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Old 10-13-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
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Big trip plans

We are planning on taking a trip out West with Yellowstone being the furthest distance from home in Michigan.

Most of our past vacations have been no more than 10 days long and to a single destination such as a state park 200-350 miles away and we stay put the whole time.

When I was a kid my family travelled out West several times but as a youngster, I was not privy to the mechanics of the trip...distance travelled per day, how to find a place to stay each night, etc.

I would like to know how to go about planning a long (2 week) excursion from Michigan to Yellowstone and back, hitting some sights along the way. Do I figure on driving XXX miles per day and attempt to make reservations at State or National parks at each interval?

How do you more experienced long-distance travellers go about this?
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:23 PM   #2
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You will need reservations in the Yellowstone area. When we are on the road we only drive about 6 hours a day. We pull in early and usually don't have a problem getting a site. If there are things to see we stay a day or two otherwise we move on the next day.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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We try and put a bunch of miles behind us first day or two out and last day or two coming home. Stuff we have already seen or can go see in a future short trip. After that we slow down and smell the roses.

We always try and stop at rest stop for lunch. Eat out on picnik tables, standing up and then walk a mile or so before hitting the road. And no we are not exercise freaks but find the mid day walk to be quite refreshing, especially when have been driving all morning.

We never make reservations - too structured. However, you better have them at Yellowstone.
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:32 AM   #4
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That's a good idea about busting through the stuff at the beginning and end of the trip, getting to the farthest destination quicker and spending more time there.

About the no reservations along the way, do you just look for campgrounds as you're driving and pick one before it gets too dark?
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:04 AM   #5
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We have done several cross country trips over the years. We usually plan how long we want to drive the first day (which is usually a longer haul) and I book a site at a campground nearby. That becomes our destination and we don't have to worry about winging it if we get there after dark. After that we will drive until around 4 or 5 and then I try to look in the book for campgrounds in the area. I will call and see if they have any availability and we pull in for the night. If it is a peak season,or we are going to a national park, monument, or over holiday weekends we like to have reservations made for the time we want to be there.

We find this manual helpful during our travels it lists campgrounds, RV parks and state parks. http://www.trailerlifedirectory.com/...productid=29MG

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-15-2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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We just got back from two weeks in Zion, Bryce and the Gand Canayon. We had reservations at each of the National Parks....but like other in the thread we drive hard on day one and day two....get some miles under our belt. Getting to where we want to go. Then we do the same coming home...really putting in a good day or two of driving. We find most days we can get a spot at a park..along the way even pulling in @ 6 or 7pm. Peak season we will call ahead to make sure of a spot.
I would really encourage you to reserve a spot in Yellowstone. WE were there two years ago stayed 3 days and really could have stayed another 3 or 4 days. We were at fishing bridge and it really is close qtrs however they have a power, water and a dump there. And while it was a parking lot atmosphere....the 1st hours we were there a herd of Buffalo went thru the park...provided a real thrill for all there.
Planning a trip is part of the fun. Enjoy the whole experience.
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:36 AM   #7
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How far you drive each day and how fast you drive varies with each person.. so you can get 100's of answers.. Most of the time I like to limit myself to 6 hours @ 60 mph... but next week I will do a couple of 10 hour days just to get out of the cold zone... heading to SoCal for the winter..
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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Seann, you better hurry if you want to get in on this 100* weather. It will only last a few more days.
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:56 PM   #9
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We always wing it when traveling - but another exception - holiday weekends! Finding an overnight place can be interesting. On a normal weekend, if the local area is having some big local something, might have to move on another 50 miles but normally not a problem. Have never had issue mid-week.

And I concur with earlier post, always take Trailer Life or competitor with you; great information source. So when end of day is approaching, can start calling ahead and find place to stay. And remember, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Cracker Barrell is always an option, except where local laws prevent. Use GPS to find and call ahead on those. My Garmin has their phone numbers along with address information.
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:28 PM   #10
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A story of two extremes. In 2010 we were signed up for a 3 week work project in Maine commencing the first Monday in June. We live in Alabama. In mid April, at a rally, we ran into some friends who were also doing the Maine project.

1) He is a retired Army officer. In Mid-April they already had their trip, going and coming, totally planned including nightly reservations, what sight seeing they were going to do etc. which consisted of three days.

2) We were talking about leaving 2 weeks before, stopping in Philly and Boston area and also whatever caught our eye along the road.

When we left home, we had no reservations. We ended leaving 2 1/2 weeks early doing both Philly & Boston plus the Mennonite stuff in PA, Cape Cod and the Kennedy stuff, Sub museum in New London CT, the whale stuff in Stonnington, CT, Kennebuckport ME, Cooperstown, Hershey, PA and some lesser places. And we lost a day getting a repair issue handled. On Tuesday before Memorial Day weekend, we decided might need weekend reservations, We planned ahead and found a place in Eastern CT that we did day trips out of. They only had 2 spots left, and required 3 nights prepaid.

We worked with our friends and then saw them a few months later in Alabama. We talked about the trip and they hardly saw anything - said saw several things would have liked to have seen but already had their plans and could not deviate without loosing their deposits! I don't know what they would have done if they had a repair issue along the way.

But the point being, unstructered worked very well for us but our friends needed that regimen. Different strokes for different folks!
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