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> Rv Newbie Trip To Yellowstone, Etc.
alexbetty
post May 5 2009, 06:33 PM
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Hi y'all,

We are renting our first RV. We are planning on 4 adults and 3 smallish kids in a 29' slide-out. We are leaving from Seattle, stopping at Glacier, heading to Yellowstone, and then swinging back through Twin Falls, ID and back up to Washington. At least that's the vague plan. We are doing it in 10 days.

I don't know anything about staying in RV parks, etc. And are we allowed to sleep at highway rest stops? Are RV parks preferable to campgrounds? Do we need any kind of membership?

Also looking for suggestions on routes and points of interest along the way.

Thanks in advance! biggrin.gif
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alexbetty
post May 9 2009, 12:06 PM
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QUOTE(alexbetty @ May 5 2009, 05:33 PM) *

Hi y'all,

We are renting our first RV. We are planning on 4 adults and 3 smallish kids in a 29' slide-out. We are leaving from Seattle, stopping at Glacier, heading to Yellowstone, and then swinging back through Twin Falls, ID and back up to Washington. At least that's the vague plan. We are doing it in 10 days.

I don't know anything about staying in RV parks, etc. And are we allowed to sleep at highway rest stops? Are RV parks preferable to campgrounds? Do we need any kind of membership?

Also looking for suggestions on routes and points of interest along the way.

Thanks in advance! biggrin.gif



Seriously, nobody??? ohmy.gif
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westernrvparkowner
post May 9 2009, 01:57 PM
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QUOTE(alexbetty @ May 9 2009, 12:06 PM) *

Seriously, nobody??? ohmy.gif

sorry, I guess everybody missed your first post. Wow, you are biting off an awful big chunk with a limited time budget. As I see it, you are going to need a full day to travel to Glacier, a day to travel to yellowstone, a day to travel to Twin Falls, and two days to return to Seattle. that is 5 days of your ten days spent traveling. I also assume you have a reason to be in Twin Falls, so thats another day not available for touring. That is going to leave 4 days for both Glacier and Yellowstone. I would take the bus tour at both parks. This will take 2 of your 4 available days. I guess splitting it down the middle would make the most sense. You will not have a problem finding something to do for one day at either Yellowstone or Glacier. As for staying in rest stops, I would avoid them, security is not the best. Better to find a Walmart or a national park or forest service campground. Commercial campgrounds may be a better fit, since 7 people sharing one small RV bathroom will quickly deplete the water supply and fill the holding tanks. Where do you plan to sleep 7 people? Be aware, many RV parks will not allow tents on the same site as RVs and you cannot tent in a rest area or Walmart. Also, many of the campgrounds in Glacier and Yellowstone will not allow tenting due to bears. As for roads, stick to the major highways, the travel is faster and you do not have any time to waste. Normally I would recommend some scenic drives, but again, I don't think that is a luxury you have time for. Actually, I would strongly suggest you consider paring back your itinerary, you would enjoy the trip much more.
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pianotuna
post May 9 2009, 05:41 PM
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Hi alexbetty,

That's a big hunk of miles for a ten day trip, 2020 miles.

Seattle to Glacier National Park is 561 miles--but they are slow miles. You will be lucky to average 50 mph. Most of the Campgrounds are closed until late May--for example in Saskatchewan where I live (and it is warmer here than in the mountains) our provincial park campgrounds do not open until May 24.

You will need your winter woolies!

Glacier to Yellowstone is 477 miles. Most experienced RV folks try not to do more than 300 miles in a day--on the flat--again these will be slow miles through the mountains.

Yellowstone to Twin Falls is 339 miles--that's a better day of driving

Twin Falls to Seattle is 645 miles.

If you guess at 300 miles per day the driving time alone is 7 days.

Four adults and 3 kids in a 29 footer may be a challenge as well. Consider a tent for the kids? It will give them some alone time.

As for things to see--the route is one long scenic drive. There are dozens of wonderful items. Your trip, according to Microsoft Streets and Trips passes by 185 campgrounds, 232 Art Galleries, and 129 Museums.

Water and electricity may quickly become issues if you try to "boondock" at rest stops. The furnace doesn't run to well if there is no power left in the "house" battery to run the fan. If you have 4 adults and 3 children all taking a shower each day the water tank will be empty very quickly. If the rental RV has a generator--then power is not an issue--but fuel for it may be a significant expense. Generators are generally quite noisy too.

There are some very inexpensive campgrounds--you may wish to look at these web sites to see what is available.

http://freecampsites.net/

and

http://freecampgrounds.com/

You will also pass by 12 Casinos--sometimes these establishments have free overnight parking for RV's--sometimes with power--and occasionally with full hook up sites (electricity, power, sewer).

Learn about dumping your black water and grey water tanks! Practise at the dealers place before going on your trip.

QUOTE(alexbetty @ May 5 2009, 06:33 PM) *

Hi y'all,

We are renting our first RV. We are planning on 4 adults and 3 smallish kids in a 29' slide-out. We are leaving from Seattle, stopping at Glacier, heading to Yellowstone, and then swinging back through Twin Falls, ID and back up to Washington. At least that's the vague plan. We are doing it in 10 days.

I don't know anything about staying in RV parks, etc. And are we allowed to sleep at highway rest stops? Are RV parks preferable to campgrounds? Do we need any kind of membership?

Also looking for suggestions on routes and points of interest along the way.

Thanks in advance! biggrin.gif


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Regards,

Don
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alexbetty
post May 9 2009, 08:59 PM
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Thanks for the advice, guys. I will talk to the husband about paring down. Is there any way to check in advance if parks offer tenting in the same spot? Also, I should've mentioned, we are not going til July 3, so I'm hoping it won't be so chilly. We don't have any good reason to go to Twin Falls, it's just kind of on the way and there's a movie about it...

The RV does have a generator.
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pianotuna
post May 9 2009, 09:47 PM
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Hi alexbetty,

If you plan ahead you may be able to email or phone the campgrounds to ask about tent sites.

July 3rd still will need winter woolies in the higher parts of the Rockies.

Since there is a generator bring along a 1500 watt heater to save on (and extend) the propane supply. Gas is easier to find than propane.

QUOTE(alexbetty @ May 9 2009, 08:59 PM) *

Thanks for the advice, guys. I will talk to the husband about paring down. Is there any way to check in advance if parks offer tenting in the same spot? Also, I should've mentioned, we are not going til July 3, so I'm hoping it won't be so chilly. We don't have any good reason to go to Twin Falls, it's just kind of on the way and there's a movie about it...

The RV does have a generator.



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Don
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Claudia and Pat
post May 9 2009, 10:09 PM
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We were in Yellowstone in Aug 08 and there was still frost on the windshield some mornings. We were parked at Fishing Bridge Campground. You can only have hard sided RV's in there, but you do have full hookups. We made our reservation many months ahead so you would want to do it very early. They are always full. You cannot put up a tent on you spot. You also will not be able to get cell phone service, and radio and television is very sketchy.
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westernrvparkowner
post May 10 2009, 01:52 PM
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Sorry Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce, but skip Twin Falls this time. An extra day in Glacier or Yellowstone is much more preferable. You are going to have trouble finding RV parks with tenting in the same site. Get on the phone and make some reservations. July will find everything full at both of those national parks and the surrounding areas will be overflowing as well. Drive your tail off and get to glacier, spend two days, hump it to Yellowstone/Grand Teton and spend three days that will be the best use of your time if you are still interested in seeing both parks. Have a great trip.
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BJS
post May 12 2009, 08:01 PM
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Skip Twin Falls and skip Glacier this trip.

To see Yellowstone and Grand Teton Park and enjoy your trip make that the only destination. Our first trip there we were advised one day at each and that was all we allowed - "Not" we left feeling exhausted and we didn't see much.

We prefer not to sleep in rest stops - with 7 people you will need more water, sewer, and power than dry camping will allow for very long.

You do not need any type of membership to use most campgrounds. Find campgrounds and make reservations now for July's camping in these parks. If you stay outside of the parks you will be doing a lot of driving just back and forth.
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alexbetty
post May 12 2009, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE(BJS @ May 12 2009, 07:01 PM) *

Skip Twin Falls and skip Glacier this trip.

To see Yellowstone and Grand Teton Park and enjoy your trip make that the only destination. Our first trip there we were advised one day at each and that was all we allowed - "Not" we left feeling exhausted and we didn't see much.

We prefer not to sleep in rest stops - with 7 people you will need more water, sewer, and power than dry camping will allow for very long.

You do not need any type of membership to use most campgrounds. Find campgrounds and make reservations now for July's camping in these parks. If you stay outside of the parks you will be doing a lot of driving just back and forth.


OK, you all convinced me. We are pretty much making Yellowstone our only destination. That being said, what are the best parts? How do you get to them if you have an RV? Renting a car isn't really an option, because there are too many of us and we are on a budget.
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Texasrvers
post May 17 2009, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE(alexbetty @ May 12 2009, 09:33 PM) *

OK, you all convinced me. We are pretty much making Yellowstone our only destination. That being said, what are the best parts? How do you get to them if you have an RV? Renting a car isn't really an option, because there are too many of us and we are on a budget.


It has been about 10 years since we were at Yellowstone. Back then I was not aware of any kind of shuttle to take you around, and I could be wrong, but I don't think they have one now. If you don't rent a car then your only choice is to drive the RV. Driving and parking a 29' RV will require some extra consideration. This size is manageable but it cannot be parked like a car or even a large SUV. Many places will have RV parking, but not all. You just have to be aware of where you drive and avoid tight spaces. Also remember that if you go sight seeing in the RV you will have to disconnect it each morning and reconnect each evening. This is certainly doable, but it is also a pain. I fully understand that you have said that you cannot rent a car/van, but I have to say that it would enable you to get around a lot easier, see a lot more, and make your touring much more enjoyable.

However you get around there is no bad place to see in Yellowstone. The main roads are in a figure 8. The thermal areas are generally to the west and south on the lower part of the 8. Old Faithful is also on the southwest side. There are many boardwalks that will take you to the various geysers and other sights. Mammoth Hot Springs is on north west corner. It was interesting, but was also quite dry when we were there. If is is still dry I would skip it and see other things. If I remember correctly the Yellowstone River runs along the east side of the 8. This is where you can see waterfalls and rapids as the river goes through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Again there are paths to the view points. We were there 4 days and could not cover it all so plan ahead and prioritize what you would like to see.

Finally in good faith I cannot recommend stopping overnight at rest stops. Some places allow this, but I have also seen many signs which say, "No overnight parking." However, above the legality of doing this is the safety issue. I'm sure many rest stops are fine, but you can never be sure who else will pull off the highway while you are there. I simply would not take the chance.

Hope this helps and have a fun trip.
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Angelia785
post May 20 2009, 05:01 PM
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Rather than camping at rest stops you might consider pulling into Wal-Mart parking lots (I assume there are Wal-Marts in your area). You'll have to "dry" camp but at least most Wal-Marts have security patrolling the area, you can always run inside the store to use the restroom, and breakfast is a breeze to run in and get.
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wolverine767
post Dec 27 2009, 11:54 PM
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QUOTE(Angelia785 @ May 20 2009, 05:01 PM) *

Rather than camping at rest stops you might consider pulling into Wal-Mart parking lots (I assume there are Wal-Marts in your area). You'll have to "dry" camp but at least most Wal-Marts have security patrolling the area, you can always run inside the store to use the restroom, and breakfast is a breeze to run in and get.



Yes that's a good idea, we do that all the time. Wal Mart permits it. The only warning I have though is that it's never really quiet.


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John316
post Dec 29 2009, 08:56 AM
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Sounds like you will have a fun time.

First off, don't let the guys that say it is a lot of driving, scare you off. We routinely do 800 mile days, and they are just fine. If you are going to drive, and are on a schedule, might as well get it over with. Especially if you have several drivers.

However, I agree. Yellowstone by itself is a good idea. You have a good amount of time to spend there. I also agree, go by Old faithful, and some of the paint pots. I will break out of the mold, though. Skip the "geyser" walks. If your group is fit, do a couple of the board walks, but don't bother with the rest. A lot of the walks that we did, had plaques telling how big the geyser would go, IF it ever went off. We got so tired of reading those, and they were very boring. The kids got restless, and wanted to move on...etc. etc. If your party is fit enough, just hike. Go to some of the lakes...go anywhere off of a board walk...hike and enjoy. We saw moose, deer, and elk in our hikes. It is pretty majestic to be hiking along in the mist, and see a bull moose off in the distance. That is neat (just make sure to keep plenty of distance!).

As far as camping goes, shoot it is just ten days. Don't worry about the tents. Just pack everybody in, sleeping bags on the floor...everywhere. You will have a great time (don't ask how I know lol).

I do forsee one problem for you all. That is simply, you will probably run out of water. Folks who haven't RV'd before, often use way to much water. Showering, for example, you need to wet yourself, and turn the water off, soap up, and turn it back on as a trickle to rinse. Use paper plates, and try to avoid washing dishes....that kind of thing...

FWIW.

God bless,

John
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BJMA
post Dec 31 2009, 10:20 PM
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I realize that this is almost 8 months old, and you have already "been there, done that"... I would think that 7 people in 29' RV is a bit tight. I too agree to spend most of your time in Yellowstone and a couple days in Jackson area.

I love Yellowstone, the only season that I avoid Yellowstone is summer. Too many people, no parking! My favorite time is the dead of winter. This year, I am not so sure that I would want to go though. I watch the web cams, here it is 12/31/09, there should be 2 feet of snow on the ground in front of the geyser. The warm ground is bare and the boardwalk has about 4 inches. NOT ENOUGH SNOW to enjoy Yellowstone.

Next time you go, check the RV Park Reviews, they are usually pretty accurate most of the time.

Someday, I would like to camp in Yellowstone in the winter.

The only problem with winter, no bears, but the buffalo share the roads with you (on snowmachines!).

I find that it is easier to see wildlife in the winter.

My wife's cousin owns a meadow just north of Yellowstone, where they filmed "A River Runs Through It", so we visit Yellowstone often.


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Just NOT SILENT anymore!
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