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Old 08-01-2016, 08:55 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2014
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NJ to Yellowstone

We're driving from New Jersey to Yellowstone with stops at Badlands, Mt.Rushmore, Cody, and then into Yellowstone. From Yellowstone we will continue to Grand Teton, on our way back home we'll stop by Indiana Dunes.

This is our (family of four) first long trip in our 2009 Winnebago View. Google map is suggesting 80w to 90w from NJ to Mount Rushmore and then US 16w to Yellowstone. Going home would be 80e.

Any suggestions on which routes to take and where else we should stop on our way back hom

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Old 08-01-2016, 11:49 AM   #2
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The routing going out is the way we did it last year to Rushmore. After there we went north to Glacier NP Then came down to Yellowstone. If your plans are to come back I-80, we stopped in Cheyenne for few days and stayed at the Terry Bison Ranch RV park. Second largest herd of bison in the US. Lots to do there and it's very close to the interstates.

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Old 08-01-2016, 12:11 PM   #3
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On the way West, you could avoid tolls and much traffic by using I-80 to Youngstown, I-76 to I-71 to Cincinnati. Then I-74 to I-270 N of St. Louis and then I-70 to I-29 at KC, then north to I-90. Coming home you can cover the I-90 route through Chicago to the Dunes.

On the route above on I-29 you'll be following the Lewis and Clark trail, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Sioux Falls, then I-90.

Many spots to show the kids on the above route. In SD, Mitchell has the Corn Palace to stretch your legs. As you continue west on I-90, you'll see hundreds of signs for Wall Drug, a tourist trap you don't want to miss. (Free Ice Water! Free bumper stickers!) Wall, SD is the western side of the Badlands NP.

Mt. Rushmore is good, the Chief Crazy Horse carving (in progress) is better and they have a good Native American museum. Close to Custer, SD, is Wind Cave NP, a change of pace underground tour.

Cody, WY has the Buffalo Bill Center worth a look.

I worked and took groups into YNP for over 20 years, a great place to spend time out of the vehicle. 95% or more visitors never get out of sight of their vehicle. Take a hike and 100 yards down the trail you'll be in quiet wilderness. The hike up Mt. Washburn is not a bad hike and you have bragging rights to climbing a mountain. Take warmer clothing and water, I've had snow in every month of the summer at various trips up the trail.

At Old Faithful, be sure to go in the OF Inn, the world's largest log building. Also, thousands of folks line the boardwalk to see OF erupt, but if you go 800 yds up the trail to the OF overlook, I've been up there alone watching the geyser go off.

At Madison Junction in YNP you'll find the Firehole Canyon Drive, a one way loop. Along the road you'll see a parking area and outhouses, that's a 'secret' swimming hole. Stop and take a swim in water warmed by geysers and hot springs from the up river geyser basins. You can also take a dip in a natural hot spring near Mammoth, on the road to Gardiner, MT. Right at the sign marking the 45 parallel, marking halfway between Equator and North Pole, is a parking lot on the river side of the road. Walk along the river trail to the 'Boiling River' a spot you can soak in waters from Mammoth Hot Spring run off and the icy water of the Gardiner River. Like the swimming hole, it's allowed by NPS but not marked on maps to prevent crowds.

Yellowstone National Park Information, travel, lodging, recreation

At the Tetons, the Jenny Lake hike to Hidden Falls isn't difficult and very scenic.



Bob & Donna
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Old 08-01-2016, 02:45 PM   #4
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Thanks all for the responses.

It will definitely be a lot of driving. I've done tons of trips from NJ to Orlando FL. I've done those trips straight through with stops for gas, food and bathroom breaks in my wife's GMC Yukon XL. We've done several trips to Maine, Vermont, NH and also went to Nova Scotia in 2014. Big difference on this trip will be driving an RV instead of the GMC Yukon XL.

We're leaving this Thursday and are aiming to be back by 8/22. I wish we had more time but am unable to take off more time from work. I figured it's better to try and enjoy the 2+ weeks off rather than not go at all.

We're going to be stoping at Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer, Cody, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and on our way back home Indiana Dunes. We have reservations so can't do much more on our way to Yellowstone, but coming back home we have an extra day (or so) to play with.

Thanks again and please keep suggestions coming
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Old 08-02-2016, 04:19 PM   #5
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Near Kearney, Nebraska there is a wonderful museum that is built OVER I-80 ... when you enter the displays are of bison and the plains Indians ... as you move through the displays time passes ... pioneers on the Oregon Trail ... and finally displays of US-30 as it was in the 1950's (that was the main highway across Nebraska at the time)

There are several nice State Recreation areas near there for a night on the prairie .... they are: Fort Kearney, Windmill, and Mormon Island ... the latter is my favorite ... I have stayed there more than once ... these all have electrical hookups, flush toilets, and a dumping station
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:11 AM   #6
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AGC23, I would highly recommend you enter Yellowstone from the south on Hwy 191, and DO NOT enter from the east from Cody, WY. Entering from the East requires a very long moderately steep uphill climb. I came down it in a pickup truck and swore to never drive up it!
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Falfrenzy View Post
AGC23, I would highly recommend you enter Yellowstone from the south on Hwy 191, and DO NOT enter from the east from Cody, WY. Entering from the East requires a very long moderately steep uphill climb. I came down it in a pickup truck and swore to never drive up it!
I think you must mean the NE entrance at Cooke City. That takes you through the Beartooth Pass, a highway doable in an RV but much more enjoyable on a motorcycle or smaller vehicle. The East entrance from Cody to Yellowstone lake is relatively gentle route along the east fork of the Shoshone River and has lots of beautiful rock formations.

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Old 08-03-2016, 09:03 PM   #8
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Some general information about YNP (some points apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or less for 1/4 mile or more, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 mph radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! I don't mean to scare you but to inform you of reality. (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line.)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking. And again I don't mean to scare you but rather to inform you, after all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015 (record number)

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until shortly before 10 PM.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise spotty.

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YSNP yes, drink lots of water!HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas have only pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin 25 or more feet long (bless the tour busses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area!

Sun- At YSNPs altitude the sun is intense (uv) have and apply sun screen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear sun glasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have a hour and 10-20 minutes wait for the next one. Tour the O/F geyser basin while waiting for the next eruption. Old Faithful INN is a must see (meals are "OK" also)

We have lived about 110 miles (4739' elevation) from W. Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go there 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all of it yet!

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle contest twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket to fold up to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

Bar J Chuckwagon

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