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Old 12-04-2011, 11:36 PM   #1
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Shorter to travel east to yellowstone than west to Portland?

Google shows the travel time going west back to Portland, Oregon from West Yellowstone as longer than traveling east by about 30 minutes. Also, it recommends traveling a northern route on the way over and a southern route on the return, despite them being only 3 miles different. Different scenery is nice of course, but hmm.

For reference, 24 foot 2001 Fleetwood Class C, not towing, Chevy 454 (last model year) 8.9 MPG typical @ 60 MPH on interstates.

For folks who have traveled this route, which is more "RV friendly"? I-90 up through Northern Idaho and Montana has a heck of a hill to climb. (been on it 3 times but not in an RV) I don't know if the foothills are of any more gradual elevation drop from the west vs east side of the mountains.

If you look at the picture (below) the drive is less mountainous on the southern route, apart from I remember some decent hills climbing out of Oregon and into Idaho, but not to the level of Northern Idaho - Montana.

The furthest east I've driven on I-84 is Boise. The furthest east on I-90 for me has been Missoula (in a car). Between the two, the scenery is much better on the Northern route, but I would have to think that there is a notable mileage penalty in an RV. Pessimistic would be 2 MPG for 250 miles, so around $50. Time wise, it might amount to 30 minutes difference, assuming 5 MPH loss and assuming no road construction delays.

A compromise is to do it as a loop, so that I only take the mileage penalty one direction. Yet, which direction is best? (east or west) for the north vs south route?

This will be a trip in the peak heat of the summer, so that is also a consideration.

It might be funny to be pondering such a thing when part of traveling in an RV is enjoying the journey and not just the destination. What would you do?
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:43 PM   #2
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sorry - images are not posting for some reason. If you do the google maps for portland to west yellowstone and then reverse direction, you will see what i mean.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:31 PM   #3
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Another choice to concider is taking Highway 12 from just south of Missoula over Lola Pass. That way you only have one , on 90 there are 2. It is all 2 lane roads but good roads and you will have over a 100 miles of down grade from Lola Pass to Lewiston, Id. and lots of beautiful scenery. It is 2 miles shorter than I90.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:55 PM   #4
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You will love West Yellowstone. No matter how you get there! Be sure to see the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery center. And eat some ice cream at Yellowstone ! Enjoy the beautiful river inside the park too!
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:22 AM   #5
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I forgot about the HWY 12 route on the return through Lewiston. Good alternative as well. I've been on quite a lot of that route as well from my high school days in the Palouse south of Spokane. Another fun one is to head south from Lewiston to the Wallowa mountains (Wallowa lake and such). Only been there once 6 years ago, but one of my favorite parts of Oregon. I've only taken the road to Wallowa lake though and not taken it from Lewiston.
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Old 12-06-2011, 12:27 AM   #6
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Any tips that folks have of their favorite parts of Yellowstone is great to hear as well. I'm not taking a car, so it's the RV and other transportation options after we arrive. I've not been there since 1980 and that was before I was driving age. Pretty great to be taking kids there at about the same age I was. I recall being bummed because of all the pictures of the bears growing up and they had just moved them to the high country due to safety issues with tourists. Was a fascinating adventure regardless. Camping in Yellowstone is a right of passage as a kid. Tent camped then; doing it in an RV this time.
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Old 12-06-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderso View Post
I forgot about the HWY 12 route on the return through Lewiston. Good alternative as well. I've been on quite a lot of that route as well from my high school days in the Palouse south of Spokane. Another fun one is to head south from Lewiston to the Wallowa mountains (Wallowa lake and such). Only been there once 6 years ago, but one of my favorite parts of Oregon. I've only taken the road to Wallowa lake though and not taken it from Lewiston.
Before going from Clarkston to Wallowa, I would recommend getting input from someone that has been there. As I remember hearing years ago, it may be a nail biter especially with a MH. I have not been there so it is just hear say. I grew up near Kamiah, Id and they have a nice camp ground (Lewis & Clark Resort) just east of Kamiah on 12. I have been to YS 2 times and spent a week there both times and didn't see it all.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:03 PM   #8
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I'd take rt 12, but that's just me.... I'm crazy that way. I did the oldhwy up the columbia gorge in a 36ft gasser, so I got no sense anyway.

The north route is nice. Coure d elan (sic) is great. And be sure to lunch at the hot rod cafe. Downtown missoula is very nice too. We camped on moses lake once, that was cool.too.

Anything yellowstone is just the "bomb-diggitty" to quote my dw. Canyon. Fishing bridge. North side of the lake. Old faithful. Anywhere. Northeast corner is on my list, never been there. Beartooth pass is great, but not in an rv!

Amd west yellowstone is a fun town with lots to do. Grizzly isn't the only campground, last time we stayed at someplace northwest of town that was very nice and much less $$
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