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  1. Default first RV trip- to Mt Rushmore & Yellowstone

    We (DH & myself) are planning a Mid west trip to Yellowstone & Mt Rushmore. We will be towing a small travel trailer- (Rpod). We will be leaving from Grand Rapids MN and ending in Buffalo NY. We are planning on additional stops in Bismark ND, Badlands & Tetons. Google Maps RT is approx 3800 miles- 59 hrs- we feel we should have enough time to cover this and have time to enjoy the sights- are we on track? Also are there roads/highways we should avoid? Someone suggested using route 2 -going north around Lake MI-vs going through Chicago-any thoughts.
    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    10,748

    Default Time ?

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    we feel we should have enough time to cover this and have time to enjoy the sights- are we on track?
    I had to read your post 3 times and nope, no mention of how long you have got. ;-) The only number I read is 59 hours, a Google fantasy that has little to do with 'Real world' driving. A distance of 3800 miles needs to be counted in days not hours as a computer does not recognise human needs such as sleeping and eating, or the need to refuel, road construction and congestion delays. With the minimum of detours into City's and Parks etc, I expect your mileage will top 4000 miles which is the best part of 8 full days of driving with rest stops but no sight seeing.

    So how long have you got ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    Since you're starting in Northern Minnesota, and finishing in Buffalo, I doubt US-2 will be a great choice in this case.

    The most logical way to do the trip you're talking about is to head across North Dakota (make sure to add in a stop at Teddy Roosevelt NP), then continue into Montana towards Yellowstone and the Tetons, and then hit Rushmore, Badlands NP, and the many other attractions of South Dakota on your way back to Buffalo via I-90. Going over the top of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron would add a couple hundred miles, and actually at least another day or two of driving, as they are much slower roads. Actually, if you did that, you really wouldn't even be using US-2, except for a few miles near Sault Ste. Marie, as you'd want to come up from the Green Bay area. Now, if you were doing a complete loop, and heading from Buffalo back to Grand Rapids MN, then going up over the lakes would make more sense.

    But I will also add a note that I completely agree with Dave. You didn't say how much time you have, but a number like "59 hours" is completely meaningless when planning a trip of this size, and the only thing that really matters is the number of day, not hours.

  4. Default

    I had edited my post and I guess accidentally deleted that we have 18 days to do the complete trip- the suggestion was to go north as we leave Grand Rapids around the top of Lake Michigan to ND then on to WY >SD> Iowa> IL>IN>Buffalo (I-90). Think we have enough days- never being out there- and first time drivers of RV- concerned if there are roads we should avoid and would that impact the time needed. Rpod trailer is roughly 18 ft long, 7 ft wide & 9 ft high. Any must see's that we should include would also be greatly appreciated. I have been reading some of the other threads that cover the same area for ideas -so glad I found this site.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-08-2013 at 07:39 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bbqnjm View Post
    the suggestion was to go north as we leave Grand Rapids around the top of Lake Michigan to ND t
    Wait, where are you starting from?

    Your first post said it was Grand Rapids, Minnesota, however, now it would appear you are starting in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

    That makes a pretty huge difference in how I would approach this trip.

  6. Default

    so much for posting late at night- We are starting from Grand Rapids Michigan- didn't even know there was a Grand Rapids Minnesota. Appreciate your help

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    If you have the time, going north through the UP is a lot more pleasant drive than going through Chicago. Another option, although it will be costly, is take one of the ferries (Muskegon to Milwaukee, Ludington to Manitowoc) across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.

    EDIT: I think your trailer is too large for the Muskegon-Milwaukee ferry (height limit 8'6") but the Ludington-Manitowoc ferry can take it.

    Do you have a suitable tow vehicle for traveling in the mountains? Approximately how much does the trailer weigh?

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    If you have the time, going north through the UP is a lot more pleasant drive than going through Chicago. Another option, although it will be costly, is take one of the ferries (Muskegon to Milwaukee, Ludington to Manitowoc) across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.

    EDIT: I think your trailer is too large for the Muskegon-Milwaukee ferry (height limit 8'6") but the Ludington-Manitowoc ferry can take it.

    Do you have a suitable tow vehicle for traveling in the mountains? Approximately how much does the trailer weigh?
    We have a jeep grand Cherokee- 2008- dealer installed tow hitch & transmission cooler- being told can pull up to 7200- trailer unloaded weight is 2500 - load capacity is 1222. Been told by others shouldn't have problem towing- but are wondering how it will manage the mountains. Would it be better not to bring RV?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
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    Default Take it.

    I think it would be better to take it, that's what it's for and camping can be a lot of fun! I wouldn't have thought there would be anything of concern to prevent you from taking it, it'll just be a bit slower and take a little longer that's all. If it's this summer you are travelling and hoping to stay in Yellowstone, you should look to secure a spot, although it may be too late already you can keep checking for cancellations or find alternatives outside the park.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    A Grand Cherokee is a very suitable tow vehicle if it has a V-8 or a turbodiesel. If it has a V-6 gas engine it will still do the job, but will be underpowered in the mountains.

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