come through camp. One needs to respect them and what they can do if agitated or scared. If you're one who thinks it's cool to get close to moose, bison, elk or bear for a selfie, please stay in town in the resorts. I'd hate to think that an animal lost it's life because of a selfish human.

Thanks heaven's they aren't for everyone!

I will say that in our opinion in the few short years that we've been traveling, there seems to have been a huge explosion in the number of RVs on the road in just this past year. When we were at Red Cliff in 2013, there were lots of empty places and we were able to come in a day early since our site was open. This year, it was almost full and we got one of the last walk ins with electricity.

We saw more R Pods than ever before. They were EVERYWHERE! They are so cute and easily towed, it's not surprising though. It seems there were more Class As on the road. Lots of ACEs along with other gassers. Actually, more of every RV... from duct taped pop ups to the big luxury coaches and everything in between. I just hope that most aren't headed to NF & BLM CGS.
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