View Full Version : Austin Texas to South Dakota

08-14-2022, 06:11 PM
We are planning our first real post retirement trip to South Dakota to see all there is there. We have chosen Rafter J Bar Ranch as our destination. I am still very new to this long distance RV thing. I have recently subscribed to RV Life and trying to learn how to use the trip wizard to help guide us. The wife and I have decided 300 to 400 maximum miles per day is all we want to do. I am looking for guidance on routing and places to stay along the way. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have driven to Colorado thru Lubbock and Amarillo, Dalhart over Raton pass many times the believe that route is acceptable and found several decent overnight places to stay. The trip advisor wants to route us thru Dallas to Oklahoma City then over to Denver, that adds several hundred miles and maybe another day. Starting point is basically Austin Texas. Although a double blowout out of Dalhart on a Sunday morning was not something I ever want to experience again. JUS SAYIN! :facepalm:

08-14-2022, 07:45 PM
We have also done the Amarillo/Dumas/Dalhart/Raton and north route. But some simply stay on US 287 north at Dumas to I-70 and over to Denver to avoid Raton Pass and say it is a good route. Should be similar mileage as above I would think. But I have never been that route.

Joint Venture II
08-14-2022, 08:29 PM
We have just started a 4 1/2 month 8200 mile trip from the PNW thru the midwest visiting 3 daughters and their familes before stopping at the Out Banks of NC and then onto home via Texas, NM, AZ, NV, ID and then onto Portland I5 to home. We are using the Harvest Hoist/Boondockers APP to find inexpensive places to overnight at. Many of the places we have reservations for are farms, ranches, wineries and RV'rs that have a parking spot. Many provide power hookups and opportunities to buy various meats and veggies. SD has many farms and ranches on the HH app.

08-14-2022, 08:37 PM
This is the route I would take…done it many times before since 1970…so it’s sort of sentimental.
You may want to shorten some of these runs.

Austin to Grapevine - stay at The Vineyards

Grapevine to Amarillo - we always stayed at the KOA but there are other options now

Amarillo to Raton to KOA north of Pueblo or better yet the Colorado Springs KOA.

Colorado Springs to Cheyenne KOA. You will be going thru Denver during the noon hour…won’t be as bad as rush hour but won’t be easy. Summer 2019 IH25 north of Denver was like a bombed out runway…very rough. Don’t know if they ever fix or finish that road.

Cheyenne to Rafter J

For the trip back I would go thru the plains states…just because we have not been that way much.

Ram Montana High Country
08-14-2022, 08:55 PM
Personally, we use 300 miles per day as a max distance. Are you using any type of dash GPS? If so set trip wizard to auto and not RV. Their routing engine is NOT worth a hoot and they know it. Supposedly the phone app is better. We love peeling off at WACO going thru Clifford. Sowell COE is a nice spot.

Carl n Susan
08-14-2022, 09:03 PM
....Colorado Springs to Cheyenne KOA. You will be going thru Denver during the noon hour…won’t be as bad as rush hour but won’t be easy. Summer 2019 IH25 north of Denver was like a bombed out runway…very rough. Don’t know if they ever fix or finish that road.....
We were just there last month. Construction has started which has only wadee thew trip worse. I-25 from south of Colorado Springs to way north of Denver is TERRIBLE!!!!
Anything you can do to avoid it is a godsend to the truck, RV and you.

Rick n Kelly
08-14-2022, 10:46 PM
Austin 183 to 84 thru Brownwood to Abilene. I-20/84 splits west of Sweetwater, 84 to Lubbock. At Lubbock I-27 to Amarillo. Take 287/87 to Dumas. Continue 287 at Dumas to Limon, CO connect I-70 to Denver Int. Airport area take toll roads to north side of Denver connecting to I-25 to Douglas, WY. 80 to 85% 4 lane highway.
Hwy 84 between Snyder to Post is a little rough. Not sure of Hwy. 287 across Oklahoma, it has been 10 years since I have traveled this stretch across OK.

08-15-2022, 07:18 AM
Consider a stop in Murdo SD at the "Pioneer Auto Show". They're Harvest Host/Boondockers with a large gravel parking lot. Only three boondocks per night, so be sure to sign up. It's $12/adult to visit.

08-15-2022, 09:55 AM
Is 287 a good road from Dumas to Limon? Sounds like you've not been on it recently??There must be a rise in grade along the way???

Rick n Kelly
08-16-2022, 11:31 AM
US 287 is a good hwy, 4 lane most of the route. The Texas Panhandle is about 3400 to 3600 feet in elevation. 287 is a continues gain elevation, not near the elevation change connecting to I-25. I use to travel 287 3 or 4 times a year, not as much recently.
When pulling 5ver I have always avoid higher populated cities. I hate traffic in cities.
I have family in Lubbock, Amarillo and Dalhart. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle.

I alway call the state highway departments in the states I travel in for road information.

08-21-2022, 02:25 PM
My travel planning leans towards time and not miles.
Goal- Be parked, hooked up, and cold beer in hand by 3:00 pm. :-)) 🤪
Happy travels- to each his own!!

Tiger's Husband
08-21-2022, 02:54 PM
FYI- Your campground is nestled in the area of some tunnels. Be sure you know which roads to take when you get into the Black Hills.

08-21-2022, 03:09 PM
If you end up traversing Northern/Western texas and its oil field zone, there may be lots of oil but there are almost NO gas stations. After my overnight trip from San Antonio to Santa Fe through Brownfields texas/Rt 87, which had a two-lane highway with no cell service and no gas stations for a very very long stretch, I now carry extra diesel fuel with me in a gas can. A subsequent trip through the Oklahoma pan handle on another two-lane road with no cell or gas stations confirmed my decision to always keep that extra fuel around while traversing the less populated parts of our country.

08-21-2022, 04:17 PM
If you're interested, we've stayed at Royal Community near Snyder a number of times. The manager is terrific and the owner has invested in upgrades to make a good park even better. Reasonable and close to a truck stop. Safe travels.

bill & jeri
08-21-2022, 08:54 PM
Friends of ours stayed at Rafter J Bar ranch. It seems like a very nice campground. We stayed just outside of Custer SD at Buffalo Ridge which we really liked.

08-25-2022, 01:34 PM
We travel from Rapid City SD to Arizona very fall and return in the spring. And to avoid the Denver traffic as well as all the road construction north of Denver on I-25, we go straight south on 385 to Sydney Neb, then 19/113 to Sterling Co, I-76 to Brush Co, then 71 to Simon, and finally 24 to Colorado Springs where we catch I-25 south. Lotsa two lane but little or no traffic.