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 > Md to South Dakota in July travel help

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mkisamore

Indian head

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Posted: 02/11/18 06:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

hi we are new to camping more than a few hours from home so this is going to be our maiden voyage west. we have a 2017 2500 hd chevy duramax and are pulling a 2018 voltage 3605 which is 39 feet long. we have seen posts that discourage using the Pa turnpike due to cost and tunnels. looking for some help planning our route

CloudDriver

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Posted: 02/11/18 09:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have used the PA Turnpike on a number of occasions heading west from NJ and the tolls are indeed expensive. However, from your location south of Washington you would only have to drive a portion of the PA Turnpike. The tunnels are not an issue for RVs, only restriction is for commercial trucks carrying flammable/hazardous materials. We always get off the PA Turnpike at New Stanton and take I70 west all the way to Indianapolis, then I74 to join I80 west to I29 north to I90 across South Dakota.

If you want to avoid the PA Turnpike completely, check into I68 west across northern MD to Morgantown then I79 north to I70. We have no experience with that route, but others who have may add comments.


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Rover_Bill

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Posted: 02/11/18 10:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't help you with the PA route. However, we went from Cleveland to Rapid City last August via I-90 except around Chicago where we tried to bypass the city traffic via I-94/I-294. The Chicago bypass route was PACKED FULL of traffic and a lot of inconsiderate drivers even on a Thursday morning between 10 AM and 3 PM. If you do the bypass, you may want to plan your drive around Chicago for a Sunday morning and be sure you have a GPS on board so that you don't get in the wrong lane for a turn-off. Also, that bypass route is an EXPENSIVE$$ toll road with toll booths about every 10 miles. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you get yourself an EZ-Pass or I-Pass transponder to avoid a 5 minute stop at each toll booth. Side road toll booths may not be manned and will require the correct cash toll or a transponder. If you miss a turn-off, doing a U-turn at the next exit could be VERY EXPENSIVE. On our return trip, we drove down through Peoria and Indianapolis to avoid Chicago traffic and tolls.

I hope your plans include a week or two in the Black Hills area - It's a really nice place to visit.


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Mortimer Brewster

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Posted: 02/12/18 06:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With toll roads in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois you’d be smart to avoid them. I would suggest using Google Maps. You can set it to avoid tolls and it will plot you the fastest route while still avoiding them.

Dick_B

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Posted: 02/12/18 06:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

While you are in the planning stage search this Forum for the sights you might want to see, eg. Black Hills, Rushmore, Crazy Horse, etc. We suggest taking the bus tours and leave the driving to others.


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Busskipper

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Posted: 02/12/18 07:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mkisamore wrote:

hi we are new to camping more than a few hours from home so this is going to be our maiden voyage west.

we have a 2017 2500 hd chevy duramax and are pulling a

2018 voltage 3605 which is 39 feet long.

we have seen posts that discourage using the Pa turnpike due to cost and tunnels.

looking for some help planning our route


For the trip out I'll go against the popular assumption that you need to go to Chicago (Not RV friendly roads in that area, not to mention traffic).

So as this is a "First Big Trip" I'd recommend that you try an easy driving route - I-70 - to I-68 to I-79 back to I-70. Toll free - while still going over the Eastern Mountains not a difficult drive - no heavy traffic - no curvy, truck filled drive.

From there jog up toward Omaha then on to South Dakota - Custer/Rushmore - Using Small local CG's along the way - Reservoirs and County fairgrounds are great, not as crowded and large.

What we have found over the years is that the I's are often necessary in the East, once you get to the other side of the Mississippi you can venture out with many negative results.

Here is a Map of the route I'd suggest, Map to Custer

Being that you are Long and Large - I'd also suggest that you keep the days shorter rather than Longer, IMHO will make the trip more enjoyable.

Hope this is of some help, Best of Luck,


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CloudDriver

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Posted: 02/12/18 11:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I don't know whether Busskipper intended it so, but when I bring up the map in his link it takes you up I79 to the PA Turnpike just beyond Pittsburgh and then to I80 across OH, IN and on south of Chicago. Based on past experience, I would not go that way. First, I80 across OH and IN are toll roads an there are a couple of additional tolls south of Chicago on I80. Second, I80 south of Chicago is a traffic nightmare. in 2016 we made the mistake of coming home down I39 in Wisconsin to head east on I80 to I65 south. I80 south of Chicago was a crazy white knuckle drive. We were so happy to finally escape onto I65.

Mortimer Brewster

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Posted: 02/12/18 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Living in the area makes it tough for me to avoid Chicago expressways. Believe or not, I-80 south of Lake Michigan is a lot better than it used to be. As most truckers are excellent drivers, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to get behind one (not too close) and stay there. Also stay out of the far right lane to avoid merging traffic.
Unless the OP wants to stop at the Wisconsin Dells, I would advise him to head for Indianapolis and avoid the Chicago area entirely.

Busskipper

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Posted: 02/12/18 08:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Busskipper wrote:

mkisamore wrote:

hi we are new to camping more than a few hours from home so this is going to be our maiden voyage west.

we have a 2017 2500 hd chevy duramax and are pulling a

2018 voltage 3605 which is 39 feet long.

we have seen posts that discourage using the Pa turnpike due to cost and tunnels.

looking for some help planning our route


For the trip out I'll go against the popular assumption that you need to go to Chicago (Not RV friendly roads in that area, not to mention traffic).

So as this is a "First Big Trip" I'd recommend that you try an easy driving route - I-70 - to I-68 to I-79 back to I-70. Toll free - while still going over the Eastern Mountains not a difficult drive - no heavy traffic - no curvy, truck filled drive.

From there jog up toward Omaha then on to South Dakota - Custer/Rushmore - Using Small local CG's along the way - Reservoirs and County fairgrounds are great, not as crowded and large.

What we have found over the years is that the I's are often necessary in the East, once you get to the other side of the Mississippi you can venture out with many negative results.

Here is a Map of the route I'd suggest, Map to Custer

Being that you are Long and Large - I'd also suggest that you keep the days shorter rather than Longer, IMHO will make the trip more enjoyable.

Hope this is of some help, Best of Luck,


This should be the correct Map - MAP

CharlesinGA

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Posted: 02/14/18 06:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thats a HUGE and HEAVY trailer for that truck.......... that being said, back to the Black Hills, Badlands, Devils Tower and the way to get there.

If you take I-70 (to and thru Missouri)..... At Kansas City take 435 north and west to connect with 29. this avoids the more congested interstates further in to KC.

The one state park in MO that I stayed at, Graham Cave SP at Danville, about 60 mi west of St Louis was way too tight for a rig of your size. Cannot speak for others, but MO SP's are antiquated and they are just now in the process of rebuilding the campground in them.

Depending on your timing you might consider an overnight stop at Horseshoe Casino at Council Bluffs, IA, its right off the interstate exit 18, fuel at the interchange and is a very large asphalt parking lot with water and power hookups and showers and laundry, $40 a night but lots of room, secure and a kinda pricey buffet inside (everyone always says that casino buffets are cheap, this was not). Check-in at the security office, and must pay with a CC.

Speaking of Council Bluffs, there is always a lot of construction going on. Lots of walls, temporary lanes, zig-zags, narrow lanes, lots of bumps and humps, bordering on dangerous in places the last time I went thru there. It is clearly visible on Google Maps satellite pics which are fairly recent. Go slow thru there.

Another casino with a large RV parking area further up 29 is WinnaVegas at exit 127 Sloan, IA (about 30 miles south of Sioux City). It is about 3 miles straight west of the interchange and has about 15 RV parking spaces with power pedestals, $15 a night. Not mentioned on the web site, but it is available (99cent breakfast too!)

On I-90, about 140 miles west of Sioux Falls is Chamberlain, SD. A few minutes north of there on the Missouri River is Ft. Thompson and Big Bend Dam. There you will find Left Tailrace Corp of Engineers Campground. Extremely nice and in the middle of the Missouri River, below the dam, water on three sides. It is most easily accessed from Reliance, SD via State Rt47, which is a little past Chamberlin, taking St Rt 50 north from Chamberlain is more scenic but very hilly and might be a little un-nerving with a big rig.

By all means visit the Badlands, even if you have to backtrack to it after you park your trailer somewhere. There are a couple of RV parks in Wall, SD at the west end of the Badlands.

The route that Busskipper shows thru Nebraska, I have driven every inch of that same route, eastbound, last August. Nebraska highway 2 is a good route, good pavement. I stayed at the Nebraska Nat Forest at Halsey, on my return, there are a few sites that would accommodate a large rig, and its just off the highway. Very scenic, wished I had more time to spend exploring the trails and river there at the campground.

Backtracking a little on Busskipper's route, at Mahomet, Illinois, on I-74, exit 172, about 3 miles west of Champaign, just a few feet off the exit is the Museum of the Grand Prairie. I spent a couple of hours in there one day and didn't have time to see it all. Again, if you are into museums, if not....

http://www.museumofthegrandprairie.org/

At Chadron, NE, if you are into museums, is the Museum of the Fur Trade. Its about 3 mi east of Chadron on US 20. Its good size and very interesting, well worth a couple of hours.

Here is my recount of my Black Hills, Badlands, and Eclipse trip of August 2017. It may provide you with a little bit of info or links you might find useful.

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29487108.cfm

I am very glad I was able to take one route out, and a different route back, more scenery to see, things to do, etc. Had it not been for the eclipse, I may have not gone thru Nebraska.

Charles

* This post was last edited 02/14/18 07:41pm by CharlesinGA *   View edit history


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