Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Roadtrip #8 Preview: The Upper Midwest - Fall 2014

    Hey y'all,

    So we're barely home a month from our previous roadtrip to Alaska, and here I start drafting for the next big one. I had 2 future roadtrips in mind, one going to the Great Lakes area and the other to the Deep South. But our next roadtrip will turn out to be neither.

    For Fall 2014 (probably the last 2 weeks in September) I'm looking at flying into Denver and doing a 2,500-mile loop covering the Upper Midwestern states (Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas). My folks are big into Sioux history and Lewis & Clark, so what better place to travel for that? There's also plenty more National Parks/Monuments and Capitols for me to mark off. It really helps that fuel and hotels in this area are relatively cheap, since most of this area isn't exactly popular tourist destinations.

    All of us have covered some of this route previously in Roadtrips #1 and #2, but this trip is a little more intimate to the upper midwest environment. We may skip over things we've seen before (like Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse) if prioritization becomes necessary.

    Here's the route we're thinking of (and I really am trying to keep the schedule down per day):

    Day 1 - Fly to Denver, CO - Drive north through Cheyenne, WY - Stay in Wheatland, WY
    Day 2 - Devils Tower National Monument (WY) - Stay in Sheridan, WY
    Day 3 - Little Bighorn Battlefield (MT) - Pompey's Pillar (MT) - Stay in Miles City, MT
    Day 4 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND) - Stay in Bismarck, ND
    Day 5 - Native American Scenic Byway (Sioux Nation) - Stay in Pierre, SD
    Day 6 - Badlands National Park (SD) - Stay in Custer, SD (2 nights)
    Day 7 - Wind Cave National Park (SD) - Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse (SD, Tentative)
    Day 8 - Wounded Knee, SD - Scotts Bluff National Monument (NE) - Stay in Ogallala, NE
    Day 9 - Center of the US (KS) - Cawker City, KS - Stay in Hays, KS
    Day 10 - Drive to Colorado Springs, CO (Stay 3-4 nights with friends)
    Day 11 - Garden of the Gods (CO) - Air Force Academy (CO)
    Day 12 - Rocky Mountains National Park (CO)
    Day 13 - Cushion/Chill day
    Day 14 - Back to Denver, CO - Fly home

    If you want to see the exact route proposed, you can view the Google Maps route I've constructed. At this stage it's all rough draft of course so it can (and probably will) change.

    Questions for this thread

    1) Does anyone know some extra hidden jewels along this route? I've tried to hit everything that looks obvious but I'm always prone to missing things.

    2) Although Kansas is currently on the roster, it's sort of out of the way. We're taking an extra travel day just to stand in the center of the US, and also view the world's biggest ball of twine in Cawker City (something silly/crazy to do). My folks think there's nothing out there so it's not priority to them. But I figured it would be cool to knock another state off their list (they will have visited every state on the western half of the nation). If there's any other "attractions" in the northwestern area of Kansas that would be of interest, please sound them off. Otherwise there's a possibility that Kansas may not make the cut.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Filling In the 'Empty' Plains

    As I get older, and since I have already checked most "must see" sites off my own bucket list, I find that it's the smaller venues that hold the most allure and produce the fondest memories for me on my current travels. A few that seem to fit the 'theme' of this trip (if there is one) and that you might want to check out during your drive through Nebraska and Kansas include the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park in North Platte NE, the Pony Express Station in Gothenburg NE, the Museum of The High Plains in McCook NE, Fort Hays State Historic Site in Hays KS, the Frick Fossil Museum in Oakley KS, and the High Plains Museum in Goodland KS.

    A little farther north there is one stop that I wish I could make with you. On the road south from Bismark/Mandan ND, you will pass right by the Fort Rice State Historic Site. I recently discovered that my great-great-grandfather, as a member of the 50th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, was instrumental in the establishment of this frontier outpost during the later stages of the Civil War. His regiment marched 400 miles overland to this fort in the middle of nowhere and, despite being surrounded by hostile native Americans, engaged the Sioux in a single skirmish: the Battle at Yankton Reservation. See, the thing is, there is no "middle of nowhere", and there is always something to engage your interest and/or curiosity no matter where you may be.

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default Ice Age mammoth.

    Hot Springs, South Dakota, which is on your route.

    The Mammoth Site is a museum well worth a stop and provides an excellent history of the area in prehistoric times. Sure this will tempt your parents.

    Travel back to the time when Ice Age mammoth, camel, and giant short-faced bear roamed the Great Plains of North America. They used a sinkhole for water near Hot Springs which collapsed and covered their bodies. Recovered items form part of the museum.

    Not a place to miss.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    That location in Kansas is the geographic center of the contiguous United States. The geographic center of the entire US is near Belle Fourche, SD. This may be easier to fit in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    See, the thing is, there is no "middle of nowhere", and there is always something to engage your interest and/or curiosity no matter where you may be.
    I knew there'd be some seasoned travelers for that area. :) You have given some great suggestions. Since Hays, KS is one of our overnight stops, Fort Hays will be right there so we can at least check that one out. I'll research the other ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eris View Post
    The Mammoth Site is a museum well worth a stop and provides an excellent history of the area in prehistoric times. Sure this will tempt your parents.
    Thank you Eris. This sounds like an excellent alternative to re-visiting Mt. Rushmore/Crazy Horse.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    The geographic center of the entire US is near Belle Fourche, SD. This may be easier to fit in.
    I had researched both geographic centers to see which one was easier/more worthwhile. The Kansas one is a little more formal with a monument and marker. The South Dakota center is just a lone flag in a private field that you can't really get to (unless you want to risk trespassing). Although the South Dakota center would be more appropriate for us (since the long-term goal is all 50 states), it really didn't make sense to travel an extra 3 hours (round-trip) off our route JUST to take a picture of a far-away flag.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Oklahoma and Kansas?

    Joey,

    I'm guessing that you've already looked through the RTA list routes for that region? If not, take a look at this list...

    Plus, Peter and Carole Thody are embarking on a tour of the upper mid-west in about a week. You might wish to scan some of their planning thread. And Dave's report about is trip using Denver as a hub is full of other great ideas. (Oh heck, I can't find that report -- Mods-help)

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default A Bit to the South

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sedenquist
    Dave's report about is trip using Denver as a hub is full of other great ideas.
    Dave's latest trip out of Denver headed southwest to the Four Corners area, a bit out of Kinless' current area of interest I'm afraid.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A site well worth visiting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kinless View Post
    I had researched both geographic centers to see which one was easier/more worthwhile. The Kansas one is a little more formal with a monument and marker. The South Dakota center is just a lone flag in a private field that you can't really get to (unless you want to risk trespassing). Although the South Dakota center would be more appropriate for us (since the long-term goal is all 50 states), it really didn't make sense to travel an extra 3 hours (round-trip) off our route JUST to take a picture of a far-away flag.
    It is much more than a flag in a field.... and there certainly aren't any trespassing issues. There is a sign on the fence to highlite where it is. There is a stone cairn by the side of the road. There are small hooks on the fence, to be able to make a large enough opening through which to access the field. AND there is the official Geodetic Survey marker there to show you the exact spot.

    Oh yes!! and the flag.

    You might like to check out post 138, in this thread.

    One thing to be sure of, if you do go there, and I highly recommend that you do, approach it from the south. Old 85 is mostly a maintained gravel road. From the south it is around 7 miles (from memory). From the north you are looking at more than 20 miles.

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 08-14-2013 at 06:15 PM. Reason: addition

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Trail Ridge Road.

    Hi Joey.

    There are never any guarantees that the Trail Ridge Road across RMNP will be open on any particular day, so if it's open when you leave Denver it would be worth considering taking the opportunity to drive it at the beginning of your trip. It would also save you a few miles by going from Estes Park to Loveland and north to Cheyenne rather than the Denver 'loop' at the end of your trip.

    Not far from Garden of the Gods you will find Cave of the Winds and of course you have Pikes Peak to consider and with 3 or 4 nights in the area, should have time to visit both. One place we didn't have time to visit but might be a bit 'touristy' was 'Seven Falls'. [Hmm, I don't think your parents will appreciate those steps !]

    Dave.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    This will take you directly to Lifey's post about the South Dakota center of the Nation:

    Page 14 of Lifey's post, scroll down to 138.



    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Roadtrip #6 Preview (Revised): Victoria, BC and the Pacific Coast
    By Kinless in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-05-2011, 12:14 PM
  2. Roadtrip - Michigan Upper Peninsula
    By stealth52001 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-30-2011, 01:37 PM
  3. Roadtrip #6 Preview: The Pacific Northwest
    By Kinless in forum Spring RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-07-2011, 08:38 PM
  4. Roadtrip #5 Preview: The NorthEast
    By Kinless in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 09-21-2009, 11:15 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES