WheelingIt “Jello Solid” Fall Travel Plans
One of the major events that’s been happening in these parts while I’ve been gone is that hubby has been planning our fall travels. Since I’m usually the planner in this rig (and if you want to know HOW I plan, read my 3-part series starting HERE) that’s been quite the novelty, but I have to say the man has done beautifully. We’ve now got a pretty jello solid plan for everything through the end of our year, and “jello solid” is about as good as it gets for us. Weather, mechanical things, natural disasters and a million other things could all change what we actually end up doing. Plus fall & winter are the seasons we plan most loosely. When kids go back to school after summer most campgrounds open up (a fav time for fulltimers) so we usually only book Labor Day Weekend (and maybe Dec, if we’re not boondocking) whereas the rest we leave mostly open.
Our personal plans have quite dramatically changed too. Initially we were going to take a diagonal-type route between the coast and Albuquerque, NM (where we’re hitting the balloon festival in Oct), but instead we’ve decided to “pop” by South Dakota to renew our drivers licenses before we head down. This has boosted our original ~1,500 mile Sept plan to a ~2,200 mile plan.
Most of the reason for this has to do with what looks like major upcoming changes in the health care landscape (yet again, ugh!) in 2016. Previously we were going to hit TX to re-establish domicile there sometime in Sept/Oct, but BCBS just announced that they are pulling ALL individual PPO plans in 2016, something I had not at all anticipated (and don’t think anyone had!!). This means TX might (or might not) have any true nationwide plans on the Exchange next year, which would be a major impact to all pre-Medicare RVers domiciled there. FL will be changing too since Assurant already announced they are pulling out of health care altogether in 2016, so there will be at least one less guy there. Basically the entire health care landscape is in flux (yet again), and we’re back to square one in what we’re personally going to do next year. Wish I could tell you all more, but at this point I just don’t know.
In the meantime we’ve decided to re-up our SD domicile simply to buy us some more time while we see how all this plays out. I know RVer Insurance Exchange (the new name for RVer Health Insurance) is working with Escapees Advocacy & Escapees Club leaders to try to find a solution in TX, but nothing (at all) is set in stone right now. I’ll be following announcements there and as we know more, I’ll report here so you’ll know more too.
In any case, the upside of all this is that we’re going to do a square-like drive from Astoria, OR through to Rapid City, SD and down into NM. This will allow us to hit several spots we’ve never seen before including Hwy 12 (which I’ve heard is a beautiful drive), Montana (finally!), Yellowstone National Park (yeah!!) & Nebraska (of which I know nothing). Many of our stops will be short and fast since we’re doing this entire drive in 1 month (which is an INSANE pace compared to our typically turtle-slow-mo style), but we’re hoping to spend a few extra days in Walla Walla, WA (food, wine ya know) and almost a week near Yellowstone.
If anyone has tips on “must see” stops, breweries or campgrounds along our route, I’d love to get input! No guarantee we’ll have the time to actually do them, but for really good stuff we’ll make the effort to mix things around a bit. Comment away below!
- Planning RV Travels Part I -> 4 General “Rules” For Planning Where To Stay & When To Go
- Planning RV Travels Part II -> Selecting Pace, Map Routing & Campsites
- Planning RV Travels Part III – Maps, Resources & Links
Note/ For those of you worried about the healthcare issue (as we are), you are all welcome to discuss practical implications in the comments, but (as usual) I will delete any & all political comments. Be forewarned 🙂SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Totally get your jello N&P. Kudos to Paul for drafting a plan praised by Nina the Awesome, very impressive Paul.
Question on SD rv/auto insurance; we also are out of Rapid City. We expected a nice decrease in premium relocating from essentially Wash/Baltimore area but got a 30% increase 2 years ago! Since heard that Rapid is Hail HQ and that Souix Falls on the eastern side may have more attractive insurance premiums… Do you have research findings in this niche? Safe travels to you all, we left Rapid a week before Rally this summer, wandering MT now. Spur&Gair
We’re actually based in Sioux Falls (with Dakota Post) and we are just stopping by Rapid City to renew our licenses (we can renew anywhere in SD, and Rapid City is our easiest stop on this route). I haven’t actually done much comparison insurance shopping between the various city areas in SD, so can’t really speak to it in much detail. I guess my advice is just to get a few quotes and see what they say?
DO also be aware of health insurance if you are pre-Medicare (don’t know if you are). Options are very limited in SD.
Hi Nina…. Always a good blog…. I catch a lot of good info here Thanks..
I was curious about Drivers License in one state and Domicile in a different one??
I was thinking they needed to be the same state… I missed something along the way….
Just curious…… Have fun stay safe. Dale in N. E. Kansas
All so the Colo hiway “550” the Million Dollar Hiway is worth the time, but in a car. from Durango to Ouray.
Both our domicile and drivers license are on SD. They both need to be in the same state.
Jerry Ericsson says
Hi, I grew up here in South Dakota, then went out to make a life in the rest of the US, and elsewhere. After 8 years Army and 21 years chasing a paycheck on different Police Departments, I found myself unable to work any longer following an accident on the job. It took us a year to decide to move back home to Lemmon Sd, the town where my mother still lives (age 89 years young) and we have lived here ever since. It has been my dream for years to go full time but there always seems to be a new reason to stay put. Our recent trip to Yellowstone was a good trial, and I loved it, as did my good wife. (Celebrated our 46th anniversary today) but the troubles with the old motor home sort of put a kink in our plans. Perhaps next year. Right now the Doctors are telling us to get out of the house we have lived in these past 18 years as there seems to be some sort of mold problem or something like that which is causing breathing problems for both of us. Perhaps that will be the straw that broke the camels back or what ever it is that they say.
Still the problem of meds and doctor appointments and such are keeping us tied to one location, but we are lucky enough to be SD residents for insurance etc.
Anyhow good luck with your quest for insurance and a domicile,
Have a great trip on US 12, since that highway goes through our town we do love driving it, even in Mt.
That looks like a great trip. When we went from Jackson Hole to Rapid City we stayed in Wyoming and went across, so I don’t know that route very well. Big sky, MT. is gorgeous however.
Very much looking forward to our first “taste” of Montana!
Jennifer Nealy says
How long will you be in Montana? So glad you’re going there – one of our very favorite places! Do you have any planned stops yet? Of course Glacier would be high on my list, but it looks like you won’t be going that far north. Missoula is a fun town and full of good breweries. We stayed at a private park – Jim and Mary’s which was recommended to us by several other bloggers. On the way towards Butte there is a tiny former mining town called Philipsburg that has an awesome brewery. There is a 3-spot self-service RV park right in town – nothing special but $25 for full hook-ups 2 blocks from the brewery! There is also a good NFS campground called Piney just south of there. Bozeman seems like a cool town too – we only made a trip there when we were staying in Livingston. (If I had it to do again, I’d skip Livingston and go to Bozeman.) If I think of anything else I’ll post it.
We’ll probably only be there around 10 days. We’ll be focusing on Yellowstone (Glacier will have to wait) this time around, but Missoula is on our “stop list” specifically for the breweries. Cheers for the tip on the park there, and on the brewery near Butte!
Jennifer Nealy says
Well, it’s not close to Butte…it’s just on the way. You’d have to plan a stop there if you wanted to go. It was one of the highlights of our visit there, but if you’re short on time it may not make since as it is a bit out of the way. But it really is a cool place! Here’s my post on Missoula though since you are definitely going there…I listed our favorite breweries and also a good dog walking area. http://nealysonwheels.com/2014/07/17/a-week-in-missoula/
Hmmmm…this definitely looks tempting, VERY tempting! Cheers for the link!
Rick Morgan says
So much to see – so little time. Kind of a shame you will miss Flathead Lake,/Whitefish/Glacier – you will be so close. Missoula and Bozeman are both fun, interesting towns – Billings not so much – yet a great tip outside of Billings – the Beartooth Highway (in the car!). Red Lodge – Chief Joseph Hwy. Also, the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Here is a link to my post on the area… http://www.rjrvtravels.com/2012/08/yes-we-are-in-glacier-but-first.html.
We are taking off on Monday – our Jello trip to Washington/Oregon.
Yeah, we just don’t have time for Glacier on this trip although it’s definitely on our “must see” list. There’s a good possibility it’ll be in the plans for next year. Cheers for the link.
Rick Morgan says
Nina, the abiquiu (Georgia O’Keeffe country) area north of Santa Fe is also worth a visit. http://www.rjrvtravels.com/2015/06/abiquiu-georgia-okeeffe-country.html
Ah yes. I looked at that area many years ago when we traveled thro’ NM, but we never actually made it there. Another good tip.
Highway 12 from Lewiston across Lolo Pass is my favorite stretch of highway in the entire U.S. You’re in for a treat.
Some year come back and see it east from Missoula…you’ll feel like a kid in a cowboy costume. Yippee!
We’ve had so many people recommend that drive (Hwy 12) to us. I’m glad we’re finally going to get to do it even though it’ll be rather more rushed than we’d like.
Yes! Yes it is beautiful!!! We’ve traveled it a couple of times and I hope you love it! There are only just like a million places I would recommend …. Yellowstone is our home away from home! Is that Gardner you’re staying at? If you have a.n.y. questions about YNP let me know! I got answers or can get them! So happy trails! And have fun!
YES. Our plan is to drop down to Gardiner and make that our base for exploring Yellowstone from the north entrance. Our biggest struggle there is going to be that they don’t allow dogs on the trails, so we’ll likely have to leave Polly home for many of our trips. This also means we’ll probably only do a few “bigger” day trips while we’re there. So, if you have any must see spots in that short time, I’d love to hear them.
We camped in Yellowstone about a month ago at the Fishing Bridge CG (full hookups and reservations only). One word of caution: the road between Mammoth and Norris is under construction this year (as is the whole town of Gardiner). It is very slow (under 20 mph) and all gravel with road construction day and night. From Gardiner, you’ll want to explore the road to Tower and then head down to Canyon and through the center of the park. Try to get to Old Faithful early in the day to even find a parking place in that area. We were told that Yeloowstone visits are up over 25% this year from last year. It still was pretty amazing with all the geothermal activity.
I have read about all the road mess that Mary describes in the next comment. It does seem to be pretty awful and could even pick up IMHO after the busy season which is when you will be there. You might want to check that out further. All the campgrounds in the park will close the first of September, and even some of the general stores could be by the time you arrive. Maybe check that out with Janna? And yes, no doggies, but it is for their good! Bears and wolves! The Lamar valley where you will have pretty good access to has been pretty active with wildlife this season. We have never stayed at Gardiner. Always in the park or W. Yellowstone or even Cody. My very best suggestion is to take your time and spend as much time as possible when you see wildlife or park features that you like. We have sat and watched wildlife do wondrous things! If you go to Red Lodge, go to the bakery! Bear Tooth is a beautiful pass but check the weather that late in the season!!! Most do all have a great time and take your wonderful photos along the whole way and in the park! Still stuck at home here…..
We hope to snag a spot at Mammoth Campground which is open year round. Most of the other campgrounds in the park are open until mid-to-late Sept (some into Oct). We’re aware of the roadwork and will just have to work around it.
We camped at Mammoth on one of our many visits to Yellowstone, our favorite park, with our 45′ coach, the only catch is you have to be there before checkout time to see if a site big enough opens up. We lucked out and got a site right away. Each day we saw many folks turned away. Timing is everything!
Yeah I’ve been watching the fill rate on the NPS Campground Website (which is a super neat feature by the way). Looks like Mammoth fills up early, most days by 10AM at the latest. We’ll have to get our butts out and on the road super early (for us anyway) that day in order to snag a spot.
Denise Klinger says
Sorry about the insurance situation in TX. We are also full timers, out of Montana, and I just verified with BCBS that they will still offer PPO’s in 2016. Good luck
That’s great news for MT-based RVers. I sure hope they retain a nationwide policy in FL too (we’ll see).
June and Terry Austin says
We are waiting for our house to sell so we can start our travel adventures! We both currently have Medicare advantage plans with Cigna ,Tn. We know we will be traveling for at least one year and hopefully many years after. I am so confused about health insurance as both of us are under medical care requiring monthly visits to Drs. I have been thinking that original Medicare may be our only option. I have not heard of nationally syndicated as you mention above. Any websites you could recommend for my research ? Love your blog and have planned our trip much by your writings !!
Medicare is a whole different ball-game from what we’re doing (we’re trying to buy pre-Medicare policies), and in fact it’s MUCH easier. I recommend contacting the folks over at RVer Insurance Exchange. They’ll be able to help you out.
Kathie Maxwell says
Sounds like a fun drive. If you have time think about re-routing through Colorado Springs and ride Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pikes Peak. We stayed 1 night at Wal-Mart @ 8250 Razorback Rd. Colorado Springs. It’s been a long time, so I don’t know if they still allow overnight parking.
We’ve toyed with the idea of cutting over to Colorado Springs on the drive down. If we have the time left over after the rest of our trip, I think we will definitely do this. Thanks for the tip!
Lynne (WinnieViews) says
Hey, very cool! We might actually get to finally meet in-person in October! I’ll be heading up to Albuquerque for a few days (probably the 2nd weekend) to hang with Xscapers and experience the Fiesta. I’ll be volunteering at Bosque del Apache NWR 2 hrs south of Albuquerque this Fall. Stop for a visit afterwards if we don’t connect up during the Fiesta!
Thanks for putting the word out about the BCBS PPO situation in TX. I just saw & shared that news on FB yesterday. What a letdown! I was all set to start changing my domicile from IL to TX as of Jan. 1 and looked forward to smoothly transitioning my IL BCBS PPO plan to TX. Argh. Guess we’ll now have to wait to see what Healthcare.gov offers this Fall for 2016 and make domicile plans accordingly. Sounds like it’s time to start looking at non-traditional RV domicile states if FL (or TX) don’t come up with some good ACA PPO plans for 2016.
Would LOVE to meet-up! We are going to be parked with Boomers at the festival, but we have MANY friends booked at the Xscapers location, so we’re definitely going to be over there to hang out.
Yeah, the announcement in TX is a HUGE let-down, and I have the feeling that going to more local-based (HMO-type) plans is going to be a general trend in the insurance industry, at least for individual policies. Cost-wise it just seems like the most logical direction (for the insurers). It may indeed be time to look at alternative domicile states and/or get used to living with sub-optimal insurance policies. I’m not confident the landscape will improve, at least in the short term.
I sure hope you intend to visit the Clark RV park–free, electric, water and fast wifi!! We know of a boondocking spot 13 miles from the north entrance and Gardiner–we’ve used it many times. It sits along the Yellowstone River–it’s a fishing access so during the day it can be a little noisy but at night you have it all to yourself. Our home is about 2 hours from YNP–we day trip to Yellowstone all the time, you could leave Polly with us and head out for a long day in the Park???
You guys are definitely on our “list” for this trip, especially since we’re FINALLY going to MT!!! I’ll be pinging you soon!
Loretta Jones says
This Will be our first fall and winter out, and we’d really like to be near the ocean in southern California for some of it. Hubby wants an RV park but the ones we’ve called are very expensive. Any suggestions for under $600 per month or an RV park alternative? Also best month for weather?
I don’t know of any under $600/mo parks on the S.CA coast. You are more likely to find those kinds of prices further inland. The cheapest options I know of are County Parks and/or Fairgrounds. That’s where I recommend focusing your search. Weather is good year-round on the S.CA coast.
Since we were self employed for many years, insurance is always an aggravating subject for me and this latest news is a game plan changer for many. FYI – through CO, we’ve taken that route many a time. It’s a bunch of flat nothing… ranches, feed lots, antelope, and very little traffic (that in itself is a huge plus for taking this route). Plan gas in Limon and that may be your only desired stop.
The balloon fest with the boomers should be a ton of fun. I look forward to your photos 🙂
Yeah we don’t plan on much stopping on the drive down from SD to NM. I figured it was mostly flat-lands. So, we’ll likely do it pretty fast and dedicate more time to Hwy12, Yellowstone and MT.
Suz N says
We stayed a few nights at Rocky Mtn RV Park in Gardiner, literally a stone’s throw from the North entrance to YNP. It was a very nice place. On your way from Livingston MT down to Gardiner, we HIGHLY recommend a stop (or a drive back up) at Chico Hot Springs. Fun place to swim where the water is naturally heated by an underground spring – and the restaurant there is incredible. Definitely make a reservation, though. Believe me, it’s worth it! 🙂
The hot springs sound heavenly. I’m going to see if we can add them to the route.
Check out the ‘boiling river’ just a mile or two north of Mammoth Campground.
Jim and Gayle says
Missoula: our favorite brewery was Kettle House. We think you would like it!
We stayed at a nice little RV park, Square Dance Center and Campground (yes, I know, it sounds strange) about 12 miles south of Missoula in Lolo.
Nice to know the guys can step up to the planning when needed!
Well if you liked the brewery I’m sure we will. SOLD!
Jim at Growing Faith says
Oh my, this nomad healthcare situation is not fun to be a part of right now!
Will you be stopping to say Hi to Becky of Interstellar Orchard when you are in Yellowstone?
Thank you for keeping us up to date on the healthcare situation. I wish you the best in your travels!
If she’s still there in Sept we will definitely be stopping by. I’ve been following her blog for ages.
If our bus renovations stay on task.. we may potentially be bumping into you on the way into ABQ! We’re hoping to have time to stop in Colorado Springs on our way in to the first Xscapers convergence.
Huge bummer community wide about the insurance stuff, but sounds like DL renewals in SD will route you guys on some fun new territory to you! New routes can always add to the adventure.
Our passes through those areas have been way too quick, but we did love the Hwy 12 route. It’s no PNW or 395, but it has its own beauty. Definitely can’t recommend anything in Billings to do, so plan your fun adventuring time west of there for sure. Unless you happen to need an engine rebuild (that little white routing dot on the road between Billings & Rapid City? Yup… that’s just about the spot. ). But you can do a nice stock up there – a lot of nothing out that way.
It would be great to connect again in Colorado Springs. I sure hope your bus schedule allows it! Cheers for the other tips. I’m pretty sure we’ll give Billings a miss 🙂
Consider staying a night at 7th Ranch and see the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Located just south of US 212 on I90. We are work camping here and am certain we could find some wine or beer to “rescue”! We can see the battlefield from here.
Jerry Ericsson says
Great place to camp, we spent three nights there, a bit spendy at $43 bucks a night but nice campground with full service. We managed 5 channels on our old TV with standard rooftop antenna on our 96 Holiday Rambler.
Long time reader, but first time commenter. If you need a place to stay while you are in Walla Walla, we have a horse farm and therapeutic riding center about 15 miles west of town. We have three wineries within walking distance, and 50amp electric hookup for the beast. I don’t know much about wine, but I can put you in contact with friends who work in the local industry.
WOW! What an offer. I’ll check with Paul and get back to you. If nothing else we’d love to visit the farm.
We would love to have you!
Nebraska rocks. Love traveling through the sparesly populated Sandhill region, Valentine, the Niobrara River valley, and a wonderful National Wildlife Refuge outside Valentine with a large bison herd.
Excellent. ALL of those are new to me. I’ll be looking them up. Cheers!
Gary Haynes says
I got my SD driver’s license in Rapid City. Easiest DL experience I have ever had. In and out in 15 minutes and that included the time to fill out the first time form. Even the county clerks for vehicle registration took about 20% of the time it takes in my previous state. SD rocks… But note that they are not open on Mondays. 7am to 4:30pm Tuesday through Friday.
Thanks for the info. Good to know its going to be an easy renewal. Our previous experience in SD (Custer office, when we first got our licenses) was a breeze too.
Hans Kohls says
Hi Nina, Based on your map, it looks like you will connect to I-25 in Trinidad, CO. We stayed at Trinidad Lakes State Park, which has some nice sites. See our blog post from May. http://metamorphosisroad.blogspot.com/2015/05/historic-trinidad-co-and-day-five-of.html
Thank you! Nice tip! For some reason that park didn’t show up in my research and I must have zonked on your blogging in the area.
Albert Wilson says
If you would like a great RV park I can recommend Bear Canyon in Bozeman (bearcanyoncampground.com). Easy to get on and off, easy over the mountain to get to Gardiner, maybe a little pricy but a great place. Also, if you are in Bozeman you might consider going to the Montana Ale Works, great food and great beer (montanaaleworks.com). If you do ,\\, say hello to my partner’s daughter in law who is an assistant manager, Dawn Wilson. VERY VERY GOOD FOOD.
Jerry Ericsson says
Ah Bozeman, that’s where we headed our first night, after stopping at EVERY little campground from West Yellowstone up. Got into Bozeman at about 10 pm and located one site at the KOA there, in their overflow lot. That lot consisted of tall dry grass covered lot next to a junkyard for a trailer park, with NO services. We were thankfull to pay 32 bucks for a place to park, after having driven from Billings then south through Yellowstone, and again North to Billings. The next day I spent at a truck repair center in Belgrade Mt where for the small payment of 1700 bucks they replaced my front brakes that failed me in Yellowstone. That night we spent at the Flying J truck stop FREE CAMPING!!! Then we hit the road and got our site at Bakers Hole, and all was well as far as camping, other problems did crop up, such as my brother in law running into a tree and poking a hole in his motorhome. and blowing 2 tires on my motorhome by mile marker 22 on I90. Oh and there was my bother in laws diesel fuel filter plugging up near Miles City, dropped him down to 15 miles an hour for over 20 miles. But overall it was a wonderful trip. According to the lady at the campgrounds in Miles City, MONTANA is hell on motor homes!!
Montana Ale Works sounds fabulous. If we make the stop, we’ll definitely say “hi”!
We’re on a semi opposite loop. In Denver area now, John Fogerty Fiddler’s Green on the 8/8. Then on into Rockies National Park for a bit. South to Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, The Gorge – home basing out of Colorado Springs area. Heading NE cutting thru Kansas on into South Dakota at Grand Island area, and on up into Sioux Falls to hunker down for over Labor Day. Then on West into Rapid City for some business, before swinging down a bit to pick up Cody and on into Gros Ventre area of the Tetons. Up thru Yellowstone, and out into the Montana area again. We think were going to do Hope in Idaho again, actually, we’ll be Beyond Hope:)! Then we’ll sort our way on all the way to coast? Or, maybe just work our way down 395 back into San Diego area for Thanks Giving with he family.
I’ll keep a watch on your travels, and if we align with the galactic stars that cause all wines and beers to be perfect at all time – will shoot you a PM to see if we can connect for an adult beverage or four:)!
Travel safe, and as great as Yellow Stone is – if you have never hit Gros Ventre and the Teton areas for any period of time, IMO, it is actually as good and better in someways, then Yellowstone. (And that of course, is all based upon personal opinion – they’re both fantastic!!)
SANDY WORLEY says
Yes, walmart in the springs allows overnites. We have been spending the summer here and it is wonderful! At Garden of the Gods as I type watching the sunset. A must see if you come through here.
Sounds like a fabulous trip! I do (desperately) want to see the Tetons at some point. They’ve been on our list for years.
Craig MacKenna says
Walla walla: not just food and wine, but also the best onions west of Vidalia! OK, onions are food…
We drove up to Mammoth and Gardiner from Madison Junction 2-3 weeks ago, and they were reconstructing the road in a major, dirty, and delaying way. Hope they are done by the time you get there.
We’ll be at the ABQ Balloon Fest too. We’re in an SKP group. Hope to meet you there.
Ben Ferguson says
Some SD and NB thoughts.
Game Lodge Campground in Custer State Park, SD is lovely, especially in the fall. We were there last September and is still one of our favorites.
Don’t know if this fits your plans but Sept 25th is their annual buffalo roundup. Well worth the early morning and dealing with lots of people. http://www.blackhillsbadlands.com/buffalo-roundup-arts-festival. We found out about it by chance staying in Custer, but had to move as that weekend was booked up. We relocated to Angustora Reservoir, which was nearly empty in Sept. A bit of a drive but doable.
In Nebraska, I highly recommend Fort Robinson State Park for a stopover. It is an historic location (Chief Crazy Horse was killed there) and is has very un-Nebraska like scenery.
All these should be right along the path you’ve outlined.
We have stayed at Fort Robinson! Nice park!!!
We spent several weeks in Custer back in 2010 (and loved it!), but since we’re time-limited we are going to focus on other spots this time around. I would love to see that Buffalo roundup one day though.
Cheers for the tip in Nebraska. That park hadn’t shown up in our research.
Karen Myer says
Although we did not camp when in the Yellowstone area, we did do some wandering around and there were a few really nice boondocking spots in the Paradise Valley (Gardiner entrance) area. One was on a pretty little lake and was mostly empty when we were there in June. I know it was between Pray and the park entrance, and if you are interested, I can contact the owner of the cabin that we stayed in and he would probably give me the info.
Karen Myer says
I did e-mail the cabin owner and the campground is Daley Lake Campground. Here is a google map link: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Dailey+Lake+Campgroundfirstname.lastname@example.org,-110.8168674,2324m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x534fe63ea379ab55:0xe3cde38398d92079!6m1!1e1
We did Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and Glacier in late June and July. Big mistake because of the crowds, so you’re wise to do it after Labor day. We had a great time anyway. Looks like hwy 12 goes through Lolo just south of Missoula and we had a nice meal and beer at Lolo Peaks Brewery. Custer State Park south of Rapid City has some really nice campgrounds and amazing drives. We stayed at Bismark Lake and were quite impressed with the beautiful, large campsites. We’ll be in Arizona in October and I’ve always wanted to see the balloons in Albuquerque, so maybe we can get over there. Is it already too late to find a place to camp close by?
Cheers for the tips! There is still plenty of opportunity to get into the Balloon Festival as far as I know. I believe Xscapers still has open spots, plus I also think there is general parking still available. You may end up a bit further from the launch field, but you’ll still be there.
if you can boon dock you can park at the casino there…they run a shuttle to the balloon fields at least 2x a day…
Amazed you guys have never been to Montana, you’re going to LOVE it! I just don’t get all the health care uproar. So sorry it affects you. But I know you’ll pull a magic rabbit out of your hat. Love your map and wish I were tech savy enough to do something that cool. I mean handwriting on what looks like a google map. Awesome! Or I’m so behind time that it sure seems awesome to me.
Yeah we’ve been DUE to go to MT for many years, but just never made it. If we decide not to host on the PNW coast next year (don’t know yet) then we can spend more time in the area. This trip will be a quick, little taste.
We spent a week in the Sand Hills of western Nebraska. I second the motion for Valentine. There is some great bicycle riding there on the Cowboy Trail.
Unfortunately we’ll be hitting the West side of Nebraska, so we won’t pass by either of those areas. We’ll be hard pressed for time once we leave SD and head south, so we’ve got to take the straightest shot we can. Both spots have been recommended multiple times though, so hopefully we’ll make it there next time around.
Rick Hervey says
Elkhorn Ridge RV is worth a stop just off I 90 in Spearfish, SD 1/2 hour before Rapid City.
If you’re driving Hwy 12 thru WA I’d suggest getting an over night spot on Rimrock Lake, on the east side of White Pass. This is one of Washington State’s premier drives for beautiful scenery. I’ve hiked, backpacked and camped in the area untold numbers of times over the decades. You can’t go wrong here. Just camped in the area again 2 weekends ago.
Hwy 12 over Lolo Pass is amazing. I don’t know any places to stay with the Beast tho.
Gardner is a fun little town on the edge of one of earth’s most amazing places. And do stop at the hot springs on the way in or out, it’s write off the main road you’ll be driving.
Farther east, a concur with the high recommendation for the Bighorn Battle Field. It’s very impressive, educational, and hip humbling. Emotional for some. Very worth while.
If you’re staying on I-90, the Sheridan and Buffalo Wyoming areas, at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, are great small towns with awesome scenery, lots of historical sites, museums, galleries, restaurants, goods and services, ect. I really love this area but have either been in hotels or tent camping so no Beast site info to share here either. (Sorry!)
In SD/Black Hills/Badlands you can spend an amazing amount of time exploring the sites and investigating the rich history. You’ll have an abundance of things to do if you plan to stay a bit. And…as a bonus…you’ll be in my childhood home state! Lol!
Another commenter mentioned some great tips for going south into the northeastern part of Nebraska where you can see some of the best of that state’s natural beauty, IMHO.
From there going west into Colorado will go thru some very boring country until you do reach the Rockies again. And then the possibilities and choices are endless.
When will you be leaving the WA coast?
We’re leaving the coast Aug 1st, so we have one month to do this entire trip. Rimrock is in the plans, as is Bighorn Battlefield (thanks to all the comments on this post). Custer/Black Hills area won’t be in the plans this time around, although I loved our first visit there 5 years ago.
All good tips!
Yep, I noticed you had the dates on your map after I’d posted the comment, so it was to late to change it. My oops!
Have fun with the planning, and especially the trip. I know you’ll love those areas. I’m already looking forward to your photos from there.
Jil Mohr says
I think you mean September first here.
Argh yes! I meant we leave Sept 1st, not Aug 1st. I guess we’re already ready to go??
Don Weatherhead says
Long time follower..first time comment. I’m not sure I’d pick Hwy 12 to travel over 3 states. Yes
I get it about slowww movers, and the beautiful scerenry but you realize you are going thru a
few Mt passes, White Pass (Wash) Famous Lolo Pass (Idaho..a few switchbacks there) and Macdonald
Pass (Mt) . It looks like you are taking a short ‘peak’ at Yellowstone Pk and then doing a U-turn
back to Billings. I hope you know you can go thru Yellowstone, turn east go thru Cody and then
either Sheridan ( Medicine Wheel/Bald Mt pass) or Buffalo (Powder River Pass) onto Spearfish Wy.
Wishing You a Safe Journey
Don & Judy Weatherhead
We’ve got no problem with big passes (actually quite enjoy them), and I’ve just heard so much about 12 that we want to do it. It’ll be something entirely new (for us). I know there is lots of Yellowstone we won’t see, so we may well come back and do that other route in the future.
I was so excited to read that your changed plans were finally going to route you through Nebraska. My family is originally from there, but not the region you’ll be traveling. We LOVE Nebraska. Hubby even gets excited when we’re heading east or west through there, knowing we’ll get to visit my cousins. We always smile and sigh, “we’re home!” when we cross the border. My inner ‘little Karen on the prairie’ always comes out. 🙂
We look forward to getting to the Sandhill region someday, since we’ve heard so much about it. Our best suggestion is to stay off the interstates. The beauty of the Nebraska prairie land is the side highways, going through the small farm towns.
Safe travels on your re-route. Sorry for the reason behind it.
Well I’m looking forward to it! Unfortunately we won’t see the Sandhill area since we’ll be sticking to the west side of the state, but it’s been mentioned so many times here that it’s definitely on our “list” now. Wish we could spend more time exploring the state, but we’ll be rushing through fairly fast this time around.
Robert Larson says
Nina…Hope you got my emails and photos about US12!
We were at Yellowstone in 2009 in early September and had no trouble with crowds, not even at Old Faithful. We have a “jello solid” plan to be in Glacier next August, but that has been our plan the last two years and other plans happened instead. If you go at that time next year maybe our paths will cross. Looking forward to your posts from WY and MT and SD, we just loved it out there and can’t wait to go back!
I’d be more inclined myself to see the west side of Montana and drop down south on 287, then south again on 87 right at the Madison River, and over the Continental Divide. When you get into Idaho, in a few miles, head east on highway 20 and enter Yellowstone through West Yellowstone, and choose however you’d like to go out the east entrance of Yellowstone. Paul can email me for some nice spots to boondock, or a spot at an RV park for a good negotiated price for a 2 week stay or so, use your TOW to explore so much of Yellowstone Natl Park.
Jerry Ericsson says
We just returned to Lemmon SD following a two week trip to Yellowstone National Park. While at Yellowstone, try and get in at the Bakers Hole campground. It’s a fantastic campground; only has electric and pit toilets but man the view, and those tall lodgpole pines, you just can’t beat that wonderful smell in the cool mornings. Signs say don’t feed the bears although we did’t see any our whole stay. Best chance to get a campsite is during the week and hit the place before 11:00 AM. Campsites around Yellowstone are scarce as hen’s teeth, and what ever you do, DON’T drive down to one called Rainbow (something, I forget) that gravel road was so rough it actually broke loose one of my rear fenders! What a horror drive!! Bakers Hole is just 2.4 miles from the West Entrance to Yellowstone so it makes a wonderful place to spend your evenings and nights. The stay is limited to 16 days, and I understand those who want to see all of Yellowstone do stay that long. We found 5 days just right, giving us one day of rest before we began our trip home. Going through Miles City, I would stay at Big Sky Camp and RV center. The place is a full service campground with free WIFI that actually WORKS!! nice showers and flush toilets, and a free POOL. Also free cable tv and all for just $22 bucks a night!! Wonderful place although the host and hostess are a bit on the unusual side, but very nice none the less. It appears you are going to drop South before you get to Baker Mt. If you change your mind, one of the most interesting places on the Baker route on US 12 is Medicine Rocks State Park. Their campground is rather sparse and I wouldn’t recomend an overnight with a Motorhome but the park is a MUST see, I was amazed at the huge rock formations there, and if you spend enough time there you can find inscriptions by ancient tribes who inhabited the area long before the White man ever came. Problem is though that Joanie loves Cochie also were there so teen age love notes adorn many of the stone formations.
It looks like you will be driving through Billings Mt. Drop South to Gary Owen Mt, and take in the Custer Battlefield, again something that is a must see! Well perhaps it’s just me, having grown up with an address of Thunder Hawk South Dakota, I simply had to see where Chief Thunderhawk fought with Custer along with Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. The battlefield was much larger then I imagined, and those hills were so much taller then I had thought. While there we stayed at the 7th Ranch Campground. I enjoyed that stay, it wasn’t nearly as wild as Bakers Hole, but the campground is far from town and is in fact on a ranch. Nice full service park with water sewer and power at all sites, and just a few miles from Garyown Mt, where there is a very nice museum of the Custer fight. There is a 7 buck per head charge to go through the museum and no photos allowed, that angered me a bit, but I did enjoy it none-the-less. The museum stands on the site of the first contact between the Sioux and Custer’s troops so it adds to the feel of the place.
If you decide to bypass Baker Mt (the city not the hole park) and drive South to Hwy 212 be sure to take in Devils Tower Wyoming! Another MUST see in that area, famed in the movie about contact of the third kind or something like that, I forget in my old age.
If you go through Baker Mt, continue on through the oil country of SW North Dakota travel through Marmarth where some of the first dinosaurs bones were found, on to the small town of Rhame, and then Bowman, a city where I served as the Chief of Police back in the 80’s and one fantastic little town, I do miss that town but when we moved back to this country the housing was so high I couldn’t afford to move there, so I moved to Lemmon, where I purchased a 3 bedroom home for 20,000 bucks, have it paid for now but may have to sell it and move on soon, as my wife seems to have developed an allergy to something in the house.
Anyhow, if you hit Bowman, come on east to the little town of Lemmon, SD home of the world famous Petrified Wood Park, not a must see, but a nice break where you can walk among the pyramids made of petrified wood, and cannon ball stones taken from the Cannon ball river. Visit the two castles built of the same material and filled with items from the history of the area, all free of charge. Lemmon is also, by the way where I was born some 64 years ago, and came back to after a back injury put me out of police work back in the mid 90’s. Should you come through Lemmon, one of the nicest little campgrounds just south of town some 13 miles is at Shadehill, there are two campgounds, the main one is off the beaten path but the small one is just off Highway 73 and offers 10 sites with electricity only. We like the little on as it overlooks Flatcreek Lake and is so peaceful.
Go south out of Lemmon, and you are on your way to Sturgis where the motorcycles rule right now, as the 75th rally is now underway. Sturgis (named for one of those dead at the Littlebighorn battle) is also the gateway to the Black Hills. While in the hills, take in Deadwood where gambeling is legal and a lot of fun. Rapid City, one of my favorite places now sports the street of the Presidents with bronze life size statutes of the Presidents, one on each street corner. Then it’s south again on Mount Rushmore Road to the mountain by the same name, with the carvings of the presidents. Be sure to take the right roads, as some of the highways through the Black Hills have tunnels that are too small for a motorhome. Another drive that is a MUST take is the Spearfish Canyon, a drive past some fantastic waterfalls and scenery that will knock your socks off. In fact my wife commented while we were going through Yellowstone that Spearfish Canyon is prettier then this! Spearfish Canyon road will take you from Spearfish to near Deadwood. While in Spearfish take in the tout hatchery, now that doesn’t sound like much but it is fantastic and is much more a museum then a simple hatchery, blended with some fantastic trout. A drive through the Black Hills you will also see Bison in the wild, wild jack asses and mountain sheep. You may be lucky enough to see one of the many mountain lions that inhabit the Black Hills area, they are so plentiful now that there is actually a hunting season every year with a limit based on the the lion count done by the game and fish department.
While Bakers Hole is a great campground (and one we stayed at for 4 nights), Paul and Nina are hitting Yellowstone from the north end so they won’t be able to stay there.
Exactly, we’ll be on the north side around the Mammoth Hot Springs area.
Looking forward to finally meeting you in ABQ since I will miss you guys in Washington. I am arriving in Astoria right after y’all leave.
Likewise! The Balloon Festival should be a blast!
Are you taking Hwy 101 up the WA coast to Hwy 12? If so, Westport has a great winery, beach and the state park there has some sites that would be beast friendly. Once you get close to the Cascades, there’s not really any state parks I would say are big rig friendly, we’ve stayed in several when we had a smaller TT that are all very heavily treed.
As a former, long term WA resident, I’ve got to agree that staying near Rimrock would be superb, not sure where to park the beast, we had a small TT at the time. We also love visiting Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Rainier, you’ll be within easy access to both, not sure if you’ve done either of those before since I’m relatively new to reading your blog. From Hwy 12 the Spirit Lake side of Mt. Saint Helens is easily accessible and kind of an eerie place to visit, more so than the Johnston Ridge Visitor center.
From Yakima to Prosser and the surrounding areas you’ll have more wineries to visit than you’ll have time for, we have stayed at the WA state park near Yakima called Sportsman state park and were very unimpressed, especially given the rates they charge.
As you pass through the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick, Richland), check out Tagaris Winery, Ice Harbor Brewing (Kennewick) and Atomic Ale House (Richland), great good at both Tagaris and Atomic Ale House, food is a little more basic at Ice Harbor, but my hubby loves the beer. There is a great COE park in Pasco, Hood Park, big rig friendly with electric only hookups but a place to take on water and a dump station, hint – the weeknight rates are half the price of weekend rates and it’s much quieter on the weeknights. Walla Walla WA has a great little downtown walking area to many restaurants / wineries but we never found an RV park we really liked there.
Lewiston ID/ Clarkston WA have a great bike path that links the cities on the 2 sides of the River and the ID state park near Lewiston is pleasant and big rig friendly. We’ll be staying at Hell’s Gate State Park in early Sept, if I remember, I’ll pass on my thoughts / impression of that state park after we’ve actually stayed there. I know you are planning to stay on route 12, but if you want to go a little way south on Hwy 95, McCall ID is our absolute favorite town in ID, Ponderosa state park is wonderful and the town is fabulous with lots of hiking and biking and great eating opportunities.
As you drop down from Montana to SD, not sure which route you’ll be taking, when you’ll be leaving Hwy 12, if you are in Buffalo WY, we stayed at Deer Park RV resort and had deer and wild turkeys for daily visitors, not necessarily the kind of park we like to stay in too often since we prefer state / county parks, but compared to many of the commercial RV parks this one was quite pleasant.
One thing I would strongly advise is to keep an eye on the weather, it’s unusual but not unheard of to see snow this far north in Sept and we had friends who didn’t make it across Hwy 12 in Sept 2 years ago due to an early snowfall.
Cheers for the tips! We spent more than a week in Westport WA last year, so it won’t be on the stop this year. We’ll have limited time at the other stops, so probably won’t be hanging much but we’ll definitely check on the brewery recommendations. And yes, we’ll be sure to watch the weather. I’m well familiar with how fickle weather can be in Sept. If the weather changes, we’ll switch up our route.
So one typo correction: great Food at both Tagaris and Atomic Ale House!
If you have a chance and do get a stop over in Buffalo, Wy try to drive the Crazy Woman Canyon. It’s a super fun short drive through tumbled boulders that comes out in farmland and you’ll prolly see some pronghorn. We stay at Indian Campgroind but Deer Park is nice too.
Diana and Jim says
When you are in SD, check out Wind Cave NP, Nina. I am not much on caves, but I enjoyed that one. If you go, ask how they got all that concrete for the paved pathways down there. It is very interesting! 🙂
Doug Hinman says
sounds like a fun trip heading your way this fall. just a warning tho, the tetons got some snow last week!!!
if you head south thru Scottsbluff, NE there is a city campground at the Riverside Zoo, $15 for full hookups, right next to the Platte River with a one or 2 mile walking/bike path along the river and good view of Scottsbluff Natl Monument. If you have time it is a nice view from the top of the Monument with a few walking trails. I grew up in Scottsbluff. If you cant stop there, south to Kimball about 45 miles, then about 7 miles west of Kimball on Hwy 30 is Oliver Reservoir, right now is free or donation, good for a night or two. If you were heading closer to Ft Collins, CO area there is the National Prairie Grasslands campground at Briggsdale off Hwy 14. we camped there for years when we lived in ft collins. tons of trees in the campground, a little hiking around the campground area, lots of birds, probably lots of flies in the fall! I dont know of any inexpensive or boondocking south of that area. If I do I will send you a message.
Sorry for the loss of your mother! safe travels, Doug H
Cheers for the tips. Scottsbluff may be a good stop for us and I had no idea about the Monument there. The Prairie Grasslands are a good tip too, but we may just end up driving thro’ instead of stopping.
Steve, Holly, and Mazzie says
Hi guys. Sounds like great travels however you go and whatever you do along the way.
Hwy 12 is nice enough along the Locksa River. There is even some boondocking and a couple undeveloped hot springs along the river, but they are not necessarily something to get too excited about. It is also a fairly busy road.
I know this isn’t along your route this time, but, if you want great scenery and super hot springs with dispersion camping right alongside the beautiful S. Fk. Payette (river), sometime try to take hwy 21 between Garden Valley and Stanley. There is a lifetime of hiking, boating, scenery, camping, hotsprings, and relaxing on this route (we even saw a wolf crossing the road here). From Stanley, (once you can tear yourself away…or the cold winters chase you out) you could head North on 75 and 93 toward Missoula (or South on 75 toward Idaho Falls).
Sooooo many options. I just love the PNW.
Safe travels and take care.
I’ll second that recommendation. We came back to Oregon that way from Missolula after someone told us I might not like taking the passes on 12 with my trailer. I floated the Bitterroot and the Salmon and would have loved to do the S Fork of the Payette too. Stanley, Idaho is a very cool little town.
Thanks! Looks like a nice route. Won’t be anywhere close to our route this time around, but I’ve made a note of it. At some point we’d like to spent more time in ID. We always seem to rush through that state and I KNOW there is lots to see & enjoy.
Fort Robinson state park
Agate Fossil Beds
Scott’s Bluff Nat Monument
All are on or close to your route
Cheers! We’ll definitely be stopping at (at least) one of these spots.
Glad to see you going to YNP. If possible, try to spend more than one week to do it justice. Lots of good hiking and scenery and much wildlife in the 2.3 M acres! We spent 9 weeks there last year and hit the tip of the “iceberg”!!!
We’re not going to have much more than a week unfortunately. We’ve got to fit 2,200 miles (and a license renewal) into a single month so we can hit the Balloon Festival Oct 2 and there’s lots to see on that trip. Better a little taste than nothing at all.
Jodee Gravel says
Just had to re-route away from Hwy 12 in Washington to get hubby to a Montana fishing trip with his best friend from high school – super fun but bummed to miss such a lovely area this time 🙁 Like everyone else I’m hoping the insurance carriers stop holding us all hostage sooner rather than later. Appreciate you sharing your research here!
Interesting how health care has such an impact our the decisions we make. For us it is time in the USA at all. The insurance and pre existing threats make it a unknown experience every time we cross over.
Greg Miller says
A big second on Ft. Robinson State Park in Nebraska. Looks to be right on your route. We were just traveling through a couple years ago and it was one of those places that we knew we had to stop and stay awhile as soon as we saw it. It’s good to not have too many reservations.
Thanks. We’ll definitely be stopping somewhere in Nebraska. Scott’s Bluff and Ft.Robinson have made the top of the list so it’ll be either one (or both if we can manage it).
David & Stilla Hobden says
We just left Yellowstone… found a great National Park Campground just outside the East Entrance (Rex Hale CG in Shoshone NP) And it had 50 Amp power!
I blogged about it @ UrbanEscapeVehicle.com… hope that helps 🙂
Thanks. I think we’ll be sticking to West & North sides of the park this time around.
paul karl says
you might want to check out “interstellar orchard” the lady is a fulltimer working there and has covered a lot of the sites to see
We’ve already connected via e-mail. I’ve been following her blog for a long time and definitely want to meet-up while we’re there.
The buffalo bill Cody museum in Cody WY is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. And that was 25 years ago. I would go 500 miles out of my way to go again. Maybe 600 miles. Probably not 700 miles.
I was there a month ago and it was still fantastic! Unexpectedly, one of the highlights of our trip.
This looks excellent, but unless we get time to go out the East entrance we probably can’t make it this time around. You bet it’s on my return list though! I love these kinds of museums.
John T. says
Hi Nina and Paul, the link contains video all shot in Montana. Some shots around Butte, glacier, Augusta.
Hope you enjoy your trip.
That little section from SD to Nebraska is on our route down south. But our paths won’t cross as we will be heading there in a couple of weeks.
Sherry in MT says
Well there is some great stuff in Helena if you decide to detour this way instead of going thru Butte. Lewis and Clark Brewery is an award winning one AND we have a lovely new wine bar downtown called the Hawthorn. Think about it and hey – if you do come through would love to meet you guys! 😉
Sherry in MT says
Oops and forgot – your Highway 12 adventure coming through Helena would continue. Take off at Garrison from I90 and to Helena then down from Helena back to I90 (a couple routes you can take). Email me if you want any additional info! 🙂
Hi Nina, as a full timer and having our domicile in Texas and having BCBS in Texas, I panicked when I read your post so I called to check on this yesterday and I was told that the PPO Blue Choice is going away. I have the Solution 4 multi state PPO plan and was told this isn’t going away…….so hoping I wasn’t being lied to..we will see.
Good to know Georgia. I’ll have to see if that plan is on offer for others.
Jerry Ericsson says
OH BTW Bakers Hole had 50 AMP service, but we never needed our air while we stayed there. We did, however need to turn on the furnace every night as the temps dropped below 40 degrees, and near freezing at night, daytime temps stayed right around the 70 degree mark by noon, however our jackets got a nice workout in the mornings, and evenings. The hosts at Bakers Hole were super nice and very easy to get along with.
Jenny Waters says
That is a lot of miles for one month. If you are looking for opinions on Montana, the western part is beautiful. That part on highway 12 through Lolo NF should be gorgeous, and Missoula and Bozeman are both nice. Once you get to the eastern side it is quite dry and not as pretty (in my opinion). I didn’t realize you were still using SD as your domicile, it will be interesting to see what happens with healthcare options.
Yup, we’ll be spending *most* of our time on the Western side, so even though we’re rushing we’ll hopefully still get some good stops.
We decided to stick with SD and buy short-term insurance for 2015 while we waited to see how the whole health insurance thing played out. Our original plan was to switch to TX this year, but now I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Cynthia Huff says
I had my BCBS PPO through New Mexico (now Medicare takes over) —and use a mail service there in Santa Fe, Turquoise Trail Mail Service.
Taxes are low in NM…car insurance, car licenses, all low. You may want to rethink going to S Dakota for a renewal—-just do it when you go to ABQ for the balloon festival….??
Initially we “relocated” to TX after reading how other rvers did this. THEN realized how inconvenient all this was since we actually lived in NM before the rv trip and Texas is so inconvenient.
Additionally—just an FYI about Yellowstone. We could not get an RV space the first night—so camped on the west side in Idaho in a private camp. We did this drive from east, the Wyoming entrance to west and then back into the park the next day—-the distance is not that far…not what we wanted to do…but do-able. Unless you are serious hikers, Yellowstone can be managed in about 4 days—-saw the buffalo many times-bubbling hot pots–old faithful and artists rd and falls.
It was very crowded but guess it always is. Watch out for the elk—we were nearly skewered when one jumped off the embankment towards our vehicle, we swerved and avoided it barely.
Hmmm…yeah. Alternative domicile options are a definite possibility, even with the hit in state income tax. It can be tricky to establish legal domicile in some of these spots with no prior history or abode, but maybe NM is a possibility. We’ll have to weigh the pro’s and con’s, but if this trend continues I think many fulltime RVers will be looking at alternative states. Thanks for the tip on the mail service guy. I will check into them.
First time in the best state, wow :-). We may still be here when you guys are rolling through, keep an eye out. Missoula is definitely fun, good beer and Bigga Pizza is awesome. Well be there for the next three weeks so maybe we will find some new recs. Bozeman has some good beer as well. If you can’t score a spot at Mammoth there is some boondocking north of there.
I know, I know..it’s CRAZY that we haven’t been to MT. I think you guys have spent the entire summer up there? And last summer too? Cheers for the info. I’ll be looking out for more tips if you get ’em.
Yup, we’ve spent some or all of 3 of our 5 summers on the road here , plus a winter 😀
Chris & Dennis says
What a shame, you’ll be too far north and then too far east to come and share our estate special Pinot Noir from Benton-Lane while we do the volunteer thing at Flaming Gorge. BUT, not all is lost…
Highway 12 – Lolo Hot Springs, Casino, and RV Campground. The dedicated adult time in the hot pool is well worth it and the BBQ is very good. If you do have time you could swing north on 93 to the National Bison Range and of course the Miracle of America Museum in Polson.
Give a strong consideration to the Cody museum if you can – may be a bit out of your way but well worth it.
Kirk, over at Escapees did a volunteer stint a couple of years ago at the Sheps Canyon could provide some input. Angostura Reservoir looks nice, have not been there yet.
All good tips. Thanks!
the fish store I was talking about in Montana is in Bozeman…on the main street…your schedule looks awesome…
JUST BACK FROM 23 DAY TRIP TO MONTANA/WYOMING. A HUGE MUST SEE IS THE BEAR TOOTH HIGHWAY. STAY IN A VERY SWEET LITTLE TOWN CALLED RED LODGE AND TAKE CAR OVER THIS FABULOUS ROAD AT 10,900. CAN MAKE A LOOP BY TAKING CHIEF JOSEPH HIGHWAY BACK. ABSOLUTLY A MUST SEE. YELLOWSTONE IS AN ADULT DISNEYLAND. THE GEYSER BASINS AND WILDLIFE ARE THRILLING. HAPPY SIGHTINGS.
Just read about the Beartooth Highway yesterday. It looks heavenly!! We’ll be concentrating most of our time in the East and North sections of Yellowstone, but if we get an extra day we’ll definitely do this in the toad.
I think we’ll be passing right by you guys but to the north. Safe journey! 🙂
Maybe we’ll get to connect? I hope so! You guys have been roaming wide this year for Campendium. It’s looking good!
Also if you are going through Randolph, NE there is a little city park to stay in there…we have done it twice…
I’ll still be working at Yellowstone when you guys stop by! I’ll keep an eye on your blog as the date gets closer and once you know which week(ish) you’ll be here, maybe we can arrange a meetup. 🙂
YEAH!!! I already sent you an e-mail and would LOVE to see you!! I’ve been following your blog for ages.
I guess I am not surprised to hear your news about health insurance as I recently received a letter from Assurant stating that the plan I am on will not be offered next year, so once again I am out shopping for health insurance. 🙁 Don’t have lots to offer for your intended route but it sounds like you are getting some great recommendations. Enjoy the rest of your summer. We are loving Lopez Island!
Yeah Assurant pulling out is a blow to FL-based fulltimer RVers. Thankfully Wellmark (BCBS) still offers a viable solution on the Exchange there. As long as nothing changes before the beginning of next year, that’ll still be a good option for you.
Glad to hear you’re loving Lopez…I knew you would!
John & Mary says
While we did not pay enough attention to Spearfish when we were in the Black Hills last year maybe you will & offer up your take on what looks like a gem of a town.
Now that we have a solidified jello mold of the Fall/Paul plan…..what are the Wheellingit ideas for Wintering 2016? Suggestion: Imperial Dam LTVA BLM (not Q) 20m north of Yuma off 95, kinda east of your local 2015.
A really great “community” stretched out over maybe 5 miles above the Colorado on Senator Mesa ….maybe see you there?
Note: Rye is the “new” Rhum
Winter this year will probably be in San Diego. I’ve got to fly home for Christmas so being near a big airport is going to be a “must have”. Plus we hope to (finally, maybe) tackle our storage unit. One of these days we’ll make it out to Imperial Dam!!
Margee Scannell says
Nina: What is that book that Paul is looking at? BLM maps only? Thanks for reply.
It’s one of our many Benchmark Maps. We love them because they have good public lands info. I have details on these here:
As we are researching our trip to North Dakota and Montana for next summer
I came across a campground that is in Montana, 35 miles from Yellowstone NP, Yellowstones Edge.
It looks heavenly.
Fireman Dave says
Nina, I spent 3 weeks in Montana on motorcycles last summer from NJ. Rt 12 thru Lolo Pass is beautiful!! Don’t put off Glacier. I figured by now you had learned that life is short and there are no guarantees of another tomorrow. Take your time and enjoy Rt 12 “AND” Glacier. Sorry to preach but sometimes a little reminder helps me also. Enjoy! Respectfully, Fireman Dave
Glad to hear you liked Hwy 12. One of our neighbors here at the park just did it last month in their rig and loved it. I’m looking forward to it! I really wish we could hit Glacier this time around, but we just won’t be able to squeeze it in. Too many miles, too little time. We will be back though!
greg lowery says
hwy 12 looks like a terrific ” small hwy” route to head east. i just studied your route. i’ve been on parts of it..i.e. up the clearwater river and over lolo pass…real pretty country! we part time in a fifth wheel, mostly winter travel to az. i have considered doing a north south, border to border trip, mexico-canada on either hwy 395 or 191. have you done such a trip yet?
We’ve driven Hwy 395 many, many times especially the section from OR to CA (search the blog and you’ll find tons of posts on it). It’s one of our all-time favorite drives and I definitely recommend it! Have done small sections of 191 but not more.
Robin Barnes says
Hi Nina…not sure if anyone has already mentioned it, but a great base camp to see Yellowstone is Bakers Hole Campground…I believe it’s a BLM cg..$22 for electric and $16 for non electric. All sites are first come basis. Big rig friendly. Some awesome pull thru sites with great trees for privacy. Also there is wonderful artesian well for water refills located Behind the great camp host sites! Also this campground is located 3 miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone NP. It’s just down the street from west Yellowstone city…which is a great town for all your needs! LOVED the west entrance to the park!! Don’t miss Larmar Valley, Hayden Valley, or Yellowstone Lake. Thank you for all your valuable info you share with all of us!!!
The more we look at Yellowstone the more we realize we’ve probably got to split our week there into two areas, a few days on West side followed by a few days on North side. So, we’re rethinking our route there and may very well end up at this campground (it’s been recommended a few times) unless we can get a reservation at Madison (which would put us even closer to the action).
Jello plan version X in process….
Jerry Ericsson says
Oh one more thing about West Yellowstone, there is a very nice habitat with both stuffed, and live wolves and bears, we spent an entire afternoon there and enjoyed it very much, you will see it just beyond where you turn for entrance to YNP. Also Bakers Hole does not have a dump site, however there is a campground in West Yellowstone that will let you dump for 6 bucks, and it is a very good dump site you can also take on drinking water there. My brother-in-law filled at Bakers Hole and managed to punch a six inch hole in the passenger side front of his motor home while aligning with the hookup there. A couple of paper plates, some duct tape and a bit of shelf lining made it OK for the rest of the trip.
David Hopper says
The drive up the Clearwater and Lochsa over Lolo Pass is one of my favorites. However, I must warn you with the current fires and fire conditions in this area that there will be HEAVY smoke from Orofino over Lolo Pass. I believe that all of the Forest Campgrounds are closed because of the fire conditions. Two different times we have traveled this stretch with less fires than present and were surprised with all the smoke and poor driving conditions that we encountered. After Labor Day, traditionaly most of the FS CG’s on this route are closed and gated, but this year they will all be closed as these fires will burn well into the fall. For more info see; http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com/ . Just want to give you a heads up.
Yeah, we’re watching the fire/smoke maps closely. It’s possible the rain this weekend will improve some of the smoke, but we may well find ourselves driving east (to get past the fires) faster than we originally planned.