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mciai2000
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« on: October 13, 2010, 11:07:59 pm »

Hi All:

We are planning a vacation to Yellowstone next summer. We are leaving PA and traveling to Yellowstone.  Any and all ideas on routes and must see's(sp) will be appreciated.  We have two (2) children ages 9  and 12, so we want to hit the high spots.

DJM
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010, 09:39:10 am »

Generally, wed rather use US Highways to drive through places than to use Interstates to drive past them.

We are also from NE PA and have a few suggestions, depending on how much time you have:
1.  Pick up the Mormon Trail in IL and meander through some neat areas. In NE youll pass Chimney Rock National Historic Site and a few other parks. The park in Scottsbluff, NE is pretty neat and a 2350 is small enough to be allowed to make the climb to the summit (if you need tire work, Dales Tire in Scottsbluff treated us well).

2.  In our experience, Cody, WY, the eastern gateway to Yellowstone, is a must. We stayed at the KOA and used the shuttles to town, took the city tour, visited the museum, watched the nightly gunfight outside the Irma Hotel (built by Buffalo Bill and named after his daughter). There is a Bus at the KOA that will take you to the nightly Rodeo, which was fun. Park the PC and use the local transportation.

3.  While in the area, drive the Chief Joseph highway to where it ends at US 212 (Beartooth Highway). Turn right at the T and head to Red Lodge, MT over Beartooth Pass (approx. 10,950 feet and open only from May to October). Its a very interesting and beautiful drive but be aware there are severe grades and switchbacks. I stayed in 3rd gear most of the way and used the brakes for very short jabs. DO NOT RIDE THE BRAKES!!!! There is a Gas station in Red Lodge; use it (we did the Beartooth both ways). Charles Kuralt called the Beartooth Highway The most scenic drive in America.

Above all, stay safe and God bless.
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 09:41:40 am »

How many weeks do you have to work with?
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 09:50:11 am »

DJM you don't say how long you plan on taking to get to Yellowstone, how long you can be at Yellowstone and how long to get back. Yellowstone is my favorite place to go. I go in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Love it in the snow, but not for everyone.

    On the way out I would suggest stopping at: Mitchell, SD to see the corn palace, the Black hills to see Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park, Cody, Wy to see Buffalo Bill Center and the rodeo (take Wy. rt 16 accross the mountains, not rt 14 or 14A). From Cody, you can enter the parks east entrance or take the Chief Joseph Hwy to Cooke City, Mt and on to the northeast entrance, through LaMar valley to see all the buffalo and elk, then to the Mammoth Hot springs and out the north entrance to Gardiner. Coming back into the park, go down the east side of the loop and see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone including the upper and lower falls. Cut across the middle of the loops and go to West Yellowstone, Mt. There you will want to go to the Grizzly and Wolf center to see them up close. You have to be really lucky to see them in the wild. Coming back into the park, take the lower western loop to Old Faithfull, stopping along the way to see the many sites, springs, mud pots etc. After Old Faithfull go out the south entrance toward the Grand Tetons and Jackson, Wy. These are just some of the many sites to see. You could spent weeks in Yellowstone and not see everything.

 One of the best write ups on the web is here http://www.rvcruzer.com/index.php  ThumbsUp

If I can help with questions please email me at tomhanlon@comcast.net
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mciai2000
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2010, 06:25:51 pm »

All:

We are in the beginning stages of planning.  My wife has the whole summer off, as she is a teacher.  I own my own business so I can take as much time as my conscience allows. I will just have to make sure my staff works while I am out (hmmm).  Anyway, probably 3 weeks give or take a few days.

Thanks for the help.  Lots to plan and decide.

DJM
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 10:05:07 pm »

Okay, 3 weeks then.

1) Want to tour a big city? Wilis (Sears) tower?  Chicago.  But difficult in an RV.
2) Badlands National Park (one night)
3) Minuteman Missle Silo & Control Center National Historic Site (at the entrance to Badlands) (half day) (NEED TO MAKE RESERVATIONS MANY MONTHS IN ADVANCE, ADVISE TO DO IT NOW) CLICK HERE
4) Waldrug (a few hours)
5) Mount Rushmore (half day) (the visitor center consession sells great icecream "cheap" there, all food is affordably family friendly)
6) Custer State Park, lots of buffalo, Needles Highway (next to Mount Rushmore) (half day)
7) Wind or Jewel Cave National Parks (half day)
8) Devils Tower (the movie close Encounters Filmed There) (half day)
9) Get to Yellowstone (too much to advise here)
10 After Yellowstone, be sure to head home south through Grand Teton National Park
11) Jackson WY
etc.

All those little stops before Yellowstone is real nice for the kids and parents too.  Much variety without killing much time.  EXTREMELY EDUCATIONAL.  They see desert formations, caves, a nuclear missle in it's silo (no warhead or fuel anymore) the underground control room, cold war history there. Mount Rushmore history is good too.

Be sure to make the kids watch the movie Close Encounters while driving to Devils Tower.  The ride is long enough, but get the move started right away.  Don't tell them you are heading there.  Don't mention Devils Tower anytime during the trip.  Let it surprise them.

At your first National Park entrance, buy the annual park pass.  It's a lot of money, but if you do as I advise, it will pay for itself and then some.  Don't buy it ahead of time because it's good for 12 months starting the month you buy it.
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2010, 06:01:45 am »

I suggest Crazy Horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As much for the family building it as for the monument itself. The Father, Korczak Ziolkowski, also worked on Rushmore and started the Crazy Horse Monument for the Tribes in 1948. His surviving family continues the dream.
What kind of man starts a major undertaking knowing full-well he'll not live to see it completed. I find that inspiring.

We saw Rushmore once, which is fine.
But we'd go back to Crazy Horse again.

To each their own.
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2010, 05:53:29 pm »

I suggest Crazy Horse in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Oh yes, I was to include Crazy Horse, but didn't type it in...senior moment there.

I could add taking the tour of the active current day industrial gold mine in Lead, and some others too, but then you burn the entire 3 weeks in South Dakota...Oops!
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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2010, 10:29:33 pm »

Thanks for the replies.  Keep them coming.  We are sitting in our kitchen now starting the planning stages. Ron, when you say to make reservations at minuteman, do you mean for the tour?  We went to Mammoth cave last year and we should have made reservations for the tour beforehand. We did not and had to spend about an hour or so in the in the mh waiting for our tour to start.  We were reading a book to the kids on that trip and we went back to the mh and continued to read to them. No problems.  It seems to us you could get stuck in SD for a while.  Who would have guessed.

Thanks.

DJM
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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2010, 10:36:19 pm »

Meant to post this last time;

Any ideas for stops on the way back?

DJM
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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2010, 10:58:10 pm »

Tom:

What route or road do you mean when you say the lower western loop at Yellowstone?

Thanks

DJM
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 07:33:19 am »

Meant to post this last time;

Any ideas for stops on the way back?

DJM
After Teton National Park & Jackson, head south, then "B" Line it home on I-80.  With 3+ weeks, that's all you'll have time for, and I can't think of a substantial stop anyway.
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2010, 10:05:29 am »

I'll throw in a couple of suggestions.  If you do go through Scotts Bluff, which I really enjoyed, there are several interesting museums in the area. Also, the Robidaux RV Park, which is a Good Sam park that is owned by the "city" of Gering, is a really nice, reasonable place to stay and has great views of the Bluff.  Also, if you decide to bee line it back on I-80, which is what we did coming home from Boise, at Sidney, NE, there is a nice RV park next to a Cabela's store.  They will even send a van or golf cart to give you a ride over if you don't want to walk across the grounds.  Cabela's are always fun, as they have all kinds of camping gear and are full of stuffed animals.  We also enjoyed the snack bar there that had a wide variety of food including buffalo burgers.  Another place we went which your kids would really enjoy when you're in the Rapid City area is Bear Country, a drive through park with roaming black bears, elk, deer, caribou, and some caged wolves and cougars.  I'm not sure if you can go through in a motorhome, as we had a tow car with us.  There is also a fun steam railroad operating between Keystone and another small town near Rapid City that you all would like.  Hope some of this sounds good to you.
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2010, 06:30:47 pm »

DJM
We just returned a couple of weeks ago from a trip out west.  Left Michigan and traveled the Northern Route I-80 and came home through Denver I-70.  We were gone for three and half weeks.  Some of our stops:
     1.  Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD
     2.  Wall Drug
     3.  Badlands
     4.  Mount Rushmore (awesome)
     5.  Custer State Park
     6.  Wind and Jewel Caves
     7.  Crazy Horse (saw the blasting that they only do twice a year)
     8.  Devils Tower (stayed in the park - no hookups for one night)(really fun)
     9.  Yellowstone (came in from the West due to snow on the east side) - stayed at Grizzly RV Resort
    10.  Las Vegas
    11.  Zion NP (stay at Watchman Campground right in the NP)(perfect location) Alot of hiking to do but awesome again.
    12.  Arches (signed up for the Fiery Furnance Tour by the NP service)..Absolutely fantastic
    We headed home from Arches.  I-70 is high in elevation but the PC did great through Vail pass.  We did have a rear trac bar installed before we left and this was the best decision we ever made.  We installed the blue ox tiger trac.  One travel day was gust at 50 mph and the PC never swayed.

Have fun!!
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2010, 07:50:42 am »

DJM, as you look at the map of Yellowstone, you will notice the roads are in the figure "8", pointing up toward north. The right side is the eastern side and the left is the western side. The top half of the "8" is called the upper and the bottom half is the lower. West Yellowstone is on the left and the mid-point just outside of the park. The road from West Yellowstone to Old Faithfull and down to the south entrance would be the "the lower western loop to Old Faithfull" or the left side, lower part of the figure "8".

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but we were out camping this past weekend and did not have an internet connection.
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