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Old 07-17-2014, 02:44 PM   #1
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Location: Bloomington, IL
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IL to CO, SD in July/Aug

Hello all! We'll be travelling in our Georgetown 351DS (36' motorhome) in late July, leaving the flatlands of Central IL to Breckenridge, CO. We won't be camping in Breckenridge, but do plan to use the motorhome for some day trips. We do not yet have a toad, so renting a car in nearby Frisco for the week we're there.

Here's our plan, always interested in hearing suggestions on things to see and do, or the "oooh, you won't like that road in your RV!" comments.

We're planning to take either US-36 or I-70 West from home, regardless we'll end up on I-70 just East of Denver, and will take it on into Breckenridge via CO-9 through Frisco. I understand to expect steep grades and tunnels along I-70, take it slow, low gear up and down, and we'll be fine.

We intend to take the RV to Glenwood Springs for a daytrip on I-70, again, steep grades, tunnels, low gears up and down, and we'll be fine.

After a week in Breckenridge I thought we'd head to Boyd Lake State Park via Rocky Mountain National Park. From Breckenridge we'll take CO-9N to US-40E to US-34E, with 34E winding its way through RMNP. How is this road in an RV? Appears to have some nice switchbacks. Anything to be concerned about? Or avoided? Is it better to come into the park from the East in an RV? This is the one route I'm most curious about, but being this close want to see RMNP at least.

From Boyd Lake SP we're headed to Custer State Park, SD. The route looks pretty straight forward there, hopefully we'll miss the construction on 16 that appears to be West of Custer. We'll be staying at Game Lodge Campground. Since we are not towing a vehicle, we'll be taking the RV to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. I know to avoid 16A - the Needles Highway of course. Wish we had a toad!! I'd love to drive this stretch. Is the southern Wildlife Loop passable in an RV? Or even worth it? I hear staying for the night-time lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore is well worth it.

I know Sturgis will be in full swing so I'm expecting extra traffic everywhere, look twice, three times, maybe even four before making a move. I'm hoping that by staying in a State Park campground it won't be crazy, just busy.

From there we start the journey home across I-90, might make the stop at Wall Drug, a drive through Badlands NP, Corn Palace, random stops depending on time and the kid's moods at this point. We'll likely take I-90 all the way to I-39 as I've driven that stretch many times.

Probably 3000 miles total, camping only 4-5 nights at this point, in a friend's place the rest. I used the Good Sam trip planner on their website and will be using a Garmin RV 760LMT for onboard navigation.

Thanks!

Tom
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:39 PM   #2
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Location: Just outside Durango CO
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Thumbs up RMNP

Hi Tom,

The wife and I spent four days up at RMNP about a month ago. We drove that route (9 - 40 - 34) only going the other direction. It's nearly all two lane with mild to moderate grades till you start up over the Continental Divide going through RMNP. The speed limit through the park is fairly slow (around 35MPH) so as you said, keep it low & slow. I will mention that in Colorado if you're traveling under the speed limit and start stacking up cars you are required by law to pull over and let the "flow go".

The scenery in these areas can't be beat. Once in the park there's not much "development" on the west side. Keep an eye out in marshy areas for moose. You're almost guaranteed to see deer and elk. In the higher elevations look for big horn sheep. Going up over the divide on 34 there's several places to stop and take in the views. If you can time your transit it's much better to go in the morning and avoid afternoon thunderstorms. By all means watch out for lightning as there have been several injuries and a few fatalities this season.

The east side of the park has more to offer. It sounds like you're just passing through but if at all possible I'd recommend at least an overnight stay. As always, weekdays are going to be less crowded than Fri - Sun. Maneuvering an RV around the park can be challenging. But if you’re staying in one of the campgrounds they offer shuttle busses to various points in the park.

Oh, and check out road conditions at www.cotrip.org

Enjoy!
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #3
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Thank you for the update, that does ease my mind a bit!

Unfortunately we are just passing through RMNP on this trip, but I'm hoping it will spark some interest to make that a destination in itself some time.

Thanks,

Tom
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