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  1. Default Milwaukee, WI - Yellowstone - Champaign, IL - Milwaukee, WI

    Hey guys, my friend and I are planning to do this trip in late May before I start work. We depart from our hometown of Milwaukee and spend 2-3 days in Yellowstone, camping for one of those nights. We then take out for Champaign where we will spend a night at a friend's house. From there we head back home. We both have little experience with trips more than 500miles so any advice you guys have regarding attractions along the way or ways to save some money is welcomed. Most of our questions are pretty simple: Where can I get a shower without renting a hotel room? Is it common to just sleep in the car or am I better off finding a motel (I have very little money after budgeting for gas)? Any must-see attractions at Yellowstone or on the way (not just some old house or a graveyard)? I've always wanted to raft/swim in the Mississippi River, what's the best way to do that?

    Really, ANY advice you guys can offer would be appreciated as I know little about roadtripping and even less about the route (that is part of the reason we are going).

    Thanks again!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Cold and Limited

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    By late May, all of the major roads and services should be open, but all such schedules are subject to the caveat "weather permitting". You need to be aware that although the broader area is referred to as the Yellowstone Basin, it is at a general elevation of 8000 feet plus. Spring comes late. While some campgrounds may be open, it will be cold at night so sub-freezing equipment is a must. A car offers no thermal insulation. Also, many roads are restricted to non-vehicular traffic (bikes, roller blades, hikers) in the first week or two after they officially open.

    Similarly, your plan to sleep in the car on your drive out and back is subject to the reality that it may simply be too cold. Also, in order to make it to Yellowstone in two days, you will be pushing yourselves to the limit. You will need to cover nearly 700 miles a day, and while that is theoretically possible with two drivers and the advantage of driving west (thus picking up an hour), you absolutely need to get a full and restful night's sleep in between. Saving $40-50 and in exchange getting a fitful night's 'sleep' in a cramped and freezing car is a false economy as you will quickly realize the next day.

    You can get showers on the road without springing for a motel room. Truck Service Centers and campgrounds all offer showers. Truck Plazas often will let you park in there lot for the night as well. In return you should make a purchase such as a meal and/or a shower.


  3. Default

    Yes, I agree about the weather. I've seen snow on the 4th of July in Yellowstone, but at the same time it could be blazing hot, then. It's very changeable and dramatic. If you go in May I wouldn't be at all surprised to see big piles of snow where the snow plow has left them. It's been a long time since I was in Yellowstone (worked there one summer), but I believe there was snow there when I arrived in late May/early June. It was generally cool at night, but warm and pleasant during the day.

  4. Default

    I will echo the other comments about weather at Yellowstone. We camped in mid June of 2010 and it snowed. Water faucets were frozen in the morning and we froze -- so be prepared!

    But I LOVED Yellowstone. The greatest NP I've been to and worth a trip -- just make sure you get off the road -- that's where most of the beauty is.

    Lots of cool places to see on the way out there -- I loved the air museum between Lincoln and Omaha.

  5. Default Got it.

    Ok, sounds like we should be going later then, maybe early-mid june. Thanks for the advice!

  6. #6

    Default Food

    If you are going by Libertyville, Illinois, (and if you are on 94, you will be) you MUST stop by Firkin (Google "Firkin of Libertyville" - I'm not allowed to post links) and have some beer and hot wings. you will not be disappointed. They do not have Miller, Coors, etc. They have REAL beer. Giant chalk boards that are updated every day with what they have. Amazing beer and food. Best wings.

    If you like mead, they carry Viking's Blood most of the time. Best mead I have ever had.
    Last edited by Mike and Mandy; 04-11-2011 at 02:45 PM. Reason: forgot state

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