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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Live in SW England, Work in Dubai, Travel in USA
    Posts
    175

    Default North / Mid West Road Trip Planning

    Following the success of previous road trips around various parts of the US that I've blogged on this site, I'm starting to plan the next one!

    This will be a 3 week trip next fall (late September into early October) starting from Seattle, WA and taking roughly the following route:

    Seattle, WA > Great Falls, MT > Bismarck, ND > Onida, SD > Mullen, NE > Casper, WY > Bend, OR > Seattle, WA

    There's no real reason for picking any of the stops, other than they form a nice circular route through the region I'd like to explore.... if anyone has better suggestions / ideas of what to see en-route then I'm all ears.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Some of your route is along the Lewis & Clark Trail, for instance. Around Bend and The Three Sisters area, there are lava beds worth exploring (IMHO). However, these may or may not be your "cup o' tea".


    Donna
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-18-2012 at 04:54 PM. Reason: Edited for courtesy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    And I could add a lot of central ID, which has ever so much to offer, especially around the Sawtooth Mountains. But as mentioned above, this is your trip, and whereas I may be able to lose myself for a week along the banks of the Salmon River, and in the central Idaho Ghost Towns, these too, may not be your "cup o' tea".

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Few to Consider

    Just a 'few' locations you should at least have a look at in planning your trip:

    Mount Ranier; Steptoe Butte; Coeur d'Alene; Pend Oreille Scenic Byway; MT-200; Theodore Roosevelt National Park; Buffalo Gap National Grassland; the Oregon Trail/Platte River; Thunder Basin National Grassland; Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks; Craters of the Moon National Monument; Hagerman Fossil Beds; Thousand Springs; Bruneau Sand Dunes; Bruneau Canyon; Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; Mount Hood; Columbia River Gorge; Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument; Olympic National Park.

    Those should do for starters.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Live in SW England, Work in Dubai, Travel in USA
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Some great suggestions there, Thanks a lot....

    I always do a huge amount of research both on this site and from other sources, but there's no substitute for experience and local knowledge, hence picking the brains of the people on this forum.

    As far as "cups o' tea" go, I'm very easy to please, I have a slight preference for nature and "the wild" over the urban jungle, but in general I just like to see as much as I can of everything available!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Talking with the locals.

    Quote Originally Posted by dangermouse View Post
    ... but in general I just like to see as much as I can of everything available!
    That is why my plans are few, if any. I like to head straight for the horizon, to see what's there. From where I sit, all the research in the world does little compared to speaking with the locals on arrival in their town. Of course, that also means taking the minor highways and some very good maps. Call it getting off the beaten track. Call it avoiding all the tourist traps. Call it what you like. All I know is, it has taken me to some amazing places, and given me experiences I will never forget.

    And none of those were on the internet or in guide books.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Live in SW England, Work in Dubai, Travel in USA
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Well I've spent the best part of a month planning it.... the important hotels are booked, the maps are marked and the itinerary laid out....

    Check the trip reports thread from August 30th.... hopefully I'll be blogging as I go, though I suspect that Internet connectivity might be patchy in the areas we're travelling to this time.

    Looking forward to it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default A long-time photo contributor!

    Quote Originally Posted by dangermouse View Post
    I always do a huge amount of research both on this site ....
    Tsk, Tsk... Apologies on behalf of some of the newer RTA Enthusiasts... Dangermouse is LONG-TIME PHOTO CONTRIBUTOR AND field report writer on this forum. Some of the comments above were clearly off-base and I apologize for them.

    As a reminder... Look at Derek's May 2007 photo report!

    How soon will be leaving? Great Falls is very cool
    Quote Originally Posted by dangermouse View Post
    though I suspect that Internet connectivity might be patchy in the areas we're travelling to this time..
    Derek, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the Web access -- Wyoming was probably about the first state to install fiber in most cities.

    Please post your itinerary and I'll share some ideas -- I know this area of the country very well!

    Will you be driving anything unusual this year?

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-18-2012 at 05:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Live in SW England, Work in Dubai, Travel in USA
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Timescale wise, we arrive in Seattle on Aug 29th and leave to fly home again on September 15th.

    In the intervening 2 weeks, the route takes us roughly through Spokane, Missoula, Helena, Big Sky, Billings, Cody, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Shoshone, Burns, Redding, Shasta, Crater Lake, Salem, Hood River, Mt St Helens, Olympia NP and back to Seattle.

    Sadly, because of the gravel roads and mountain passes that we're driving, I decided that another 350z would be a bad idea so I've rented a plain vanilla 4x4 with an idea that I'll see if there's anything interesting to upgrade to on arrival.

    Thanks for your comments on the photos, they say a thousand words I think, so I always try and include decent shots in the reports... I'm going to try and use RTA's own hosting this year as I think that might be easier.
    Internet wise, I'm going to pop to an AT&T shop when I land and see if I can add a data package to my US cell, that way I can use it to create a wireless network that I can link my laptop to in order to post..... there's always a way to get online even if the motels we're staying in aren't connected.

    Thanks again and feel free to make any suggestions you like regarding our route / sights to see along the way.... I've done some looking around obviously but most of the sights on our route will be found as we go along by talking to people. As Lifey said above, books can give you a sensible route to follow (which we need given the time constraints) but local knowledge is always best for what to see along the way.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-19-2012 at 11:53 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    AT&T is going to hit you with a double whammy for that - not only do you have to buy a data plan, you have to pay a tethering fee. I looked into that for my smartphone and took a pass.

    It may be more cost effective to go to Walmart and buy a prepaid mobile hotspot.

    There's also coverage issues - AT&T is not noted for good 3G/4G coverage off the beaten path. In reality, you should be able to find wifi just about anywhere these days. I've even seen motels in very remote areas with Internet.

    Case in point - I stayed in the Cedar Lodge just outside Yosemite in El Portal. I had no cell coverage with AT&T at all - not even voice. My sister didn't have any coverage with Verizon either. No phones in the rooms. However, they had wifi in the lobby for $9 a day.

    A hotel I stayed at in San Simeon had satellite Internet. Desk told me that the only other choice in that town was 56k modem dialup with a long distance access number.
    Last edited by glc; 08-19-2012 at 12:32 AM.

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