UPMI to WY
Not quite sure what I'm doing, but I know I've gotta start somewhere, so I figured with all the input communicated here I could find some help. Everyone here seems to know a lot more about this stuff, this is my first.
Here it is...
I'm planning a RoadTrip for my husband and I (leaving the children at home) for mid June. Our plans at this time is leaving home (Upper Penninsula of MI) and heading west to Mount Rushmore (South Dakota) and then on to YellowStone (Wyoming).
With work and kids we are only able to plan for a week trip. I know it'll be fast, but that's half the fun.
We would like to see as much as we can by vehicle, hiking and possibly biking. We are also interested in the not your same ole restaurants. We like to try new things and hit the "can't miss" "locals favorites" hot spot eateries.
I'm also looking for info on some good overnight stays with some entertainment/fun of some sort.
I appreciate any and all feedback. I'm just starting our plans and could use all insight.
Thanks so much for your help.
OK - Limits and What To Do With Them
Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!
Well, Kids and a week certainly qualify as 'limits' on a RoadTrip, but you can still certainly have fun and keep everyone fairly happy as long as you keep a few general rules and guidelines in mind. The first is that you will absolutely need three days each way to get to Yellowstone and back. Trying to do it in less is counter-productive and will just cause you to miss much of what is on offer along the road, and keep the kids crabby. Plan on stopping every few hours on whatever route you are following to give everybody a chance to see something, get some exercise, and just enjoy not being cooped up in the car. Even taking three days each way will still leave you 1-3 days at Yellowstone depending on if you add an 'extra' weekend to your week. While you could always spend more, that will be enough to give everybody a good taste of it, particularly if you view the drive as part of the adventure rather than just something that has to be gotten through to get to your destination.
Second, plan on a different set of roads out and back. Again, this will help keep up a sense of adventure. There will always be something new for you to see. For example, you can take I-94 one way and I-90 the other without too much difference in total mileage. I-94 highlights would be Minneapolis or the iron docks at Duluth/Superior (depending on where you're starting from in the UP and how you make your connection to the highway), the Little Missouri National Grassland and/or Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the Little Bighorn. Highlights on I-90 might include Devils Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park, the Corn Palace and the Upper Mississippi RiverNational Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
Third, as for local eateries, this is another great way to have an adventure. Don't just eat at the standard fast food joints at the highway exits, but watch for fairly sizeable towns as you near mealtime. The just drive into downtown. Look for a local information center and ask for something that appeals to the what you are hungry for at the time. Ask where they'd eat if they were looking for something with local color. If there's no information center, just ask people on the street or look for a restaurant or diner that looks like it is getting a good bit of repeat, local business. You may not know what you're getting yourselves into, but you know that it will make a better travel story than "Oh, we just ate at McDonalds (or Burger King, or KFC, or...)."
Oh, and just one more thing, a bit off topic: You should probably have a look at this post.
Buck - she said they are leaving the kids at home! You *could* do a UP-Rushmore run in 2 days, but not UP-Yellowstone.
My bad. OK, the kids are staying home, but pretty much everything else I said still holds. Take your time. Enjoy the journey not just the destination. Make it all about exploration and new experiences. You've already eaten at every fast food chain there is, or it just seems like it! Look for the little bits of scenery, history, art, and Americana all along the way, not just the big 'must sees'. And a new one: Enjoy life on your own again, even if just for a week.
Last edited by AZBuck; 04-20-2009 at 04:04 PM.
With only a week, one direction is probably going to have to be a speed run. I would consider doing Rushmore-UP in 2 days either going out or coming back, and you MIGHT even have enough time to take a quick pass through the Badlands and stop at Wall Drug. That should give you enough time to enjoy the rest of the trip.