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Old 03-07-2015, 01:00 PM   #1
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CT to Fargo ND to Sioux Falls SD to CT

We'll be heading out on a ~3,500 mile journey the last week of March. I do some work for a medical technology company and I've been offered a pretty significant bonus to spend a month in Fargo ND and a month in Sioux Falls SD during April and May.

As I'll be away from home for 2 months, the company has agreed to pay for the costs to bring my wife and 2 labs with me. While we could fly out, we've decided to drive the RV out and back for this trip. We won't be staying in the RV while we're out there for a few reasons.

- it's a little early in the season and will likely still be pretty cold in ND and SD during that time
- there are really no campgrounds in the Fargo ND area. There used to be a KOA on the Fargo/Moorhead MN border, but it's no longer open

So, the company is putting us up for 2 months at the Marriott Residence Inn in each state - Not too shabby!

Anyway, I'm looking for any insight on where to stay - likely boondock - on our way there and back.

The trip out to Fargo from our home in CT is about 1,500 miles. I'm planning on leaving on a Monday and leaving myself at least 4 days for the travel - although I think I am going to try to do it in 3 days. I've started mapping out the route and I think I have found our 1st overnight stop. It's about a 7 hour drive from our home to the Portage Rest Stop on the Ohio Turnpike. This is one of 8 service plaza's on the Ohio Turnpike that have RV specific parking spots. For $20 we can park at the service plaza with a 50amp hookup. This is a great idea that I wish other states would adopt.

If I can keep the pace of ~8 hours of travel a day, that would put us in Illinois for our 2nd night on the road. It doesn't look like Illinois allows overnight RV parking in any rest areas, so I'm looking for some suggestions on a good place to overnight. We'll likely be near Beloit Illinois or Portage Wisconsin. In looking at the allstays.com website, there are a lot of truck stops along this route, so that may be the way we go.

This amount of travel each day should mean that we'll be at our destination in Fargo ND by the end of the 3rd day.

As for our trip back to CT from Sioux Falls SD - I haven't started to map that out yet - but will likely look for at least 1 night on the Ohio Turnpike at one of the RV rest areas.

After we get back home, we'll only be here tot 2 days before we take off for the NASCAR Weekend at Ponoco Raceway. We're really looking forward to that to cap off our 2 months away.

If anyone has any suggestions for our stays along the way, it would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:34 PM   #2
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You are right, there is not much in the line of good campsites in the Fargo area. There is a campsite about 10 mi west of Fargo just off of I-94 that we stayed two years ago. It is a part of a hotel chain, gravel roads/sites - nothing to write home about. Thee are some campsites in Sioux Falls, SD, but that may be further from town. We didn't find the campsites there that impressive either.
Have you considered just driving your car since you are not going to be using using your motor home while there. That will be one less things you have to tend to. Just a a thought!
Have a safe and enjoyable trip, however you decide to do it!
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
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Howdy And Let Me Say How Lucky To Have A Job That Pays You To Vacation...
To Boondock IMO is "Great".
Is your unit going to still be winterized? I have used the Turnpike Plaza's this last summer. They only require the $20.00 if you want full hook-up, there is also a charge to dump. You must have exact paper money, each parking stall has its own machine, and doesn't give change. So carry plenty of twenties with ya. And it is a "stall", not a "Camping Site". My opinion, I didn't want to spend the money, and only stayed about 4 to 6 hours long enough to rest and go so we didn't pay. I inquired at each Plaza about the charge, "You Pay If You Want Hook Ups".
That said, we Boondocked at Plazas both heading West & East Bound in Ohio and Indiana and I liked them all. I ran my genny, but did not put out slides (just easier for us to get underway). When we needed to stop and there were not rest areas available or not lawful to overnight we used Truck Stops & a Casino. I really like the Casino’s; DW liked hitting the slots, I enjoyed the diversity of the "Huge Buffet Bar". The Casino's we saw along the way had Full Hook Ups, again didn't use them & don't know if they charge or not.
As a reminder, have your pet records handy. And Have A Great Working Trip.
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by srh View Post
You are right, there is not much in the line of good campsites in the Fargo area. There is a campsite about 10 mi west of Fargo just off of I-94 that we stayed two years ago. It is a part of a hotel chain, gravel roads/sites - nothing to write home about. Thee are some campsites in Sioux Falls, SD, but that may be further from town. We didn't find the campsites there that impressive either.
Have you considered just driving your car since you are not going to be using using your motor home while there. That will be one less things you have to tend to. Just a a thought!
Have a safe and enjoyable trip, however you decide to do it!
Hi SRH .. thanks for your reply.

We did think about renting a large SUV - like a Suburban - but decided that we'd just take the RV towing our VW Tiguan for a few reasons:

- it's the best way to travel for us with the 2 Labs
- I don't exactly know where we will be stopping each night and may have problems finding a hotel that will take the dogs
- the DW has to eat GlutenFree and Dairy Free - and finding restaurants that cater *properly* to people with food alergies is a crapshoot
- we'll be towing our car, so the DW will have a car to travel with while I'm off at work (company is renting me a car for each site)

As for camping in/near Fargo ...

- The "campground" you mentioned is just a partially paved/dirt lot behind the one of the hotels. While it has electric, and maybe water, it's far from a campground. Sure it does include use of hotel showers, pool and laundry - but it's not the location I want to spend 4 weeks in.

- The town of Fargo also offers camping at one of the town parks, but it will not be open by the time we arrive, only allows 2 weeks stays and we can't camp there with the dogs.

As you noted, there are more options near Sioux Falls but as I'm "dragging" the DW on this trip, I negotiated stays at the Marriott Residence Inn for the entire trip. If it were a little later in the year, we would probably stay at an RV park - but this way the we've got a 2 bedroom studio "apartment" with full kitchen, daily maid service, onsite pool, sauna and gym - the perfect way to keep the DW happy!
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Old 03-07-2015, 02:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bilgerat View Post
Howdy And Let Me Say How Lucky To Have A Job That Pays You To Vacation...
To Boondock IMO is "Great".
Is your unit going to still be winterized? I have used the Turnpike Plaza's this last summer. They only require the $20.00 if you want full hook-up, there is also a charge to dump. You must have exact paper money, each parking stall has its own machine, and doesn't give change. So carry plenty of twenties with ya. And it is a "stall", not a "Camping Site". My opinion, I didn't want to spend the money, and only stayed about 4 to 6 hours long enough to rest and go so we didn't pay. I inquired at each Plaza about the charge, "You Pay If You Want Hook Ups".
That said, we Boondocked at Plazas both heading West & East Bound in Ohio and Indiana and I liked them all. I ran my genny, but did not put out slides (just easier for us to get underway). When we needed to stop and there were not rest areas available or not lawful to overnight we used Truck Stops & a Casino. I really like the Casino’s; DW liked hitting the slots, I enjoyed the diversity of the "Huge Buffet Bar". The Casino's we saw along the way had Full Hook Ups, again didn't use them & don't know if they charge or not.
As a reminder, have your pet records handy. And Have A Great Working Trip.
Thanks Bilgerat ... and you're right, it's great to work for a company that is paying us to travel and covering ALL of our costs from the moment we leave our driveway. That means fuel both ways, a rental car for me at each site, premium 2 bedroom hotel room with full kitchens and all of our food expenses during the trip. Given that PLUS the bonus I am getting to do this two month trip - it's really a no brainer!

Our unit is winterized now, buy I am thinking I'm going to have to de-winterize it at least for the trip out. In looking at the Farmers Almanac, it looks like the temperatures will be high enough to support de-winterizing.

Thanks for the tip about the Casino's ... I think I'll spend some time seeing what Casino's are nearby the highway for our trips.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Labs View Post
Hi SRH .. thanks for your reply.

We did think about renting a large SUV - like a Suburban - but decided that we'd just take the RV towing our VW Tiguan for a few reasons:

- it's the best way to travel for us with the 2 Labs
- I don't exactly know where we will be stopping each night and may have problems finding a hotel that will take the dogs
- the DW has to eat GlutenFree and Dairy Free - and finding restaurants that cater *properly* to people with food alergies is a crapshoot
- we'll be towing our car, so the DW will have a car to travel with while I'm off at work (company is renting me a car for each site)

As for camping in/near Fargo ...

- The "campground" you mentioned is just a partially paved/dirt lot behind the one of the hotels. While it has electric, and maybe water, it's far from a campground. Sure it does include use of hotel showers, pool and laundry - but it's not the location I want to spend 4 weeks in.

- The town of Fargo also offers camping at one of the town parks, but it will not be open by the time we arrive, only allows 2 weeks stays and we can't camp there with the dogs.

As you noted, there are more options near Sioux Falls but as I'm "dragging" the DW on this trip, I negotiated stays at the Marriott Residence Inn for the entire trip. If it were a little later in the year, we would probably stay at an RV park - but this way the we've got a 2 bedroom studio "apartment" with full kitchen, daily maid service, onsite pool, sauna and gym - the perfect way to keep the DW happy!
That makes perfect sense!. Although we do not travel with four-legged friends, but I can imagine it would be challenging to travel with two of them in a car.
No, I wouldn't want to spend four weeks at the campground by the hotel. We were there for two nights - One my nieces lives in Fargo, her two daughters and mine had a good time at hotel water park.
What part of CT are you from? I spent four years in New Haven - didn't go to Yale, just worked for a Civil Engineering Company just north of the downtown.
At the time you are will be leaving, I don't think you would have to worry about freezing.
Have a safe trip and enjoy!
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:29 AM   #7
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I assume you will be traveling I80 to I39 to I90, and onward. Almost all campgrounds will still be closed until about mid April.
There is a casino in Joliet, Il. near I80. There is a "flying J near intersection of I80 and I39. Overnight parking may be available.
There is a casino in "the dells" near Baraboo/Lake Delton. [HoChunk]..
Your return trip will be a lot warmer, camps open, and if you have time, stop at "Starved Rock" state park in Utica/Lasalle, Il. very interesting.
Also, on return, you may want to follow the Mississippi down to I80, and stop at Corp of Engineer camps.
I would not dewinterize on the "outbound" trip. carry water in bottles for drinking/ cooking. Larger milk bottles, for flushing. heat a pot on stove for washing. It will only be a few days. After work, some day dewinterize for return trio. Have a wonderful time.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:08 PM   #8
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I assume you will be traveling I80 to I39 to I90, and onward. Almost all campgrounds will still be closed until about mid April.
There is a casino in Joliet, Il. near I80. There is a "flying J near intersection of I80 and I39. Overnight parking may be available.
There is a casino in "the dells" near Baraboo/Lake Delton. [HoChunk]..
Your return trip will be a lot warmer, camps open, and if you have time, stop at "Starved Rock" state park in Utica/Lasalle, Il. very interesting.
Also, on return, you may want to follow the Mississippi down to I80, and stop at Corp of Engineer camps.
I would not dewinterize on the "outbound" trip. carry water in bottles for drinking/ cooking. Larger milk bottles, for flushing. heat a pot on stove for washing. It will only be a few days. After work, some day dewinterize for return trio. Have a wonderful time.
Hi Tom,

Thanks for your reply ...

I've been doing some trip planning via Google Maps, and Google is routing through the Great Lakes via RT 90 all the way into Wisconsin, then picking up RT 94 into Fargo.

I'm going to take a look at the route your mentioning ... these alternate routes are what I'm interested in.

Thanks!
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:16 PM   #9
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...
Your return trip will be a lot warmer, camps open, and if you have time, stop at "Starved Rock" state park in Utica/Lasalle, Il. very interesting.
Also, on return, you may want to follow the Mississippi down to I80, and stop at Corp of Engineer camps. ... Have a wonderful time.
Thanks for the mention of a few stops to make on the way back. I'm hoping that I'll be done with this project early so that I can take advantage of sights on the way back to CT.

If it wasn't for us *finally* getting our own Trackside RV spots at Pocono this year - I've been on the waiting list for 5 years - we would certainly take advantage of the better weather on the way back and hit more sights!

Unfortunately we can't move the NASCAR race weekend, and we always have a LOT of fun at Pocono Raceway.

Here's a view from our spot ... can't beat it for the price!





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Old 03-08-2015, 05:44 PM   #10
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I agree that you should not de-winterize as March and April are both forecast to be below normal temps. Check out weatherbell.com, Joe Bastardi summary, which is free. Otherwise have a great journey.

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Old 03-09-2015, 08:46 AM   #11
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I would stay on rte I80, around southern tip of lake Michigan. DO NOT take I90, or I94 around Chicago. . Too congested and too many tolls. Stay on I80 [ one toll], to I39 North to Rockford, to I 90/ I94, to Tomah where I 94 splits off.. That Southern end around Chicago is a nightmare, way too much stress.. The extra miles to I39 will be worth the "stress free' driving.
If you stay on I80 to I355, just south of my hometown of Lemont, and take 355 to I90, it is not too bad, but a lot of tolls all the way to Wisc. border. If you DO NOT have an I Pass the tolls are double.
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