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Old 01-30-2013, 09:05 AM   #15
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Thanks twogypsies and okgc for the great information. This is exactly what I'm looking for.

Interestingly, last night my wife was watching the DVRd "Bachelor" and they showed the previews for next weeks show. It was some beautiful scenery and she said "see, that's where I'd like to go". Then, I saw a red bus drive by and knew that next weeks episode was filmed in Glacier NP. Now, I'm not real big on this drama show, but I'll be watching next week for sure
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:19 PM   #16
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However much time you have it's much better than not seeing the area at all. You can always return when you're retired. Millions of folks only have two weeks vacations and they do what they have to do. Your time will come....Have a good trip!
Agree 100%! We are thinking of that same trip from NC but fortunately i am now "simi-retired" so will be able to take a bit longer. I am also thinking of a stop at T Roosevelt NP, and appreciate the info on Waterton.

If we get to go, we plan to wait until the middle of August and get back in mid Sept.

How is your planning coming? let us know how it works out.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:38 AM   #17
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We were in glacier many years ago, and reserved a bus ride over the Going To The Sun Highway. We arrived early, and I went to examine the bus since it was said to be based on a 1935 White truck and was older than I was. The red, open top, buses are called "Jammer Buses" from when they had manual transmissions, and the drivers jammed the gears when shifting. To my surprise, I saw big disc brakes on the front, and an automatic transmission lever on the steering column. At dinner that night, in one of the big lodge restaurants, a waiter told us the bus bodies had been removed, and placed on motorhome chassis. It's a great ride and you are free to take pictures, instead of concentrating on staying on the road.

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Originally Posted by topdownman View Post
Thanks twogypsies and okgc for the great information. This is exactly what I'm looking for.

Interestingly, last night my wife was watching the DVRd "Bachelor" and they showed the previews for next weeks show. It was some beautiful scenery and she said "see, that's where I'd like to go". Then, I saw a red bus drive by and knew that next weeks episode was filmed in Glacier NP. Now, I'm not real big on this drama show, but I'll be watching next week for sure
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:15 AM   #18
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We are looking forward to our trip. We leave on June 21st!
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:43 AM   #19
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Well, I didn't think the day would get here, but we leave this Friday, June 21st heading to Glacier National Park, Rapid City and points unknown. I've spent the last few months getting everything together, servicing the motorhome, making reservations and planning the trip out.

Wish us luck!
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:49 AM   #20
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Well, I didn't think the day would get here, but we leave this Friday, June 21st heading to Glacier National Park, Rapid City and points unknown. I've spent the last few months getting everything together, servicing the motorhome, making reservations and planning the trip out.

Wish us luck!
Have a great trip! Stay safe! We wanna see pictures when you get back.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:45 AM   #21
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Sounds great. How long are you planning on being gone?
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:19 AM   #22
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It's going to be a two week run. Wish we had more time but work dictates otherwise

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Sounds great. How long are you planning on being gone?
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:11 AM   #23
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Great trip thus far. We made it to Medora, ND last night and I'm sitting in the campground admiring the scenery. As an update, I-94 west from Minneapolis is absolutely the WORST interstate I've ever encountered. I ended up having to drive in the left lane to prevent my motorhome from completely self-destructing. I've never seen anything like that.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:29 AM   #24
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Have a great trip. Sounds wonderful. God be with you
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:11 PM   #25
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Have a great trip. Sounds wonderful. God be with you
Thank you! Sitting in Havre, MT tonight and will leave in the morning for Glacier. We're about 160 miles away at this point.
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:34 AM   #26
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We'll be watching your updates. We are planning this trip the end of August. Heading to Glacier after spending a few days in Custer, SD with friends. Our trip will also be two weeks but at least we live in southeastern SD so that helps with the driving time.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:58 AM   #27
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Ill give a full write up when we get off the road. We're in Onawa Iowa right now and headed back to Louisville. It's been a grand trip.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:54 PM   #28
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Warning, Long Post

Well, our Glacier trip is in the books. 3,940 miles total. We left on the evening of June 21st and returned home on July 6th. The Sportscoach got an honest 8.2 mpg over the entire trip. Absolutely zero mechanical problems or issues over the entire trip.

We left the evening of the 21st, and made it to a Walmart in Chicago, IL where we spent the night in the Wally World parking lot.

Wisconsin Dells

Saturday morning the 22nd, we got back on the road around 9 in the morning. A few hours up the road and we made it to the Wisconsin Dells. Originally, I had planned on staying at the Sherwood Forest Campground. It was highly rated on RVParkReviews.com. We pulled into the campground and they were packed (we did not have reservations). However, they said they could accommodate us, so they gave us a couple of site numbers and said to come back and register after we were unhooked. We arrived at the sites and were dismayed. They were back-in sites (which was expected), but there was practically no gravel and standing water. I’m convinced we would have sunk to our axles if we had tried to park there. We decided to just leave since we hadn’t paid for anything. We drove on down the road to the Bonanza Campground. Aha! This is the same campground we’d stayed in about 10 years earlier. Much more convenient to the “action” on the strip and overall a much nicer campground Since we were traveling with another couple, we got two pull-through sites side-by-side and setup for the night. We spent the afternoon and evening there, then settled in for a good nights sleep while a thunderstorm rolled through.

Mall of America

The next morning, Sunday the 23rd, we got up and on the road probably before 10:00 a.m. Next stop, Mall of America in Minneapolis/St. Paul (technically Bloomington). It was just a few hour drive and we arrived before 1:30 p.m. This was an experience. There is NO bus/RV parking (at least that I could find) anywhere around this mall. If there is, it’s not clearly marked. We drove around the block several times and it was obvious there were places NOT to go. Finally, I found what appeared to be a large entrance and though surely this would lead to some large lot. I was wrong. Dead ahead was low clearance so we were forced into a really small satellite lot with barely enough room to swing around and head back out. We finally went across the street and parked in an office mall that was closed for the day, unhooked the Jeeps and headed in. I’m not a mall guy, but it was a neat place and worth the visit. Afterward, we headed over to the Ikea store since we don’t have one of those in our area and picked up a few things for the house. Then, it was back to walk the dogs and hit the road.

Jamestown, ND

Next stop, Jamestown, ND and the worlds largest buffalo. I encountered probably the worst interstate of my life traveling on I-94 outside of Minneapolis. I’ve driven a lot of ROUGH interstate, but this one shook my teeth out. I finally had to move over to the left lane which was considerably smoother. I was seriously concerned my TV would rip itself out of the mounts. The fridge doors bounced open once and my pantry came open. It was in terrible condition.

We made it as far as Alexandria, MN on the evening of the 23rd and pulled into a Super Walmart. Had some dinner at a local eatery and settled in for the evening.

On the morning of the 24th, we hit the road, headed for Jamestown. We had fully intended to make Jamestown an overnight stop, but once we arrived in the early afternoon and visited the small pioneer village and viewed “the buffalo”, we decided to push on since it was only another 230 miles to our next stop, Medora.

Medora, ND

Again, we did not have reservations for this stopover because we weren’t exactly sure where our itinerary would lead. We made a few calls and found that the Medora Campground could not accommodate 40 foot rigs. We called the next campground on the list (Red Trail) and found they had sites. We booked two sites and headed for the campground.

We arrived in the early evening and were guided to our sites. This campground leaves much to be desired. The hookups worked fine and there were no problems with utilities, however the sites are overgrown, muddy and basically just need maintenance. Another reviewer commented that the office staff needs a bath. I would have to agree.

We spent the evening driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Wow, what a beautiful place. The badlands here are completely different from the badlands of South Dakota. We saw buffalo, elk, a heard of wild horses and many prairie dogs. The next day, again we spent exploring the town and the badlands. That evening, we had reservations for the “pitchfork fondue” at the Medora Musical. It’s expensive, but the food was good and sitting outside enjoying the vistas was unforgettable. After the meal, we attended the Medora Musical. Great fun. After the show, we settled in for the night because tomorrow was a big drive day.

We left Medora on the morning of the 26th, and headed for Glacier. The idea was to get as far as possible on this day, then find a place to stay for the night. We left Medora, backtracked a few miles on I-94 to 85, then headed north to Williston where we fueled up. Then, we headed across 2 into Montana.

Havre, MT

Another poster here had recommended 2 to us if you really want to see “big sky country”. Wow, what views. It’s all good road and I was able to maintain an honest 65 mph except when you came to little towns. All the towns have a grain elevator, so it’s easy to see when you’re arriving in a town. We were trying to make Fort Peck, but made that easily so pushed on. Around 7:00 p.m. we arrived in the town of Havre, and decided to stop for the night. We located the Havre RV Park, made a call and had sites for the night.

This is a neat/weird RV park. It’s smack-dab in the middle of town and the sites are arranged in a circle. There are no pull-throughs, you just pull up to a curb and park. Different. Very clean and the utilities worked well. If you need a safe (read that walled) place to stay, it’s just fine. We had some dinner on the outside picnic table and headed to bed.

We awoke on the morning of the 27th and headed back out Highway 2 towards St. Mary. At this point, we’re a day ahead of schedule and it was obvious we’d be in St. Mary/Glacier East pretty early since it was only 192 miles. We contacted the St. Mary KOA where we had reservations and they said they could get us in a day early, but we may have to switch sites later. No problem. So off we go.

Again, the road from Havre to Browning is good road with increasingly larger views of the mountains in the distance. Simply beautiful. Here’s where things get a little dicey and where I wished I had asked a few more questions. My directions showed that our campground was off of 89, so when we arrived at Browning, I was concerned and ignored my GPS pleadings to “turn right”. Indeed. I should have taken 464 into St. Mary and backtracked as it turns out that is MUCH better road as I’ll speak of later. Anyway, we plodded on using 89. It’s not bad road, and it goes through some beautiful country, but it’s twisty, mountainous and you are not going to make good time. You’ve got about 32 miles of this road.

St. Mary, MT

The scenery is breathtaking and cannot be described until you’ve actually been there. We arrived at the St. Mary KOA in the early afternoon and were assigned two back-in sites up near the entrance. At first, these sites didn’t seem too prime, but after setting up and seeing the breathtaking views, they were nice. A plus for us is that these sites were adjacent to the dog walk area, which was a hit with the beagles. We liked these sites so well, we asked the KOA if we could just stay in these back-in sites, instead of the pull-through’s we’d reserved. They spent quite a bit of time rearranging sites so that we could remain on the original sites. Kudo’s to the KOA management.

Next morning, we headed for Going To The Sun Road. We’d been told that they’d only cleared Logan Pass about a week before, so it was clear all the way to West Glacier. It’s about a 48 mile run from one end to the other, but it’ll take you hours because at each turn you’ll want to stop and take pictures. Absolutely beautiful. At the visitor center at Logan Pass we stopped to take pictures in the snow on June 28th! We traveled down the backside and stopped in the little village of Apgar for lunch at a café, then headed back. It was nearly a full-day of traveling but well worth it.

Our daughter who was traveling with us had to fly out of Glacier International on Sunday morning the 30th. We’d been told it was about a 3 hour drive to Kalispell down 89 to 2. So, we opted to find her a hotel for the night rather than take a chance of being late for the flight. Turns out, Kalispell was MAYBE 2 hours from East Glacier. After we had her settled in Kalispell, we headed back. Since we’d passed the West Glacier entrance to Going To The Sun Road, we decided to take that back. It turns out it’s MUCH faster, and we had the opportunity to see the sites one more time.

Devils Tower, WY

Sunday morning the 30th, it was time to hit the road again. We left St. Mary, and headed out Highway 89 through Great Falls, then on through Lewistown to Billings, MT. This was a long drive day, but mostly good road with a few pieces of construction. Beautiful country.

At this point, we were primarily following the GPS. When I started studying the route, it seemed to want to take me the wrong way. After referring to the map, it did look correct and probably shorter, just not interstate. I probably should have changed direction at that point, but the Garmin took me off I-90 at the Little Bighorn National Monument, then across 212. 212 is good road, until you get to the construction zone. There, the road completely disappears. It was several miles of just gravel and ruts which was terrible. Once past the construction area, it was beginning to get dark. Normally, we would have stopped for the night, except there WAS nowhere to stop. At least nowhere I felt comfortable stopping. So, we pressed on with an expected arrival time of 10:30 p.m. The GPS took me off 212 at 112, which again appeared to make sense according to the map. Here’s where it went all wrong. The GPS began telling me to “turn left”. Problem was, turning left would have put me into a field. Again, “turn right”. Another field. We drove on several miles listening to “recalculating” several times. Finally, another road loomed ahead and it said “turn right on 24”. No sign, but I turn anyway because it looks correct. When I crossed the cattle grates and the road turned to gravel, I knew this wasn’t correct. No cell phone service either until I exited the motorhome. Praise God, cell service! I pulled up Google Maps and could see where we were maybe a half mile from 24. So, we ended up disconnecting the Jeeps and backing up about a quarter of a mile to the main road, in the dark. Not fun. Once we were back on the main road, I knew we were probably only a few miles at best from the KOA in Devils Tower, so Tina just followed in the Jeep. We actually arrived at the campground around 11:30 p.m. It was really dark so you couldn’t see much of anything till I realized the campground is sitting right in the shadow of Devils Tower. I could see it looming in the dark.

Early the next morning, we awoke fairly early and headed down the road for breakfast. Then, we came back to Devils Tower and drove into the park. Our plan was to grab some pictures, then hit the road so we didn’t spend a lot of time there, but got some great pics.

Rapid City, SD

This was a short run of a bit over 100 miles and we had reservations at the KOA Rapid City. We arrived in the early afternoon and settled into the campground, it’s now Monday, July 1st.

We headed out to visit Bear Country. The place was packed, but it’s good for a couple of hours of close-up animal viewings. I’d highly recommend Bear Country especially if you have kiddos. We then left Bear Country and headed out to Mount Rushmore for a visit. If you visit, make sure and check out the video presentation. Again, beautiful scenery.

The next day we decided was going to be a rest day at the campground, catch up on laundry, take care of little things that needed repair, etc. Later in the afternoon, we headed out via Jeep to do the Badlands Loop and visit Wall Drug. I had to get a drink of water at that point.

On Wednesday afternoon, we headed back out to visit Crazy Horse (again, watch the video), then took a tour through Custer State Park on our way back to Rushmore for the evening lighting ceremony. This pretty much wrapped up our visit to Rapid City. It was a busy time, and you could sure easily spend a week here, but since this was our fifth visit it was time to move on.

At this point, our stopovers were done and it was pretty much a death-march home. We headed out of Rapid City on the morning of July 4th and absolutely had to be back in Louisville by the 7th. So, we had time, but there wasn’t much else along the way we really wanted to see.

We headed out of Rapid City on I-90 and once into Sioux Falls, headed south on I-29. I did want to mention a campground we’ve stayed at in Onawa on numerous occasions while traveling through this area. I suppose this is because if you leave Rapid City in the morning headed toward Louisville, this is about where you’ll be tired for the day. It’s called On-Ur-Wa RV Park. This place is a little gem. Cheap rates and it’s really nice. Check it out if you’re ever down that way.

On~Ur~Wa RV Park

After a great evening in Onawa we continued south toward Kansas City, MO. Here, just off I-435 I encountered probably the worst Pilot/Flying J I’ve ever encountered. I’ve attached a picture so you can see what sort of nightmare road you’ll encounter. The road pretzels in and out in front of this place and my GPS went ballistic. When we pulled in, trucks were lined up at the pumps. There is one way in, and one way out, yet there were trucks trying to exit the in. Then, other trucks that had circled around were trying to come back in and cut the line. At one point, I stopped because a trucker was signaling that he wanted to change lanes (because another trucker had just parked his truck in the fuel lane). When I hesitated for a moment, the air horns started blowing. My friend saw one trucker jump out of his truck and pull back like he was going to punch another guy. I just stayed behind my truck and once he fueled, he pulled forward, but just barely enough for me to be able to pull up behind him and still reach my fuel tanks. I got out to start fueling and Tina took the three beagles out to the bathroom. Someone yelled “is this what the holdup is? Someone walking a bunch of da*n beagles?” I was never so glad to get out of a truck stop in my life.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. We made it back home around mid-afternoon on Saturday, the 6th, a day ahead of schedule.

In all, it was a great trip. Several people said two weeks wasn’t enough time, but it was easily doable. At my age (still working), you’ve got to deal with what vacation time you have available.
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