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  1. Default Seattle to Maine and back again

    I am new to the forum but have already gotten a lot of good information from the website - Thanks!

    My husband and 2 children will be taking an 8 week road trip this summer, with this itinerary in mind:

    Seattle, leaving around June 20
    Craters of the Moon
    Bryce Canyon
    Grand Canyon
    Mesa Verde
    Great Sand Dunes
    We then visit friends and family in Ohio, Virginia, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine.
    We then start the return trip going through the Adirondacks.
    More family visits in Buffalo, Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
    Badlands
    Mount Rushmore
    Devil's Tower
    Yellowstone
    Glacier Nat Park
    Back to Seattle no later than Aug 15

    We are tentatively planning on the following timelines:
    Seattle to Great Sand Dunes portion of the trip in about 10 days.
    Badlands back to Seattle in about 10 days.
    Everything in the middle will take up the rest of the time with a lot of family visits.

    We plan on camping, staying in motels and staying with friends and family. I am wondering how difficult it will be to find campsites at the major national parks and wonder if we should make reservations at any particular places. I have noticed that many do not take reservations, and wondered what time we should arrive at the campground to ensure we'll have a place to stay. My husband is a bit leery of making too many reservations since he wants some flexibility on this trip to add a day or subtract a day depending on how much we like a particular area. I assume it will be more difficult to find a site on the weekends.

    Also, will we have any problems finding vacant motels in any of these areas?

    We will probably stay 1-2 nights at most of the National Parks and we are trying to keep our daily mileage to 300 miles or less with a few days of 400 miles.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Reservations

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As with most other decisions, there is a trade-off involved in whether or not to make reservations. Generally, not having them allows you the freedom to go where you will and alter your journey or its timing as you see fit, even in the middle of doing it. On the other hand, making reservations beforehand lets you get that chore out of the way before starting out rather than spending actual trip time looking for places. You can also shop for the best deals and read reviews. The only instance in which there is a clear cut advantage to one over the other is when you plan to stay in or near a popular destination at the height of its season. This would be the situation you would find yourselves in at the Grand Canyon, Bryce/Zion, the attractions near Rapid City, and possibly Glacier. If you have a good idea of when you would be in those areas and how long you would like to stay, I think you should make reservations at least for those. If you find you are having difficulties finding available accommodations, then start looking as well at some of the other places you plan to stay. It's hard to say, with the economy the way it is, whether travel will be down in general or whether people will just be opting for lower cost RoadTrips.

    AZBuck

  3. Default camping

    Thanks. I think you may have helped me convince my husband to make at least a few reservations in some key areas.

    Any suggestions on nice campgrounds in and around some of the national parks I mentioned, or ones to avoid?

  4. Default Motorcycle rally impact - Sturgis, SD

    I am planning a big road trip this summer with my husband and 2 children and doing a lot of research. Today I noticed that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be happening in and around Sturgis, SD from August 3-9, 2009. Our current itinerary has us going to see Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Jewel Cave, Wind Cave and Devil's Tower at exactly that same time. We were only going to spend a few nights in that area and I'm not sure we can tweak our itinerary enough to miss the rally completely. I'm wondering if anyone knows of how the rally impacts the different areas I mentioned. On the NPS website for Devil's Tower, it mentioned the rally, but I didn't see anything mentioned on the website regarding the other areas.

    Can I expect the entire area to be crowded with bikers, or are there some places like Jewel Cave and Wind Cave that may be less impacted? Just curious if anyone has been there during that time so I know what to expect. I really want to see the area but am a little concerned about the thousands of bikers that usually participate. Nothing against bikers, but I'm concerned about the extra crowds during an already very busy season.

    Thanks for any input!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-24-2009 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Merged - Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default yes and no

    While the entire area will certainly be busy at that time, (even without the rally, it would still be peak season too), I don't think it will be too horrible at many of the attractions. The rally in Sturgis is a big enough attraction all by itself, that the other things you've mentioned shouldn't be too overwhelmed.

    I will say the bigger issue will be with lodging, as much of the area facilities will be full, and will be charging their highest prices of the year. If you're planning to camp, I'd made reservations at Custer State Park ASAP. Its a wonderful park with excellent camping facilities, its very close to the other attractions you want to see, and its more than an hour away from Sturgis, so it should be somewhat removed from the rally.

  6. Default camping

    Yes, I realize we should make camping reservations and have been looking at the local campgrounds. Thanks for the advice about Custer State Park. Is Bismarck Lake the one you are referring to? I was also looking at Horsethief Lake campground and Grizzly Creek Primative that had a lot more tent only sites which is appealing since we will be tent camping. Any feedback on these other campgrounds?

  7. Default campgrounds

    Ooops, I guess I was just looking at National Forest Campgrounds. I found several other state campgrounds in Custer State Park.

  8. #8

    Default With all due respect...........

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    While the entire area will certainly be busy at that time, (even without the rally, it would still be peak season too), I don't think it will be too horrible at many of the attractions. The rally in Sturgis is a big enough attraction all by itself, that the other things you've mentioned shouldn't be too overwhelmed.

    I will say the bigger issue will be with lodging, as much of the area facilities will be full, and will be charging their highest prices of the year. If you're planning to camp, I'd made reservations at Custer State Park ASAP. Its a wonderful park with excellent camping facilities, its very close to the other attractions you want to see, and its more than an hour away from Sturgis, so it should be somewhat removed from the rally.
    I'm not a rider, but I have a number of friends who are. The second-hand reports I've gotten is the entire western SD and Black Hills region is jammed with bikers during Sturgis week. Apparently dozens and dozens of large groups of riders set forth each day from Sturgis, in every direction, for day-rides, returning for the revelry in the late afternoon/evening.

    My only personal experience with the Sturgis was in 2002 when I drove to western Montana and back, coincidentally on the weekend prior to Sturgis and the trip back was the weekend of Sturgis' closing. For hundreds of miles each way the highways AND byways were choked with groups of riders and legions of pickups, camper trucks, and motorhomes towing trailered bikes.

    Unless I was ardently wanting to see bikers, I'd do some more looking around for direct testimony about the crowds at regional attractions (like those mentioned) or would just avoid being in the region during Sturgis.

    Foy

  9. Default Ughhh...

    I have been doing more research on the bike rally and I'm fearful that what Foy said is true. Not only is there a rally in Sturgis, but also one in Custer and in Hulett, WY near Devil's Tower. And there appears to be several organized rides around the entire area and I suspect there will be a lot of unorganized rides as well. One website said it is the biggest bike rally in the world and others say there are tens of thousands of riders. I'm now wondering if it will also impact us in the Badlands where we were going to be just prior to Mount Rushmore.

    I have noticed that there are still many campsites available in the area, but that is the only positive thing I've found out.

    It is a major disappointment and I guess we have some major decisions to make. I really want to see the area but I think it's too late in our planning to completely change our route. Thanks for any and all input.

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