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Old 07-03-2018, 10:54 AM   #1
we3
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2 month cross country trip

Hi all, I am in the planning stages of a lengthy road trip next summer for my family. We would leave around June 7 and return around Aug 7. We will be two forty something parents and a nine year old. We are based in PA and would like to spend some time in the pacific northwest and around Yellowstone & Tetons before heading home by way of Custer and Badlands. We mostly enjoy visiting and staying in/near national parks, doing family friendly hikes, rockhounding, photography and the trying the occasional (semi-tame) family adventure (horseback riding, kayak tours, raft float trips, etc). We will be doing a mix of walmart type overnighting, boondocking, dry camping, and stays in full service RV parks. I already have reservations for Yellowstone at Grant Village. I have a tentative schedule below and would appreciate any thoughts or comments on tow distances/routes, good places to camp, must see things, etc. Ideally, we would like to have no more than 6-7 hours of road time on long travel days. (this includes quick stops for lunch and stretching). There may be a few longer days, but I am hoping I don't have any 10 hour tows hiding in here.

Days 1-5 driving to arrive in Estes Park, CO. overnights at Walmart, Cracker Barrel and the like.
Days 6,7 mini-break in Estes and thinking of staying at Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake. Spend two days in Rocky Mountain National Park
Days 8,9,10 drive from estes park to Crater Lake, thinking of stopping in Evanston, WY and then Winnemuca NV. also thinking of trying to go through Idaho instead and incorporating a stop a Crater of the Moon but I am unsure about the real drive times here.
Day 11 at Crater Lake
Day 12 drive to Bend OR -possibly do some Rockhounding
Day 13 Rockhounding near Bend -would like to hunt for thunder eggs and Obsidian
Day 14 Drive to Newport, OR -thinking of staying at South Beach State Park
Days 15,16,17 explore Oregon coast to the south of Newport and Newport area
Day 18 Drive to Cape Disappointment WA (or Canon Beach OR) thinking of staying at Cape Disappointment State Park or a state park near Canon Beach
Days 19,20 explore between Cape Disappointment and Newport, OR.
Day 21 Drive to Mount Rainier -thinking of staying at Cougar Rock or Ohanapecosh
Day 22 Mount Rainier
Day 23 Drive to Port Angeles, WA. Thinking of staying at Elwa Dam RV Park
Days 24-29 Explore Olympic National Park and Olympic Peninsula
Day 30 Drive to Kayak Point Regional County Park, Stanwood WA
Days 31, 32, 33 Explore San Juan Islands, day trip to Seattle
Day 34 Drive to Coeur D’Alene, ID -possibly put in another overnight here to go rockhounding again, but this night would probably have to be deleted from one of the previous stops

Day 35 Drive to Glacier National Park -thinking of camping at Fish Creek
Days 36, 37, 38 Explore Glacier
Day 39 Drive to Philipsburg, MT
Day 40 rockhounding (sapphires and/or Crystal Park)
Day 41 Drive to Yellowstone (staying at Grant Village)
Days 42-46 Explore Yellowstone
Day 47 Drive to Grand Tetons -thinking of staying at Colter Bay
Days 48,49,50 Explore Grand Tetons
Day 51 Drive to Cody, WY
Day 52 Explore Cody
Day 53 Drive to Devil’s Tower (thinking of taking the southern route through the Bighorns)
Day 54 Drive to Custer State Park-thinking of staying at Game Lodge Campground
Days 55,56,57 Explore Custer State Park, Visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments, Day trip to Badlands
Days 58-61 Drive Home

Thanks!
PS We have a 2017 Microlite 25BHS and a 2016 F150 6.5 bed w/max tow. I think we are about 46' in total length.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:13 PM   #2
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Be sure to make reservations for the Oregon Coast campgrounds.
We'll be at Kayak Point next week, for our annual family camping trip. Great family park. I would advise reservations there also, as it is a very popular campground.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:27 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info -glad to hear Kayak Point is a nice park. Have you visited the San Juan Islands? If so, do you have any recommendations for how to spend one or two days? I would also like to know which Oregon coast parks people prefer. There seem to be so many to choose from. Thanks again.
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by we3 View Post
Thanks for the info -glad to hear Kayak Point is a nice park. Have you visited the San Juan Islands? If so, do you have any recommendations for how to spend one or two days? I would also like to know which Oregon coast parks people prefer. There seem to be so many to choose from. Thanks again.
Never camped in the San Juans, since ferry rates are too high to take the trailer.
Any Oregon Coast state park is great. So great we wouldn't consider a private one.
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Old 07-06-2018, 09:36 PM   #5
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If you come from the Olympic Penninsula via the Port Townsend ferry, make a stop there as well as in Coupeville. Your son will enjoy exploring Fort Casey right next to the ferry landing.

For the San Juan, you might consider staying at Deception Pass SP or Washington Park in Anacortes to reduce driving. As Bikendan said, the ferry fares are pretty steep for longer loads. Consider going to Or as Island exploring Rosario Resort, Moran State Park and Mt. Constitution then find a place to stay and visit San Juan Island on the way back. Any of the islands are nice to visit, but I would choose these two as first priority.

You should plan on making reservations for both ferry routes a couple of days or more in advance.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:32 AM   #6
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Seems like a long trip with lots of sight-seeing, and you will see alot. Been out to SD, ND, Mt, Wy, Co, Ut,, the entire area.
But the one thing I don't see on your list is some "down time". That long on the road, you'll have to grocery shop, laundry, and just a day here n there to stop and relax.
On all our longer trips we always take a day every 6-8 and stay an extra day to relax, shop, maintaince, ect. Kids need some "down time" also.
We don't boondock, prefer full hook ups. But as an example, toward the end of your list it looks like your staying at 3 seperate areas, but all are all within driving distance of each other. We stayed in Hill City for a week, using it as a base, and saw all the sights, monuments, and outlying towns, Custer Park, Badlands, Needles, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devils Tower. Never had to worry about moving.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:21 PM   #7
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Days 1-5 driving to arrive in Estes Park, CO. overnights at Walmart, Cracker Barrel and the like.
Have you thought about the temperatures for this first 5 days? Do you have a generator/plan? Are you going to be able comfortably sleep in the camper without air conditioning?
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:09 PM   #8
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We dont usually travel on Sunday
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:35 PM   #9
we3
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Thank you for the feedback

A lot of good observations. Thanks for all the replies, they have been very helpful. We've been camping so I haven't had a chance to check in. I will make another reply with follow up questions.

Ependydad, thanks for the suggestion about alternate Walmart plans in case of heat. We don't have a generator and if it is hot, we would opt to stay somewhere with electric. If it's bearable, we will just park at Walmart. We did that for the first time this summer on a rather warm night (87 degrees/90 percent humidity when we parked, cooled down to 69). It was bearable, but if it were any warmer or if it didn't cool down, I don't think it would be restful.

As for downtime, grumpy0374, you make an important point. We won't sightsee everyday or leave the area where we are camped. On days when we have short moves, we will likely spend the morning moving and the afternoon grocery shopping and doing laundry.

Coupevillefish, thanks for the suggestions on the other parks in Anacortes to base at for visiting the San Juans. That will definitely be a one or two day excursion without the camper.

That is a good point about the last three stops on our trip, grumpy0374. I will look into Hill City as a base for those areas.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:36 PM   #10
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A few more itinerary questions

I am having some trouble with the itinerary on the Oregon coast. I would like to be able to spend some time there. My original idea was to stay in Newport at South Beach State Park and spend one of the days driving south to Yaquina and spend the other days around Newport and at the beach near the campground.

I also had planned some time on the north coast or Oregon/South Coast of Washington at Fort Stevens or Cape Disappointment. To add to the confusion, we want to spend one day driving the road to the Mount St Helen's visitor's centers. I am not sure if this could be a day trip from anywhere the coast or not. I have a total of 7 nights planned for the coast and I am not sure if I should stay in one place or move. I also have 2 nights planned at Mount Rainier -and I am not sure if Mount Saint Helen's could be a day trip from here either. Suggestions?
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