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  1. #1
    Wisconsinite Traveller Guest

    Default First Road Trip On My Own

    I'm from wisconsin near Milwaukee, and I have been on multiple roadtrips with my family but I just graduated and my friend and I have decided to go out to Yellowstone National Park. I have been there multiple times and lived there working in the backcountry for two months in 2005. It however has been a while since I last camped and never have been on a trip by myself

    I'll be camping out of my car, with one friend. I have gear, and good knowledge of the park and wilderness camping. I just need original ideas, such as little things that I might need and things that will make the trip more fun.

    We are leaving on a Friday afternoon, staying in North Dakota around Bismark, then going to the park and hopefully making it there by Sunday midday. then we'll popcorn around the campgrounds until friday and head back.

    Any suggestions would be great!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The little things

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A forums.

    The bigger stuff seems to take care of itself but the little things are easily overlooked, until of course you want to open a can or cork a bottle in the middle of nowhere, lol!

    Here's some useful tips taken from these forums that should help you out.

    And here's some helpful tips for eating out of the cooler from Judy.

    This site may help refresh your memory regarding Yellowstone.

    If you have any other questions go right ahead!

    Have a great trip

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default over-optimistic

    I think you might be underestimating the amount of time you need to cover this ground.

    Milwaukee to Bismarck is more than 750 miles - significantly more than we recommend for one full day of travel, and more than can be physically covered in a half day on the road. Best case, you'll be looking at 13 hours on the road - so if you leave Friday At Noon, you wouldn't get there until 1 am. I'll also note that if you leave anytime between about Noon and 2pm, you'd also be getting into the Twin Cities at the peak of Rush Hour.

    Having said all that, if your goal is just to make it there by Sunday midday, covering the distance in 2.5 days shouldn't be too hard. I think you'd be better off shooting for Alexandria or Fergus Falls, MN that first night, and then spend Saturday Night around Glendive or Miles City, MT. In between, you could take a little break from the road at Teddy Roosevelt NP.

    Going back home, I'd probably take I-90 through South Dakota, making sure to spend at least a little time in the black hills and badlands.

  4. #4
    Wisconsinite Traveller Guest

    Default Thanks Guys

    S.W. Dave thanks for the advice yours was very helpful in what to prepare for since that was what I was asking,

    However Mike I understand where you are coming from, but realize that we have been through wisconsin, minnesota, and north dakota and util you get to the west side, the interstate at night is fine by us. And don't forget that I have been driving through chicago and milwaukee rush hour not only my driving career but with family so I am confortable with the conditions.

    We will switch every fill up and the point is to be prepared for the destination. We only have a week, and though it is good advice not to, people drive that distance pretty well in a day.

    Once again thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default more than comfort

    My point with MSP rush hour was not that it was tough to navigate, its that it will physically slow you down, on top of a trip that is already a very long day on the road.

    Certainly, it is possible to cover 700+ miles is a day, especially if you have multiple drivers. However, experience says its somewhat counter productive on a trip like this where you are going to be traveling for more than just one day. If you drive into the night, you have to either sleep more into the next day to recover or you end up starting your trip out by pushing your limits, and you spend the entire rest of your trip trying to get caught back up on the rest you missed out on. There's also the simple thing that most people who've driven 700+ miles in a day don't really look forward to getting and driving hundreds of miles more the next day.

    Driving these distance can be fun, but its also physically draining. Its easy to overlook something like that if you haven't taken a major trip out on your own. You certainly can take whatever approach you think will work best for you, just think about more than points on a map before you make it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default I just want to clarify something...

    In your first post you said
    "We are leaving on a Friday afternoon, staying in North Dakota around Bismark, then going to the park and hopefully making it there by Sunday midday. "
    Are you going to try to drive 750 in a half-day? You won't get there until well after midnight. Depending on what time in the afternoon you're starting out, it would be 2-4am.

    And wouldn't this mean that you're getting into MSP area well after rush hour making that concern moot?

    Or did you change your departure time and I'm just not seeing it.

    If you're still leaving later in the day, I'm thinking that St. Cloud would make a good stop. You'll still be burning some miles (400) which is more than we recommend for a late start like that. But it's about 7 hours driving so you're more likely to arrive at a reasonable time to get a decent night's sleep.

    This should leave you rested enough to drive to Billings, MT, on Saturday (about 800 miles). Yes, that's a long day but far more do-able after a good night's sleep.

    This leaves you only about 220 miles from Billings to Yellowstone on Sunday morning. If you get an early start, you should easily be able to arrive there by midday on Sunday.

    I understand you wanting to burn miles but you do want to get there safely and not totally exhausted. I think this would make a more enjoyable speed run while still getting you there in the time you desire.

    ETA: I just re-read SW Dave's suggestions. I think he and I are on roughly the same wavelength.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-06-2008 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
    Wisconsinite Traveller Guest

    Default How does this sound?

    I think it would be eisier for you guys to understand where I'm coming from if I was a little more specific.

    Friday afternoon departure at 7.

    Go through Minneapolis sometime after midnight, Fill up, (little car gets good milage) Switch Drivers. Maybe catch something open late, eat a little and stretch our legs.

    Pass Fargo around 4-5 am on Saturday (ND, Min) border. Fill up, switch drivers. Maybe relax at a wayside, grab some food, hit a diner in ND towards daylight for some breakfast.

    Arrive in Bismark Midday. See how we are feeling, eat lunch, gas up, and maybe decide to stay the night there. If not, continue for a couple hours to Dickinson to find a hotel. This gives us enough time to relax, swim at a pool, eat, shop, and rejuvinate.

    Next morning leave around 8 am. And hit the road, and arrive in Gardiner MT. (Yellowstone) during the afternoon hours. This gives us enough time to find a campsite or if we are too tired stay in a hotel.

    I was vague before on times, but I believe this gives us two solid days of driving, each having enough time to get organized before dark.

    What do you all think?

    P.S. I would really like nifty ideas on things to bring while camping and driving to really make a memory


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default I hope your not working friday!

    Hi Wisconsinite.

    I don't think your gonna want to hear any of the replys, thats quite a gruelling schedule and I can't see anyone recommending it, not only for your own safety but for that of others that might read this thread in the future.

    You are basically looking at driving from 7 p.m fri through to midday sat without any proper rest and then swim, shop and rejuvenate for another early start. What are they putting in the water over there, send us some would you, lol!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do, but I still agree with the others that for a safer more relaxed time, take a little longer and enjoy the journey, after all it will be more memorable.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-06-2008 at 05:46 PM. Reason: typo

  9. #9
    Wisconsinite Traveller Guest

    Default Ha!

    Ya you're right! Maybe there is something in the water, or maybe it's the chronic wasting diseases in the deer. I'm sure you'd love that. haha

    I understand that some consider themselves experts here. But have you ever travelled in a minivan every year of your life with a family of seven, no brothers might I add, (I'm a guy) to and from out west, to disney world, Boundry waters, South Carolina and many more destinations?

    We were like the Griswalds. Just twice the people. Safety, not an issue here. Yes a big family like mine should not plan the trip we are, mine did but my dad drives from milwaukee to chicago every day so he could do it.

    But don't get ahead of yourself when you say that the answer is yours.

    Anyone else have something to say? Anyone who has done this young? Anyone who has DARED to try driving like this?

    Breaks, Eating, Filling up on gas, two drivers, plenty of room for a small car. Makes this possible.

    Have you had a lousy trip, or just want everyone to have as much fun that you did, and don't dare push the limits.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Rewind and calm down a bit.

    Nobody here is trying to spoil your trip, as a matter of fact we are trying to help you, whether you take this advice is up to you.

    Now start at the beginning, your thread title reads "First road trip on my own" which doesn't sound as though you have much experience on long hauls.
    Anyone who has DARED to try driving like this?
    I have driven long distances for many years both professionally and for pleasure but what we are saying is it is not necessarily beneficial to the enjoyment of your trip, make the journey a part of the adventure, instead of a chore.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-06-2008 at 06:05 PM. Reason: Good Neighbor Policy

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