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planning a trip - from SC to Montana - Aug/Sep - where to visit???


SueEllenH
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Hello to all!!

We are full timers and located out of South Carolina.  We are planning a two month trip for August and September this year to go out west.  We want to see Mt. Rushmore and visit friends in Montana.  We are limited to two months due to hubby's doctor visits.  We also have limitations regarding walking long distances due to hubby's physical restrictions - so hikes are pretty much out of the question.  We have a large rig - 45 foot fifth wheel - so that can be limiting also when it comes to where to stay.  And we have two dogs that are over 50 lbs each, so any place we stay must be pup friendly.  We love to eat good and want to try great local restaurants, even though we usually do all our own cooking, we know it will be fun to try things we may not have had before.

So now that you know a little about us - where are your "must go to" places? 

Thank you so much for your suggestions!

Sue Ellen & Charles

2021 Dutchman Voltage 4145

2021 Dodge Ram 3500

2021 20" Bass Buggy Pontoon Boat

2008 Ford F150

2 - 2021 Catahoula/mixed breed puppies

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Not sure what you route will look like, but if you are off the main interstates you will see a lot more. I sometimes wish I could travel that way but not yet. 

My spots are mostly along the interstate highways. Chattanooga has a great Aquarium, and Rock City is interesting along with the cave there can't remember the name. 

Another Favorite is Sikeston, MO. and the Lambert's Cafe "Home of the thrown roll". Breakfast lunch or dinner are more than most can eat at one sitting. 

St Louis and the Arch, Grants Farm, and the Mississippi River all worth a stop. 

If you choose to go a more northerly route there are many things to see in the state I was born in, Iowa. The largest Truck stop, the Amana Colonies, the Field of Dreams, Adventure Land, The Dutch town of Pella, Iowa. While Tulip Days will be long over, there are still some nice places to visit.  Des Moines has plenty to see and do also. A nice Zoo, and a Heritage Farm that's quite interesting. Maybe the Iowa State Fair, but that's a LOT of walking. They do have mobility scooters though. 

The Black Hills were one of my most favorite places. In addition to the site of Mt. Rushmore, there is the Crazy Horse Monument still under construction. Devils Tower is not too far away in Wyoming and the mountains will be coming up next. So much to see and do around the Tetons, Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and then Glacier. Or the route more south will take you through Colorado where you can try Estes Park depending on your rig size. 

 

Have fun. 

 

Rod

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The Black Hills are beautiful and there is much to see and do.  I would caution you to be aware of the first half of August in the Black Hills.  That's when the whole area is overrun with motorcycles and their riders.  May be difficult to find a place to stay or to get into attractions like Rushmore, Crazy Horse, etc.  Sturgis Bike Week is officially Aug 5-14, but bikers will be in the area before and after that.

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Well let me mention that many cg shut down 9/30 anyway in MT and WY. They got the first blizzard last year a day or two later last year.

 

You don't give us enough info to make suggestions other than good restaurants. Those may be hard to find in MT cities are far apart up there. What do you want to see. What is your planned route?

 

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24 minutes ago, agesilaus said:

You don't give us enough info to make suggestions other than good restaurants. Those may be hard to find in MT cities are far apart up there. What do you want to see. What is your planned route?

 

we don't have a planned route yet - we are at the picking out spots on the map that we want to see stage and going to make a route then.  Neither of us have been to this part of the country so we don't have any idea what we want to see, other than crazy horse and Mount Rushmore, and people keep telling us how beautiful Montana is so we want to see part of it and have friends that own a campground there so we are going to visit them, they are in the south west corner of Montana.

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Well the major parks are Yellowstone-Tetons. Maybe you friend's cg is near there otherwise you better make reservations ASAP. Glacier NP is the other one, I'd say Glacier is more of a hiking park. Yellowstone has all sorts of sites you can park and have a shortish walk to see whats there. Some walking is needed tho. The geyser basins take some walking maybe half a mile to one mile all told, not all at once. Paved trails.

That applies to Rushmore too there is a walk into the park and then past the visitor center. Devils Tower has a walk around the Tower, paved and maybe a mile plus. You can see one side of the tower from the parking lot.

Custer State Park at the Badlands is a major attraction with all sorts of critters including Bison herds. Crazy Horse appeals to some folks a lot think it's a ripoff tho. It has been under construction for decades with little obvious progress.

Personally the idea of driving a 45 ft fiver thru St Louis surface streets seems unwise.

Badlands NP is a good drive thru park with lots of turn outs. Custer Battlefield NM is a quick visit park with a scenic drive. Worth the diversion, it is right off I90.

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3 hours ago, SueEllenH said:

we are country people and love to see God's creations.  We aren't so much into going into cities or seeing man made stuff.

Part of the question is how much time you wish to spend in SD and in MT? There is enough between SC and MT that one could easily spend the entire 2 months just seeing them, particularly if you return by a different route than you take on the way there. Around Mt. Rushmore are things like Custer State park, Jewell Cave and Wind Cave Natl. Parks. In MT it depends on where in MT your friends live. At Great Falls there is the Lewis & Clark center, and to the northwest is Glacier NP. Along your route you will pass through or near to places like Nashville, with it's many attractions. On the northern route is Bismarck, ND with several attractions such as Ft Abraham Lincoln the home base from with Custer left to go and attack the Indians. As you can see, this list can be so long as to be impossible to do in 2 months. 

How far do you plan to travel each day? Round trip this will be somewhere on the order of 4,500 miles. If you travel 500 miles each day you will need to spend 9 days just traveling and if you lower it to a more realistic daily travel of 300 miles you need 15 days, or about 1/4 of your 2 months. 

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I'm going to answer a question you did not ask relating to your husband's mobility. I bought a TravelScoot to put in our toad when we were living in a Class A that let me go lots of places I could not have seen otherwise. It folds up if you need it to and only weighs 34 pounds so transports easily. https://www.travelscoot.com.

Linda Sand

https://sandcastle.sandsys.org/2011/06/getting-healthy-mobility/

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If you venture through North Dakota on hiway 94, stop at a rest stop north of Madora.  Some fantastic views of the painted hills, well worth stopping for.  A little more time if you wish to tour the hills is always a visual delight!

 

 

 

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On 5/2/2022 at 3:57 PM, NDBirdman said:

If you venture through North Dakota on hiway 94, stop at a rest stop north of Madora.  Some fantastic views of the painted hills, well worth stopping for.  A little more time if you wish to tour the hills is always a visual delight!

 

 

 

Painted Canyon is an awesome rest stop along the interstate.

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7 hours ago, Chad Heiser said:

Painted Canyon is an awesome rest stop along the interstate.

Chad, 

Is there a color code for your map? Each color has three states, will there soon be a new color?

 

Rod

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16 hours ago, lappir said:

Chad, 

Is there a color code for your map? Each color has three states, will there soon be a new color?

 

Rod

No the colors were assigned randomly by the website I used to generate the map.  They do have options to do the colors differently though.  This was the site I used.  I have used the site Bill Joyce posted in the past as well.  I only add states I have actually stayed in (with the RV)  rather than states I have just driven through.

Edited by Chad Heiser
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We're currently planning our trip... Salt Lake to Cody, Wy area then into Montana. Some thoughts about what I have found RV site wise so far. Glacier Park... stunning but packed with people and RVs. Controlled/timed entry every day. RV parks are expensive if you can find one now.  Anything around/near Yellowstone. If you have not booked, you are pretty much toast. Inside the park, a significant portion of the campgrounds are closed for long overdue repairs and upgrades. Outside the park, RV sites are north of $100/night. Tetons (absolutely stunning area south of Yellowstone) are more north of $100/night. Jackson Hole...with some sort of discount $120/night. Cody, Wy. has a wonderful museum that will take 3 days if you read 1/2 whats in there. But with only one RV park in town (Ponderosa as I recall), it will be a fight to get a spot. There's the Buffalo Bill state part to the west of Cody, but non-residents can't book more than 14 days in advance. Fat change getting one there.

We've done the Black Hills several times and will be doing it again this season. Stunning! We are not a fan of what they have done with Crazy Horse. It's now very commercial, packed and cheezy. Mt Rushmore is, as it was designed to be, a Jaw dropper. If you are in that area, you might want to stay in Hill City, just a few miles south and between Crazy Horse. Easier to get a site and a cool little western town with good eats. There's a jewel in there as well. A souvenir shop with a full on dinosaur display. And a full T-Rex on display.

Even with fuel prices as they are, the pressure on camp sites is still extreme. Mostly locals staying close to home now. But the result is the same.

Our trip is based around fly fishing and riding our CanAm trike, so different modality than yours. But, the little towns all around these two states are treasure troves of interesting. Devils Tower was rather spiritual for us. I'm part Native American. But it is, by any standard, awe inspiring. You don't have to walk around it. The main area on the south side gets you what you need and is very accessible. The last time we were there, a number of years back, the park rangers were local Native Americans. Brought a new depth to information about the area.

Highway 120 is a historic route. Runs from Wy into Montanna and then west. Tons to see on that route. Something we are taking this year.

We're going to be up there in June and July, so before your trip.

Enjoy.

 

 

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We have decided to put much travelling on hold for now with the cost of fuel.  At 9mpg, and the cost of fuel well over $5.00 per gallon, this will make a 500-mile trip costing more than $300 in fuel alone.  We have seen a lot of the country and hopefully it will still be there when we can see less expensive fuel prices or find a more fuel-efficient way to travel.

Hope that you have a great trip.  That is a wonderful area to see.

Ken

Edited by TXiceman
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On 5/5/2022 at 8:29 AM, TXiceman said:

We have decided to put much travelling on hold for now with the cost of fuel.  At 9mpg, and the cost of fuel well over $5.00 per gallon, this will make a 500-mile trip costing more than $300 in fuel alone.  We have seen a lot of the country and hopefully it will still be there when we can see less expensive fuel prices or find a more fuel-efficient way to travel.

Hope that you have a great trip.  That is a wonderful area to see.

Ken

Feeling your pain. And add to that our Smart and the CanAm Spyder require premium gas... ouch on all modes of transport.  But then it's our goal to leave as little inheritance to the kids as possible.... we have a mission. 😆

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Thank you all so much for your responses.  Some really great sounding ideas here.  Sorry it took me so long to respond, we had a death in the family, so got side tracked for a while.  I am going to get my planning hat back on soon and work our a specific route for us with lots of fun stuff to see along the way.

:)

Sue Ellen

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On 5/9/2022 at 11:13 AM, trimster said:

But then it's our goal to leave as little inheritance to the kids as possible.... we have a mission. 😆

We raised our Kids to be good providers. I always told them that I was helping them get through college so I could come live them when I'm older and poor.

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Our daughter declared her financial independence at age 18 and has maintained it ever since. Anything we leave her will simply be bonus from her point of view. She did say if we still had my van when we die she would like to have it. :)

Linda

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