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Old 02-11-2019, 05:54 PM   #1
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First major trip: Ohio to Yellowstone

I'm in the process of planning our first long distance trip (kind of newbies to rving this our second year). Our ultimate destination is Yellowstone, Glacier NP and possibly Bannf and Jasper We will also visit all the major parks in Utah and Colorado. Along the way we will be stopping in SD for all the attractions there.

Just a little info before i ask some questions, we are both retired in our mid 60's and enjoy great scenery, scenic drives, short hikes and taking great pictures. This trip is mainly about taking our time and enjoying all the views, scenery and landscapes that this great country has to offer...

I will be pulling my 32' 5er with my gmc sierra 2500 hd, i don't think i will have any problems with the roads, although i don't like driving through dangerous and very curvy roads. I also only like to drive for 5 or 6 hrs.

As far as campgrounds go we don't have to have full hook ups, we prefer to stay in national parks (we are not crazy about KOA or parks like that. I have a generator and plan on upgrading my batteries before our trip.

Like i said we are both retired so the length of this trip doesn't really matter but i am thinking somewhere around 6 to 8 weeks.

We plan on leaving May 28 (right after labor day).

MY questions:
What is the best route? What roads or area should we stay away from?
Is there any must do or see along the way between OH and SD, also any suggestions on campgrounds or should we just stop at Walmart for the night (i have never stayed overnight but everyone says its safe).

Once we get to SD how long should we plan on staying? ( from what i have read around 7 days should do it). Also any recommendations on the area and campgrounds. Should we stay i one spot as a base location?

I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:11 PM   #2
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sound like a good trip if you are staying in Yellowstone hope you have reservation very busy place. After school out.Rest of the places you should have no trouble getting into .A lot of walmart have stop letting people park over 4 hour. Some area you should plan a few reservations made.Also remember this year been a lot of snowfall some pass may still be closed
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:34 PM   #3
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Plan on at least 8-12 weeks for this trip. I'd recommend the southern parks first and then work you way north. Plan 3-4 days at each park and add driving time. Once you get off the interstate of the mid-country the driving goes slower. Get a good road atlas and highlight each place you want to stop and then connect the dots to make your route.

Purchase the 'Mountain Directory for Truckers and RVers' to read about the roads. Even though some are in that directory that doesn't mean you can't drive safely on them. The purpose is just to let you know what's ahead. Even though we drove those roads over and over we still referred to the description before going to refresh ourselves.

Some national park campgrounds don't accept reservations. For those you'll need to stay nearby the previous night and be at the campground early morning. It really does work. That's what we did.

Grand Teton Nat'l Park has two unreservable campgrounds and they're a great place to stay. Each has 300 sites and we've always gotten a site with our 40' motorhome. They are Colter Bay campground (not the RV park next door) and Gros Ventre campground, closer to the town of Jackson. This is our favorite.

Glacier also has an large unreservable campground called Apgar which we've used. Bryce also has two unreservable campgrounds.

Study each park's awesome web site for lots of good information on camping, what to do, road information, special alerts, etc.

There are national forest campgrounds outside of the national parks and also state parks. Don't try to do national parks from one base camp. It's just too much wasted time and driving and you'll probably only do it once. Try to stay IN the parks for the best experience.

You might want to consider starting this trip the beginning of August for the northern parks and going into October for the southern ones. Parks are less crowded in Sept/Oct.

Have fun planning! You're doing a big one!!
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carl oh View Post
I'm in the process of planning our first long distance trip (kind of newbies to rving this our second year).

Our ultimate destination is Yellowstone, Glacier NP and possibly Banff and Jasper
We will also visit all the major parks in Utah and Colorado.
Along the way we will be stopping in SD for all the attractions there.


Thinking you will take the better part of a Year! Pretty sure you never went hungry, because You sure know how to fill your Plate .

Just a little info before I ask some questions, we are both retired in our mid 60's and enjoy great scenery, scenic drives, short hikes and taking great pictures. This trip is mainly about taking our time and enjoying all the views, scenery and landscapes that this great country has to offer...


You are in for a treat - BUT - you need to really think this over - your locations need to be planned as the Summer is BUSY, and the crowds and the National Parks are Very Popular. You will not be alone.

I will be pulling my 32' 5er with my gmc sierra 2500 hd, I don't think I will have any problems with the roads, although I don't like driving through dangerous and very curvy roads. I also only like to drive for 5 or 6 hrs.

OK you are comfortable with your Rig - but if you only drive 5-6 hours every day and you have mapped out something around 8,000 miles (8,000/250= 32 days of Just driving) Just a guess but thinking you will need to not drive too many days in a row - so I think you see where this is going - this is a BIG - NO REALLY BIG trip.

As far as campgrounds go we don't have to have full hookups, we prefer to stay in national parks (we are not crazy about KOA or parks like that. I have a generator and plan on upgrading my batteries before our trip.

This is Good - means if all the main CG's are full you can survive - but will still need hook ups every now and then

Like I said we are both retired so the length of this trip doesn't really matter but I am thinking somewhere around 6 to 8 weeks.


Not a chance to do this in 42-56 Days - just not possible with the requirements you list earlier. So each state will require a month and add in a week to 10 days out and Back - now you are getting close.

We plan on leaving May 28 (right after labor day).

Possible to start a month to 5 weeks earlier and start in Utah and work your way up and around? Then you just might be able to a least see some of this Great Country next Year .

MY questions:
What is the best route?

Big Laugh - no Really Big LAUGH - this needs to be thought out a whole lot more - you need to understand How BIG this part of the country is, how varied the Weather and the Terrain is - the fact that Elevation and time of year are Critical, and they need to be in the Plan.

What roads or area should we stay away from?

If you want to see it then you will need to drive it - so IMHO there are no roads to Avoid - some you may want to Scout and a few you will only drive the TV on - Going to the Sun Road - Independence Pass - to mention a couple.

Is there any must do or see along the way between OH and SD, also any suggestions on campgrounds or should we just stop at Walmart for the night (i have never stayed overnight but everyone says its safe).

Save the Space for Between Ohio and Custer for later just get on out there - Look to Wal*Marts and local parks and reservoirs as you drive out, many are just Great.

Once we get to SD how long should we plan on staying? ( from what i have read around 7 days should do it).

7 Days should work for the first trip - in each major stop - with roughly 14-15 places to stop along the way that will give you another 4 months to add to the one you will be driving - so I'm thinking April till end of October and you will be fine.

Also any recommendations on the area and campgrounds.

If you can get in Golden Clear Creek in Colorado - Because it's just down the road from the Granddaughters it's the only one I remember.

Should we stay in one spot as a base location?

Stay as close as you can to what you are trying to See, just makes life easier.

I am looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
Hope I didn't give you more than you were looking for but you did Ask . - Break this down into smaller Bites so we can look at it as Local/State /National Park size pieces - really the only way to do it.

Evaluate if you can do what you are proposing to do - SOOOOOOOO many great places Just never enough TIME.


Best of Luck,
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:01 AM   #5
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@busskiper, Thanks for your comments, exactly what i was looking for. I like your bold and honest comments.

We plan on leaving May 28 (right after labor day).

Possible to start a month to 5 weeks earlier and start in Utah and work your way up and around? Then you just might be able to a least see some of this Great Country next Year .

I can leave earlier, my thinking on the 5/28 date was that i didn't want to get to Yellowstone to early and get caught in bad weather. What is the weather like in the Black Hills in early May?

I like the idea of doing the southern part first.

So then my route would be to drive to SD stay there for 7 days. What do you suggest next? Colorado, Utah then head up to Yellowstone or drive up to Banff and work my way down to Glacier then Yellowstone.

I agree with breaking it down to "smaller bite sizes"

So, basically just get to SD as quickly as possible- probably 3 days

In SD my agenda so far is Custer SP, Badlands, Devil's tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and a visit to Deadwood maybe a quick stop in Sturgis (anything i am missing?) do you recommend staying in one area or move to multiple locations. My thoughts were to stay in Custer SP or somewhere near it as my base camp.
Any suggestions on campgrounds in that area?
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by carl oh View Post
@busskiper, Thanks for your comments, exactly what i was looking for. I like your bold and honest comments.

We plan on leaving May 28 (right after labor day).

Possible to start a month to 5 weeks earlier and start in Utah and work your way up and around? Then you just might be able to a least see some of this Great Country next Year .

I can leave earlier, my thinking on the 5/28 date was that i didn't want to get to Yellowstone to early and get caught in bad weather. What is the weather like in the Black Hills in early May?

Mission - Write it down - Time available - Route should be Logical - Weather - Crowds - Mission

I like the idea of doing the southern part first.

IMHO Utah is two to three weeks - Look at these Images - https://www.google.com/search?q=top+...w=1536&bih=760 - many require a hike - and we have not included the State Parks or NM's.....so Take your time and enjoy the area.

So then my route would be to drive to SD stay there for 7 days. What do you suggest next? Colorado, Utah then head up to Yellowstone or drive up to Banff and work my way down to Glacier then Yellowstone.

Let's save The Black Hills and Custer for later - Out of southern Utah, i'd let the Weather direct my next step - so it will depend on time of year now - the Highlands of Colorado are Immersed in Snow till Memorial Day and beyond.

Dino NM and Flaming Gorge are available along with other lowland areas in the Southwest - Maybe even Mesa Verde NP in Colorado.

So We need to figure the dates.


I agree with breaking it down to "smaller bite sizes"

So, basically just get to SD as quickly as possible- probably 3 days

Or three or four weeks if we were to include say Colorado - working across West to East then pushing North to bump around in Colorado, coming out of RMNP and heading to the Black Hills, that might work.

In SD my agenda so far is Custer SP, Badlands, Devil's tower, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and a visit to Deadwood maybe a quick stop in Sturgis (anything i am missing?) do you recommend staying in one area or move to multiple locations. My thoughts were to stay in Custer SP or somewhere near it as my base camp.

Custer SP is good for the Black Hills - there is a lot to see and do many great drives and some pretty nice Hikes along with Eye Candy Everywhere - https://www.google.com/search?q=Blac...w=1536&bih=760 - Take a little time and familurize yourself with the Black Hills once you know what you are looking to do YOU can make the Plan.


Any suggestions on campgrounds in that area?
Just about every possible Question on all of the National Parks tours have been asked - so a Search will help You - Click on my name on the left of the post and do a search of some of my posts that are with similar replies - might help.

Keep working on this and WE the RV community will be able to help.

Best of Luck,
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:14 AM   #7
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When in Utah don't skip a tour boat ride on Lake Powell up to Rainbow Bridge... The camp grounds are fairly nice as well:

https://www.lakepowell.com/rv-campin...rv-campground/
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:47 AM   #8
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We did a similar trip a few years ago from PA. Although we aren't retired (teachers) and we have kids so we only planned about a month of travel. We definitely hope to do what you are doing once retired!!!

We were HUGE newbies. We literally had no idea what we were doing and absolutely no experience - like NONE - with any RV so we bought a 37' Class A and took off in early June with absolutely NO reservations. NUTSO.

We didn't know how far we would want to travel each day, and other than going straight across I80, we had no real travel plans other than reaching Colorado first. Once we got on the road we would drive a few hours and then decide how much further we wanted to drive, I would start researching and calling campgrounds. And we actually didn't have as much trouble finding nice stops. We always had at least electric hookups and we never did any boondocking.

It was such an amazing experience for us and ESPECIALLY our kids. It was CRAZY that we even did it at all. And I am glad we did everything on the fly because there were so many little (and big) things that came up on the way that made us change our plans - like a deadly heat wave in Utah and broken A/C!

With such a long trip, I think it is really hard to plan it all out. Especially if you have the flexibility on being able to just decide to stay longer somewhere that you end up loving more than you expected. Or wanting to leave somewhere sooner because you hate it.

My thought is if I did it again I would plan out week to week as we went. So we had some reservations but we could still adjust plans. The ONLY thing I may have wanted to reserve way ahead of time was reservations near Yellowstone. We were a little far from the park and it would have been nice to be closer.

Oh and the Mountain Directory was a lifesaver!!!!!!

If you want to read our blog about our crazy trip, you can view it here - just scroll to the bottom and read up if you want to read it in chronological order.

Travel-2016 ‚€” Oil City-Franklin Pennsylvania Photographer | Irene Smith
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:41 PM   #9
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We were HUGE newbies. We literally had no idea what we were doing and absolutely no experience - like NONE - with any RV so we bought a 37' Class A and took off in early June with absolutely NO reservations. NUTSO.

With such a long trip, I think it is really hard to plan it all out. Especially if you have the flexibility on being able to just decide to stay longer somewhere that you end up loving more than you expected. Or wanting to leave somewhere sooner because you hate it.

My thought is if I did it again I would plan out week to week as we went. So we had some reservations but we could still adjust plans.

Oh and the Mountain Directory was a lifesaver!!!!!!

If you want to read our blog about our crazy trip, you can view it here - just scroll to the bottom and read up if you want to read it in chronological order.

Travel-2016 ‚€” Oil City-Franklin Pennsylvania Photographer | Irene Smith
Irene, I love your thoughts of reservations! Less is better!! Your blog and photos are awesome. You're an excellent photographer with a beautiful family! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:45 PM   #10
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We did the Badlands and Custer State Park last year. While the Badlands were AMAZING, we found you can pretty much do all the highlights in 2 or 3 days. Spend more time in Custer. At the Badlands, we stayed at Cedar Pass Campground in the National Park. If offers showers/flush toilets and electric hookups and is near many hiking trails.

At Custer, we stayed at the Blue Bell Campground, which had the same amenities as Cedar Pass in the Badlands. There are so many things to do in Custer SP and the surrounding area. We hiked many trails, saw bison, attended a rodeo at Deadwood, Mount Rushmore. We spent about 4 days there, which was not near enough. Could have stayed two weeks, easy.

As a tip, while looking for bison, check the ranger stations near the wildlife loop road. They can tell you exactly where the herd is at that moment. Sometimes the bison are located off of a remote road you wouldn't think to drive down. I could see how someone could travel to Custer and not see any bison because the park is so big, which would be a shame.
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Old 02-13-2019, 08:11 AM   #11
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After long discussion with DW we decided that the first leg of our trip will be to travel to Albuquerque NM to visit family, after that we will start heading north.

Driving at my pace it will take about 6 days to get there.

Google maps has me taking route 70-44 -40 going through Indiana,Missouri, Oklahoma and the northern tip of Texas.
Any ideas on overnight stops, campgrounds along the way.

Any must see or do going through these states (i;m not opposed to stopping for a few days somewhere).
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:29 AM   #12
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After long discussion with DW we decided that the first leg of our trip will be to travel to Albuquerque NM to visit family, after that we will start heading north.

Driving at my pace it will take about 6 days to get there.

Google maps has me taking route 70-44 -40 going through Indiana,Missouri, Oklahoma and the northern tip of Texas.
Any ideas on overnight stops, campgrounds along the way.

Any must see or do going through these states (i;m not opposed to stopping for a few days somewhere).
This may help in the SouthWest - https://www.nps.gov/articles/coloradoplateaus.htm

Map of how I'd go - https://binged.it/2GoJSWq - avoid Oklahoma and some of the I-40 that tends to be Bad.

Amazing how these trip take on a Life of their Own - Just keep the Weather in Mind as you start in the Southwest the Temps can move to the Uncomfortable range Quickly.

Use the Location and the Elevation to your Advantage.

Best of luck with the New Plan
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:17 AM   #13
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Read everything Bussipper has to say about travel in the west. I have bookmarked a number of his posts/threads and will refer to them when planning out my trips in the future. Also watch Youtube videos, such as Grand Adventure, as they are Utah based and do a lot of stuff in Utah and Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and close by, very well put together vids that will help you get ideas.

My one and only (so far) long trip is My Badlands, Black Hills and Eclipse Trip of 2017 and you might find a link or two useful in it. The trip was way too short and I did not come close to seeing everything but I do have a better idea what I want to go back and see in the Black Hills region.

From NE Ohio take I-80 and make time until you get to Omaha and then slow down and smell the roses. You are not going to see everything in one trip, so just limit your planning to an area and forget the rest until later. The Black Hills and Yellowstone/Grand Tetons (plus the small things along the way) will probably take most of the time you have allotted.

Busskipper has a very good handle on it, but just keep in mind that the more you try to see and rush thru, the more you will come back feeling like you missed alot.

Charles
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