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  1. #1

    Default Round trip from Connecticut .. Open for advice to change the route :)

    Hi.. Thank you in advance ..

    We are buying a mobile something to sleep in .. Money is no problem but we enjoy off grid living so it is a preference .. Trying to keep it between 2- 3 weeks in August .. (First multi trip not kept to New England or to Florida)

    This is what I have pinned on the map with mini stops on the way of things we just have to peek at in this life as we pass ..

    Main question .. Do we have enough time ..

    Being in a car except for the health risks is usually Noooo issue .. We love hopping place to place ..

    (Marking the main route .. Not needing crazy time for much more then hikes (no sit down meals to save time) .. Short Sleeps can change drivers .. And a lil site seeing on route .. We like the Woods .. Forests .. Fields:) not the inner city stuff (except for Oklahoma city to see a place that does cars and Chicago for a stop for sleep .. and riverwalk :) more West is what we wanna see

    Lichfield, CT .. Chicago

    Chicago .. Badlands

    Badlands .. Devil's Tower .. Mount Rushmore ..

    Mount Rushmore .. Yellowstone ..

    Yellowstone to Salt Lake

    Salt Lake .. To Bryce and Zion ..

    Zion to Albuquerque ..

    Albuquerque to Amarillo

    Amarillo to Oklahoma city

    O.C to Little Rock and Nashville ........

    Then head home .. Saw a scenic byway in VA in a National Forest maybe ..

    Idk .. Opinions .. Time frame .. Switch it up .. Miss something good on my route? Skip something ..

    Tried to group it right but I am not looking at my map ..

    Thanks again!!!!!!
    Last edited by Anhedonic; 04-10-2016 at 10:47 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    From your points of interest so far, I suspect you are doing all this on electronics. To plan a roadtrip you will need good detailed maps. Maps which show you the complete route and the Big picture.

    Get a wall sized map of the US, and put it up where you see it all the time. Then you might find following the advice in the following paragraph helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck
    Start with maps. Not GPS, not software, not Google, but real honest-to-god paper maps that show you your entire route, that you can mark up (and erase), that you can stick pins in, and that show something about the land you'll be driving through. Those are your essential tool in any RoadTrip planning process. Start by marking all the places you know you want to visit. Then connect the dots. Then look for more places of interest and scenic routes along the lines connecting the dots. Repeat until you've got as many sites and roads as you think you want.
    For more detail get a road atlas or maps of individual States and follow the above advice again see what else along the way may interest you. As more questions arise feel free to ask.

    As for time frame, assume that every hour you are on the road you will cover between 50 and 55 miles (in an RV that may be less). This allows for stops such as construction, traffic congestion, fuel, food, red lights, and any other essential stops. For an enjoyable trip try keeping your travel days to about 50% of your trip.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    You indicated "2-3 weeks". Judging by your good choices along the way, you're going to use every bit of those 3 weeks. I'm with Lifey, get real maps, and count on 50 mph in an RV. (If it's a "camper van", or class B motorhome, you can average 55 mph. If its a class A or class C motorhome, use 50 mph.) My husband and I used to tow a fifth wheel, and we always felt like planning 50 mph, no more than 450 miles per day, was plenty.

    Once you get maps or at least a good atlas (try your local bookstores or big box stores, or RTA's store linked below), sketch out a day-to-day plan.

    As you are sketching out a day to day plan, you might want to take note of these tips:

    1) Count on it taking 4 days to get from CT to the Badlands.

    2) Then the order would go (logically) Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone. If were me, I'd do a day with Badlands and Mt Rushmore. Then another day from the Black Hills to somewhere around Billings/Laurel, stopping at Devil's Tower along the way. Then the next day, head into Yellowstone via the Beartooth Scenic Hwy (Hwy 212) and come into the NE entrance of Yellowstone. It's a gorgeous highway.

    3) Plan on at least 2 more days after that to really see Yellowstone -- it's huge, and 2 more days (after coming in the NE section and stopping in the Lamar Valley area several places on that day) will barely cover the basics in the Grand 8 Loop.

    See, we're at 9 days already and you haven't headed south yet. That's why a day-to-day plan is important when you're on a schedule.

    The scenic drive you saw in Virginia was probably the Blue Ridge Parkway and/or Skyline Drive (in Shenandoah National Park). Skyline Drive runs more-or-less parallel to I-81 but at the top of the mountains rather than down in the Shenandoah Valley. There are two issues you will need to consider before choosing Skyline Drive: 1) the height of your rig, as there is a tunnel that is rather low, and 2) it takes about 5 hours to go 105 miles because you're on a 2-lane highway with lots of scenic stops along the way.

    As for what you missed - the Grand Canyon (north rim) or Monument Valley. However, what I'm seeing is basically a 4-5 week trip, definitely not 2 weeks and 3 weeks would be pushing it.


  4. #4


    Thank you so much .. I am pushing for a four weeker then .. I am using a Rand McNally map book 2016? .. And the large wall map updated. What do you'll suggest? I am getting AAA .. And ordering state maps and anything else they have .. We are going for a newer camper van or anything similar. One thing I never accounted for was tunnels .. Except how amazing they are .. Thanks for that! My husband will probably catch those things .. I hope ..

    Time I am going to work with .. We own a swimming pool business .. 7 days a week working until we are ready to go!!

    North rim added (yes it was skyline) .. My stops are just (1% of ;) the things as a kid I always wished to see .. Being my son is going to college this year I wanted to drag my best hiking buddy with me while I have the time!

    Advice .. National state forests .. One permit for the 80 dollars, would that be a deal? Any other passes .. programs .. permits .. etc that I should think about?

    Thanks again.. I will be back!

  5. #5


    Billings looks gorgeous!! The route looks great. Invaluable info.. I am so greatful to find this site!

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


    You will absolutely want to buy the National Parks Pass when you get to your first National Park (looks like Badlands on your current plan). It only covers entry fees, not extras like camping, parking, or tours, but it will pay for itself after your 3rd or 4th park. It also only covers National Parks, Forest, Historic Sites, etc, not state parks.

    The Rand McNally road atlas is my favorite way to get started planning a trip. I like their maps much better than those from AAA.

    And remember, you don't have to do everything in one trip....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I checked for you -- St Mary's Tunnel in Shenandoah is 12'8". In a class B you will be fine.

    What's covered under the Pass (and what it will cost you without the pass):

    Badlands National Park - Buy the pass here, as if you don't, you won't get refunded the $15 you'll have paid to get in here.

    Devil's Tower National Monument - $10

    Yellowstone (and Grand Teton) National Park - $30

    Bryce Canyon - $30

    Zion - $30

    Grand Canyon - $30

    Shenandoah - $20

    Prices without Pass == $165; Price with pass at first park, $80

    Not covered:

    Parking at Mt Rushmore, $11.

    I use a combination of Rand McNally Road Atlas (these days, the Large Scale version) and state maps from AAA to do my initial planning. When we get to a state information center, as we cross into a new state, one of things I try to get is a state map - especially if we are going to spend any time in the state! The state-issued maps will often have county roads on them. I use Mapquest and Google Maps only for verifying distances (the ones that I have tried to calculate by hand) on interstate system travel.

    AAA will have maps for you, and you may want to ask if they have any of the national park maps on your list. (Our local branch indicated that they hope to have a few by mid-April, due to the NPS Centennial.) Unfortunately, they have dropped their campbooks. I noticed that they sell Woodall's guides.

    AAA also has an RV ERS plan, so you might want to ask about that. Their regular plans won't include RV towing. You could compare it to Good Sam's RV ERS (emergency road service). Good Sam won't give you free maps etc., but at one time, their towing service was a lot better. (More miles included, and they didn't threaten to leave our trailer on the side of the road if we had a problem with the tow vehicle.) Of course, your need for that may depend a lot on your RV, its age, and if a road service plan was included (or you purchased it) with your rig.

    Hikes are available in every one of the parks you picked, including Mt Rushmore. There, do the Presidential Trail, though it is easy-peasy, it gives you a great view of the president heads from below, closer to the mountain. You can get books (check Amazon) called "Best Easy Day Hikes" - the series includes Yellowstone. The other way to find out about great hikes in the parks is to stop at the Visitor Center and/or Ranger Station, and ask. The rangers and docents are extremely knowledgeable. They can also tell you if the hike you picked from a book might be closed because of nature issues - landslides, animals (particularly bears), etc.

    Last thing -- as soon as you get your dates in order, you are going to have to think about campgrounds. In places like Yellowstone, Zion, etc., campsites fill up early -- reserved as soon as the reservation window opens, or (if a first-come, first-served campground) early in the morning, like 9 am. You'll be okay along the way to pull into an RV park. It's the touristy areas that will fill fast!


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