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Old 03-13-2008, 04:50 PM   #1
lwcdg
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going west thru badlands, rushmore, & yellowstone

I'm still deciding on how to go about this trip. Can those of you that have been there done that please comment.
1. fuel usage gallons? This will give me a guestimate of usage for some type of budget.
2. can I make this loop in 2 weeks? (most of the time I'm alocating to yellowstone.)
(time frame is mid May)
thanks
chuck
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
nailbender
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We went through Yellowstone and Rushmore last Sept. on our way to the fall rally. You could spend a week or two at Yellowstone if you want to see it all. We only had two days there and missed a lot. Rushmore was a half day, great to see but not a place to spend a lot of time at. You should also go see Crazy Horse which is close to Rushmore. It is very interesting and has a lot to see. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the bad lands, just didn't have enough time.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
rames14
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lwcdg - I think that you will get lots of opinions on this, but you will get a lot of agreement that it's a great trip. We were also there last summer. You didn't say where you are coming from, so the two weeks is probably doable if coming 1000 miles or less, depending upon your tolerance for long days. I figure 10 mpg and use delorme street atlas to estimate mileage.

If you spend a week at Yellowstone, there are several must do's. Allow at least a day to go to Grand Teton. If you want to see bears and wolves, I can just about guarantee if you go between Tower Junction and Pebble Creek after 7:00 pm and watch for where all the cars are stopped, you will see them. Take good glass - I use Zeiss and Nikon spotting scope and binoculars. Last year we watched 4 wolves eating a buffalo. Spend a day doing the geysers. Decide whether you want to move between campgrounds or operate from a central location. One year we stayed at West Yellowstone. This past year we stayed up in the Cooke City area and it was very nice.

As for the Mount Rushmore area, be sure to see the lighting at night - and take a camera and tripod. The color change is phenomenal. We stayed at Rafter Bar J, a little expensive but very nice. Also close to the Michelson trail for bicyling and walking. Feel free to email me if you want more info. We're doing Yellowstone, Glacier and Teddy Roosevelt in a two week trip this fall right after Labor Day.
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Old 03-15-2008, 03:10 AM   #4
adelmoll
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lwcdg, Mid May is quite early for the area you are planning so expect to run into snow. The Black Hills has so much more than Mt Rushmore to see.. We usually try to spend a minimum of three days and that is only to see the major tourist areas. Teddy Roosevelt is at least two nights so that you have at least one whole day there. I think it is too early in the year for the Fork Fondue but if not, be sure to see that. Yellowstone and the Tetons are fantastic and even with a week, you will want to go back for more. You can see some of our pictures if you check our blog starting around Mid June of 2007 thru Mid July

Helen
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:01 AM   #5
krtam
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We traveled to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier 2 1/2 years ago the end of June. In Yellowstone it was high 60s, low 70s during the day but below freezing at night. Went on a rafting trip early one morning, had to really bundle up, 27 degrees. We stayed at a campground between Grand Teton and Yellowstone, Flagg Ranch Resort, very convenient to see both parks. It only had 15 amp service then, so no air cond but didn't need it. It had all the other amenities, including lodge and restaurant. If you like to hike, do the hike above Jenny Lake in Grand Teton. Also, Lone Star Geyser in Yellowstone is off the beaten path about 3 mile hike round trip, well worth the extra time and no crowds like Old Faithful. The trail is at Kepler Cascades before you come to Old Faithful coming from the south. We also loved the drive to upper and Lower Falls. We saw so many animals, buffalo, wolves, bear, moose, etc. When you encounter buffalo in the road, be prepared to wait, wait, wait. They do not move until they feel like it. Have fun!
Sharon
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:24 AM   #6
DonandJudy_12
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The first time we headed for Yellowstone via the Black Hills, we did not get our fill of the Hills- There is so much history in Deadwood, Lead, Custer and Rapid City- Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and Preacher Smith in Mount Mariah cemetery in Deadwood comes to mind plus the drive up Spearfish canyon with side trips off the hiway also was a favorite- Take your time and smell the roses- IMHO- We did see Yellowstone in later vacations- It is awesome- Don
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:09 AM   #7
stiles watson
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I looked at your profile and see that you are probably not retired, so two weeks is probably all you have available. I will say that I think you may be asking yourself to do the impossible if you want to take in what is available. For instance, we will make a similar trip and are allowing 2-1/2 to 3 months.

A hundred miles is 10 gallons. At $4 per gallon that $40 every 100 miles. A 300 mile day is $120 for fuel. 300 miles is as far as we go in a day. If you average $30 a night CG fee. Then there are eating out and entertainment fees. That should get you started on estimating the trip.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:22 AM   #8
scattershot
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Most others have hit the main spots, so I'll just add that Yellowstone is bigger than you think it is, so allow plenty of time, and check out Grizzly Campground in West Yellowstone, Montana.

I'd say Mt. Rushmore is less than a day, but don't miss the lighting ceremony. Try to spend a day at Custer State Park, too. You're in for a wonderful trip.
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Old 03-15-2008, 04:16 PM   #9
JimnJulie
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Eight years ago we did the trip Badlands, Rushmore, Deadwood, Custer State Park, Devils Tower, Little Big Horn, Cody, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, then followed the Mormon Trail from Wyoming back to St. Louis. We spent three weeks, did not get to do everything we wanted to do and only spent 1 1/2 days in Yellowstone. This was in an SUV and staying at lodges and cabins, not towing a Monty. We have since been back to each of the areas to spend more time to really "see it all". Good luck and temper your plans a little and remember it is the journey and not the destination. No matter what you eventually decide, you will be happy with that decision.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:02 AM   #10
lwcdg
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I can tell everyone that since I posted this I've talked with some friends that do Yellowstone area every year (past 8 to 10 anyways). Mid May is a great time to go as very few will be there I'm told. It's at the very beginning of the season. Probably snow in some areas, impassible in others, cold in the AM, cool to cold at night not the wishes of most summer campers.

I was thinking approx 2000 mile round trip. Friends say more like 2500 maybe even 3000 miles depending on excursions. I'm thinking 'round 2500 should do us in this planning stage. Now 2500 mile at avg 10 mpg is 250 gal est 5.00 per gal 1250.00 for fuel then all the other essentials. So I'm taking a stab at 3000.00 plus credit card for any big disasters.

I can't see getting away any later (hopefully) to busy at the clinic. No sooner as colleges aren't out yet.

I guess this amt of $ being guesstimated isn't too bad, we spent more on the cruise and trip into Alaska 4 years ago. I planned that in under 10 days and paid for it but the memories are worth every penny.

I'll push my milage more than most of you. This year I'll have my son take some of the driving and see how he does on the interstates. This will brake him in slowly another good reason to go West less traffic, empty roads.

Enjoy dreaming of travels, it's the only thing that you've got until you go,
Chuck

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Old 03-17-2008, 02:30 PM   #11
rames14
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Chuck -

Enjoy your trip. We are going to put on over 3,000 this fall going from Wisconsin to Colorado to Grand Teton/Yellowstone to Glacier to Teddy Roosevelt to home. And, like you, we will miss the crowds. I would think that by that time you will be able to get many of the spring sites - young calves and cubs and pups. Best of luck.
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:20 AM   #12
sreigle
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If all you want to see in the Mt. Rushmore area is Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse, then 1/2 day or a day is probably enough. But there is so much more to see and do in that area. We were there for 11 days and need to go back. We didn't do sightseeing every day, though, but probably 7 or 8 of those days we did.

We spent a month near Yellowstone and probably spent 12 to 15 days exploring the park. That's a huge park. Going from the south entrance to the north entrance is 90 miles. And from the west entrance to the east entrance is 78 miles. And that doesn't even cover everything. If your time is limited, plan in advance what you want to see. And don't plan on getting around the park very quickly. Figure maybe a 30 mph average at best. Less if wildlife are out.

Your trip will be a very good one. Lots and lots to see and do. Enjoy.
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Old 03-22-2008, 07:24 PM   #13
robbsteinke
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I cannot not add alot for taking my Monty to Yellowstone because I just bought it this last fall, but I did grow up in Eastern Idaho and spent alot of time in Island Park(Henry's Fork of the Snake River-best fly fising area in the West)and West Yellowstone (Also great for fishing, Madison River, Firehole River). Unfortunately these rivers will not be open until Memorial Day. Enough with my passion, as you can tell, is fishing. I just had some friends come back from West Yellowstone and Island Park and there is record snow. Unless is melts early there will be more snow in May than normal. There could be some areas that could still be closed. I would spend at least 3-4 days at a minimum on the south loop and 2 days at Teton National Park. The north loop could be closed due to snow when you get there and realistically you will only want to spend 1-2 days on the north loop anyway. I am going up to Henry's Lake on Memorial Day weekend to go fishing. Henry's Lake is about 20 miles from the town of West Yellowstone. I was at Mount Rushmore this past fall and unfortunately was not impressed, I am sure that there are other things to see and places to go that are more interesting.

Robb
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:12 PM   #14
sreigle
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Robb, when we went to Yellowstone we stayed near Henry's Lake, at Redrock RV Park. We had snow in August, although it was gone in a couple of hours. In Yellowstone's higher elevations we got sleeted on and snowed on a couple of times, on the north loop and Grand Canyon of the Yellowston area. Most of the park was nice weather, though.
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:20 AM   #15
robbsteinke
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Steve,

You are correct, you can get snowed on anytime of the year in that part of the country. I do think that this year there could be quite a bit of snow on the ground still in May, but as I stated earlier it could get warm quick and melt off. Anytime of the year is beautiful for that part of the country.

I usually stay at Red Rock campground, but this year will be the first time with the Monty.

Robb
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