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  1. Default I do not know what I am doing!

    To whom ever this goes to:

    Either I am a complete idiot when it comes to this kind of stuff or this site is hard to navigate.(Sorry to sound like a jerk). All, I want to do is post my questions and get help, so hopefully I am in the right spot.

    Here it goes: I am from MI. and going on a roadtrip out west to the Wyoming area. The trip consists of me and one other person, we want to see anything that comes up from MI. to WY. and back. I have done a lot of research on what there is to see and we have narrowed it down to Devil's Tower, Black Hills, Deadwood, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Tetons, Jacksonhole, and we know someone in Montana. We are driving straight west to get there, and then coming north into Montana and driving through Wisconsin and the UP (MI) to get home, so there may still be other things that we want to see. We both are very active people, have been in the outdoors, camped, fished, and hunted before.

    Currently, we just bought a pop-up that we have fixed up, so now we don't have to tent it out there. We are both extremely excited and anxious to see what the west has to offer. The point of the trip could be to possibly move out there, but also for the experience.

    This is our first real trip together, alone, so we still are a little concerned with money. Considering, we will not have our parents to buy us dinners! : ) We are both old enough to understand this and know that it will take a great deal of money, but what I guess my question is: is this trip doable?

    I am sure you get this all the time, but I have all the pieces of the puzzle I just need help putting it all together. We have a lot of equipment, a fair amount of money, and a basic plan. We both, do not want it totally planned to the dot, but we do want the idea of knowing that we will have gas money to come home (if we want to come home). As you may know, gas is not cheap! I am the organizer, I guess you could say and the worry worm, so please contact me back with the questions/answers you need to know in order to help me out. My question is in case I did not make it clear is, is this trip doable, can we see what we want to see, camp, and have a good time without worrying about money?

    Information you may need to answer this:
    Destinatioin: Michigan to the west (South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana) and maybe see the UP or anything in Wisconsin
    Money: I have about $1500, but can afford another $500 at most
    He has about $2500, but I have not found out if that is it yet
    (I know that gas alone will be over $1000, and we are buying our own groceries, & eating out if we can only afford it).
    Shelter: We have a pop-up and a tent (in case of a disaster or we have to sell the camper!), and we plan to sleep at truck stops and camp sites, so I know that cost will add up
    What am I missing and how do I put this all together????? Thank you for your help!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-27-2008 at 04:18 PM. Reason: Added Whitespace

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

    Default foundation

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I actually think you've got a pretty good foundation. You know where you want to go, why you are going there, and what you have in both money and gear to make it happen. Sometimes putting it together just means getting out and making it happen.

    As far as your budget goes, the one thing I think you left out is time. The amount of time you are on the road is a major factor in your total costs. Without knowing how long you'll be gone, its hard to say how much money you'll need, however, this is a pretty good post to give you a basic outline for budgeting.

    One little note about the pop-up, while sleeping at truck stops is fine, popping up a camper is kind of a grey area. You'll certainly want to make sure management is fine with your plans before you set up.

    Otherwise, sometimes its easy to overthink things. You can build the best plan in the world on paper, but your plan won't really come together until you are actually on the road.

  3. #3

    Default Been there from Michigan

    Hello Mission-

    My wife of 30 years and I departed Crystal Falls, MI, bound for Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado 26 years ago this July, with our departure delayed slightly due to her having to go to the doctor to see why she was so nauseous. She was pregnant with our firstborn, now 25 years old.

    We took US 2 across the UP and Wisconsin, then bushwhacked through Brainerd, MN bound for I-94 at Fargo, ND. Having finished our trip in Boulder, CO, we returned via I-76 and I-80, thence up through Iowa and SE Minnesota and Rhinelander, WI, back to Crystal Falls.

    Depending on where in Montana your friend is, I can suggest some sights and campsites up there, along with some routing ideas.

    As you work out your budget, be aware that your gas mileage will be impacted by towing the pop-up camper, and that you can minimize that effect by driving more slowly than you might ordinarily drive, which will in turn affect your travel times.

    Also be aware of an abundance of low cost or no cost campsites available in National Forests, state parks, and the like. I share MM's opinion that popping up the camper at a truck stop should be preceded by permission from management, as I don't think that's an everyday matter.

    You would also be well-advised to pick up a current edition of Woodall's or one of the other campground guides. It's been quite a while, but the Woodall's I've used gives info on public (Federal, State, and local govt-owned facilities) and private (KOA, etc) campgrounds. The tent-camper fees may also be listed. Good highway maps and possibly a GPS system would be on my list, as well, especially if I was headed any distance off the beaten path to quieter and less-expensive campgrounds.

    Enjoy the planning and the trip!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Gps?

    I love that story, Foy. :)

    I think a GPS is a fun toy and can be helpful but it's not necessary. If someone has the money for that toy, why not? But if someone is on a budget, they don't need one. Good maps should do it.

    One way to get some great maps and free guidebooks is to do a websearch for "___state name___ tourism". This should bring up the state tourism office for the state you're searching for. They usually have great online resources and will send you free maps and other information upon request. They can take several weeks to arrive, at times, so time may be a factor if you're leaving soon.

    I agree that a Woodall's or similar is very helpful. These are our recommendations for good guidebooks listing campgrounds.


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