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Old 06-19-2015, 07:21 PM   #1
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Planning trip to Yellowstone

Thinking of making one long trip this year and head out to Yellowstone National Park. Will be traveling from mid-Missouri. Looks like we would be going through Grand Island, Nebraska, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte, Scottsbluff, Torrington, Guernsey, and Casper before getting there. Based on our previous shorter trips generally drive about 6.5-7 hours a day. Could try to push it further but generally we tend to not get started until around 9:00 and that gets us in around 4:00-4:30 given bathroom stops and stopping to get something to eat. With the drive time, this it looks like it would be a three day trip one way. Looks like a stop somewhere around Grand Island, then one around Guernsey, WY, and then to Yellowstone. But it also looks like there could be some interesting Forts to visit along the way which could slow down the travel time. Usually I would try and make all Campground reservations in advance, but if we just took our time sightseeing that wouldn't work. For you more seasoned long distance travelers, how do you handle it? Just make your reservations day to day based on what you are doing? On side note how many days do you think we should plan on staying in the Yellowstone area. Would a couple days allow us to see the major tourist areas or should I allow more time?
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:10 PM   #2
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Try to include in your loop to/from: a. Devil's Tower, WY, b. Cody WY. Wild West and Firearm Museum and great evening tourist rodeo. Almost every night! A must! and c. on our way back we went up to Montana, and were mesmerized by the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument. There is a LOT to see there! We only spent 3 days in Yellowstone, which was enough for us. Depends on how much of a "woodsie" you are! LOL.
The rest of the answer is that we're retired, and I try not to schedule more than 350 miles/day, and I book reservations the whole way outbound, and "catch as catch can" on the way back.
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Old 06-20-2015, 04:34 AM   #3
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Do you have reservations for camping in Yellowstone? When we went in 2012 we had made reservations the fall before. You may want to check that out. We are finding it to be more and more difficult to find a campsite if you don't have reservations. There are so many RVs out there any more!

If you have time, there is a museum about the westward expansion near Kearney. It is built over the interstate and is worth seeing. They also have a sod house and Indian round house on site.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:47 AM   #4
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we never had any reservations anywhere, and we found that if you are at the gate at 11 am , that is when sites oopen up . there is a sign when you enter that says how many sites are open.at least there was 4 yrs ago. fishing bridge is like a parking lot , but you are only sleeping .
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:38 AM   #5
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Unless it has changed since we were there, Fishing Bridge is the only place that had reservations. All the rest were 1st come.
That is campgrounds in the park.
Maybe Kamper Dave will chime in
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:09 AM   #6
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So MartyinSC says they book their outbound campgrounds and catch as catch can on the return. For long trips, how are others of you dealing with reservations/campgrounds?
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:20 AM   #7
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We use to make reservations. Not any more, unless it's a have to thing in a certain place. Now, we just go with the flow.
If you are retired, it's not quite as necessary as when you are still working and only have just so much time to fit everything in.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:15 AM   #8
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Boy I hope you guys are right. We leave July 1st from Florida and we are going out west as well. No reservations!
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:48 AM   #9
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When we went out west last fall, we started going to mostly KOAs. We like to go to a place, stay a few days, see the sights and then move on. It is hard to determine ahead of time how long you want to stay in one place. We would decide a day before leaving that we are leaving the next day and would reserve at the KOA at the next destination.

We often got the last site available for our size of rig. On top of that, sometimes if we wanted to stay an extra day, we were unable to as the campground was full or reserved. This was after Labor Day! Having to reserve means you often cannot decide to stay an extra day or leave when you are ready to. It takes the spontaneity out of it. But with so many campers out there, depending on where you are, you might need to or end up at a Walmart instead if there are no campsites available.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:28 PM   #10
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In 2014 we traveled 3 months coast to coast without reservations. We were also able to stay in 3 Nat Parks without reservations. Worked fine for us.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:36 PM   #11
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But with so many campers out there, depending on where you are, you might need to or end up at a Walmart instead if there are no campsites available.
That is where a tank full of water and that new generator you bought will be awesome. Unless you are extremely well organized I don't know how you could make reservations at every place along the way for that long of a trip. I made reservations for only three stops on our last trip. If you want to stay longer you can't and if you want to leave earlier you can't. Our third stop we didn't like at all and chose to leave and stayed at a COE campground. We could not get our money back.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:17 PM   #12
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We don't have a generator. We have never needed one, so therefore we have never laid out the money for one.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:23 PM   #13
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He may have meant me. I just bought a generator and a portable solar panel kit just for this trip. That way I can be flexible.
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loneoak View Post
When we went out west last fall, we started going to mostly KOAs. We like to go to a place, stay a few days, see the sights and then move on. It is hard to determine ahead of time how long you want to stay in one place. We would decide a day before leaving that we are leaving the next day and would reserve at the KOA at the next destination.

We often got the last site available for our size of rig. On top of that, sometimes if we wanted to stay an extra day, we were unable to as the campground was full or reserved. This was after Labor Day! Having to reserve means you often cannot decide to stay an extra day or leave when you are ready to. It takes the spontaneity out of it. But with so many campers out there, depending on where you are, you might need to or end up at a Walmart instead if there are no campsites available.
It's been our experience also that KOAs, and many of the nicer Good Sam campsites (especially the ones listed as "RV Resorts") fill up quickly, and as this poster said, if you get in space-available, you might only get a night or two. The same can be said of most nicer places, but the "Mom and Pop" sites are usually more flexible.
Here's a note: We look for places with not only a pool, but a spa/hot tub. We like the tub after a day on the road. Those places are highly booked!
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Old 06-20-2015, 03:54 PM   #15
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We were going to stop at a Mom & Pop place on the way home from out west last fall, only to find it closed (out of business) when we got there. Another place we stayed at could only be described as the campground from hell. Sometimes you get lucky with these places and sometimes you do not.

This is why we gravitate towards KOA - there is a certain standard to be met.
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:52 PM   #16
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He may have meant me. I just bought a generator and a portable solar panel kit just for this trip. That way I can be flexible.
I did mean you. Good luck on your travels and look forward to hearing about it.
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:24 PM   #17
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If you still decide to go through North Platte and enjoy trains, the UP Golden Spike Tower is well worth a couple of hours.
The largest train yard in the world and the 8 floor tower gives a good view and understanding of how it works. Docents always there to answer questions as well.

We try to make reservations one day in advance, knowing the target mileage after stops. Not always works but it's nice to have some piece of mind, knowing your next stop is set.
We leave early and try to stop by 4-5 p.m. to enjoy relax.
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Old 06-21-2015, 06:49 AM   #18
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We were going to stop at a Mom & Pop place on the way home from out west last fall, only to find it closed (out of business) when we got there. Another place we stayed at could only be described as the campground from hell. Sometimes you get lucky with these places and sometimes you do not.

This is why we gravitate towards KOA - there is a certain standard to be met.
I don't share your high regard of KOA's.
They don't all live up to certain standards. Most of them don't have to much for personality, and one in particular always comes to mind when ever someone mentions them.
We were in northern ID. dropping down from HWY. 2 We went across the top of the US on 2. That use to be the big cross country HWY. and I wanted to see different country.
Anyway we stopped at a KOA in northern ID. They had animals there, but in particular, Emus. LOTS of them! That whole place reeked so bad of urine it just about made your eyes water. I haven't had to high a regard for KOA since.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:20 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the feedback. Been doing some checking. It appears most if not all the campgrounds inside the park will accept only hard sided TT's. That eliminates us. Right now looks like the closest I could get to the park is one place about 2 miles from the south entrance: Flag Ranch, and several places right outside the west entrance: Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park and Hideaway RV Park. Everything else looked to be almost 50-60 miles outside the park.
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:24 AM   #20
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Isn't your trailer considered hard sided? I would sure consider it a hard side.

We stayed at the west entrance..... Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park
A few years back and were satisfied with it/them. We just commuted into and thru the park from there.
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