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Old 08-14-2013, 11:52 AM   #1
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Going to visit Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone

I"m new to "travel" camping and IRV2 - we are heading out from GA to visit the Badlands - Mt. Rushmore - Yellowstone - Grand Tetons/Jackson Hole - going to Peyton CO (family)- I"ve been doing some research on the different areas but would like some specific info on the best roads to travel to see the most - such as the different scenic roads through the Badlands and around Mt Rushmore and Black Hills through Custer SP and Yellowstone - Also if anyone could suggest a central campground in each area to park for a couple of days and just sightsee - we have the American the Beautiful card - also was wondering which other card would be the best - Passport America or Good Sam's or if another one might be better - this is our first cross country trip in a camper - we have a Lance Truck camper - thanks so much for any info!!!!
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
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We were just in that area earlier this summer for a few days...

Rt 240 off of 90 is the Badlands Loop... very scenic... wonderful drive. If you're heading west when you visit, 240 takes you into Wall SD. Home of "Wall Drug" which I thought was very overrated, but to each his own.

We also took the "Wildlife Loop Drive" through Custer State Park. Pretty cool... lots of bison and antelope, and a few jackasses... really wild jackasses in the park that will walk right up to you. This loop was no problem for our 35' class A RV, so it definitely won't be a problem for a truck camper. One of the roads we couldn't pass... 16A I think it was... it had tunnels that were not large enough for our camper as we are just shy of 12' tall. You should check into that route before traveling it.

We stayed at Rafter J Bar Ranch Campground... very nice . And close to everything. A little pricey, and I think we might have had the oldest rig there, but it was very nice. We drove past the Mt Rushmore KOA on our way to the Heads... it looked nice too and wouldn't hesitate to stay there.

Hope this helps... enjoy your trip!

-cheers
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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By the way, we did the Grand Tetons on this trip too... stayed at Coulter Bay Village campground. It was a very packed campground, but a short walk down to the lake reveals the Grand Tetons on the other side of Jackson Lake... SO BEAUTIFUL. Make sure you go here AFTER going through the black hills. I mean, the black hills are nice, but they won't seem that great after visiting the Tetons.

When we left the Custer State Park area, we drove up to visit Devil's Tower... also very cool, and worth the time to walk around it if you can. From there we Crossed the Bighorn mountains on Rt14... Super Cool. On the west side of the mountains there is a place called Shell Falls... it's right on the route, and there's a visitor center there and some paved trails to walk around to see the water falls. Totally worth the stop. The drive across northern Wyoming on RT14 is very pretty... this takes you to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone... also very pretty, although I have heard that the northeast entrance coming down out of Montana is one of the most scenic drives in the country... we'll do that next time.

Yellowstone is great... The geysers and hot springs are amazing, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is grander than I thought it would be...

Well, all for now.

-cheers
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:47 PM   #4
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Oh, one more thing... we didn't have any club cards, but we did get roadside assistance from Coachnet just in case we had mechanical issues. For less than $100/year the service they provide seemed well worth it. Luckily, we did not have to use it.

-cheers
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:54 AM   #5
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The Mt Rushmore KOA is very nice. We've stayed there a few times. In Hill City plan to eat at the Alpine Inn --- assuming you eat meat. There are only two items on the menu, 6 oz. or 8 oz. Filet for $9.95 or $11.95. They do have lots of choices for dessert so save room.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:32 AM   #6
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We are leaving the Illinois Samboree and going to the Black Hills. Staying at Heartland rv park in Hermosa. Then up to Deadwood, staying at Steel wheel Rv park. Then back East on I 90 to Wall, then the Badlands, Staying at either Cedar pass, or the Badlands Motel. Then head home to Janesville, Wi. You will enjoy everything about this trip you have planned. Roads in the Black hills offer a lot of scenic overlooks. The donkeys, I hear, will stick their head in the window, looking for something to eat. Be careful. Have fun. Keep us posted on your adventure,.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:34 AM   #7
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Forgot... We use passport America. Most all of our choices on RV parks are 1/2 price PPA .. We also have Good Sam, but it is only 10% off.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:01 AM   #8
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To get from the Black Hills to Yellowstone, you need to cross the Bighorns. There are three reasonable routes and one very rugged one.

Hwy. 16 is the easiest drive, but IMO is also the least scenic. We tried it once and have avoided it since.

The next possibility is hwy. 14. Just west of Burgess Junction, you can stay on 14 or turn off onto 14A. If you stay on 14, stop at the Shell Canyon Visitor Center. The short walk to the falls is worth the time.

If you are a confident mountain driver, our favorite route is 14A. If you go that way, Five Springs Falls is a nice BLM campground up (way up) a dirt road just after leaving the national forest. You can also stop at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area east of Lovell, which is a little known gem. The scenery is spectacular. Bighorn sheep are often wandering along the road near the Devils Canyon overlook, and wild horses are common. The campground there is free, but there is a small charge for electric hookups.

There is also an alternative route on the east side. While I never tell anybody to use it, I enjoy it. For the truly adventurous, exit I90 on hwy. 87. Head (mostly) west on hwy. 335, Red Grade road. When you enter the national forest, 335 changes names and becomes FR 26. It is very steep up hill and has some fairly tight turns, but nothing unmanageable. It is a dirt road, but because there are 5 campgrounds along it, it tends to be well maintained. It intersects hwy 14 juse east of Shell Canyon. I really like it better going down hill, west to east.

Joel
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:18 PM   #9
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Interesting reading going to black hills next week from jefferson wi.
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