Bud in Florida
Jul 16 2008, 10:27 AM
Hi Guys and Gals-- My wife and I are starting to plan a trip out west in 2009 (gas prices be damned!) Any way we are starting in Lady lake Fl and heading west. Plan to go through Vicksburg, Branson and then head out to Estes Park. After spending a few days there we are heading to Yellowstone and then up to Glacier and then to Jasper. The only place penciled in on the trip home is Mt Rushmore. Would love any suggestion and/or warnings people may have. We are traveling in a 36 foot motorhome w/o a toad. Look forward to hearing from all of you
Jul 16 2008, 06:57 PM
How much time do you have to spent, three months or so? It would take a lot of time to cover all the places we have been to date. Pick out states and time tablet you have in mind and I think a lot of people here can help you.
Jul 16 2008, 07:15 PM
We just returned from a trip out West from Tavares, Florida about 20 miles from you. (We are too young to live in Lady Lake.) We went out the southern route. Went all the way to Washington state and then back the central route. You can view pictures of the trip at our website http://www.linandnancy.com
What I would do different is go slower and stay several days at each stop. Helps on fuel also. Join Passport America and maybe another half price camping membership. I would get definite get a mountain book. Those areas can be pretty hairy. Don’t know what kind of rig you have, but I would be very careful taking my rig into the mountains and some of the mountain roads. Get good a boondocking. Stop at state welcome stations and get free information. Get state tourism offices to send you free info before you go. Learn to find the local, cheap, but delicious small type restaurants. Food is usually great and it gives you a great flavor for each area. Get a website or at least a free picture posting site. Might consider a WiFi antenna also. Have a debit card from a big bank like BOA even if you don’t use them at home. Switch all of your bills to online. Keep a journal as it all gets fuzzy later. Talk with your spouse and decide that you are both going to have a great time and arguing is not allowed.
Lee and Fran
Jul 16 2008, 08:15 PM
Are you planning on driving your motor home thru all of these sites for site seeing? If so plan an entire day just to drive thru Branson with that rig. Traffic can be ugly and with a car its bad with an rv for getting in and out of places and driving the roads can be nasty. And the same for Yellowstone park. Great for seeing further with a rig but bad for stopping to see things. Estes Park can be fun with an rv too. Many many cars on narrow roads much like yellowstone. Glacier has areas you cannot take an rv like road to the sun. Good luck to you.
Bud in Florida
Jul 17 2008, 01:05 PM
Thanks guys -- here is some information. We plan to take about a month to get the Jasper. Plan to rent a car in Estates park and Yellowstone and probably Glacier. At present we are planning 3 nights in Branson, about a week in Estates park and 8 or 9 days in and around Yellowstone. Might also look into tours at Glacier. Great suggestion Lindsey, but my wife and I don't fuss too much, but you are correct that arguing just spoils the fun. Will look at your picture. We have both done the Southwest, so we are staying North this time. Keep the suggestions coming
Jul 18 2008, 02:21 AM
Good morning - We came back from a trip around WY, SD & MT last month. A couple of places I would recommend are Custer State Park (Custer, SD). Lots of wildlife (huge herd of Buffalo) and it's right in the middle of the Black Hills, which I fell in love with. We also stopped over at Little Big Horn - being a bit of a history nut I found it fascinating.
Jul 18 2008, 08:38 AM
With no tow think about "Branson Lakeside RV Park" this park is run by city, cost is low, on river full of ducks, next door to old Branson, train ride next door, and cabs to all the shows. In Branson travel over to College of the Ozarks and spent the day on tour. Very low cost museum with three large floors to look at and rest is all free, food was very good, and hold place is run by college kids. Check out town of Hollister on way over. Branson has a great wine shop with 16 wines to check out also free.
Do you plan on a stop off at St. Louis?
Jul 18 2008, 01:42 PM
I agree with John. Branson Lakeside RV Park would be convenient if you don't have a car. It is located on the east end of the strip, and I think there is a trolley (at least when we were there) that runs up and down the strip which will get you to most of the theaters. We stayed at the opposite end of the strip at the KOA. There are theaters on this end too, but for us it was a little too far to walk. Fortunately the KOA has a shuttle that will take you to any theater. If you buy your tickets from them, the shuttle is free. Otherwise there is a charge ($5/person when we were there.) They dropped us off and picked us up right at the door so it was certainly worth the money. We only saw two other parks near the strip--Branson Shenanigans and Musicland Kampground--both looked ok.
Shows to see: Sohji Tabuchi (sp?) is fabulous. Be sure to go into the restrooms at his theater. They are like no others. I'm assuming you are a little older, and not a young couple with kids. If so there is a '50's music review, and we also enjoyed Andy Williams. Other popular shows are Dolly Parton's Stampede, The Baldknobbers, and Yakov Shmirnov. (I didn't take time to look up the exact names or spellings. I think I got close enough.)
We also liked the Titanic Museum/Exhibit. It was a bit pricy, but very well done.
Finally take a full day and go to Silver Dollar City. That is a fun place. It has rides, arts and crafts, and music--something for everyone. It is a few miles outside of downtown Branson, but they do have their own campground. You can't walk to the park, but I would expect them to have a shuttle.
We were there in October, and the traffic was not bad except during the evening show times. We actually drove our MH right down the strip with no trouble, but there would be times when that would be a nightmare.
We had a great time there. Hope you do, too.
(I'll try to give you info on some of your other stops later.)
Jul 26 2008, 10:33 AM
Couple of other tips. Interstate 90 thru South Dakota is a throwback to another era. There are some great 1/2 day stops. The Car museum in Mudrow, the Corn Palace, the 1890s town, and of Course, the imfamous Wall Drug. Don't miss Crazy Horse when you visit Mt. Rushmore. (we find it much better than Mt. Rushmore.) Be sure to check your calendar to make sure you avoid the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in early August. (unless you are a bike fan, then be sure to attend. It is a party like no other in the world.) All routes to Yellowstone are very mountainous with the exception of interstate 90 to highway 89 to the North entrance. DO NOT TAKE HIGHWAY 212 FROM RED LODGE TO THE NORTHEAST ENTRANCE WITH YOUR RV. This is the Beartooth Highway and it is the most scenic drive in America, but it is a nightmare with any kind of rig other than a passenger vehicle. Yellowstone takes a minimum of a week to explore properly. The best time to be at Yellowstone is early June and early to mid September. The middle of the summer is very crowded and the animals have moved to the high country and are harder to see. Advanced reservations are a must around Yellowstone and Grand Teton I strongly suggest setting up a base camp and touring via a passenger vehicle. I personally prefer staying outside the parks in private campgrounds. (I am soft and prefer creature comforts like electricity, water, WiFi, cell service and TVas well as the ability to get supplies from a grocery store.) I like either the North entrance (Gardiner Montana) or the West Entrance (West Yellowstone) as these are directly adjacent to Yellowstone. The west side is more forested, the North side has bigger mountain views. Cody, Wyoming is 50 miles or so from the east entrance and it is another 25 or so miles to most of the points of interest. I find the RV situation in the South terrible. The parks are either very old (Flagg ranch, 20 amp service) or in transition to other uses (Jackson Hole area, parks are closing daily, the land is just too valuable for an RV park to exist.) Grand Teton is spectacular, but there are limited things to do compared to Yellowstone. I would suggest splitting your time in the area about 25% Teton and 75% Yellowstone, unless you are into hiking and Mountain climbing. Jackson, Wyoming is great for people watching and shopping, but be sure to bring your Banker. Cody, Wyoming has a great nightly rodeo, and over the 4th of July hosts Frontier Days which is a spectacular professional rodeo. Cody also has the Buffalo Bill Historical center which is the premier western art and artifact museum in the world. Glacier Park is spectacular, but, like Grand Teton, is confined primarily to viewing mountains. Going to the Sun road is not open to RV travel. The Glaciers are a sight to see, and you should take a guided trip onto one of them. Flathead lake is a wonderful area to visit and a boat tour is a great adventure. Again, reservations are needed in this area. Hope this helps
Sorry, just re-read your post. I see you are traveling w/o a toad. You should rent a car for a couple of weeks when your are in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area. You will be SEVERELY restricted in touring with a 36 ft MH as your only transportation.
Jul 26 2008, 11:37 AM
Wow, kcmoedoe, that's great information. I'm not even the one who asked for it, but I'm printing it out for my file.
Back to Bud's request. I'll comment about Vicksburg. Course the major attraction there is the National Military Park (battleground), and it is well worth seeing. There is a self guided driving tour (which we did). I think you can purchase a CD/cassette that narrates the tour as you drive (now we wish we had done that). I'm not positive, but I think they may have had people who would go in your vehicle with you and give a live narration (but I'm not sure about that.) If they do have this program I'm sure it would be fairly expensive, but if you are really into history it might be something you would enjoy. I don't remember seeing many RVs on the tour roads. They are a bit narrow, but I think they would accommodate an RV. If I remember correctly the roads are one way but two lanes so that cars can pass each other. You can see most of the monuments and points of interest from the road, but there is also a place or two where you would need to park and go in. One is the museum which is on the driving tour (not at the entrance gate). It has the remains of a gun ship that was sunk and other artifacts from the war. If you park here the national cemetary is close enough to walk to. You can drive in, but I think those roads are really narrow and have tight turns so I'm not sure about taking an RV in there. One thing to note, the tour goes through the Union side first and then ends with the Confederate side. By the time we finished the Union side we were tired and so we rushed through the Confederate side. Just keep this in mind if you want to give equal time to the South. We love history, and read every word on every plaque, so we spent about 3-4 hours there. Just driving through does not take that long.
I think there may be a historical driving/walking tour of the city of Vicksburg, but we've never taken it. The only other game in town is casinos, and there are about 4 of them. They are OK, but they ain't Vegas!
As for RV parks, the pickings are slim. We have been through Vicksburg several times and have always stayed at the RV park that is owned by one of the casinos. It has changed names several times recently, but I think it is currently Ameristar. It is not great, but it is fine for a short visit. We have not been there for a while and the more recent reviews have given it 9's so maybe it has improved. It is convenient to I-20, and you get a discount if you have their player's card. It is not right adjacent to the casino, but they have a shuttle. There are some other area RV parks reviewed on this site, but we've never seen them.
Here are two websites that may be helpful. http://www.vicksburgcvb.org/http://www.nps.gov/vick
Hope this is useful.
Jul 26 2008, 04:37 PM
Vicksburg also had a downtown to tour as well. Old court house is now a museum, old ship is the USS Cairo, we eat in a 1850 home for lunch that out of this world. Number of Annabelle homes to tour. Life on the river is fun.
Bud in Florida
Jul 27 2008, 09:43 AM
Boy thanks guys. That was a great post kcmoedoe and thanks too to John and Texas. We do plan on staying at Yellowstone a little over a week. Like 4 days in Coulter Bay and 4 in West Yellowstone and I do plan on renting a car. Funny thing is you can't rent a car in Jackson and return it West Yellowstone- so you can't get the weekly rate! Great info on Vicksburg. I have been told that you can't use the RV to tour the downtown area. You all are putting out some great information-- keep it coming
Jul 27 2008, 06:08 PM
Bud, I suggest you take a day off your Colter Bay stay and add a day in West Yellowstone. The Northern Half of Yellowstone is more interesting than the South. I think you might find the South side a long way from the Major sites. KCMOEDOE
Bud in Florida
Jul 27 2008, 07:59 PM
Will consider that. Also, anyone have any advice for the best route from Estes Park, Co to Jackson Hole? Thanks
Jul 27 2008, 08:56 PM
Couple ways to go. One is north I-25 to I-80 west to Hwy 191 north into Jackson.
Slower way but more scenic Hwy 34 to Hwy 40 west to Hwy 191 them north into Jackson.
Also note Jackson Hole is about 20 miles north of Jackson. You have a small air port and that is about it. Jackson will have everything you need. I also think West Yellowstone is the best way to see the park. South side is very bare.
Jul 27 2008, 10:12 PM
To comment on another post, we enjoyed The Grand Tetons more than Yellowstone. Unless you are staying at a central location in Yellowstone around Old Faithful, you will have a lot of driving to get to the sites. You can do the Grand Tetons and southern Yellowstond from Colter Bay with a day trip in Jackson and do the Nothern Yellowstone from West yellowstone, but plan on doing a lot of driving from either to see the sites. Bud, how long you planning on staying at Glacier and Mt Rushmore? We liked Glacier more than Yellowstone. Lots to do in a shorter distance. We stayed on the West side and were entertained for 5 days and wished we had stayed longer. As far at Mt Rushmore is concerned, I agree with the poster that replied that there is a lot to do in that area of South Dakota, but it would probably be easier with a car. Lots of neat little towns. Make sure you see the Crazy Horse monument also. We just did that trip last summer. Probably planned too much in the 30 days we were out there. Just gives us a reason to go back in a couple of years.
have a great trip.
Jul 28 2008, 11:46 AM
If you take the I-25 to I-80 route there is a spectacular scenic drive out of Laramie. It is the Snowy Range Road (Hwy 130) which joins back up with I-80 around Walcott. When we drove it we were in a car and had not yet started RVing so I didn't think about whether or not an RV could make it. The road was all paved and wide enough, but I'm sure there were some hairpin turns. Maybe someone else can tell you about taking an RV this way, and if you can the view is unbelievable.
Whether to spend more time in Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons is a tough call. It does take more time to see all of Yellowstone because it is so spread out. You can see all of the Teton area in a shorter time period, but you can't beat just sitting by Jenny Lake and staring at those mountains for hours. Something that hasn't been mentioned is that the Snake River which runs through there is great for rafting. I think you can go on either gentle float trips or whitewater rapids--something for everyone.
We stayed in West Yellowstone (hotel) and even though it was way on the west side it was fairly easy to get to the different areas of the park, and because it is a town there were more amenities. It is also close to most of the thermal activity. Be sure to pick up a geyser schedule at a ranger station. It will give you all times that geysers are expected to blow. While Old Faithful is a must see, there are many others that are just as spectacular. If I remember correctly the northeast corner of the park is more hills and fields and forests, but very beautiful and less crowded. Just know that you will not be able to see it all.
Finally your history lesson for the day. Hole was the word early fur trappers used to refer to a valley. Jackson Hole was named after one of these trappers and refers to the whole valley. Jackson (without the Hole) is the town that eventually grew there. We heard this from my brother-in-law who was there last summer. I called the town Jackson Hole, and he corrected me. He said the locals will quickly set you straight also. So now you know.
Jul 28 2008, 02:25 PM
We ate lunch at a small, black cafe in downtown Vicksburg that was just a super meal and cheap too. Had fried green tomatoes, all the old Southern vegetables, several meats and great desert also. Was about 6$ each I think for all you could eat. The name was Poor Willie's or something like that. Right down town. Give it a try. We love to eat little out of the way places in each are we stay. Lunch is usually the best and cheapest. One trick we do is go to town a little before noon and just watch to see where the business people (lawyers will be the ones in suspenders.) go and then go there. We have gotten some wonderful meals that way. Our coach’s oven is broken and will not work for lunch. Strange, our last coach had a similar oven problem.
Jul 28 2008, 03:57 PM
Gosh Lindsey, this must be an epidemic. Out cooktop hasn't worked for years and the microwave/convection oven only works occasionally. What's with this???!!!
Bud in Florida
Jul 29 2008, 12:44 PM
My wife cleans the RV oven and the one at home with a swifter!
Jul 29 2008, 02:53 PM
Lindsey, Texas, Bud....I am cracking up! Sure explains some of the responses to JJ's poll on dishware...!
Aug 3 2008, 04:16 PM
Ditto on the recommendation for Custer State Park - nice park with great sites by the lake. I do not recommend Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone - sites are too close and mosquitos are terrible. Unfortunately, FB is the only CG with full hookups in YNP. If we ever go back, we will stay at some of the other CGs and move in a few days.
While in MT at Glacier NP, we stay at East Glacier Meadows. Another great place to camp for a week or so but you will have to drive quite a bit to see all the sites - and you will not be able to drive your MH over the "Road to the Sun".
If you are going to be in Idaho, stay somewhere around the Snake River (we stayed at Declo, ID) and saw City of Rocks, Shoshone Falls, Balancing rock, and One Thousand Springs.
And if you are going to Utah, there are many NP to see there but our favorite was Arches NP at Moab, UT.
Happy Trails and safe travels.
Aug 5 2008, 12:18 PM
We returned home on June 20th after a 2 ¾ month road trip that took us from Jacksonville, FL to San Diego (via Monument Valley, Moab, SLC, Bryce, Zions, Las Vegas, and Tucson), North to Vancouver (via Sequoia, Yosemite, Napa, Chico, Portland, Astoria, and the Cook Canal, East from Vancouver to Banff (included a drive half up the Glacier HWY to Jasper), South from Banff to Glacier (both U.S. and Canadian parks), and then Southeast back to the Jacksonville area. Whereas we had driven the Southeasterly route before and had a daughter with some medical problems, we dead-headed home with no stops exceeding an overnighter someplace.
Two years ago we did a variation of the same trip, but returned from California via SLC, Yellowstone, Cody, Custer Battlefield National Monument, Deadwood, and Mt. Rushmore (also included driving thru the Bad Lands.
Here are my recommendations:
1. Allocate sufficient time so that you can take a true rest from driving every third day or so. You need some time to take a brain fart, just chill out, read, fish, watch TV, or get caught-up on emails. Driving every day, be it point to point or sight seeing will eventually wear you out.
2. You are going right by them on your way to Mt. Rushmore, so drive thru the Bad Lands on the way.
3. Anticipate one very full day for Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and environs.
4. A good spot to overnite en route to Cody from Deadwood/Mt. Rushmore is near the Custer Battlefield National Monument. There is a nice RV park South of the park where you can overnite. Depending on what time you arrive in the P.M., you might be able to visit the park that day. As “Britboy” mentioned it is a fascinating and historical stop that will give you a much better perspective of what happened and might even change how you may think about Custer’s actions.
5. From the Little Big Horn it is a one-day drive (easy drive) to Cody. Spend a day in Cody. Visit the Cody Museum and have a drink at the Erma Hotel.
6. The next day head West to Yellowstone. Follow “kcmoedoe’s” advise about where to stay while at Yellowstone. If you stay East or South of the park, you’ll end up doing a lot more driving every day. Our last visit to Yellowstone was in mid-May 2 years ago. We avoided summer crowds and saw plenty of wildlife. However, this is probably to early for your next stop at Glacier.
7. We were at Glacier on June 13th and 14th of this year. We stayed at the KOA in St. Marys. We found the KOA to be well laid out, clean, and would recommend staying there. The staff were very friendly and helpful. There is another RV park overlooking St. Marys that members of another forum I belong to really like. The Highway to the Sun was closed 16 miles from the East Gate and wasn’t expected to open until sometime in early July. It was closed due to damage caused by the effects of the winter weather (avalanches). This meant we had to drive around, rather than thru the park to visit the West side. Both sides are unique and merit visiting.
8. I also recommend an overnight stop at the Canadian side of Glacier International Peace Park. Totally different views accented by a quaint village.
9. From there it is an easy drive to Banff. Reserve a space at the National Park’s RV Park. You can do that on-line in advance. They have bus service into Banff where you can rent a car. You’ll want to spend some time at Lake Louise and you might consider using the rental car to make your round trip drive up to Jasper and back (that idea won’t work if you have pets and intended on overnighting in Jasper. We were there from June 7th-12th and had only one full day without rain or snow (the day we drove half way to Jasper---turned around at the Columbian Ice Field Visitors Center). We had 4 separate black bear sightings (they were along side the road) and got within 10 feet of a herd of big horn sheep.
Hope this helps.
Bud in Florida
Aug 5 2008, 04:14 PM
Thanks for all the great advice. Jasper looks like it needs more time-- actually every place needs more time!
Aug 5 2008, 05:14 PM
Every one complains about Fishing Bridge, and most of what is said is true. The fact off the matter is you are there to tour Yellowstone and will probable spend very little time at the campground and it is a very good location to tour from. If I were short on time I would pass up Little Big Horn.
10 years ago I would have recommed Jackson. To day it is a tourest trap.
A trip like you are planning should give you a life time of wonderful memories. I would good to the places that are unique to the area. Thing that you will not find in the midwest and eastern part of the country. The mountains and the wildlife are very unique In Wyoming and S. Dakota.
I have been lucky enough to spend every summer for the last 15 in ther west , mostly in Wyoming and Utah, and wqould not trade it for any thing. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
Aug 5 2008, 07:40 PM
We visited Yellowstone years ago and stayed at "Fishing Bridge Campground". Full hook-ups, hard-sided units only. This campground is right inside the park itself and we used it as our home base while touring Yellowstone. I'm assuming this campground is still open and operating under the same name. I would highly recommend this campground, we found it very nice. Happy traveling on your trip west!
Aug 7 2008, 10:41 PM
Joe n Doe...great review! If you don't mind...where did you all stay in the Astoria area?
Aug 8 2008, 01:20 PM
In the Mt. Rushmore area you can't do better than Hart Ranch. It's a membership park, but you can stay there for three nights for $39.99 on a promotional stay. No high-pressure sales pitch.Hart Ranch
You can make a reservation with a phone call. There is no need to fill in the onlne form.
Aug 10 2008, 01:10 PM
We stayed at Fort Stevens in Warrenton. It is a former Army fort, part of the old coastal artillery defense network for the mouth of the Columbian River. After being deactivated following WWII, it was integrated into the Oregon State Park system. It is a big park with a large RV/Camping area. It is complete with remnants of gun and bunker complexes. It is a close drive to Astoria and other places worthwhile to visit in that area. We had a mini-reunion with 3 of my siblings and their rigs. One of my brothers lives in Warrenton and showed us around.
Bud in Florida
Aug 20 2008, 09:14 PM
Thanks for the advice. I still would love to hear from anyone who has been out that way. The Hart Ranch suggestion looks good. Thanks
Aug 21 2008, 05:27 PM
I guess you are getting a little rain and wind Bud. We have had about 4" and are expecting about 4" more before Fay departs us. The winds have been steady at about 45 to 50 mph (they say). Our lake is very low and we sure need the rain, but this wind is getting on my nerves. I have been thru a whole lot of these and this one sure has a mind of it's own.
Bud in Florida
Aug 21 2008, 07:19 PM
Yes we didn't have much rain or wind until this afternoon and it has been raining ever since. Gust of wind up to maybe 20 -25 mph. I hate these storms that just hang around. I really feel for the people over near Coca Beach. Pulled out of Jetty Park on Sunday. They really can't handle this kind of rain. I guess we are just getting what we have been praying for-- RAIN-- but we may have caught up some!
Bud in Florida
Aug 23 2008, 06:21 PM
In going from Estes Park to Jackson Hole, I have seen two roads suggested one is 287 and the other is 191. 191 looks like it would be less difficult with a motorhome. Anyone have any thoughts?
Aug 25 2008, 08:11 AM
Here are a couple suggestions for you. If you are staying in Jackson you might like to stay at the virginian. You can take a bus or walk to most of the stuff in town. You can also tour the badlands in the coach but one road is too narrow but you can do the loop and see most of it from the coach no problem. It is interesting and you can overnight near wall drug. We stayed at sleepy hollow when we went that way and it was a nice campground and an easy walk to all drug and then left the next morning and did the loop of the badlands on our way to Yellowstone. I will tell you to be prepared for wild swings in temps. It was 110 in rapid city and when I woke up the next mornignin the mountains it was 28 and this was in august. We stayed at the KOA right outside of glacier on the west side I think. It was the nicest KOA I have ever stayed at. In Yellowstone I would stay at fishing bridge.I know it is a parking lot and close but it is in hte center of the park and youwill save hours of drive time and the roads go very slow due to animals and even construction.
If you stay in Fishing Bridge you will gain a whole day to see other sites in just the travel time you will save to west yellowstone. Though Grizzle in W. Yellowstone is nice.
You have a great trip planned but I doubt I would go that far and not tow the jeep.I had an issue in Yellowstone one time and needed a tire and they did not let tire people in the park since they sold the rights to a consessionier.Finally I talked to the head of the park and said you have to let him in as the guys you hired can nto take the wheel off as they do not have equipment big enough or I will stay here all year.....and you can dig me out in the summer.
He relented and let them in and it was fine but I was going to have to go get the tire myself and then change it myself. I can do it but did not want too....as it it huge and heavy on a DP.
When you go back home then you need to take the northern route and see that country and that will be a change. You can stop in Iowa and IN and IL and OH and PA on the way if you wish or you can drive through and see where you want to go next.
Bud in Florida
Aug 25 2008, 09:54 AM
Thanks for the suggestions John-- we do plan to take in the Badlands-- I remember driving that loop many years ago and it was like being on the moon. I am planning on staying at Coulter Bay RV park in the Teatons and then moving up to West Yellowstone. I do plan to rent a car for the time there. I was hoping to be able to rent for a week and pick it up in Jackson and then drop it off in West Yellowstone-- but you can't do that. Seems the independent franchise people don't want to have to go get their cars. Too bad cause the daily rate is a lot more than the weekly rate. But that is the price of not having a TOAD. Right now I am leaning toward taking 191 into Jackson rather than 287, but still would like to hear from anyone who has driven those roads.
John-- I do plan on staying at the West Glacier KOA-- looks nice and I have some KOA coupons so it will be reasonable. Thanks again for all the help-- keep it coming
Oct 12 2008, 02:00 PM
QUOTE(Bud in Florida @ Jul 16 2008, 08:27 AM)
Hi Guys and Gals-- My wife and I are starting to plan a trip out west in 2009...........
I'm not sure how much time you have allotted for the Banff/Jasper leg of your trip but I'll add my two cents.
Having grown up and lived in the area most of my life I'll list some of the hi-lites then give you more via e-mail if you like. Between Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, there just isn't enough room to list them all here.
You can lightly skim the surface of the Banff area in a couple of days. The Lake Louise area another couple. The drive from Lake Louse up the Icefield Parkway another couple and a couple in Jasper. Personally, depending on your time frame, I would pass on Jasper and only go up as far as the Columbia Icefields. Jasper is nice but a smaller version of Banff. There is spectacular scenery in and around Jasper but IMO everywhere in the Rockies is spectacular! Even to just skim the surface you will need a week.
There are only two RV parks that have Power and Water in the Banff/Lake Louise area. Tunnel Mountain (somewhat close to the Banff town site) and Lake Louise Trailer Park (about 30 miles west of the Banff in the Louise town site. If you can boondock, there are some nice spots along the 1A (Scenic Parkway) between Banff and Louise. The town of Banff is the only place within the National Park where you will find a rental vehicle. The Banff/Louise Parkway is a MUST drive. Preferably in the evening. Chances of seeing wildlife is much greater then.
In and around the Banff town site area:
>Banff Hot Springs (for a soak after a day of walking/hiking)
>Sulfur Mountain Gondola (or you can walk the trail to the top of Sulfur Mountain) for an
>Scenic drive up to the Mount Norquay Ski Lodge.
>Scenic drive to and from Lake Minnewanka.
>Bow Falls (not very high but pretty) and a walk in and around the Banff Springs Hotel.
>Golf the Banff Springs course.
>Mid summer, Banff Avenue is very busy but still worth the stroll.
>Cascade Gardens (Park Administration Building grounds).
In and around Lake Louise:
> Obviously to see Lake Louise and the Chateau.
> A hike (or horse back ride) to the Lake Agnes Tea House (farther if you have the energy).
> Scenic drive to the absolutely beautiful Morraine Lake. (Nicer than Louise IMO). Great hiking
in the area.
> Head west from Lake Louise towards the town of Field, British Columbia. You will pass by a
pull out for the Spiral Tunnels (Worth a look if you get lucky and a train is passing by) then
exit to Takakkaw Falls. Second highest Falls in North America (I think?).
Pack up your rig and Move on to the Icefields Parkway towards Jasper. There are no full service RV Parks between Lake Louise and Jasper but a good number of dry camp sites. I recommend Waterfowl Lake. It's no too far from the Columbia Icefields (about 30 miles). There is RV Parking at the Ice Fields.
Plenty to see on the Drive up from Louise. There are a couple of big climbs but the road is good. Definitely go for a ride on a Snowcoach onto the Glacier at the Columbia Ice Fields.
Let me know if you want more info.
Oct 12 2008, 09:11 PM
Sounds like a great trip! We were in Glacier and Alberta, Canada this summer - check out the info we provided on our travel blog
. Go back to July & August, and you'll find a ton of information. Feel free to email if you have any specific questions.
Suzanne & Brad
Oct 18 2008, 03:54 AM
:) Hi [size=7]
My husband and I just came back from a trip out west and we spent just under one month on our wonderful vacation. I saw your posting. We stayed in Rocky Mountain Park and camped in Moraine park. Estes Park is the closest town to Morine Park campground in Rocky mountain.
We did see a campground when we exited Rocky Mountain park in Estes. It seemed okand had hookups. In Rocky mountain there were no hookups....but the view was unbelievable!!
We had elk right outside our bedroom window in the early morning.
If you need more info on Moraine Park please dont hesitate to send me an email.
Estes Park nice town to stroll in for shopping and a fantastic place for breakfast is the Egg and I.
Not associated with the Egg and I in Rotonda, Fla. ( we asked) :) :)
And we had no problems driving in the mountains.. we have a diesel pusher so the jake brake came in handy and the torque for the climbs. We did smell brakes from cars and other rvs, but I wasnt sure if you had gas or diesel.
Again if I can be of any help please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mar 11 2009, 10:34 AM
You didn't indicate if your trip west will take you to the southwest. If time allows, I would HIGHLY recommend Southern Utah. We've rv'd Utah two times and will again. It is one of our most memorable trips. You will see sights there that can not be found in any other place in the world. We went to Arches Natl Park, Dead Horse State Park, Bryce Natl Park and Zion Natl Park, I promise you, you will not regret the extra driving should you decide to take it in.
Bud in Florida
Mar 13 2009, 02:03 PM
Thanks for all the great information. I can't believe we leave in less than 2 months. We are not doing the southwest this time. Both of us have been there and with limited time and money something had to get cut. I really appreciate all of you taking time to post suggestions!