Planning September 2021 Roadtrip

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by Porkroll, May 1, 2020.

  1. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    My wife and I are planning a road trip from NJ, going west.
    We are towing our 2018 Rockwood 1910 ESP.
    Our first stop is the Badlands of South Dakota, visiting Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Deadwood. We are looking at staying in Custer State Park.
    Our next stop is the Moab, Utah area. Visiting Arches National Park. Probably staying in the Moab, KOA.
    Our next stop is the Durango, Colorado area. Probably staying at a KOA. We will be visiting Durango, Mesa Verde, riding the Silverton Durango Narrow Gauge train.
    And finally on the way home, stopping to see the Gateway Arch, in St. Louis, MO.
    Any tips on campgrounds in the areas we are staying, and sights to see are greatly appreciated. We really only need sites with electric, maybe water too, but electric is a must.
    Thanks for any help,
    Jim
     
  2. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Have fun always wanted to go out that way! Take pictures.

    And i have to mention its taylor ham up this way! [A] Lol.
     
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  3. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    Thanks, we will!
    No where on the package does it say "ham", but it does say Porkroll! lol
     
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  4. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    How long are you planning on taking to travel and to stay at each stop? We see so many people who blast through many miles a day, run around to the parks and scenery of the West and end up tired, cranky, and probably not remembering much of what they saw.
    What are you planning between SD and Moab?
    The Moab KOA is south of town, and it actually a pretty good base, we have stayed there a couple of times. Since Moab has been discovered over the years, it can be slow going to get through town. Last time we were there, on our way home from a trip there was an event on and the place was crazy. Get into Arches early, or the entry line gets long. Arches is pretty , but there are other things in the area, depending on your interests and activity level - dinosaur tracks, Canyonlands (Island in the Sky and Needles Districts).
    Durango is a nice area we have not stayed at the KOA (note, one of the KOAs in the area is no longer one). We've camped in Mesa Verde, with power, which is nice to visit the park, but it's a pretty long way to the campground from the entrance, a consideration if you want to use it for a base. September is a pretty time, we camped at Vallecito CG near the end of the month once, they were beginning to shut loops at that point
     
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  5. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Love the Black Hills area. You want to drive the pig tails in the Black Hills - fun drive, very cool scenery but don't do it with the pup. It is not really a road for trailers. Also - there is a small air museum at the air force base in town. Take the bus tour they offer, and you will get to visit a training minuteman silo. There is also a minuteman park/museum on the way into Rapid City. If you are going through NE, there is a SAC museum that is worth the stop.

    Crazy Horse is a pretty cool work in progress. We were impressed with it when we visited a couple years back. Rushmore was worth a visit but be prepared for crowds. The Custer loop is a nice drive, especially if the herds are close.

    Stop at the Badlands on the way. Another good scenic drive through that area if you take it. OK to do with the pup. It was really neat when we got done and stopped at an overlook and got to experience the crazy wind they have out there. My son really liked that experience - don't wear a hat though!

    On the interstate crossing the Missouri river there is a relatively new statue they installed at the rest area. Supposed to light up at night or something pretty cool, but we only saw it in the day.

    Visit the Corn Palace and Wall drug - no road trip out west is complete without stopping at those two examples of uniquely American roadside kitch.

    If you are headed through Kansas City, the National WWI Museum is there - worth a trip we thought.

    Of course if your interests lie more in outdoor stuff, then most of this probably won't interest you. We did a road trip similar to yours, but from TX to Omaha, over to SD, WY, CO and home. Museums are what we try and see along the way. No camping on that trip though - not enough time and other than staying with family in Rapid City it was all 1 night stops so pup camping like that would have been a nightmare for us.

    Have a great trip!
     
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  6. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Does sound like a great trip ....... enjoy.
     
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  7. CamperChrissy

    CamperChrissy Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like an awesome trip! Can't wait until I can get out west.

    For your St. Louis stop, make sure you buy tickets for the Arch Tram (the cart that takes you to the top) beforehand. They sometimes actually sell out. We were there last spring break and the new museum is really cool, lots of interesting exhibits.

    Elephant Rocks State Park is about an hour south and has a really cool area of granite boulders that you can climb. It has a very easy paved trail, about a mile. No camping there though. Arrive before noon on a weekend or you may not get a parking spot. This was our favorite family activity of the trip!

    You can also see the Bon Terre Mine. It's an old mine that was partially flooded. The tour includes a climb down some stairs and then they have a boat ride and walking tour inside. Was pretty cool!

    On a previous trip we camped at the Jellystone. It's your typical Jellystone, kid activities, choice of full hookup or water/electric, on the higher price end, and right near the Six Flags (although not so close that you could hear any noise). Was clean and well-maintained. You do go up a somewhat steep hill on the way in (I mean steep according to my flat Illinois standards, so basically it was a small hill...).

    When driving through St. Louis, make sure your GPS takes you on a highway loop AROUND the city. Mine likes to sometimes have me drive through city neighborhoods.
     
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  8. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    If you're going all that way why are you not including Yellowstone/Grand Teton NP?

    A couple suggestions: Since you're going to be in the neighborhood I would include a drive through Monument Valley or Valley of the Gods en route from Moab to Durango. It's a little out of your way but not a lot. Also, as CamperChrissy mentioned, plan to take the tram to the top of the arch in St. Louis. Not sure which is more exciting, the tram or the observation deck at the top of the arch. Finally, be sure to make time to stop in Kansas City for some of our fine BBQ. I can suggest a few places. ;)
     
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  9. jacinda

    jacinda Member

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    This sounds like an awesome trip...have fun[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2020
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  10. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Well-Known Member

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    The Chamberlain Rest Area on I90 in South Dakota is the best rest stop ever!! it overlooks the Missouri River and has a Lewis and Clark museum in it. it was awesome.
     
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  11. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Well-Known Member

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    I love Moab to say the least I have been there 3 times and stayed 5 days each trip. It is 2 days hard drive each way from SE Texas. I Motel it both ways I like to stay in the old classic tourist courts on Route 66 (parallels I 40) but it would be out of your way to do that. One of the best things about Moab You can see a lot of great stuff w/o being close to people. To see Moab properly you need to rent a Jeep. Arches is nice but very few boon dock roads to drive on there. So lets get started. Head north out of town. Arches National Park on the right maybe 5 miles. Castle valley 15 miles can tow your PUP there the LaSalle Nat forest is about another 10 miles past that (Boon Dock camping 9,000 ft) cool enough at night to sleep comfortably. That is Black Bear country, I have never seen one there. If you had stayed to the left in less than 10 miles the entrances to Arches National Park BLM land all and some NP campgrounds in the park. Also a Utah state park on the road in (Dead Horse Point) Arches is where Thelma and Louise drove the Cady off of the cliff. Don't know if your Durango is 4wd but a 2Wd would minimal because of ground clearance except a few places I will tell you about them. From the park entrance which is a few miles in side the gate you can go to the islands in the sky or turn left and drop down the Shafer switch backs that go a different way back to Moab. you can drive a school bus down the Shafer switch backs or Islands in the Sky. Everything else 4wd is better and most is a must have. One of the main things you need is low range to keep from beating your ride up. Grand canyon about 160. Monument Valley about 125. Monument Valley is where tons of the old cowboy westerns were filmed. Paved road and beautiful. Zion National park about 80 miles absolutely beautiful. On the way to Zion you will pass the road that goes to the hole in the rock. Not the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid hole in the rock. This is where the Mormons roped 200 people their wagons and 600 head of live stock down a 2,000 ft. gorge reading the sign there and how they did it change how I looked at those people. Do not try to approach that headed west. It is a very long rough road. If you pass south of it then go north it is a smooth dirt road 2wd. There are some guides called Run Trek adventures that you can buy for different states. The problem with them is if you get lost and get off their map you are going to have a bad day. Trust me I know. I spent the night with 2 blown out tires on a ledge shelf trail once. I highly recommend renting a lifted Jeep or a side by side ATV on 33's Some areas ATV's are not allowed. Search Jeep rentals and you can see what is available rent one for at least day. you will be amazed at what you can see. The Fun trek books have recommended Vehicles for what trails. If the Durango has 4WD you can see a ton of that area with it. If you don't feel comfortable driving those trails you can hire a guide that uses his own Jeep. I don't take photos in Moab. the landscape is such that average camera doesn't do it justice.
    Colorado drive the Alpine loop. Stay off of Black Bear road people die on that trail and the county has tried to have it closed. The first time there I was running and tail gunning for Some Jeep Jamborees. I was going to Moab and I called my Jeep rep to ask him how long it took to run Black Bear he got real quite and then said 3-6 hours. Of course I bit on that and asked why the difference and he said When you get to Bridle Vail Falls which flows over the trail at the top of the mountain and you screw up you will be in Telluride in a matter of seconds maybe 2 minutes. Telluride is at the bottom of the mountain. When we got to the signs that said one way only and the X looked over the edge at the trail she pulled her 38 and said we are not going down that trail and we went back, so I have not done that trail yet. I have been on Lions Back in Moab before they closed it and that scared the wiz out of her. She always did better if I let her drink a lot of whiskey. Look up Lions Back at Moab on the internet it has been closed over 20 years. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.
     
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  12. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    We intend to get from NJ to MO, in two days. Then from MO to CO in a few dots too. We are still up in the air about what we will see. It’s a fluid situation still. Hopefully we will start to lockdown details in the coming months.
     
  13. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    Wall Drug is a definite stop on our trip, the Corn Palace, is a maybe. My parents went years ago, I forgot about that.
     
  14. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    Thanks for the tip on the Arch. I will definitely book ahead of time. Oh yes, I will have to make sure the GPS does not take me through the neighborhoods.
     
  15. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    We are still not rock solid on the itinerary, but we’ll keep those in mind. BBQ? Why I wouldn’t miss some good BBQ! I’ll have to get those suggestions from you.
     
  16. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    Yellowstone, and Grand Teton are possibly in the mix. I need more time! Ugh!
     
  17. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    If we are on I90, I’ll have to check it out. I am distantly related to Clark, on my maternal grandmothers side of the family. So, maybe I am obligated?
     
  18. Porkroll

    Porkroll New Member

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    Wow! That’s a lot of info Fish N Farm. Thanks! I will keep all of this in mind.
     
  19. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Well-Known Member

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    Porkroll, there is one very important thing I forgot to mention, The fall of the year is the rainy season in that part of the desert. Slot canyons are incredibly dangerous when it rains. Keep your eye on the weather and if you even see rain that looks miles away get to high ground ASAP Those canyons are deep and narrow and there is no place for that water to go. Be safe and don't mess with the bears. Black bears can kill humans easy but I believe a grizzly can take any carnivore on earth except a Polar bear and we are splitting hairs there. I doubt that there are any Grizzly in Utah. There some great National Geographic maps that be had from their website and last but not least. In my opinion the American West is the most beautiful place on earth. I promise you that you could the entire summer wondering with in a 200 mile radius of Moab and not see everything. Grand Canyon Four corners south west Colorado, Chama NM area, Promontory Point (where the Golden Spike was driven). I have never been to Brice Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks that are right there also. The La Sale Mountains National Forrest are 15 miles away 100 square miles 3 peaks over 10,000 3 campgrounds and a lake. I mean the place is unbelievable. I want to go to Yellowstone but I am not willing to fight those crowds. Might as go sight seeing in downtown Houston. Up on the slick Rock on Poison Spyder Mesa you can look east and See Moab 2,000 feet below lock west with good glass and you cant see anything for 20 miles. If you are into 4WD trail riding Moab would be considered Mecca. I have never been to Wyoming or Montana I am sure you would splitting hairs to say which was better. Co is much cooler than either.
     
  20. slowcarfast

    slowcarfast Active Member

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    Because it's a long stinkin way from from Durango to Yellowstone!! We did Telluride to Yellowstone earlier this summer. Worth it for us, but Yellowstone area was one of our primary stops, and we weren't exploring points further south (Moab). FWIW, this was the first time in the Southwest corner of CO, Telluride was awesome and I hear Ouray is great too. We weren't there very long and next trip out West I think will include more time in that area.
     
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