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  1. Default Yellowstone Summer 2007

    Next summer I am planning a trip to Yellowstone. We will be leaving from North East Georgia with stops in Mansfield MO, Independence KS, DeSmet SD and Mt. Rushmore. the first three stops are "Little House on the Prarie" sites to bribe my daughter. For some strange reason she had no interest in driving 31 hrs to see a water spout? All this in nine days over the 4th of July week. Any suggestions, tips advice.
    I am not planning to make any reservations except maybe at Yellowstone. Does anybody know how far in advance hotels around there bookup?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 9 days, round-trip? Yikes!

    I come up with a minimum of 4513 miles when I plus your stops into MS Streets & Trips. Over 9 days, that's 501 miles per day. Double yikes!

    How many days do you plan on spending in Yellowstone? You would need 2 days minimum just to see the highlights. This cuts your travel days down to 7 days and 645 miles/day. I'm really not seeing how you are going to do this and have time to explore all the fun "Little House" stuff and Mt. Rushmore, too.

    I would really suggest cutting out Yellowstone and just enjoying all the things there are to do in South Dakota. In addition to DeSmet and Mt. Rushmore, there is the Crazy Horse Memorial, funky Wall Drug, the Badlands, Deadwood (wild west town where Wild Bill met his Deadman's Hand), and more. Lots to see and do there. Doing this would cut your total miles down to something more like 3622. Still ambitious for 9 days but enough less to give you some breathing room. This brings your daily miles over 9 days down to 402. Still a lot but a tad more do-able. If you take just 3 days to see the sights in SD, this still means 603 miles/day. Again, YIKES!

    Anyway you can get some extra days for this trip?

    Oh, by the way, I took a guess and used Dearing, GA, as your stop/end point.

    Well, if you're determined to get to Yellowstone, make sure you read these tips on how to safely do a speed run, and I hope you have an alternate driver. Fatique is definitely going to be an issue. I also suggest that you make your reservations at Yellowstone as soon as you have your dates nailed down. Hotels usually get full quickly there.

    My goal is NOT to discourage you. But, rather, to see some reality. I love a good speed run myself. But I usually do no more than 3 days of intense driving at a time and then enjoy about 2 days of either no driving or very little driving before getting back on the road to burn miles. And I never did these types of speed runs with kids in the car. It can be hard enough on most adults. It's torture for kids. You might do a search on traveling with kids here on these forums. Many folks have left tips for doing this successfully and most folks do not encourage much in the way of speed runs with kids. If they are miserable, you will be miserable. It's really not a good way to travel. And you really don't want to turn your kids off of roadtrips because all they can remember is being strapped into the car all day.

    Gosh, I really hope you can find more days and/or re-consider your itinerary. Please come back and let us help you find a trip that will work better for you and your family.

    ETA: I'm trying to figure out how you determined 31 hours to get to Yellowstone. MS Streets & Trips figures 42.5 hours, and most of us here have found these types of estimates from software/websites to be optimistic. Even though they attempt to take traffic conditions, etc. into consideration, they really don't do a very good job of it. And they don't consider that you'll ever have to stop for gas, for a bathroom break, to stretch your legs, and to eat. A rule of thumb that has been developed over thousands of miles of roadtripping is to use 53mph as an average to determine travel time in the Eastern part of the US, and 57mph in the West. You will drive faster most of the time but these figures factor in time for very quick breaks (as listed above). No time to linger over a relaxing meal but time for a quick bite to eat.

    It is 2465 miles to go Dearing-Mansfield-Independence-DeSmet-Rushmore-Yellowstone. 2465 divided by an average of 55mph is about 45 hours of driving. That's 14 more hours than your estimate and I would wager it's going to be closer to the actual time it will take you. Especially when you're doing some of your travel over the 4th of July weekend, one of the most traffic intensive weekends of the year.

  3. Default Thanks for some Great Information

    I was wondering about the reliability of the trip planners. The 31 hrs was straight driving time with no stops. I did that early in my planning stages before considering stopping at the "Little House Sites". My wife and I will split the driving time and I have considered eliminating the KS stop. As I was researching the De Smet SD stop, I realized we could spend all of our time in SD. I never considerd that before.

    Adding more days is not a possibility. While Yellowstone is the destination, it is not really the point. I'm sure you will all agree, seeing America is the real purpose of a road trip. So with that in mind, and having more that a year to plan, my itenerary is wide open.

    Thanks again for the great information, I'm going to read your post again and do some more planning. Oh yeah, my starting point is Elberton, GA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Little House

    If you are going to DeSmet because the Little House on the Prairie, I'd recommend you stay on US-14 - aka the Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway - and take it into Minnesota. Walnut Grove, MN, setting of the Little House TV Show, has a museum in Her Honor. From there you could keep going east following the memorial highway as it dips south via US-52 to Burr Oak, Iowa, which has its own Museum to recognize her childhood home.

    On top of all that, make sure to read this field report of one of our vistor's recent trip through South Dakota, I think he found exactly what you are looking for.

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