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  1. Default New Hampshire to Washington, HELP!

    Hi everyone!

    im leaving the 25th to drive out to Washington state for work. from what i have talked to people about i am planning on about a 5 day road trip.

    i dont want to spend money on any hotels, so i plan on camping/sleeping in the car for entire way out there.

    I know this will make the trip physically harder, but that's the way i have decided to do it in order to save money.

    my ultimate goal is to be able to sleep in camp grounds at national forest/parks, and to drive through/ stay a night in yellowstone if that works out.

    i have been looking around and haven't really found any information on a trip like that, so right now its kind of a drive till i find a place to stop situation...

    any help/pointers???

    Thanks, Dan

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

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    5 days is basically the bare minimum amount of time you need to make this trip safely (guessing you're going from around Manchester to Seattle?). Having said that, that does not allow any extra time for major detours, so Yellowstone is pretty much out of the question unless you take more time.

    In fact, doing this as a camping trip is going to be pretty difficult as it is to cover that much ground that quickly, because camping by its nature takes more time. You have to factor time to set up and tear down each day, and campgrounds are usually not right off the freeway - especially not National Parks and National Forests.

    Having said that, I wouldn't limit your camping options to National Parks and Forests either. There simply won't be many of them on your route until you get well out west, and they are often going to be harder to get to. There are a lot more camping options, however. State Parks are a great resource, and will be much more plentiful. There are also often be county, city, or other camping options run by local governments you can take advantage of for cheap camping. Paper Maps and atlases are a great place to see these options, because they will be marked right on the map with a triangle.

  3. Default

    thanks for the reply,

    your right im going from Manchester to Seattle (more specifically north east corner of the Olympic peninsula)

    just to clarify what i meant by "camping" is setting up my one person tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag out side my car to sleep for the night, whole process shouldn't take more then 10 min. :p

    thats to bad about yellowstone, the routes i was looking at on google maps says its only about an hours difference in total drive time. i was just looking to drive through it, and if the timing was right maybe pitching my tent there for a night.

    i am surprised to hear the 5 days is the minimum time to get out there. from the people i have spoken to that seemed to be a "comfortable" time to get my self out there.

    thanks for the info so far you have definitely given me a few things to think about.

    keep it coming!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    Doing this trip in 5 days requires 600 miles a day. That's 10+ hours a day on the road and really is the most you should look to do on a multi-day trip. For comparison sake, a professional truck driver would be required by law to take at least 5 days, if everything went perfectly, because of safety rules.

    Online map programs assume you can drive at or above the speed limit for every minute of the day, and you never have to stop for food, fuel, traffic, construction, etc.

    I understand you can set up a tent pretty quickly, but you've still got to get to the campground, find a site, and check-in. Just getting to a campground itself is often going to take you at least 15 minutes, if you find one pretty close to the freeway. Any way you look at it, its a more time consuming process than pulling off the freeway and into a hotel room. Campgrounds also often have quiet hours where you can't check in or set up much after dark, so you also need to keep that in mind. Also note that you're starting your trip on Memorial Day weekend, so there may be a lot of campgrounds that are full on your first couple days.

    As far as Yellowstone, I'm not sure what you're looking at with Google Maps that says it would only add an hour. Anyway I look at it with Google, you're adding at least 4 hours, and I'd say that's very optimistic. Also, Yellowstone is a very busy place, and if you just pull up in the evening, you may not be able to find a campsite as sites tend to fill up very quickly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    4,546

    Default

    Bear in mind that just driving INTO Yellowstone is going to add time. The average pace is 30mph and that does not include if you happen upon an "animal jam" -- i.e. when a wild animal is either in or at the side of the road and everybody stops.

    Traveling over Memorial Day Weekend is going to mean full places. That means reservations or hope that they might squeeze you in. Sleeping inside your car isn't a good idea -- at a rest area, it's just plain unsafe. In a truck-stop, it means you'll have engines running all around you, lights in your face (unless you can find a place in the lot that is relatively dark), and you should do business there such as buy a meal, get a shower, or buy your fuel there.

    You'd be best off looking for city, county and state parks that are near to your highway, call to see if you can get a reservation for Sunday night (the only day that may be an issue for Memorial Day if you are leaving on the 25th).


    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Google and your trip.

    Think of it this way. It will take no more than 10 mins to pitch the tent by your car. I agree. But you have not yet got to the campground, and if you arrive after the office closes you have to do the self registration and find the spot. There will be times when you have lost quite a bit more time.

    You cannot just pitch your tent in Yellowstone. To camp in Yellowstone you will need to have booked a site months ago, or arrive early in the day for that night, to get one of the first come first served sites.

    Neither can you 'just drive through it'. Driving in Yellowstone is very very slow. Not only are the speed limits low, but the crowds slow everything down, and wildlife gets right of way. So when there is a herd of Bison on the road, everyone waits until they decide to move.

    When you look at Google maps, remember, Google does not have to wait for crowds or wildlife. Neither does Google ever need to get fuel, food, go to the restroom. Google never gets slowed down by roadconstruction or traffic congestion either. Google lives in cyber space, which unfortunately, you do not. You live in the real world and need to deal with real world conditions. If there is an accident up ahead, it no longer matters what Google said, chances are you will need to wait till the mess is cleared up, and the traffic gets moving again. (Happened to me today.)

    I have done this trip several times, albeit Boston / Seattle. I find that if you want to do a relaxing trip you need at least six days. With just five days it will seem more like work, than a relaxing trip.

    Have a safe trip.

    Lifey

    EDIT: Donna just reminded me... on top of all the above, you will have the complications of a long holiday weekend, and the possibility of finding even State Parks, full up - unless you arrive early.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
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    Default

    I personally think if you need to make it there in 5 days, you need to budget about $300 for hotels, and use them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    I don't see any reason you can't camp on this trip. That's what I'd likely do if I were in your shoes.

    Just looking at where you could look to stop:
    The first night should be around the PA/OH border. Geneva State Park, OH could be an option. I seem to remember OH State Parks requiring a 2 night reservation for holiday weekends, so you may have to dig a little deeper here.

    Night 2 - near Mauston, WI. Mill Bluff State Park could work very well for you. I've been to the park, but never stayed at that campground. It is very close to I-94. Other options in the area are Buckhorn State Park, which is nice early in the year, but very buggy later in the summer. Rocky Arbor is right off the freeway near Wisconsin Dells, and a bit out of the way, but one of my hidden favorites in the area is Roche-a-Cri near Adams and Friendship.

    Night 3 would put you either near Bismarck if you take I-94, where you'll find Fort Abraham Lincoln SP right on the Missouri River. If you go I-90, then you could be looking at the Badlands National Park. The main campground is on the east side of the park, setting you up perfectly to drive the loop road before getting back on the freeway in the morning.

    Night 4 would then have you around Butte, Montana. I don't have a specific recommendation, but there are plenty of public lands in the area to explore.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    Default Public lands campgrounds

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    Night 4 would then have you around Butte, Montana. I don't have a specific recommendation, but there are plenty of public lands in the area to explore.
    Here are some of those public lands. As you can see, lots of little triangles, not all that far off I-90. Three of which could well be within your reach. I will leave it up to you to check and see if any of these are suitable.

    Lifey

  10. Default

    thanks for the reply every one!

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