One of the big reasons we bought the Roadtrek was to make a big trip out west. Several in fact. Over the years with my job as a journalist, I've seen most of the country and much of the world. But I have always tended to parachute in, get there quick, get to where the story was, cover it and get out quick to move to another story somewhere else. But one place I've never been and that has been at the top of our must-visit list for years is Yellowstone.
So I booked a week's stay today, in two places: A KOA campground some six miles from the West Entrance and the Fishing Bridge RV Park right inside the park. I booked the week of August 22-29.
I'd like to see Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands on the way out and something else cool on the way back. That way back will require the most advance planning as it will be the Labor Day Weekend, the traditional end of summer.
I figure we have a couple weeks to seek more advice and figure all this out but am glad to have cemented the reservations at Yellowstone. We can work our way there and back and we may decide that seven days in one place is too long and even want to try another one of the park's numerous campgrounds.
I chose the Fishing River campground because it was the only in-park campground with full hookups. A big issue for me, though, is that it has no Wi-Fi and, I'm told on the review sites I saw, no cell phone connection.
For a tech guy who maintains numerous blogs, that promises to be pretty frustrating.
You can't have campfires there, either, apparently because people eat around campfires and it's in the heart of bear country.
The KOA, meanwhile, has full hookups and Wi-FI. And campfires.
Jennifer and I are pretty active. We'll do lots of the organized tours – I'm told to book them early, too – but we like to hike and bike. I've ordered a packet of material from the National Park Service on Yellowstone and will use them in helping us figure our which campground will ultimately be our best choice. We can cancel either reservation with 48 hour notice and get a full refund of our day's deposit.
So, that's where we'll be at the end of the summer season, our big trip west. But that leaves lots of other opportunities between then and now.
For Memorial Day Weekend, we're thinking of a long weekend in Michigan, at perhaps the Wilderness State Park at the top northwestern part of the mitten that makes up the Lower Peninsula. We know that area pretty well. There are lots of biking and hiking opportunities.
That leaves us with our first trip yet to take.
I shared in one of my earlier posts how, when we first bought the Roadtrek last week, I planned to take off three days after taking delivery for a long-planned family vacation over Easter at a rented Florida beach house near Grayton Beach. My idea was to leave Thursday, spend Thursday and Friday night in the Roadtrek leisurely driving the 1,1oo miles and then park it at the house. We'd repeat the process on the return trip, leaving Easter Sunday and spending Sunday and Monday nights on the road as we headed back to Michigan.
I decided against it after more experienced RV'ers posted answers to my questions on a couple of RV forums, basically saying that they thought driving to Florida three days after taking delivery was a bit too ambitious of a shakedown trip. One poster, in fact, said the first test should be an overnght in my driveway, to make sure everything works.
So, unless I change my mind, the Roadtrek will sit in the driveway for a couple weeks after we drive it home the day we take delivery.
But where will we take our first trip, something we now hope to do in mid April? That will most likely be a two-nighter, easing us into the Roadtrip experience.
I'm going to see what's available 100 or so miles from our home.
Does that sound reasonable?