Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default 2016 Loop Trip, Missouri-South Dakota-Montana-Idaho

    Here we go with this year's trip report. This will be typed "as we travel", usually with a day or two delay (depending on Internet access and the time to do it, of course).

    DAY 0: PREPARATION

    The day before one leaves on vacation is usually a busy one. One needs to pack suitcases, pack the vehicle, try not to forget anything on the packing list inadvertently, talk to the neighbors and the person caring for the house in your absence, and get some SLEEP. The latter is especially important when you live where we do -- just south of a major metropolitan area known for its horrendous traffic, and just south of a very hot desert land. You want to sleep so that you can prepare for departure in the early, early morning hours.

    DAY 1: SAN DIEGO COUNTY to RICHFIELD, UT - 602 miles

    Hubby and I were out within 10 minutes of the projected departure time, delayed only to take the time to take care of a last minute thought. The first part of the journey went smoothly, allowing us to traverse Riverside and San Bernardino areas without major traffic snarls, and to cross the desert when it was still fairly cool. We stopped for breakfast at North Las Vegas -- disappointing.

    Once we got through these areas, we knew we could start taking our time. Our first little sightseeing stop was at Cedar Pocket exit in the Virgin River Gorge area of Arizona's I-15. There is a BLM site in there called Virgin River Gorge Recreation Area. There are places for day-use, like picnic areas, and for camping. The day use area was pretty enough, but to get into the Gorge itself, one needed to hike 2+ miles. We declined that at this time, took a few pictures, and moved on.

    Our favorite ride of the day is between St George UT and the intersection of I-70. You climb up in elevation, everything starts to be green, and the temperature is cooler. We knew we'd pull into Richfield long before check-in time, so we chose a likely looking rest area near Cedar City, pulled in, opened the windows, and promptly took a nap. The breeze was blowing through the windows and felt great! We didn't want to overstay at this one, so we moved up to the rest area near Beaver and repeated the nap. It made us so refreshed and ready for the road again.

    In Richfield, we pulled into the same motel we've stayed at on quite a few occasions: Quality Inn. They have a lovely "newer" pool that's been enclosed -- the water was comfortable! Didn't try the hot tub but it looked good. The room served our needs.

    Dinner was down at the Frontier Village Restaurant, since JB's no longer existed (and a steakhouse with reviews stating it was overpriced, taking its place). Our food was delicious, price was okay, there was a LOT of food.


    Donna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 2 - RICHFIELD, UT to BURLINGTON, CO - 630 miles

    We were on the road again early, as this was the day we'd been looking forward to, for weeks. This is our very favorite route between our home and Missouri (where we have family), because it takes us down some very, very scenic interstate miles.

    In the San Rafael Swell before 7 am, there is little traffic, the morning breeze is almost cold, and the play between sunshine and shadow can be fun. Scenic photo stops are a must in here.

    IMG_3818 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    On to a food stop, then a fuel stop, in Grand Junction, CO. Note to self: if a fuel station won't take your card at the pump because it's a debit card, leave and find another station. We used this station "because we always have", but no more.

    Off through the Glenwood Canyon area. We decided to enjoy it through the windshield this time, and make our next stop at the top of Vail Pass. We both wanted to get out and stretch our legs, not to mention enjoy the colder breeze! We walked some of the sidewalks in the Pass rest area, and of course took photos.

    IMG_3827 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Next came construction: horrendous, awful construction delays. We came to a full stop on the interstate right at the exit to Dillon. Then inched our way to Silverthorn. We had to make 3 lanes, plus entrance ramps, come down to 1 lane for some work that was about 100 ft in length. It delayed us a LOT.

    We climbed the mountain to the Eisenhower Tunnel. There we came to a stop again, this time to go from 2 lanes down to 1. Here's a view out my windshield:

    IMG_3830 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    All these delays brought us into Denver just in time to experience early rush hour (3:30 pm). There were a lot of places with stop-and-go traffic, or slow-and-go. We didn't have reservations for the evening, as normally this is about a 10-1/2 hour trip for us. So we were debating, do we call the motel or not? Decided not to.

    After Denver's traffic issues, there was construction. ARGH! Again! Down to one lane. Then after Denver, on the eastern plains, two more major construction areas that took one to two-way traffic.

    Finally pulled into Burlington, into our intended motel, and found that they had plenty of rooms even at 6 pm. They'd done a lot of upgrading inside the room, drained the pool (how disappointing!), and raised the rates. Still, they were cheaper than most of the other places in town, so we weren't going to complain.

    Went over to Pizza Hut -- since we only have Pizza Huts that deliver or do take-out (no sit-down and eat Huts), this was fun to do, yummy, and not too expensive. (I had planned to cook in the room, but not sure that the room's electricity could have handled the power that an induction burner uses.)


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 3: BURLINGTON, CO to SALINA, KS - 270 miles

    This morning was a leisurely one -- sleep in, have coffee in the room, play on the computer, pack up, and have a late breakfast at the Denny's next door. We made sure to take our time, as we were encouraged not to arrive at our destination until 4 or 5 pm, as my brother and his wife would still be at work.

    Not too many stops, only one major one and that was for fuel in Hays, KS. We ran into the same issues there as we had in Grand Junction. It appears that in many stations, merely inserting your debit/credit card into the pump means you will be charged the credit price. (At home, you are given a choice, and if you choose "debit", you get the cash price.) Our truck is getting between 14 and 18 mpg, depending a lot on how much 75 mph, wind issues, and AC is used.

    Pulled up to my brother's right at 4 pm, and my SIL was already home. Brother got home about an hour later, and we all spent the evening catching up and unloading the truck of the things that we had brought him from our parents' home in the Phoenix area.



    Donna

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

    Default

    DAY 4 - SIGHTSEEING DAY, KANSAS - 130 mi round trip

    My brother was working, so my SIL, hubby and I headed down to Hutchinson, to the Cosmosphere. This is a Smithsonian-related museum that has the Hall of Space, an IMAX theatre/planetarium, and Dr Goddard's Lab within its walls.

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 009 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    In the lobby itself were several items of interest. One was a trainer, "affectionately" known by early astronauts as the "spinner". There was also an SR-71 Blackbird, not a model but the real thing -- unfortunately, I was unable to get a great photo of it. Evidently, the "bird" was positioned there and they built the Cosmosphere around it, so the only way to get the plane from the building will be to dismantle either the building or the plane.

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 011 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Inside the museum, we began in early WWII, where the V1 and V2 bombs led to the development of the rockets that brought us into space.

    The highlight of the museum artifacts, to me, was the Apollo 13 capsule, "Odyssey". I have seen many of the Apollo splashdown capsules, but this was probably the most amazing one. It had been completely dismantled after they pulled it out of the sea, to see if the scientists could figure out exactly what had gone wrong. The Cosmosphere got it in 1995, reassembled it (it took years) and now it's on display.

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 038 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 039 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 044 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Photographers roaming the museum may find the display of space cameras very fascinating! One thing I learned was that there are still pieces of 6 cameras sitting on the moon. The back half of the camera, containing the film, came back with the astronauts, but the lenses are still sitting there. All are Hasselblads.

    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 047 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Of course, like at the Apollo Museum at the Cape (see our 2012 trip report) and the space museum at Johnson Space Center (see our 2014 report), there were other mock-ups and replicas of LM's, lunar rovers, simulators. There was also a replica of the Apollo-Soyuz meetings, the flight where the US astronauts and the Russian astronauts met in space, shook hands as a show of goodwill (shocking during the Cold War years), and went back to their respective countries.

    Soyuz
    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 056 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Apollo
    Donna 2016 Summer Wk 1 057 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    After viewing the section about Skylab, the shuttle, and the ISS, we headed back to Salina. All three of us had learned a lot. That evening, the four of us watched the movie, "Apollo 13", at my SIL's suggestion.


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 06-19-2016 at 12:03 PM.

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

    Default

    DAY 5 - SALINA to LAKE OZARK, MO - 380 miles

    This was our last day of driving for at least awhile, as we have family in Missouri. We said teary goodbyes to my brother and SIL in Salina, KS, and headed east once again. Looking at various maps and mapping programs, we decided to drive the mostly interstate/freeway-quality US highways instead of the 2-laners. It was probably much faster.

    We made only a few stops. Fuel (diesel) is going down in price again, which is appreciated. When we stopped in Topeka, we had the choice between debit and credit, and choosing the debit card, it gave us the cash price -- $2.15. For food, both our regular GPS *and* our "The Next Exit" told us that there was an Arby's at a given exit on the Missouri side of the river. Not only was it not there, one of the locals said it hadn't been there in years, and pointed at the still-empty building. We ate at Hardee's instead. Neither of us had eaten breakfast, or had we stopped.

    We were about 10 miles from our exit off I-70 when the truck pulled something it hasn't done but once in two years: it bucked and kicked around for a few seconds, then went back to normal. It did it again, in a minor way, twice along US-54. Once we pulled into the hotel, it gave us the same issues it gave us at the hotel in Bismarck, two years ago. It is truly a mystery, that I'm afraid we won't solve until the part just quits. It's kinda scary, but we've decided it is not going to let us destroy a trip, nor are we going to throw any more money at it.

    Though family is in the Lake Ozark area, they live in a rented condo and just don't have room for two more people. So we are staying at the Quality Inn at the Lake of the Ozarks. It's a nice place - indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, laundry facilities, fitness room, more. There is plenty of parking, too.

    It is good to spend some time with our family. There won't be too many more posts unless we do some sightseeing in the area and I take more photos that don't have family members in them.



    Donna

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 6 and 7: LAKE of the OZARKS, MO

    These two days were mostly days to visit our family who lives in the area, and to really look around and try to decide "do we want to retire here". My husband is already retired, and ready to move back to his home state, while I still have at least two more years (depending on the economy) to go and help make the decision about where to move.

    IMG_3851 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Lake of the Ozarks is a resort community, but with a number of full-time residents. The lake is huge, and was formed when they dammed the Osage River many, many decades ago. At this time of the year, it's lush and green, but also hot and sticky.

    A funny story I just have to share -- we are staying at the Quality Inn, but every morning we come over to our family's small duplex to visit, carrying our cooler. One evening, our granddaughter (4) stuck her hand in the water to see if it was cold, which of course it was. The next morning, we came back with it full of drinks and ice. "Oh, look! It turned into ice! Like magic!" So now every morning, we return with "magic ice". I think it will be the smile carried with us for the rest of the trip.


    Donna

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 8: HA HA TONKA STATE PARK

    Our son-in-law was off work for the day, so the 6 of us set out in 2 vehicles to go to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. This is located southeast of Camdenton, just off US-54. Like most state parks in Missouri, it's free. Can't beat the bargain!

    There are several points of interest within the park, and worth a little exploration. The first was Snyder's Castle. The man decided, back in the early 1900's, to build a huge home of stone/rock on the bluffs above the Osage River. He began the house in 1906, but died a year later with the inside of the home unfinished. It wasn't until 1922 that his sons finished the home. Unfortunately, in 1947, the house, and much of the close surrounding area, was consumed by fire. The remains are now part of Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

    Donna Summer 2016 Missouri 002 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    What is left of the Carriage House:
    Donna Summer 2016 Missouri 003 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    What's left of the house itself:
    Donna Summer 2016 Missouri 009 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    What the inside looks like now:
    Donna Summer 2016 Missouri 018 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    How it was built:
    Donna Summer 2016 Missouri 031 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The water tower - built to bring water up from a natural spring close by:
    IMG_5950 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    Another place of interest within Ha Ha Tonka SP is the natural bridge. This is very different from the natural bridges of Lake Powell, Arches NP, and similar, but formed of different type rock found in Missouri.

    This is my husband standing underneath the natural bridge:
    IMG_5954 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    My husband's photo taken from underneath the natural bridge, looking back at me and my daughter. (The two grandkids and my son-in-law were not able to get to the natural bridge, as it was not accessible to anything with wheels.)
    Warren 2016 Summer Wk 1 067 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    As for the rest of the day -- daughter and I left the kids with Daddy and Grampa, and headed for the Osage Beach Premium Outlet Center. It's an outdoor center, not an enclosed mall. She wanted to get to a store with a really good sale going on this week, and I wanted to visit the outlet of a store that I love but can't always get to. The nearest store to me is in Yuma, AZ.


    Donna

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 9: FAMILY FIRST

    Just a lot of visiting with family -- always a highlight of our road trips. We are still with our daughter and her family.

    DAY 10: FAMILY, THEN MORE FAMILY - LAKE OZARK to COLUMBIA - 83 miles

    We checked out of our hotel on this morning, as our five night stay was over. Quality Inn Lake of the Ozarks is a decent place to stay -- comfortable beds, good showers (though a small bathroom), iron/iron board-refrigerator-microwave-coffee pot all in the room, and they serve a really good breakfast. When we were packing up the truck, though, we noticed (after we thought everything was in) that we had forgotten our personal pillows. So back we went into the room. There is a great reason, right there, to pack everything in the same place every morning, to ensure that you haven't forgotten something!

    On the way down to our daughters, we made two stops. One was to pick up a magazine called "Relocating - Lake of the Ozarks", for people contemplating the move to the Lake. The other was more personal in nature.

    Spent much of the day with our daughter and granddaughters, but at about 3, it was time to move north to our other family. Daughter was sad to see us go, and of course we were sad to leave, but we knew we'd see her again in a day or two. What's really sad about goodbyes is when the granddaughter that took a few days to warm up to you, tells you that she doesn't want you to leave!

    The drive north on US-54 and US-63 was uneventful. We ran into a little bit of traffic at The Bridge (over the Missouri, just north of Jefferson City), because there is construction. Then traffic got a little heavier as we entered Columbia.

    We spent the evening with my SIL and BIL, visiting, and then I took a long walk with my BIL, niece, and her new dog. The weather had turned a bit cooler, thank heavens! When we came back, all 5 of us piled into their van and went to a place called Tropical Liqueurs. They serve frozen slushies, which on hot nights are SO delicious! My niece had to go along for the ride, and I was even surprised that they let her come into the place.



    Donna

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    DAY 11: FAMILY AGAIN

    We spent the day just visiting and helping the family run errands and do stuff around the house. We really didn't do much special.

    In the evening, more family arrived. My daughter and granddaughters came up for the weekend to make it a real family celebration. My SIL's son, DIL and grandkids all came over. It was a big noisy time with 5 little ones around the place. SIL ordered pizza to make it fun for everyone.

    DAY 12: SEEING THE COLUMBIA AREA

    There is a major area of Columbia, MO, that is torn up, to create a new interchange along I-70. Travelers in the area should be aware of it. Westbound travelers are detoured completely off of the interstate. Eastbound travelers are on the freeway but it is down to one lane. I asked my BIL, "when will they make it end?!" but they had no news about it.

    As a result, we have taken a number of "backroads" to get to places around Columbia with them. We went to a farmer's market, situated on a middle school parking lot and grassy area, to pick up some yummy tomatoes fresh off the farm, and a few other things. Unfortunately, no corn on the cob for another week or so.

    IMG_3863 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    We passed by Mizzou's stadium.
    IMG_3865 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    I've written about the winery near Rocheport in previous trip reports, but it is always an activity that we enjoy with the family. Kids are welcome; they are just not allowed to partake of alcoholic beverages. You are welcome to bring your own picnic foods (and we did), but not to bring your own alcoholic beverages. Instead, you can buy wine by the glass or by the bottle. You can bring your own glasses to avoid a $3/glass deposit, so we did. We bought 3 bottles of wine and everyone shared.

    IMG_3873 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The A-Frame where you buy wine, and food if you didn't bring your own.
    IMG_3870 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    This was a warm and sticky day -- a storm was due any time -- but there was a breeze coming from the Missouri River.
    IMG_3866 by jeanniesisters, on Flickr

    The day ended with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill -- and all the trimmings. Our family loves to eat!



    Donna

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

    Default

    DAY 13 and 14: FAMILY FROLICS

    Not much to say about these last two days in Columbia -- most of it was spent visiting various other family members in the mid-Missouri area.

    DAY 15: COLUMBIA to BROOKINGS, SD - 550 miles

    Alas, it was time to start the other half of our road trip, heading west into a lot of historic and scenic areas. Saying goodbye to family again, was difficult -- always is when you only see them once a year, if that. Trying to get out of Columbia seemed like a Three Stooges routine, with one foul-up after another. Finally pulled out 45 minutes after we'd hoped, at 7:45.

    We headed west on I-70 toward KC. I had tried, in vain, to get hubby to try another route, but no, he didn't want to do that, wanted to drive interstate all the way. (I wanted to go north on 63 to US-36 west, which would have been all divided highway.) In KC, rush hour was pretty much done, and we headed north on I-435. Just north of Worlds of Fun, the heavens opened up and we drove through a storm that brought a lot of water, lightning, and thunder for a good 10 miles. Then we drove out of it, for the most part.

    We took I-29 all the way to Brookings, SD. The weather was pleasant -- no air conditioner at all in the truck! We took our time, as we had reservations in Brookings. We pulled in there at 4:45 pm, about 9 hours after we left Columbia, staying at the Econo Lodge right on US-14.

    After settling our stuff in the room, we walked over about 3 blocks to Walmart, where we picked up some stuff for dinner. Walked back, took a dunk in the indoor pool and hot tub.

    Decided to cook a meal in the room. There were no rules that said we couldn't, the electricity looked like it would handle an induction hot plate. (We bring that, plus other cook stuff, in the camper shell of our pick-up.) We had salad, thanks to Walmart, and a chicken-and-pasta dish. The only problem was cleaning up afterward - I had forgotten the dishtub at home. I managed, but on the next trip to Walmart, that would be rectified -- as would the replacement of the coffee scoop that my husband left in Columbia. Doing dishes in the sink or bathtub of a motel isn't really recommended, because you can cause a clogged drain.


    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Montana & N California - May/June 2016
    By Pmount in forum RoadTrip Field Reports
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 07-26-2016, 06:53 PM
  2. Idaho Falls, Idaho to Stafford, Virginia - JANUARY 2016
    By JDUA in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-24-2015, 08:16 AM
  3. Summer 2016 SoCal/South West Loop
    By fandozzle in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-06-2015, 05:25 AM
  4. South Dakota/North Dakota/Montana/Wyoming in an RV?
    By stumbalina23 in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-13-2008, 02:08 PM
  5. Idaho, Wyoming & South Dakota Family Camp Trip
    By Patterson Family in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-25-2008, 10:26 AM

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