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  1. Default Road Trip October/November

    Hi, My husband and I are from Perth Western Australia and we are road tripping across the US October/November this year. We are really getting excited!! My question is about Yellowstone, where we plan on spending 3 days Oct 14 - 17. We are looking at staying in West Yellowstone and using that entrance into the park. I know this is late in the season, but I am under the impression roads will be open till Nov.4th? (we are driving a rental car) Does anyone know if we can still access that entrance and most roads in the park, or are we better of staying in Gardiner and using the north entrance, which I believe is open all year? I have done a lot of planning if this trip, and would hate to be disappointed if we can't get into Yellowstone. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You will be fine visiting the park from West Yellowstone in Mid-October. The one thing that you'll want to do your first day there, however, is do any exploring of the area between Canyon and Tower/Lamar Valley on your first day, as that part of the park closes to cars on the 15th. It is of course possible, that specific weather conditions (ie a snowstorm) could impact where you can go as well.

    The other thing to remember is that while the roads will be open, most of the services in the park will be shutting down. Nearly all of the park's stores, lodges, and restaurants will be closed during your visit, so plan appropriately.

  3. Default

    Thanks Micheal. Hopefully there will still be restaurants open in the town of West Yellowstone itself? We are also driving through Kentucky, and whilst we are not 'horse' people, the countryside facinates us. We are staying 2 days here, and are interested in seeing the country and speaking to the wonderful people, not so much big cities. Are we better to stay in Louisville or Lexington? Any guidance is much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Georgetown KY

    Heather, the first time I stopped-over in Kentucky, I stayed in Georgetown,more by default than by plan. I recall it was a lovely town, with lush green surroundings..... and lovely people.

    But it stands out because at the hotel the young lass checking me in asked for my zip code. I explained that I was not from North America (which she would have seen from my passport) and that we do not have five digit zip codes. She asked me to give my four digit post code anyway, which I did.

    Imagine my surprise when she asked, 'Do you live in ......' My suburb had come up on her computer. I have never struck another place which uses the same system. This was 12 years ago, and for the world of me I cannot recall which hotel it was (but I can still 'see' it in my mind's eye).

    BTW, if you have not already got it on your list, make sure you pack your membership to the West Australian automobile club. It will give you access to free maps and tourist information from the AAA, all across the US (and Canada).


  5. Default

    Thanks Lifey.
    I'll check out Georgetown, it sounds lovely. We have membership with the RAC here in Perth, will that get us our free maps etc.? We have to get our International licences from the RAC, so I will mention it?
    We are 'on the road' from Portland to Seattle, then we make our way to Yellowstone for a few nights via Spokane. From Yellowstone we head to South Dakota and the Badlands, then on to Kentucky via Kansas and St Louis. From Kentucky we head to Gettysburg and then we are staying in NJ and catching the daily train into NY, as driving sounds too scary! We only have a few days in NY before we head to Philadelphia and Washington DC. I have a friend in Stafford Virginia, so will stay there, before we head to Charlotte, then Charleston and Savannah. From there we head to New Orleans via Tallahassee for a night. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see my team 'The Saints' (NFL) play a home game. We then do our loop of Jackson, Birmingham and Montgomery before we head back to New Orleans for a week. On to Beaumont TX and Houston, where we give back our wheels and fly to Amarillo, Las Vegas and to San Francisco for three days before home.....
    As we start in Los Angeles we wanted to finish somewhere different, and Alcatraz is on my bucket list.....
    We are on the road for 6 weeks and I have broken our trip up so we are not on the road for more than 6 hours in any day (average ~ 4hrs). My husband is an avid photographer and I am interested in the south and the history, it has to offer, so I hope I have got us both covered. We are only glimpsing the big cities, as we want to see the country and meet the people. This plan is not set in stone, so any suggestions or comments will be appreciated. The trip has been a long time in the planning, so we dont want to miss anything!!
    Cheers Heather
    PS I know its not winter, but do you think we might see snow?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Quote Originally Posted by heatherb View Post
    We have to get our International licences from the RAC,
    Just so you're aware, an International Drivers License is only a translation of your current license. It isn't actually needed, and doesn't actually provide you any extra rights that your current license doesn't have. Since presumably your current license is in English, you really don't need to get one for this trip.

    It sounds like you've got a great trip in front of you. I would say the odds of you seeing at least a little snow during your trip are relatively high, as mid-october and into November really are the start of the winter season in some high elevation areas like Yellowstone.

  7. Default

    Thanks Micheal.
    From what I have read we don't need an International licence, but it is recommeded? It is only a small fee, and I am being over cautious, as we have never travelled anywhere outside of Western Australia before....
    As we live in a very hot climate, to get a glimpse of some snow would be wonderful and the kids would love to see the pics! Can't imagine how cold it gets...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default I'm curious.

    Heather, Yes, your membership will be accepted by AAA. But why are you getting international licences? Who told you to?

    In a fortnight I will be leaving on my sixth trip to North America where I have driven in excess of 120000 miles, but I have never had an international licence. An international licence is in effect a translation of a foreign licence. Since your licence is already in English, I cannot understand why you would be going to the trouble (and expense??). I have rented cars, relocated cars, and now own a car which is registered and insured, all with my Victorian licence. The couple of times I have been stopped by the relevant authorities, they have taken my licence, and (I guess) checked it out. At no point, and by no one have I ever been asked why I do not have an international licence.

    Check with the rental company. Honestly, I never ever thought of getting one. I just always assumed my licence was good in all English speaking countries.

    As for Kentucky, last year I planned to stay in Georgetown overnight on my way to Cincinnati. I wanted to just briefly check it out again. However, a fatal accident on I-75 at Corbin delayed us for more than 2 hours. It was late in the day, and by then I did not have the energy to drive another two hours.


    There is always a chance that you will see snow. On the other hand, there have been years that very little, if any snow has fallen before Christmas. It is like saying, do you think Perth will get rain in June. Some years you do. Some you won't. Know that there is a possibility and plan accordingly. Stay flexible.

    The only place where you may have issues could be Yellowstone. But there too, who knows. After all, Mother Nature has a mind of her own. [It took me many attempts to drive the Trail Ridge Road in CO. That road was closed due to a blizzard in August 2001 - the height of a very hot summer.]

    Have you looked at Seattle to Yellowstone via southern Idaho? Boise? Stanley? Twin Falls? Bruneau Canyon and Dunes? Craters of the Moon? Idaho is such a lovely State.


  9. Default

    If you have time and winter is mild so raods remain open, then you might consider North Cascades national Park and Glacier National Park between Seattle and Yellowstone.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Staying in NJ and taking either the train or the bus into NYC is a great idea. The traffic is only a mild part of it. The other issue is PARKING. It's difficult to find in NYC, and it costs an arm, a leg, and your firstborn.

    My brother took us into NYC from his place in NJ. We took the bus, because it was less expensive than the train and there were more of them. However, by the distance he took us to where we caught the bus, the extra cost for the train may have been eaten up by fuel usage.

    Once in NYC, make extensive use of the subway and the surface street buses. There are a lot of places close to the train stations and Port Authority (bus station) that you can see by walking. But if you want to see the site of the World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, or other far off located things, you'll want to ride.


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