Originally Posted by drewandkarri
We're planning our first big trip with the 31RLDS. Planning about two and a half weeks. So far this is what we have:
Buffalo NY - Custer State Park (taking about 3 days to get there, about 350 miles per day): staying in Game Lodge in Custer for two nights.
Custer to Grand Tetons (taking two days to get there): Need advice on campgrounds in Jackson/GTNP area! Staying two nights.
GTNP to Yellowstone: Four nights at Fishing Village.
Yellowstone to Cody: two nights.
We're sort of at a crossroads on the return trip. One thought is to add in a two night stay at Theodore Roosevelt NP in ND. We've never been or talked to anyone who has been. Would it be worth the side trip? Any ideas on what to see/do on the way back would be appreciated!!
Having driven both directions several times, you need to add 2 days to your first leg if you want to stick to 350 mi per day. You're looking at 500 per day if you want to make it in 3. And you'd be missing SD Badlands and Wall Drug (I think it is a SD law that you have to stop there)! We usually budget 3 days from Minn. to New York, especially depending on when you hit Chicago. 2 full days from Minn. to Black Hills, with a camping night and morning in the Badlands, lunch at Wall, and then on to the Black Hills. As it is, you'll hit some slowdowns in the Hills, so may not arrive at Custer SP until later.
Devil's Tower is cool, but it is a fair detour off the main highway, and only worth an hour or so, unless you plan to camp one night there. We skipped it due to time for many years, finally had the time last year. Glad we did it, but not at the expense of other places if you have a time budget.
We love the Big Horns - driving is slow (15-25 mph in many places), but worth it.
TR Park is nice, and we plan to go back and explore with more time - but it is essentially similar to the SD Badlands, which are far more scenic.
Bear Tooth is a must drive - but NOT while towing anything.
Be well rested - every time all the occupants in the car have fallen asleep (or fought it!) when coming down from the Bear Tooth. Blame it on lack of oxygen because you get up so high!
You may want to plan in the Battle of the Bighorn monument on your way back. That's worth 1/2 day in itself.
And, of course, you'll want to add another day for the return time. By then, we are usually "sceniced out" and decide to just push it to get home, so a longer day or two is worth it.
Ohio and Indiana are really, really boring to drive across. At least they accept EZ-Pass! (as does Illinois)