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Old 01-04-2015, 12:08 PM   #1
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Cruising to Montana...

Last summer I posted that I was going to try to head out to Montana w/ a TT and do it in two weeks. Most folks that responded said "a bit too aggressive" or " way too many long driving days".
Anyway, we were able to get almost 4 weeks now!!
This will be our first major trip with the trailer. Traveling with the Wife, two kids (8-11) and the Dog.
We will be leaving in July. I figured, before we leave, we would guestimate our travel time and find a campgrounds/parks along the way and make reservations. Should I do this for the complete trip, beginning to end? What if we decide to stay in one place for a few days? Is booking while on the road a bad thing, do these places book up fast. Can we book now, and cancel (if permitted by their policy) if we don't need to stop.
Bottom line... what do you guys think, reservations and stick with the schedule or some reservations and wing it some of the trip.
Thanks in advance to everyone's input, comments and advice.

Danny B.
2016 Sonic 220 VBH 26ft./Ford Explorer
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:07 PM   #2
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Hi Danzak, wow, this is the same trip I want to take. Maybe in 2016. I normally book while in the campground for the next day. Guessing how far we will go. Never have had an issue. If I want to stay at a place a little onger, I would prbably call the next campground and change my arrival date. As people have said, take your time.
I am watching the Ken Burns serious about the Lewis and Clark Exponentiation. Its almost pure torture, the scenery is AWESOME. When we will go we won't be on any time constraint. Both will be retired.
Have a great triip.
Life is a trip, ENJOY the ride.
Safe Travels.

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Old 01-04-2015, 02:04 PM   #3
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Back in 2009 we took a trip to Alaska, went through the Tetons, Yellowstone, and then up to Glacier National Park in Montana before crossing into Canada. This part of the country is awesome, you will enjoy the trip.

When we left Yellowstone my wanted to go to Billings MT, so we took the route driving over Beartooth Pass. What a drive. When we got to the top in our 40' coach a guy asked me the size and when I told him he said he had one parked in his garage that size and would never ever try to drive it that road.

We spent 3-4 days in Glacier, which is a great place to visit.

We never made reservations more then a day in advance. We did not have firm plans and wanted to be flexible. We did stop and stay at Walmarts if it was a quick overnight.

There is a lot to see and unless you can predict how long it will take and how long you want to stay in one place you may end up missing something or doing something spontaneously.

Good luck in your travels.
Jim J
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:26 PM   #4
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My suggestion is not to make reservations for your whole trip. There are always places to stay. As you drive daily, you can easily estimate how far you want to drive that day and if you want to make any particular stops. Pick out a few campgrounds near those places and call enroute when you have a better idea of where you'll stop for the night.

If you're planning at a major tourist area, then us, make a reservation but only a couple days out.

I assume you'll take in Glacier Nat'l Park and perhaps Custer State Park and for those I would make a reservation if you want to stay in the parks themselves.

We rarely made reservations during our 16 years of full-timing and traveling constantly, including Alaska, and never had a problem getting a spot for the night - even with our 40' motorhome. We've been to Yellowstone many times with no reservations. There are always cancellations. We would just stay just outside the park the previous night and pull into a campground first thing in the morning when folks are leaving. It worked for us. Have a great trip!
Full-timed for 16 Years
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Old 01-04-2015, 07:56 PM   #5
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We did the Montana trip in '13 and are planning to go back next year. Montana is beautiful.

If you are taking I 94 through North Dakota, plan to stop a couple of nights at Theodore Roosevelt Nat. Park. No hook ups in the park but you'll probably have buffalo wandering around your site and the drive around the southern park is beautiful. We didn't allow enough time to see the northern part when we were there.

If we're staying in nat. parks, we usually make reservations but for overnights along the way, I call the CG when we're a couple of hours away.

I agree with twogypsies about getting to a CG early as people are leaving. We've gotten some great campsites by doing that.
Karen & Gary
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:55 PM   #6
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If you approach Glacier NP from the East via US 2, St. Mary's, MT KOA is a good place to park the MH. A lot of spots for your MH inside the park, none I know about with FHU, electric only.Reservations recommended when school is out. Downside is, most of the attractions are on the West side of Glacier. US 2 continues around the South of Glacier, then you drive North on MT83 (less traveled-few services) or 93 (heavily traveled in summer-lots of services).
There are a lot of historic sites along lightly-traveled, 4-lane US 2 if that is your families interest. IMO much better than a dull interstate.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert theConstitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:36 PM   #7
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I've not made it to Montana or Wyoming, however it looks like a beautiful place from pictures and maps.
My sister in law's absolutely in love with Billings and they take their Landmark out there every year.
I just wish it wasn't so far out to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, and that the midwest was more scenic along the interstates.
My fifth wheel is brand new, however I think my trip out there would be by airplane and rental car.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:47 PM   #8
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I would agree about not making reservations too far out. You might get to a place were you or your kids just love and want to stay an extra day. Go easy at your own pace.......good luck and have fun.
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Old 01-06-2015, 05:31 AM   #9
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Hate to throw a wrench into the subject but.
The boss (an old friend too)
Bought the big 5th wheel, brand new and a new F-350 Diesel. Took off for 2 weeks too Yellowstone. Started to head home and some drunk guys in a pickup thought they would be smart and took off the whole side of the 5th wheel and took off the mirror on the F350. Him, wife and 2 kid's were unharmed thank heavens.
His ins co. totaled the 5th wheeler & fixed his truck. They haven't had a MH,TT or 5th since.
Have a safe trip it could happen anywhere.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:43 AM   #10
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Do some research on the thing you want to see. HAVE a general route in mind and be prepared to change a bit. Camp grounds are a great source for "you otta see this or that" on your way. And what has the 5th wheel thing got to do with the thread, I've had friends killed in a RV but that's driving anywhere anytime.
Have fun and be ready to heat or cool, you will be at 5000 feet or better.

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Old 01-06-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
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Ray IN, have to agree, much better than a dull interstate.
Life is a trip, ENJOY the ride.
Safe Travels.
2003 Gulf Stream Cavalier, 29.5' V-10, most bells and whistles. Banks Power Pac System, Auto Mind, Tans Command.
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:32 PM   #12
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Would recommend Good Sam Trip Planner .... easy to use and give you a lot of great info along your route ... calculates time/distance and fuel .... great tool ....
We too plan on doing the Montana adventure ... lived up there for about 5 years ... and loved it (except the winters of course). Our adventure will likely happen during the 2016 summer as we move from WI to CA .... I would expect a few weeks for that lil jont ....
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:42 PM   #13
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Back in the late 50's and most of the 60's growing up in Ohio with most of my mom's brothers and sisters living in Montana my dad , with only two weeks vacation , would load us all up in the family station wagon on Friday and head west.
I don't know how he did it but we got to stay on our uncles ranch outside of Miles City,visit my uncle in Lewiston(who as a taxidermist would give my brothers and I one of his mounts) and see our other uncle in Forsyth.
All in a two week period.
Great times and even greater memories!
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:53 PM   #14
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Planning a trip too far in advance can be frustrating. You will be trying to keep to the schedule and will inevitively fall behind.

I have found that if you pull in early enough in the day most campgrounds will have space unless there is a major event happening.

I would start early in the morning and plan to pull in by 4 after you are in the area you want to be in. I have found that KOA will phone ahead for reservations to the next campground you would like to stay at. I imagine Good Sam may do the same thing.

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