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Old 02-12-2020, 01:00 PM   #29
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You folks are already on your way to a great experience.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:33 PM   #30
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Here is a quick trip breakdown that I've been working on. As I get ideas additional ideas, I can add them in and delete some things I put in there. Until then, this is what I've come up with.


June 16, Begin driving to Chicago and a campground
June 19, Chicago Cubs vs Boston Red Sox in Chicago
June 20, Drive to Omaha/Louisville State Recreation Area (7 hour drive)
June 21, Louisville State Recreation Area
June 22, Travel to Mt. Rushmore (8 hour drive)
June 23, Mt. Rushmore/Black Hills/Wind Cave
June 24, Mt. Rushmore/Wind Cave/Devils Tower
June 25, Devils Tower, travel to Yellowstone (7 hour drive)
June 26, Yellowstone
June 27, Yellowstone
June 28, Grand Tetons (1 hour drive from Yellowstone, may could just use the same campground for Yellowstone and Grand Tetons)
June 29, Drive to Dinosaur National Monument (6 hours).
June 30, Dinosaur National Monument
July 1, Drive to Moab, UT (4.5 hours)
July 2-4, Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands
July 5, Drive to Bryce/Zion (4.5 hours to Bryce)
July 6-8, Bryce and Zion (Zion is 1.5 hours from Bryce, may could use the same campground for both locations)
July 9, Drive to Valley of Fire (2.5 hours from Zion)
July 10-11, Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam, Elephant Rock
July 12, Drive to Grand Canyon (North Rim is 6 hours, South Rim is 6 hours)
July 13-14 Grand Canyon
July 15, Begin drive home (35 hours) Can detour to Carlsbad Caverns in NM, then continue home through TX, Louisiana, Alabama, GA, SC, then home.
July 18, Arrive in Greenville, maybe on the 19th.


So this was to put everything down on paper. Wife and I both agree it’s a lot of driving and too busy. We are going to push the trip out to 6 weeks and try to spend more time around places like Tetons, Bryce, etc.

We haven’t figured out stops along the route to Chicago, Yellowstone, etc. we will once we get in some more thought and our route. Same with the trip home. A 35 hour drive home after a long vacation is going to be brutal. So we are going to look for a few stops in TX, Louisiana, Alabama, etc.

Remember, it’s a really really ROUGH draft. It’s already changed from when I sent it out to the wife on Monday.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:52 PM   #31
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Getting the plan together looking good, but still very busy. All of you will need some down time, grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

As mentioned above traffic in Yellowstone will be let's say crowded. When wildlife gets on the road, which it frequently does, all traffic comes to a total stop and then moves very slowly afterwards. You have not said where you want to camp while in the Yellowstone area. There are several campgrounds within the park and more private ones outside of the park. There are five park entrances. Do not plan driving times in Yellowstone based on map milage, it means nothing. Since there's no way to see all of the great things in YS even in a month, you need to pick out what is on the top of your viewing list there. The best viewing of the Tetons is from the east side, and is the most crowed.

You need to make YS campground reservations as soon as possible!!!
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:03 PM   #32
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You're getting somewhere! The extra time is nice. It is still wake up with the sun and go, go, go. But that can be done. Our first year was similar, and we survived. We were exhausted at the end. Over the years, we've started planning in some breaks. We're getting older and can't run that hard anymore. As said above, you'll be surprised how much time groceries and laundry will eat up.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:36 PM   #33
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Hopefully we can save time with laundry with the washer/dryer in the DP. �� But I expect we’ll need to do some at some point as it’s quite small and not great for a family of 4 and a lab puppy.

I haven’t included grocery or laundry time in yet. I realize I’ll need this time at some point and will include it soon.

Yes, we have not decided which campgrounds to stay at yet as we are still working on the general itinerary. Once we know we want, say 5 days in YS, we’ll work on those details. Getting good info regarding area campgrounds and what entrances are best is the next step. And, we appreciate all of the help so far! It doesn’t seem as overwhelming with everyone’s feedback and suggestions as you all have been there and already experienced it. The family thanks you for that.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:43 PM   #34
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You need at least a week in Yellowstone. Major cut backs are in order even with adding 2 weeks. You want to enjoy what you are seeing unless you are just interested in checking the box that you have been there.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:49 PM   #35
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I would bypass The Chicago area and spend the extra days out west. From NC it would be much easier to fly to Chicago for a game. The roads and traffic in the greater Chicago area is terrible in a motorhome.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:18 PM   #36
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Your driving times are very optimistic. The big parks will be very crowded. Your dance card is full. It looks like you will be checking things off a list instead of just enjoying what you see. I've been west several times. After the first trip, I found I liked a slower pace. I also learned that I didn't enjoy sharing nature's beauty with thousands of others at places like Glacier and Yellowstone. At Glacier, if you got to the park in mid-morning, and you chose to drive over the main road (Going to the Sun Highway), there was literally no place to pull off and take in the sights. All of the overlooks were full. All of the parking at the visitors centers were full. All of the restaurants were full. I wrote travel logs for some of my trips. I'll share them here. Sorry for the preaching. Have fun!

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f38/summer-2015-go-west-youse-guys-260000.html

https://advrider.com/f/threads/all-around-the-west-rv-jeep.1427469/
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:09 PM   #37
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Yeah I mentioned to the wife about cutting out the Chicago stop but she and the girls seemed excited about it. Once we start working on it some more it may get axed from the list.

I don’t want to check boxes as I told my wife today. But I don’t fully expect to see everything this trip either but would like to get enough at each place to leave a little more for the next trip out. I know I will find things I can’t do while out there, even if I spend 2 weeks in YS or Bryce, etc. Heck, I could spend a week in Moab just riding my Mt bike and trail riding in the Jeep.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:20 PM   #38
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I think all of us who RV'd when the children were young and when we were young did trips where we crammed in all we could on our allotted days. At that time we thought nothing of it..... because we were young. You have many more days to work with than most folks with a 2-week vacation who also head West to the parks. We did it also in 2 weeks and the kids still talk about the trip. (Many years later we volunteered in the parks so we were so fortunate to live in them for months!)

Remember, you can always return to your favorite places for a longer time. This trip can be called "A Taste of the West". I think it's best to see as much as you and the family can handle even if it's for a short time rather than not seeing something at all.

If Chicago is important I wouldn't cut it out. It will be a nice break before heading across the Plains.

You'll do just fine with your trip!

One thing... I wouldn't advise trying to see two national parks from one location. That's too much driving and you'll only do it once. Stay in or near each park for the best experience and for easier returns to a special spot.

Another thing, is there a way to leave your dog at home with a relative or friend? Dogs aren't allowed in many areas in national parks especially if you want to do some hiking. Cutting the touring day short to check on the dog isn't the best either.

Just some more things to think about.
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:15 PM   #39
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You have been very smart in asking for ideas and opinions from this forum. I consider all of the advice given by other posters to be very good and spot on.

We understand you are working parents with young school age children. Many of us are retired with plenty of time to go slow. So I have to think a little differently about some advice I give. But I do think you are getting there in your planning efforts. As in many large projects I just break the big whole down into many small tasks and treat each as a problem of its own. It does not seem so overwhelming that way.

RVers frequently fall into two major camps about trip planning. Those that need/want to plan every detail in advance to every lunch and fuel stop. Other's like us will plan the major routes and make reservations only when required by camper density/limited camp sites. When we get some where or leave does not matter very much. Many RVers enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself, with a few exceptions.

Stuff will most likely happen along the way that somewhat fouls your plans, but just make the best of it keep on trucking with a smile. RVs may break, people get sick or hurt, road construction, and summer forest fires, late snow melts, etc all have a way of showing up. That's one reason many seasoned RVers include slack days in any schedule.

Most important thing is to just get out there with your kids while they are young and build some great memories you will all remember years from now.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:56 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
I think all of us who RV'd when the children were young and when we were young did trips where we crammed in all we could on our allotted days. At that time we thought nothing of it..... because we were young. You have many more days to work with than most folks with a 2-week vacation who also head West to the parks. We did it also in 2 weeks and the kids still talk about the trip. (Many years later we volunteered in the parks so we were so fortunate to live in them for months!)

Remember, you can always return to your favorite places for a longer time. This trip can be called "A Taste of the West". I think it's best to see as much as you and the family can handle even if it's for a short time rather than not seeing something at all.

If Chicago is important I wouldn't cut it out. It will be a nice break before heading across the Plains.

You'll do just fine with your trip!

One thing... I wouldn't advise trying to see two national parks from one location. That's too much driving and you'll only do it once. Stay in or near each park for the best experience and for easier returns to a special spot.

Another thing, is there a way to leave your dog at home with a relative or friend? Dogs aren't allowed in many areas in national parks especially if you want to do some hiking. Cutting the touring day short to check on the dog isn't the best either.

Just some more things to think about.
This is spot on!

I was 43 for our first long trip. Being younger and having the motivation that comes with it being the first time, we were able to power through for a "Taste of the West" and didn't complain at all. It was the experience of lifetime for us, but a pace that I wouldn't be interested in now. You know you best, and this is certainly possible to not only do, but enjoy doing.

The likelyhood of us being able to do future trips played a major roll in our planning. We chunked our "loops" because we were confident in future opportunities. I assume, since you bought the motorhome, that you are somewhat committed to future trips. For that reason, I would consider saving the SD and Wyoming parks for a different year. We did, and added Glacier and some others into that year to fill it out.

The advice about the dog is one of the best nuggets on the entire thread. We left ours with family one year, friends another and in a kennel a few times. A dog will change the experience when visiting all of the NP's, especially in the summer. It will also change how much ground you cover on travel days, significantly.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:27 AM   #41
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We did a similar trip last August/Sept and after 6 weeks of go-go-go STILL didn't see all we wanted - but still was near the trip of a lifetime !
We cheated and started "the Yellowstone trip" in Dallas-Ft Worth and surprisingly found Yellowstone (to US) was not the highlight of the trip! Had been to Grand Canyon when the kids were young and this time seeing Milky Way with naked eye and the lack of light pollution in GC trailer village at night was spell binding !
Jenny Lake and Tetons right up there too !

Good luck and as offered, plan in a couple of down days just to recharge.
If it will help, I have our route and all stops in xls and can send to you...
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:51 AM   #42
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Yes! All great info and advice.

I’m not sure we ever considered leaving our pup at home as he is part of the family and goes everywhere with us. It is a thought but likely something we will have to work around.

Yeah, the wife and I already committed to coming back and visiting again once we use this trip to scratch the surface of what the west has to offer. We are using it as a learning experience for these places for future trips.

I mean, I live in eastern NC and grew up in western NC, right at the Great Smoky Mountains. There are still places there that I haven’t visited and enjoy going back to, even after what seems like visiting 50 times.

So, we are expecting to not see everything this trip but want to at least spend some time at each place.



For us, we are planners but also go with the flow. I need some sort of a plan/route/itinerary especially for RV spots at campgrounds. Our DP is 40’, so spaces are limited and I need to plan and reserve as far in advance as I can. Aside from that, our planning takes on a “go with the flow” strategy. We usually have a list of things to do and things to visit but it usually gets modified quite a bit once we get on the road and get there. We certainly don’t go to a place without some research as to where to start or at least a short list of what to do.
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