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  1. Default July roadtrip from Bozeman, Montana to Charleston, SC

    I'm planning a road trip for July '08 from Bozeman to Charleston. My husband is spending 10 wks there for work and I'm flying out to meet him so we can roadtrip it back. We have about a week and would like suggestions on routes, sites, places to stay and of course FOOD! We like to stay in small mom & pop type spots and keep mainly to back roads. Down with the interstate! I have never been out west so am very excited about making this trip. Obviously we plan to hit Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore since we are so near. Any tips are greatly appreciated!!!

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

    Default Welcome to the West!

    If you've never been out here, you'll love it. If you can, you should fly into Bozeman a week, or at least a few days, before it's time for you and your husband to hit the rode. There's a lot of good stuff there and near there. You could take some fun day trips. You could take the scenic lift at Big Sky and do some wonderful short hikes with scenic views. The Museum of the Rockies is amazing.

    Driving Bozeman-Charleston via the quickest route via interstates is about 2400 miles. Adding in Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore makes it closer to 2900 miles (and that is still using mainly interstates). You might find it a challenge to stick to secondary roads the entire way and still have time to sightsee because this will add even more miles. We generally recommend driving no more than 500 miles per day. Even 500 miles leaves only limited time for sightseeing. So a 2900 mile trip is a good 6 days with limited time to stop and explore. Don't get me wrong. It is do-able, even if you do your planned stops in Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. But you are not going to have any time to linger and explore any place in depth. You're going to have to stop, take a quick look-see and move on. If you're fine with that, it's cool. I like a good whistle-stop tour myself. But I don't want you to have any misconceptions about how much time you'll have to linger.

    You might want to allow yourself some interstate travel....especially as you get closer to home and are more familiar with the off-interstate areas or, even if you're not familiar with them, they are easier to get back to another time. Or add a few days to your trip.

    If you do Yellowstone, swing down to the Grand Tetons. Cody WY is a fun stop with lots of "old west" flavor and Buffalo Bill stuff to see. Devil's Tower in NE Wyoming (the "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" location) is worth a stop.

    When visiting Mt. Rushmore, you might also enjoy some of the many other things in that area: the infamous Wall Drug, Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, Badlands, Deadwood (another "old west" stop with Wild Bill Hickcock and Calamity Jane flavor).
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 01-30-2008 at 11:34 AM. Reason: added info

  3. Default

    Thanks for the info. I think you're right we are going to need more time. Badlands, Wall Drug, and Crazy Horse were also on our list.

    Any recommendations on places to stay and eat? We like to eat where the locals do...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Where the Locals Eat

    Maggie - That's the single most frustrating question we get. Not because we don't want to answer it or we're tired of hearing it, but because we're not locals! We simply don't know the local hangouts in every town in America. The best advice I can give you is to ask the locals. Most towns have information centers these days, and that's a good place to start, or the library, or your innkeeper, or the random person on the street - They all have more knowledge of the local scene than we or any web site ever will. Beware that attendants at information centers may be prohibited from routinely recommending one local establishment over another. the 'trick' is to tell them as explicitly as possible the type of restaurant you're looking for and then ask them where they would eat if that's what they wanted. That's how I found the Fort Worth Café in Keokuk, IA and the Velvet Elvis in Patagonia, AZ. Not only will you get better recommendations than we could ever give you, but you'll be interacting with people you otherwise never would have met, and there's no telling where that can lead.


  5. Default

    Well, leave it to me to ask the single most frustrating question, do I win a prize? Any advice from anyone about my road trip is greatly appreciated as I am a novice. Any favorite sites, food stops or route suggestions? We are open to just about anything. When I say we like to go where the locals go I mean we would rather eat somewhere unique to the area than go to your run of the mill joints. TIA!

    Thanks for the info Judy. We are going to take about a week and half to make the trip to allow for more time to visit some sights. We will definitely hit the interstates as we get closer to home as we travel those back roads all the time. Does that sound like enough time?

  6. Default

    Hey, what's the name of that diner on Main St. in downtown Bozeman, the one with the Michael Keaton pics on the wall?

    Great food.....just can't remember the name......awesome pies if I remember correctly. It's been a few years!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default 10 days should be OK

    The fact that you're going to hit the interstates when you get closer to home also means you could do a short speed run then, and linger longer in the more western areas. So 10 days should be fine. It's nice not to have a tight itinerary to follow. But you might want to have a general idea of where you want to be every two or three days so you don't get behind a have to do a more intense speed run to get home than you bargained for.

    I'm not familiar enough with the areas you're traveling through to give you any tips on unique, little-known stops. Sorry. However, there are numerous discussions on these forums about those areas where you can probably glean a lot of helpful information. If you use the search feature (green bar above) and plus in the various destinations along your route, it should bring up a wealth of discussions that could help. Here's a post with a list of links to posts with things to see in each state, from A-Z. There are definitely some interesting and, sometimes, rather obscure ideas there!

    I hope someone with more personal knowledge of those areas will also pop in.

    And don't forget that we have a wealth of articles on this website, too. If you visit our "Roadtrip Planning" page, scroll down and pay special attention to the sections on "Routes, Itineraries & Advice", "Scenic Drives", "Attractions & Destinations" and "Travelogues". Some of these articles will be very helpful and you will also find links to other helpful places on the web.

    We love to help people in their planning. However, we also feel that people end up with the best trip if they do a lot of their own planning and just depend on us for tips, tweaks, etc. So enjoy the process, poke around, and come back once you start getting more specific ideas together and share those plans. Planning is half the fun! Happy planning.

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