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Old 03-01-2016, 08:51 PM   #1
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Summer Road Trip

I a excited to be a part of this forum. My family and I began our camping adventures a couple years ago. We felt as though it would create memories for our children. We were right. I wanted to ask about good routes etc from the Southeast, lower Alabama to be exact to Mt. Rushmore then on to Wyoming.

We travel in a 2015 GMC 2500HD (Duramax), 28ft Passport in tow.

Thanks for any pointers the board may have.
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:46 PM   #2
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Can't help you with routing to Mt. Rushmore - we did the trip when our kids were tweens - left from Chicago and took the northern route. One of our best trips ever! Took 2 weeks and towed our Jayco Kiwi. Enjoy!
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Old 03-01-2016, 09:50 PM   #3
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Looking at the Route on Google there is a lot of interesting things that would create memories for your family as they did for us. While my route was from NJ to Wyoming some of the sights I am suggesting were on several different trips. So here goes - Plugging in Southeast Alabama for a starting spot and Mt. Rushmore for the end. It takes you through Memphis - did that last year and if you are into Elvis and Barbecue it would be a nice stop - Stayed at Toms Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis right on the banks of the Mississippi River. Next stop would be Springfield IL - We stayed at the Springfield KOA and visited Lincoln's tomb and House - well worth the stop. Next it brings you through Kansas City - we stayed in Merriam, KS and went to a local BBQ shop. Don't know what else is there to see. Continuing northward you end up at Sioux Falls - We stopped there during the day to visit the falls and site of an old mill. It was a nice break. Once you are on I-90 you have the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD which was a nice stop and interesting. We next drove through the Badlands stopping at the information center and most of the parking areas. From there we stopped at Wall Drugs in Wall - not really worth it. From there you can head to Mt. Rushmore - We skipped it on our trip as we were there before and continued on I-90 to Deadwood, SD for a few days - interesting town and worth it next we headed to the Devils Tower for a few hour stop and from there we went to the Little Bighorn Battlefield for a short stop on our way to Billings Montana. From Billings we dropped down to Cody Wy for several days and took in the Night Rodeo among other things. Great place. From there we did Yellowstone and that is another story. When you do Mt. Rushmore consider staying in Custer SD not far from Mt. Rushmore, Crazy House and Custer State Park where the buffalo roam. One note is to plan around the Sturgis Motorcycle week so you don't run into higher rates and possible no vacancies at campgrounds. If you can on the way back go through Nebraska - the main Cabela's Store in Sidney, NE has a nice campground and if you like trains check out Bailey Yard in North Platte NE site of the worlds largest train yard view able from eight stories above the tracks in the Golden Spike tower. A lot will depend on the number of days you have and how often do you want to move. We did a lot of one nights leading up to longer stays at our main destinations.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:47 AM   #4
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Thanks so much. We are thinking this will be a Summer 2017. Have a 9yr old and 5 yr old who will be 11 and 7 next summer. We are doing north Ga and the Smokies this summer. We are both teachers so summers are about it for us when it comes to long trips.

Thanks so much for your input.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:05 AM   #5
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My general advise is


"Stay off the interstates."


The back roads offer so much more to see in the small towns.
Charles Kuralt said it best.


"Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is possible to travel from coast to coast and not see a thing."
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Old 03-02-2016, 03:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSeibert View Post
Thanks so much. We are thinking this will be a Summer 2017. Have a 9yr old and 5 yr old who will be 11 and 7 next summer. We are doing north Ga and the Smokies this summer. We are both teachers so summers are about it for us when it comes to long trips.

Thanks so much for your input.
The wife is a teachers aide so we have been doing month long summer trips (Mid-July to Mid-August). Last year we did Nashville, Memphis, Texas, Louisiana, and the Smoky Mountains staying at Pigeon Forge and then home bound. One note when we stopped in Pigeon Forge it was for a three day weekend and it was packed. Constant grid lock everywhere we went and lines at restaurants and attractions. If you are venturing outside the park itself you might want consider weekdays. In a previous trip through Georgia we did Stone Mountain Park. Great campground in the park and lots of stuff to do with kids. Also consider a stop at the Bush's Bean Factory in Dandridge, TN. They have a visitors center with displays, etc. across the road from the factory. They have designated RV parking in their large parking lot for a stop while in route to somewhere else.
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:25 PM   #7
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'ROBMAT' in a previous post gave you some great ideas up to Yellowstone. Each national park, national monument and national historic place has as wonderful web site which will give you lots of good information such as things to do, road maintenance issues, camping information and more. Check them out. For example, here is Yellowstone's:

Yellowstone National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

I'd highly recommend you stay in the parks themselves for the best overall experience. They have ranger programs for the children and nightly campfire programs. They also give guided walks/hikes.

From Yellowstone your could head north to Glacier Nat'l Park or head south to Grand Teton National Park which is attached to Yellowstone but is completely different in looks and things to do. It's like a miniature Alps! The hiking is better in the Tetons than Yellowstone as they lead you to lovely lakes and streams and they are for all abilities and lengths. Definitely plan a gentle raft trip down the Snake River in the park. You just might see a moose in the water with you....we did.

Then if you're ready to return home continue south into Utah. All the national parks in this state are awesome. Although the summer will be hot in many of the parks, plan to do your hikes and siteseeing in the morning and again around 3pm. Noon to 3 is siesta time in the heat. Bryce Nat'l Park will be the coolest. If you make it to Arches Nat'l Park definitely sign up in advance for the Fiery Furnace ranger-led hike. It is so unique and the whole family will love it!

If you still have time you could then visit the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is much cooler but for first time visitors I recommend the South Rim. Hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/8 mile or so and you'll get a completely different feel for the canyon rather than staying on the top. Trailer Village RV in the park is the place to stay if you want hookups; Mather campground if you don't need hookups. The free shuttle stops at both campgrounds and you can use it all day long getting on and off where you want. This is nice for doing the Rim Trail which is reasonably flat. Walk a while then pick up the shuttle again.

From the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff has some nice Indian dwellings to explore. We like to stay at Bonito national forest campground which is right at the entrance to Sunset Crater Nat'l Monument - no reservations; no hookups but if you get there in the morning after leaving Grand Canyon you'll get a site. It's lovely.

You'll also be close to Sedona, AZ which is beautiful, especially if you can walk a trail for a mile or so and get away from the crowds. At that point you can head home via I-40 or drop down to I-10/I-20 for your return home.

One summer trip just won't do it for you. You'll be back! Have fun planning and let the children help, too. Perhaps tack some state maps up and let them research different things they'd like to see.
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