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 > 2019 trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons

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Roy&Lynne

Pacific Northwest

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Posted: 12/31/18 03:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have you spoken with the campgrounds about your early check in's as that means they can't rent the place for the night as most folks don't leave until after 9 or 10. Its going to be an issue. I don't stay at Private Parks but I know most parks have a 2 pm check in.


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bid_time

Michigan

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Posted: 01/01/19 09:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I sometimes do the same kind of trips. Except my driving time is 3:00 am to 3:00 pm. That really works out great. Start out driving at 3:00, family sleeps in truck till about 10:00, stop for quick breakfast, hit campground about 3:00 p.m. Swimming whatever at campground, I go to bed at 8:00, family will continue with campfires, games, tv, whatever till midnight or whatever, 3:00 am back on the road again. Can do this up to 3 days a in a row, although trying for no more then 2 days in a row is better. One time I covered 1800 miles in 3 days doing this. It was grueling but it was what it had to be and was oh so worth it. If I had to, i would to it again.





HHfundays

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Posted: 01/01/19 05:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It will be a busy trip but one your family will treasure. We tend to do long push days to and from our destinations, as it is the only way to get there. We typically start our drive in early morning, so we can stop and visit a place in the afternoon. You will get a taste of each place and make you look forward to coming back in retirement when there is more time to take the slow route.

If your family likes caves there is a candle light cave tour at Wind Cave that my family still talks about. They book up fast, so make sure you get reservations early.

Mount Rushmore is a must for the day and night. Try and go back at night to see the evening lighting ceremony. We stayed in Custard State Park and highly recommend it when visiting the area.

Have a great trip!


Happy Trails...


kyteacher

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Posted: 01/01/19 08:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I live just outside of Louisville, KY and did a trip like this in 2017. The main difference is I didn't do any night driving. We went through rapid city-yellowstone-tetons but then we went down to rocky mtn/pikes peak too over 18 days.

My girls (9 & 12 at the time) never complained about the drives. We found a cool hike in the badlands to do, drove the loop in Custer State park, and spent time in Rushmore. Yellowstone is huge and there is no way you will see it all, so pick sites to see and come back again for a longer trip when you don't have the kids and time constraints. I loved the Tetons. If I'd advise anything it would be maybe to cut a day in yellowstone and add a day in the tetons. Find a doable hike for your family to do and get up close and personal with those mountains.

I would advise you to check with the campgrounds to see if they have places you can park until your site opens. The rapid city koa let us do that along with 10-15 other campers that arrived early.

I wouldn't let others on here poo poo your long drive days. It can be tough, but when you have kids and time frames this becomes necessary to get that far out west. We drove 722 miles back from New Orleans over fall break in 12 hours. I drive an expedition pulling a 26' TT. Made 4 stops for gas along the way that was it. All of us were plugged into some good books and thoroughly entertained. When we made that trip 2 summers ago I think we made nearly 500 mile drives on 3 separate days with me doing all the driving. Call me Clark Griswald if you want, but it works for my clan. Do what works for your family. They will love that trip. Take lots of pictures!!!

richardcoxid

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Posted: 01/02/19 02:05pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Some general information about YNP (some general items apply to GTNP also)

YNP is about 45 miles E/W and about 65 miles N/S (2.2 mil. Acres total). The figure 8 loop road inside the park is about 140 miles around. The lower loop is 96 miles and the upper loop is 70 miles around and yes, it is bigger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Whatever time that you think you will need to see YNP you better double it, or to say it another way is that you will see one half as much as you planned on in the allotted time. The Bison think that they own the road (they do!) and will slow down the traffic to walking speed or all stop for 1/4 mile or more blocking both directions of travel, the thermal attractions also tie up traffic and with a 5 month long summer tourist season that coincides with a 5 month long road construction season and a 45 MPH radar controlled speed limit it will take about a full day to see each loop and then you will only see the main attractions. In addition to the occasional construction delays they will also sometimes close whole sections of road (for uninterrupted night construction) between 10 PM and 8 AM in the morning, if you are running late and get caught at night in the wrong area it CAN be a LONG way around to your CG! (The entrance stations will have current construction information or go on line to check it out)

Then there is the elevation- YNP ranges from a low at Mammoth- 6239 ft to 7784 ft at Fishing Bridge or higher if you go hiking and there are passes on the grand loop road that are close to 8000 ft or so! Drink plenty of liquids and pace yourself when walking.

I recommend that you get up EARLY, leave the CG and be back by 4 or 6 PM have dinner and be sitting in your recliner drinking a cool one when your neighbor drags himself back to the CG at 8-10 PM. Remember that from mid May to mid July in YNP the sun doesn't set until about 9:30- 9:45 PM then there is a long twilight.

Cell Phone Service- Only at the major visitor centers, otherwise non-existent!

Clothing- Especially in the early or late season it is not unusual to have a 30 or even the occasional 40 degree temperature change throughout the day. Dress with easily shed layers of clothing. Also dress in bright easily seen clothing. I am sure that we all have been to a sporting event, parade or Disney World etc. and we blink our eyes and our partner/child has disappeared. My DIL was born and raised in HI, you guessed it, every Xmas, b-day or Father's Day I receive a Hawaiian shirt. One of them is shiny black with 4-5 inch dia. bright flowers. Not many of them in Wyoming and in YSNP, that is what I wear. If your partner has on a Violet blouse and a Orange scarf with a Pink hat I guarantee that she will be the only one within the boundaries of either NP. It can save you a few anxious moments.

Water- Now I will have to contradict myself, at the altitude of YNP yes, drink lots of water! HOWEVER, be aware that the flush toilet restrooms are are in the major tourist areas- Mammoth, Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Lake Hotel, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Old Faithful, Madison Junction etc. The geyser basins and other thermal attractions areas only have pit toilets. I have seen the pit toilet line at the lower Geyser Basin (2 holes) 25 or more feet long (bless the tour buses) So be smart about drinking your water and use the major tourist area R/Rs before leaving the area! I.e. “Never pass up a flush toilet!”

Sun- At YSNP altitude the Sun is intense (uv)have and apply sunscreen, wear that old floppy wide brim sun hat, wear Sunglasses!

If your luck is like mine Old Faithful will have just erupted when you get there and you will have up to a hour and 10 to 15 minutes wait for the next one. Tour tour the O/F Geyser basin while waiting. O/F INN is a must see, reportedly the largest LOG building in the U.S. (Meals in the O/F dinning room are “OK” also.

We have lived about 110 miles from West Yellowstone, MT since 1964, go to YSNP 3-4 times a summer (normally before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) and haven't seen it all yet! So don’t be discouraged that you didn’t have the time to see all of it. Just plan on coming back another time!

I honestly don’t mean to scare or discourage you but to give you a heads up as to what to expect! After all there was 4.1 million visitors in 2015! As far as I know we didn’t lose one of them. Except those who by their own stupidity step off the board walks into BOILING HOT water and ignoring the warnings about the WILD ANIMALS! That is called purifying the gene pool!

Note I have seen on this blog and others about folks “day tripping” from YSNP to GTNP, it is done all the time (myself included) however remember this is BIG country and with the speed limits, animals and thermal attractions you will be doing a LOT of driving. From Grant Village Visitor Center (extreme S/E corner of the lower loop road) to Jackson, WY is about 80 miles with Coulter Bay being about 1/2 way then from Grant Village you have to add the distance to your CG it will be a Long days trip!

A point of CoulterBay clarification- there are two (2) CG’s at Coulter Bay, One the “Coulter Bay RV Park” a full service “RV Park” with FHU’S that takes reservations. The other is the “Coulter Bay Campground “ has no hookups and doesn’t take reservations. Both have about 300 sites and are basically across the road from each other.

When in the Jackson area I highly recommend seeing the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner show! If you go, MAKE RESERVATIONS and BE THERE EARLY TO PICK UP YOUR MEAL TICKETS/ TABLE SEATING ASSIGNMENTS! They seat you by when you show up to get your tickets NOT by your reservation number. Tim, their fiddle player has won the "Idaho state old time fiddle contest 7 times and the US open fiddle championship twice". If you decide to go you will sit at picnic type of bench seats/table, they get pretty hard, I recommend that you take along a blanket/pads to sit on. We day trip it there 2-4 times every summer just to see them! Disclaimer- We have no financial or other interest in the Bar J only that it will be the best $$ value for your money for your trip! Check out their website.

http://www.barjchuckwagon.com

Also in Jackson check out the “COWBOY” bar, the bar stools are saddles and the # of Silver Dollars in the bar. The Wort Hotel Bar (just around the corner from the Cowboy Bar) also has Silver Dollars imbedded in the Bar


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wadecool

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Posted: 01/02/19 04:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I should add that I have some experience towing campers. Specifically, after Hurricane Katrina, i hauled over 50 campers (30ft avg) from Northern Indiana factories to locations in Southern Miss, Louisiana, and Florida. Our hard dates (reservations currently set in stone) are West Yellowstone KOA 7/21-7/26, Virginian RV Park 7/26-7/27. I haven't booked anything else.

I want to take my family's interests into account and Badlands and Mt Rushmore are on their list.

Coming from Rapid City heading to West Yellowstone, we will have to spend the night somewhere along the way. Although my current Itinerary includes stopping at Little Bighorn Battlefield, I initially thought of spending a night in Cody but want to see the Museum and drive the Beartooth and can't get that accomplished in one night. (random thought was to spend a night in Cody, see the museum, then just drive from West Yellowstone to the Beartooth and make that one of our 5 Yellowstone tour days).

This plan is still very fluid...
I want to thank everyone for the advise thus far. It is much appreciated!

Mote

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Posted: 01/03/19 05:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We spent two mights in Cody at the Ponderosa Campground. After that we went North up to Red Lodge Mt and then back down to Yellowstone over the Beartooth Highway. Pretty drive for sure.
When driving from Rapid City to Yellowstone be sure to avoid the Big Horn mountains. On our trip out that way we drove from Rapid City up to Ranchester and then to Cody on highway 14. I wouldn't want to drive that route pulling a camper. Last year when we made the same trip we turned at Buffalo and went on hwy 16, 20 and 14 to Cody. Still a very nice drive but much easier.


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wadecool

ky

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Posted: 01/04/19 03:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Taking into account the girls needing burn energy after driving long days and shortening the days somewhat as well as all of us being on same sleep schedule, i have updated the itinerary:

With u getting another day off here’s my updated itinerary:

7/17 - leave home at 3am arrive KC KOA 2pm

7/18 - KC KOA to Kennebec, SD KOA 8am to 6pm

7/19 - Kennebec KOA to Rapid City driving through Badlands and Wall Drug on way 8am to 2pm. Tour Mt Rushmore after setting up camp

7/20 - rapid city to Hardin, MT via Gillette, WY 9am to 3pm. Go to Little Bighorn battlefield in afternoon

7/21 - Hardin, MT to West Yellowstone KOA 9am to 3pm

7/26 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons in afternoon

7/27 - Jackson to Cody 7am to 3pm. Tour museum and beartooth highway in 2 days

7/29 - Cody to Ft Collins KOA 6am to 2pm. Drive through RMNP.

7/30 - FT Collins KOA to Topeka KOA 8am to 6pm

7/31 - Topeka KOA to home 8am to 6pm

kyteacher

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Posted: 01/05/19 08:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ahhh.. You added a quick drive up to RMNP. While quick, you will get some great views. That place is awesome. We stayed at Ft. Collins KOA too. Drove up to Alpine visitor center and back in a day through Estes Park. Saw some wildlife, views, views, and more views. The drive up 34 for there was a great drive. It's a lot of driving, but you will see so much!

wadecool

ky

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Posted: 01/10/19 03:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

bid_time wrote:

I sometimes do the same kind of trips. Except my driving time is 3:00 am to 3:00 pm. That really works out great. Start out driving at 3:00, family sleeps in truck till about 10:00, stop for quick breakfast, hit campground about 3:00 p.m. Swimming whatever at campground, I go to bed at 8:00, family will continue with campfires, games, tv, whatever till midnight or whatever, 3:00 am back on the road again. Can do this up to 3 days a in a row, although trying for no more then 2 days in a row is better. One time I covered 1800 miles in 3 days doing this. It was grueling but it was what it had to be and was oh so worth it. If I had to, i would to it again.


i really like the idea of 3am to 3pm! Makes sense to me!!

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