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Old 01-28-2019, 04:21 AM   #41
MidMOTraveler
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Plans are always fun but need to be realistic.
I think your using something like Mapquest to get your drive times? They use posted speed limit I think and towing we never get that good of time.

We have found that 50-55 miles per hour is closer to estimate travel time. This takes into account fuel and pit stop breaks.

Your first day is going to be stressful as I -70 from St Louis to KC is always busy with semi ‘s day and night. I drove part of this for 25 years.
KC Royals have a home game on 7/17 but that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Stay flexible, better to enjoy your trip than to have everyone upset because you are worn out

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:33 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by MidMOTraveler View Post
Plans are always fun but need to be realistic.
I think your using something like Mapquest to get your drive times? They use posted speed limit I think and towing we never get that good of time.

We have found that 50-55 miles per hour is closer to estimate travel time. This takes into account fuel and pit stop breaks.

Your first day is going to be stressful as I -70 from St Louis to KC is always busy with semi ‘s day and night. I drove part of this for 25 years.
KC Royals have a home game on 7/17 but that shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Stay flexible, better to enjoy your trip than to have everyone upset because you are worn out

Just my 2 cents.
I used Google maps for the mileage only. I averaged 55mph on interstate part of route and 50 mph for off-interstate roads, not counting any roads in Yellowstone/Tetons since they are in a world all their own.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:53 AM   #43
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An update to our trip, now just 37 days away. We have decided to travel from KY to SD via Indianapolis, Peoria, and Des Moines. It will be a 2 days drive with one night stay over in between.

7/17 - leave home at 3am arrive Des Moines West KOA 3pm

7/18 - Des Moines West KOA to Keystone, SD 6am to 5pm

7/19 - Tour Badlands, Mt Rushmore

7/20 - rapid city to Cody, WY via Gillette, WY 9am to 5pm. 2 nights in Cody, seeing Museum and driving Beartooth Highway.

7/22 - Cody, WY to West Yellowstone KOA 9am to 3pm

7/27 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons and Jackson.

7/29 - Jackson to Cheyenne KOA 8am to 4pm

7/30 - Cheyenne KOA to KC East KOA 3am-3pm

7/31 - KC KOA to home 8am to 6pm
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:57 AM   #44
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If you can handle that sleep schedule and fit in all the touring you want to do then it sounds like you have it under control. The only thing I would add is tour Crazy Horse along with Rushmore. They are not very far apart and I think the girls might enjoy the museum and the presentations they do.


As far as the Bad Lands is concerned I pulled my 30ft. trailer through it on our way to Rapid city. There are pull outs for the views and mountain goats to see but there is nothing there really but a moonscape. Cool to see but for us it was just a drive through thing. The main road through pops you out at Wall and the famous Wall Drug. Large parking lot on the west side near the store. Might be worth putting on the list for shopping for the girls and souvenirs.


Have you invested in a National Park Pass? Might be worth the purchase price for as many parks as you plan to visit.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:08 AM   #45
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Trip looks good and similar to what I have done in the past including Des Moines KOA and KC East KOA. We stopped at an archeological dig in the Badlands probably 20 years ago now which was very interesting.
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:45 AM   #46
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While in Hill City area visiting Mt Rushmore, I'd include a drive through Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument and a 2-3 hour drive through the mountains around Mt Rushmore. There are tunnels through the rocks that are barely wide enough for a modern pickup to fit, certainly DON'T attempt to tow through that road, but for us, was a "must see" event.

Wall Drug, while a commercial (money making) site, is definitely worth a couple hours as is the Minute Man Launch Site which is nearby. If you're into aircraft/aerospace history, Ellsworth AFB has an excellent display of vintage USAF aircraft and some "in depth" local military history.

While in Hill City, you can do a walking tour of the "downtown area" to view "life size statues" of all the presidents. They are placed throughout the town center and it can become an "Easter egg hunt" type event for kids as they search for the next statue.

For us, if we'd have only stayed "one night as a drive through" we would have been very disappointed at all we would have missed because of the lack of time in the area.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:25 AM   #47
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we are doing a similar trip, different campgrounds. we will be in cody 17th and 18th and then on to west yellow stone.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:26 PM   #48
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Spends some time in the badlands,you will not be disappointed,my opinion Rushmore was not all cracked up to be,not worth the money,that said Tetons are for a better word, Unbelievable,so is Yellowstone,I spent too much time in Yellowstone,not enough time in the tetons,most is worth seeing.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:50 PM   #49
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Been through Yellowstone twice, first time was OK second was boring, I guess once you've seen 1 bison you've seen em all. Drove the Beartooth that was awesome, like to drive going to the sun road someday.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:02 PM   #50
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Reading through these comments is getting me really excited for our trip. We are doing a very similar trip, except coming from the west coast. Our trip is going to be 18 days. We are going to Silverwood theme park, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Cody, Tetons, then back home.

OP, I’m not sure if you are into guns or not, but Weatherby just moved their headquarters to Sheridan Wy. They have a visitor center and have factory tours.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:14 PM   #51
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Reading through these comments is getting me really excited for our trip. We are doing a very similar trip, except coming from the west coast. Our trip is going to be 18 days. We are going to Silverwood theme park, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Cody, Tetons, then back home.

OP, I’m not sure if you are into guns or not, but Weatherby just moved their headquarters to Sheridan Wy. They have a visitor center and have factory tours.
I'm glad Wetherby moved,to a state that Appreciates guns,and gun companies.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:24 PM   #52
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If you have a Canoe or Kayak,and can take it with you,do so,you wont regret it.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:26 PM   #53
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If you have a Canoe or Kayak,and can take it with you,do so,you wont regret it.
You will want it in the Tetons.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:27 PM   #54
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This thread has been going a while and understandably so talking about some of the most beautiful places in our country. I've followed this thread from the beginning but haven't re-read all of it this evening but I thought I would throw this out for the OP;

You will be going into some of the most beautiful places in this country. I think the Grand Tetons are somewhat "forgotten" when discussed with Yellowstone but they are a marvel just by themselves to me. Yellowstone is unmatched and really requires a LOT of time to get a good feel for it. The bad thing are the hordes of people there which, to me, detracts a bit, but then again, there isn't another Yellowstone.

One caution I would mention; prior to our first trip to Yellowstone a friend who went every year stressed the importance of securing your food, and yourselves, from the wildlife - it IS their home. He told stories of the bears turning over dumpsters, taking things etc. We logged it and went to Yellowstone via Grand Tetons and Jenny Lake. Camped at Jenny Lake (breathtakingly beautiful). In the middle of the night all heck broke loose from a campsite up the way and after all kind of noise and yelling the blasted off. In the AM we went down and talked with other neighbors; a grizzly had come into their camp because they failed to take the proper precautions with the food stuffs and literally ripped (shredded) a metal cooler (pieces all over) to pieces and tore up their other stuff.

If you're not familiar with the big animals and the things you need to do to be safe, study up. They can, and will, visit you close up.
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Old 06-25-2019, 06:28 PM   #55
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I'm glad Wetherby moved,to a state that Appreciates guns,and gun companies.


Adam Weatherby has put up a few videos on You Tube that said California was basically running him out of the state. It’s too bad that some people lost their job, but I understand why he made that decision. He said 18 people did pack up and move with them. I can’t wait to visit their new facility! I just wish I had $2400 to drop on a 6.5-300 Mark V deluxe.
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Old 06-25-2019, 07:42 PM   #56
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I was born to hunt,and forced to work,that is wear the travel trailer comes in.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:53 AM   #57
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This thread has been going a while and understandably so talking about some of the most beautiful places in our country. I've followed this thread from the beginning but haven't re-read all of it this evening but I thought I would throw this out for the OP;

You will be going into some of the most beautiful places in this country. I think the Grand Tetons are somewhat "forgotten" when discussed with Yellowstone but they are a marvel just by themselves to me. Yellowstone is unmatched and really requires a LOT of time to get a good feel for it. The bad thing are the hordes of people there which, to me, detracts a bit, but then again, there isn't another Yellowstone.

One caution I would mention; prior to our first trip to Yellowstone a friend who went every year stressed the importance of securing your food, and yourselves, from the wildlife - it IS their home. He told stories of the bears turning over dumpsters, taking things etc. We logged it and went to Yellowstone via Grand Tetons and Jenny Lake. Camped at Jenny Lake (breathtakingly beautiful). In the middle of the night all heck broke loose from a campsite up the way and after all kind of noise and yelling the blasted off. In the AM we went down and talked with other neighbors; a grizzly had come into their camp because they failed to take the proper precautions with the food stuffs and literally ripped (shredded) a metal cooler (pieces all over) to pieces and tore up their other stuff.

If you're not familiar with the big animals and the things you need to do to be safe, study up. They can, and will, visit you close up.
I appreciate the bear advice. This our first vacation with an opportunity to see apex predators, but hopefully with a long lens. Our accommodations are smack in the middle of a packed KOA so I'm not to worried there. I am going to make sure the cooler is locked down during our park days as we plan on picnic lunches in the park.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:53 AM   #58
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I want to thank everyone again for all of the great advice! We are a few days out now from pulling out of KY and are very excited. It will be me, wife, two 12 year old girls and my aunt piled into a crew cab truck for several days in a row. I suppose it's time to teach the girls how to play the license plate game.
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Old 07-13-2019, 08:35 AM   #59
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I want to thank everyone again for all of the great advice! We are a few days out now from pulling out of KY and are very excited. It will be me, wife, two 12 year old girls and my aunt piled into a crew cab truck for several days in a row. I suppose it's time to teach the girls how to play the license plate game.
If you have some kind of electronics with headphones to download several of the 12yos movies you'd be amazed at how well those 2 will travel. Unfortunately the aunt will still be stuck back there watching the "Little mermaid" repeatedly.
Our last 2 GMC trucks had the rear seat entertainment & for traveling with our grandkids it was priceless, all we heard was "movies over, start another one". Never once heard "are we there yet?" or "how much further?".
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:20 AM   #60
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I want to thank everyone who gave me advice for this trip. It was the adventure of our lives and we wouldn't have had as good of a time without advice from you! I still haven’t uploaded all our photos but will post when I do.

2019 Western Adventure Trip Report

July 16th - Drove to Lexington and picked up truck at Enterprise (2019 Ram 3500 DRW w/Cummins diesel. I could tell right away the truck was going to be a beast but was nervous about driving a dually around. I brought DD along to help remember all the info we were to hear during camper walkthrough and I took her to breakfast. We went to dealership to pick up camper, a 2020 Sunset Trail 331BH. It was a beautiful camper and the folks at dealership couldn’t have been nicer. After a walkthrough on how to operate slides, appliances, and dumping tanks, we headed home. In retrospect, I should have asked more questions about dumping tanks (more on that later). I backed camper into yard beside house and DW, DD, and I began loading up camper for the trip. DW worked til 5pm that day so it was a whirlwind packing job and in the process I left the TripTik at home.


July 17th - We left KY at 3am heading for Des Moines West KOA, 665 miles away. Our group in truck was myself, my aunt, DW, DD and her best friend. Bringing two 12 year old girls on a road trip like this could have been a nightmare, but they did great. Arrived in Des Moines in just under 12 hours. I enjoy driving and the 1 ton dually allowed an effortless tow. We didn’t experience any trailer sway in wind, passing semis or anywhere else. It was a one handed drive for the majority of the trip. I stop for fuel every 200 miles or so, and will stop anywhere in between if I need to hit the restroom or stretch my legs. I have a Pilot/Flying J RV plus card and had already planned out all my fuel stops along the way. I used the RV pumps at Flying J, and the big truck pumps at Pilots. We made good time, the truck (rated to pull over 20K) didn’t even know the travel trailer (about 10K loaded) was behind it. I set cruise on 73mph and used my IR temp gun to check tires and hubs at every stop, no issues the entire trip. When I hauled FEMA campers after Katrina I had a lot of bad luck with blown trailer tires so I had the dealership give me a second spare to carry in bed of truck in addition to the one attached to the bumper. I never needed them, thankfully. Des Moines KOA was great and I recommend it.

July 18th & 19th - Left Des Moines at 4am heading for Rapid City, SD. We stopped off at Badlands NP and Wall Drug, which the girls loved. We carried on to Rapid City, made camp at Rushmore Shadows RV Park and spent the next day and a half visiting with family and seeing Mt Rushmore. My parents flew in to Denver while we were here, and drove up in a rental. I made my first dump of tanks here and found that since camper has full bath up front and half back at back near bunks, I had 2 dump tanks and one hose so I would get the pleasure of dumping black first, then grey (as I have researched), then disconnect hose and hook up to other connection and repeat the process. This was something I was dreading but it went well and wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Rushmore Shadows is a members only campground (I think they do rent sites to non-members) with nice amenities. My cousin is a member and reserved a great site for 2 nights.

July 20th - Left Rapid City with 3 vehicle convoy (us, my parents, and my cousin and her kids) and met another cousin and his family at the Flying J in Gillette. From there, our convoy (plus a truck pulling another camper) headed for Cody, WY via HWY 16 over the BigHorn mountains. My cousin was driving a 18 1500 Ram pulling a camper of similar size to ours so he was much slower up and down the grades than us. Honestly, the 3500 Ram Dually acted like it wasn’t hardly pulling anything. I learned to love the exhaust break on this truck! I hardly needed to touch the brake pedal. Arrived in Cody, set up camp and just relaxed for rest of the evening. Cody KOA was nice with lots to do for the kids. I saw a lot of advice to stock up at Walmart in Cody before going to Yellowstone and they were right. The two grocery stores in West Yellowstone had a good selection but prices were much higher.

July 21st - Drove from Cody up Chief Joseph Hwy to Beartooth Hwy. This was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. We stopped at a pull off at the top and had a snowball fight in the snow, in late July! Very cool! After driving back to Cody, we went to Nite Rodeo which was a little hokey for me but the girls loved it.

July 22 - Convoy headed to Westgate KOA in West Yellowstone via east Yellowstone entrance and through the park. We didn’t encounter much slowdowns except for some construction on the east side where the road wasn’t paved. We arrived at KOA about 6 hours later, set up camp, and relaxed for the rest of the evening. At some point during our stay at Yellowstone, our refrigerator starting giving out a fault code. It would flash a red light 5 times in a row. I looked in manual and it said there was an issue with internal controls and we should take to a dealer. We decided to manage as best we could for the rest of the trip. Our trailer had an outside kitchen with a good size dorm fridge that stayed cold while hooked to shore power so we put most things in that. I also brought a 60 quart and 65 quart cooler so we used those for traveling between power hookups. The fridge would randomly work then quit working. We tried all 3 settings, auto, gas only, and electric only, it didn’t matter.

July 23-26 - Toured Yellowstone, leaving camp at around 630am each day to get ahead of the crowds. We saw Old Faithful, had a birthday lunch for DD at Old Faithful Inn, and saw rest of Upper Geyser basin. We also saw Tower Fall, did the Old West Cookout at Roosevelt, saw Mammoth Hot Springs. I must say that the Westgate KOA was great. Friendly workers, huge camp store with great selection (although expensive) of groceries, RV supplies, and souvenirs. Many times across many websites I read that “you can’t see it all at Yellowstone” and it’s true. We had planned 4 full days of touring but by the end of the third day we were wiped and ended up spending the 4th day sleeping in, swimming in pool, and just relaxing.

July 27th - Left West Yellowstone heading for Jackson WY going south through Idaho and via WY 22 across Teton pass. I read a lot of reviews of that pass and its 10% grades and how scary it was. After how well the truck had handled the trailer up til now, I felt we could handle it and I was right. Going up the truck would accelerate up the grade if I asked it to but we stayed slow to enjoy the view. Going down, I set the cruise on 20 mph and put the exhaust brake on auto and the truck did the rest. I had to tap the brakes a few times because of an RV ahead going slower than us but it was awesome. We arrived at Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole in early afternoon and set up camp. We toured downtown Jackson, had dinner at Pinky G’s (awesome!!) bought some souvenirs and drove through GTNP in late afternoon looking for wildlife (saw some Pronghorn).

July 28th - we did the Jenny Lake hike (via the boat ferry) to Inspiration Point and it was awesome. We spent the rest of the day making a run to Albertsons (first major grocery store since Wal-mart in Cody) and walking around shops in Jackson again.

July 29th - drove from Jackson to Cheyenne KOA, leaving around 8am and arriving in Cheyenne in late afternoon. Cheyenne KOA was nice, people were friendly, bathrooms and entire campground was spotless. It took a minute to get used the the all gravel campground (felt like were were in a scene of Raising Arizona). DW and I went to Cheyenne Walmart and it was “different”. Wife saw at least one drug deal in parking lot and we both got a very weird vibe there.

July 30th - Left Cheyenne KOA heading for KC East KOA at 3am sharp. I had a 680 mile run ahead of me and I wanted to get as much done before sunrise as I could. We made it to Big Springs, NE by sunrise and I did good on drive. I would go around 200 miles between stops for fuel and would stop at rest areas to stretch my legs occasionally. We arrive at KC KOA late in afternoon, set up camp, and girls went to swim. KC East/Oak Grove KOA was nicest we stayed at! Super friendly workers and we even had delicious BBQ delivered right to our site.
An interesting happened at 245am as I prepared to dump all the tanks for the last time before turning camper into dealer. I dumped black and grey tanks at rear connection for half bath without incident, then reconnected hose to forward connection to dump main tanks. I reached for the black tank valve and it was GONE!!! I looked with flashlight and could see the hole in the enclosed bottom of trailer where it should be but somewhere between Cheyenne and KC it fell off. I took it very ease going in and out of truck stops, construction areas, and anywhere else significant bumps in the road existed.


July 31th - Left KC KOA around 330am and headed home. Made it through St Louis right before rush hour got bad and rest of trip was smooth sailing. Arrived home around 3pm and unpacked camper and truck.

August 1st - I took truck and camper back to RV dealer and Enterprise location, picked up my car and headed home. RV dealer was very apologetic about the lost groceries and inconvenience from our refrigerator issues. She said there has been other issues with that brand of refrigerator. She said the missing black tank handle wasn’t a big deal.
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