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From the Hills of Tennessee to the Mountains of Wyoming


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I am excited to say very soon I will be traveling (from Nashville, TN) back home (Jackson, WY) to spend a short time. I am uber excited about this! We will not be dilly dallying a whole lot in between here and there but I know there HAS to be of something of interest to stop and see.

 

My original plan was to head in a North direction towards South Dakota and take my daughter to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Corn Palace, Wall Drug, Badlands....etc. I quickly got over that notion when I learned that will be bike week in Sturgis. Not a chance in heck I am driving an RV through that. Soooooooo....now do I go straight across, down South?

 

We like fun, weird stuff. Maybe short hikes to see scenery (is there anything besides cornfields?) -- I have a 14 year old who I am pretty sure would think I was torturing her should I drag her through museums, however we are open to all options. She is home schooled so if it is educational I can always play the "mom" card. :)

 

Best places to stay?? I work from the RV so unfortunately boondocking will not be an option except for perhaps a day or so at a time. I will need to be where I can get internet reception.

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I work from the RV so unfortunately boondocking will not be an option except for perhaps a day or so at a time. I will need to be where I can get internet reception.

 

If you have a smartphone that can be used as a hotspot, or a dedicated MiFi device, boondocking should not be a problem unless you're WAAAAY out in the boonies! Verizon has the best nationwide coverage with AT&T a close second.

 

Of course, if you rely exclusively on Wifi provided by third parties, such as RV parks, Starbucks, etc., then you will be limited to being in the areas where that is provided.

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I agree you don't want to be near Sturgis in early Aug, especially with a 14 yr old daughter.

 

But you have lots of options, you could still head north from Nashville, but get on I-80 and go through Iowa & Neb to Wy; or get on I-70 to Denver explore parts of Co, then head north to Wy; or stay south on I-40 to NM then head north. Its pretty hot along most of the I-40 corridor this time of year, so that would be my last choice if this is a summer trip.

Plenty of interesting stops on all of those routes, although I'm partial to Colorado. Shouldn't have problems with cell internet along any of the interstates, unless you take off into the boonies on a side trip.

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I'd giver her some guidelines then have the daughter help plan the trip. Most kids her age have lots of computer skills so can do online research. Once she's invested in planning the trip she'll be much less likely to complain while traveling.

 

Back in the dark ages, we hung a US map on the wall and collected books and brochures about where we were headed. Each of us had a different color of push pin we put on the map as we discovered places we'd like to go. Then we planned a route that would hit as many push pins as possible. That was a very good trip.

 

Linda Sand

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You could always go west on I-70 to the Denver area and visit Rocky Mtn. NP and then go up toward Yellowstone NP. You could also head west on US20 from Sioux City but most of the interesting places along that route are mostly historic. A great deal depends upon how long you plan to spend in route and what she would appreciate seeing. No matter the route, you will have to cross the great plains and there won't be a lot to see there if you leave out historic sites.

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Thank you for ALL of your help and suggestions! I think getting her involved might be a fabulous solution!!! We can definitely venture outside of internet service as I do have means on my own. However if I am in the middle of no mans land that isnt gonna work so well. We are not in a ginormous hurry but I am anxious to get home so probly going to limit adventures a bit.

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As mentioned there is a lot of history on the routes through the plains states. Even more if you get off the interstates. Two non-history events taking place from 8/11 - 21 are the Iowa and Illinois State Fairs. If you do happen to go to Yellowstone and go through Cody there is the nightly rodeo. In Yellowstone there is the chuck wagon cookout.

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We spent all summer in the Black Hills in 2014 so did experience Bike Week, which is really closer to a month, particularly in the northern part where Mt. Rushmore is located. A lot of the issue depends upon what roads you choose to travel as bikers like to ride the scenic, crooked roads at speeds well above that of cars or the legal limit and while most bikers are good folks, if only 10% or fewer ride aggressively, it still means constant problems when touring. I will never go back into that area during that period, and I used to ride and my son & 2 if my friends still do. If you explore the most scenic roads you have to deal with the constant bikers right on your bumper and often in your blind spot, passing you in dangerous locations, and things of that sort. I have nothing against bikers, but I sure don't want to be involved in an accident with one or even witness it. There is also a lot of alcohol consumed so liquid courage sometimes plays a part. It is also a time that there are large crowds with lines waiting at most places that tourists wish to visit, since that is the peak of the tourist season.

 

On the other hand, the Black Hills has a bigger concentration of attractions than do most other areas of the country that you could choose. If you are not sure that you will have a chance to show her that area in the future, then I would do so, but if you plan to make a return trip before too long I'd wait and do it then.

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Short trip -timewise? If so run the interstates across the plains.

 

Stops -

North Platte, NE to see the Bailey Yard, enough track in the yard to cross Nebraska

Scottsbluff, NE, to visitr Scott's Bluff

Agate Fossil Bed north west of Scottsbluff

Casper, WY - for Territorial prison

Thermopolis, WY for the Hot Springs, Buffalo State Park, Dinosuar museu, rated probably best in the world

Cody, WY Buffalo Bill Museum of the West, five museums under one roof - minimum one day

Yellowstone, NP

Jackson, WY

Glacier, NP Visit all the Lodges both east and west.

 

That help?

 

Bill

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  • 2 weeks later...

Over the years we've vacationed through SD during Bike Week two or three times. The first time was in the 70's. I knew nothing of Bike Week, but noticed lots of young women in interesting clothing in the ladies' room/showerhouse. All the girls were friendly toward me and toward my little one. We had no problems then nor two years ago when we took the children of the child who went with us the first time.

 

Fond memories of both trips.

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