Tell me where to go: Help plan my RV trip to Wyoming

It's time to head west to Wyoming and, eventually, Yellowstone National Park. And this year, instead of repeating past routes, I thought it would be fun to get your suggestions, to crowd source our trip by drawing on the collected wisdom of our readers.

In other words, tell me where to go.

Here's the particulars:

roadI'll be leaving Kalamazoo, MI about 9AM Friday June 14. I need to be in Gillette, WY by mid afternoon Monday June 18 for the annual Family Motor Coach Association Reunion and motorhome showcase. That's about 1,230 miles.

I don't want to drive more than 400 miles a day so there's time to discover cool places, see great things, meet interesting people on the way that we can photograph, video and report about to you on this blog. I'm on the lookout for truly unique places and people. I've already written about the touristy things along the way on previous trips. The Corn Palace. Wall Drugs. We reported on the Badlands and Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore last year. So I'm looking to forgo those spots and travel off the beaten path this time. What are the stories along the way unique to the land?

They can be a cool photo. A fun restaurant. A unique campground. A local character. An historic spot. I had an old editor once tell me decades ago that everyone has a story.  My long journalism experience has told me that is indeed true. That's also true of places. All you need to do is meet them. So make some introductions to me.

Plot out the route and e-mail it to me under the subject line “To Gillette.” You can use comments under this post to ask questions or share observations.

As to where to spend the night on route, scenery trumps everything for us. We can boondock or hookup. I'd love your recommendations.

We'll leave Gillette late Friday, June 21 afternoon after I finish leading a seminar at the FMCA reunion.. I'm planning on heading to Yellowstone again for a few days and then taking our time heading back so that we're back in Michigan by the 30th. So if this group planning thing works on the way out, maybe we'll crowd source the return trip, too.

But for now, let's collectively plan the route to Gillette. Tell me where to go, what to see, who to meet, where to overnight.

For my part, I'll try to take in as many of your tips as we can and then share what we find in daily reports here, as well as tweets and Facebook posts.

To whoever comes up with the most detailed route and suggestions that we follow, I'll let them pick out the item of their choice from The Roadtreking RV Store and then send it to them free.

I can't wait to get your ideas.

 

 

 

 

There are

81 comments

  1. Karsten Askeland

    Gosh Mike … I wish I could offer you some suggestions but I’ve never been out that way myself. I’ll be heading to Council Grove, Kansas in September followed by Minot, ND the first week in October. I’ll have two weeks to kill in between these two events so I’ll be looking for suggestions on places to see and visit as well. Where ever you go I’m sure you’ll have a great trip. I generally limit my travels to a maximum of 500 KM a day. Too much to see and do to travel more than that. I need time to explore and take pictures as well.

    Enjoy your travels. I enjoy your’s and Jennifer’s videos/blog and the newsletter.

    • Small towns along the way (1/5,00-people max) — it’s the best.
      We live in the “People’s Republic of California,” (San Diego).
      We cannot take our RT190 west — too much Ocean.
      North is LA,
      East is desert and rocks.
      We are trapped.
      Kansas, ND, AL, CO, MT, etc., here we come.
      I need to figure out how to retire and get going.
      Rod

  2. James and Elizabeth

    What a great idea! We can’t wait to see what ideas people have for you. This should be so much fun. We are just starting out and will be in Gillette, too, but heading there from our home in Oregon. Maybe afterwards, we’ll head east to South Dakota and Minnesota to see the things people suggest to you.

  3. Casey Maupin

    I sent in a suggestion for the VAMC Cheyenne because of the many troopers with PTSD, and the need for outreach. Crowd sourcing is a great idea. Maybe I should do it too when the time comes for me and the wife to begin our trek.

  4. Nancy Emmert

    Take time to visit the Teton National Park, the most dramatic mountains in the US. Take the boat across Jenny Lake and do some hiking. Follow the Oregon/ California Trail. Visit the Oregon California Trail Center in Montpelier, Idaho and experience the tail adventure.

  5. Lois Underwood

    We just came through east Wyoming and are now in South Dakota.. We stayed at KOA’s, the Mount Rushmore/Hill City has LOTS of stuff to do, 500 sites.. Deadwood, has a terraced site. It is very beautiful and the owners are great. Devils tower, Wyoming is beautiful, but the KOA is terrible.. Have fun, Wyoming is beautiful.

  6. Gary Fichman

    Head over to Ft Larmarie Historic Site and stop in Gurensey and see the actual Orgeon Trail ruts and see names carved along the trail.
    If you have time go to Casper and visit the Trails Musem and learn about the real migiration west–not the TV verision

  7. Leaving Yellowstone National Park, east to Cody WY, north to Red Lodge MT (good place to stop for lunch) and back into Yellowstone via the northeast entrance, the most scenic of the entrances, about 350 miles, a nice days drive and beautiful scenery, I’ve made this loop a few times and will be doing it again in June 2015.

  8. Here’s a list of “must stops” Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Hourse monument, Deadwood and don’t miss camping at Fish N Fry campground out side of Deadwood. then there’s Devil’s Tower in WY and if possible lunch at Cindy B’s in Aladdin, WY. Next would be side trip to Garyowen, MT, stay at 7th Ranch campground, and tour the Little Big Horn battlefield/memorial. don’t forget to stop in Cody, WY and just “get lost” in the town and you MUST eat lunch/dinner at irma’s Hotel and then watch the Old West Gun Fight out in the street. have a great trip!

  9. Go to Medicine Wheel (up on the high land above Sheridan); swing by Hell’s Half Acre (stop for lunch and buy a souvenir hat) near the Colorado border. Definitely go to the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. Try to go to the rodeo in Cody, WY if you exit out of the East road from Yellowstone. Go to Grand Tetons and stay a few days; it’s beautiful.

  10. I grew up in Wyoming. Don’t forget to drive through the Big Horns. Follow Hwy 14 from I-90, getting on just north of Sheridan. You can take it all the way to Yellowstone. At the Alt 14 / 14 split at Burgess Junction, take Alt 14 (to Powell). Stop at Observation Point, 9430 Ft. Enjoy the fabulous view and a snowball fight in July. Best make sure your brakes are in good order, first.

  11. Bob Clark

    Custer SP in SD is great. About 25 miles South of Rapid City. We are there right now. Lots of wildlife, beautiful scenery … kind of a mini-Yellowstone. Have around 1,500 Bison roaming around free, deer, turkey, wildcats, wild turkey, pronghorns, elk, … There is an 18 mile wildlife loop that runs in the southern part of the park. Nearby Wind Cave and Jewel Cave are both cool to visit.
    Mesa Falls on the back side of the Tetons is also pretty spectacular. Non-tourist views of the Tetons and two beautiful waterfalls. Pretty easy drive from there to West Yellowstone.

  12. HI..I READ MOST OF YOUR POSTS..VERY INTERESTING AND ENTERTAINING….WE LIVE HALFWAY BETWEEN CHEYENNE AND LARAMIE, WYO…..WITHIN CURT GOWDY STATE PARK…WESUGGEST YOU CK OUT “HOLE IN THE WALL”…. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO VISIT THAT PLACE….I THINK ITS WEST OF BUFFALO…QUITE HIDDEN…I HAVE READ ALMOST ALL OF C.J. BOX BOOKS…HIS JOE PICKETT NOVELS…ALL THE STORIES TAKE PLACE IN WYO ABOUT A GAME WARDEN AND HIS ESCAPADES…FUN TO READ! ALSO CK OOT THERMOPOLIS HOT SPRINGS….THERE IS A NICE RV PARK JUST NO. OF TOWN….IF YOU ARE NEAR US ..FEEL FREE TO GIVE US A CALL…YOU CAN PARK ON OUR PROPERTY WHILE VISITING THE PARK AND THE 2 LAKES….JUST EMAIL US AT………….kefwyo@aol.com…………THANKS FOR YOUR TIME…….WE ARE QUITE INTERESTED IN YOUR MODE OF TRAVEL…..WE ARE RETIRED AND TRAVEL WITH OUR 5TH WHEELO EVEN SINCE YR 2000. WE HAVE DRIVEN UP TO HAINES, ALASKA 6 TIMES WITH IT….LOVE THAT DRIVE..HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU…G & K…

  13. Ruth I envy you your road trip I just got done talking to my cousin and I told her I thought you were going to travel,she’s getting ready to leave for Alaska! Its going to be fun following you on your trip! Do you think you well be visiting Kenton?

  14. we love Yellowstone and the Tetons, one drive that is worth it’s time is rt 212 NE toward Red Lodge MT, it is on the 10 most scenic highways list, need to check the weather conditions as elevations hit 10,000 ft. We enjoyed the National Historic trails interpretive center near Caspar. Last but not least Cheyenne, I’m a train buff and it is a rail head for the Union Pacific. Another place that is interesting is the Wrangler Store, this store is the rinestone cowboy’s dream store.

  15. I would stop in some sleepy little towns along the way. Don’t take the interstate! So much history getting lost in town’s like Vermillion, Yankton, Springfield, Pickstown, Tyndall and Avon!
    In Vermillion you could visit the National Music Museum and W. H. Over Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Then down the road you can visit the Missouri River and Meridian Bridge, Yankton, S.D.. Nickname(s): “Mother City of the Dakotas”. You may want to visit the Dakota Territorial Museum and the newest museum in South Dakota, the Mead House on the grounds of the old Human Services Center in SD. So much history here! A Walmart just south of the entrance to the museum. Yankton also has the Lewis & Clark Campground, one of the best campgrounds in the state!
    Plan your trip for June and head to the Czech communities for their summer celebrations. Tabor, SD just north of Springfield a few miles and across the bridge from Historic Springfield, SD. is Verdigre, Nebraska. Known as the Kolach Capital of the World and it’s community celebration June 12th thru the 15th, 2014!
    Camp in Springfield State Park along the Lewis and Clark Lake or Drive across the bridge and stay overnight at the Niobrara State Park. The Nebraska campground is only 10.8 miles from Springfield, SD near Niobrara, Nebraska.
    The next stop would have to be Tabor, SD and Tabor Czech Days Home, June 19 – 21st.
    I could go on and on. The Springfield chamber of commerce puts on a wonderful July 4th celebration. Bull riding, a street dance, park games, reunions, 5k run and the best Fireworks Display are a few things to do. Perhaps you want to golf on one of the best 9 hole golf courses around. Just above the State Camp Ground. Also try fishing while visiting the area. But you could spend all summer attending the small celebrations in most Southeastern South Dakota communities and the Northeastern Nebraska small town’s and villages celebrations.

  16. Southeastern South Dakota and Northeast Nebraska. First, June 12th-15th is Kolach Day’s in Verdigre, NE. On to Tabor, SD June 19th-21st, Tabor Czech Days. Camp, fish and golf at Springfield and then celebrate the Springfield 4th of July Celebration . So much to do in Southeast SD. .

  17. Well, as a truck driver/future roadtrekker, one of my favorite runs (in the summer) is picking up a load in Worland and heading south to Rock Springs. It takes me through the Wind River Canyon and Thermopolis as well. Breathtaking views through the canyon, and Thermopolis is on my list of places to visit when not in a 70+’ long vehicle! Lol!

  18. Stop a few days and stay in one of the forest service campgrounds between Cody and Yellowstone. FABULOUS no experience like it in the world. Check Pahaska Tepee while your there. Its Buffalo Bill’s old hunting lodge.

  19. Semi broke down in Cheyenne for a week last summer. What an awesome place Cheyenne is on the weekend! The train depot and the whole outside area ROCKS on weekends! There’s a model train museum to check out if you’re into that AND the massive steam locomotive Big Boy #4014 has been brought back to the Cheyenne depot for restoration! That must be a sight to behold!

  20. I found the county and state roads in South Dakota to be deserted and beautiful. Hot Springs South Dakota is quite interesting. There is a wild mustang preserve down that way that I have always wanted to go to. But the real feature is the Mammoth Site. Well worth the stop. I think I am going to stop and map out a route. This sounds like fun.
    If I were you I would divert north as well and go to Little Big Horn. Hire one of the Crow Indians to give you a tour. They are great. You find them in the visitor center. Right across the street from the entrance is a general store that is not to be missed.
    I agree with everyone that has mentioned the Alt route 14 across the Big Horns. If you have never been to the Medicine Wheel on that route it is amazing, and in such a beautiful spot.
    If you have already done 14A then ride the 14. It takes you through spectacular high country. Lots of moose. Stop at Shell Falls on your way down the west side.
    Cody…The Buffalo Bill Historical Center. No more needs to be said. Check out the Hotel Irma, especially for the bar. It came as a gift from England.
    Check out the Buffalo Bill Damn. The lake is known for the international wind surfing competitions. The camping to the west of there is wonderful. I heard moose bugling through the night.
    I agree about Pahaska Teepee. You can pay a small fee and tour the hunting lodge. Great trading post with lovely jewelry and more. Sometimes you see moose, bears and red foxes there.
    The drive over Sylvan pass into the Yellowstone is a gorgeous drive from the moment you leave Cody.
    OK I will stop here and pull out my maps. more to come. LOL

  21. You’re not getting very far, driving in the left lane! Is this your first time behind the wheel? And you’re taking pictures while you’re driving? “SNIGGY!”

  22. Pick up Hwy 14 from I-90 north of Sheridan and enjoy the great views of the Big Horn Mountains. 14 goes through Cody and all the way to Yellowstone.

  23. Excellent post by Janet Arnold! The camping near Medicine Wheel is amazing and the food at nearby Bear Lodge is very good. Beartooth pass is a must and I’ve been to Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel for buffalo burgers more times than I can count. The bar at the Irma is amazing and rodeo in Cody is a slice of America that’s hard to pass up. And Beartooth Pass is a must, not an option.

  24. Like Janet said… You need to do 14a because a 10 mile 10% grade is not to be missed. I’ve seen full size RV’s turn around to avoid it but your rig should do it without breaking a sweat.

  25. Yellowstone, the Big Horn mountains northwest of Sheridan, the LDS (Mormons) Martin’s Cove and the Sweetwater River crossings, the Snowy Range mountains south west of Laramie…all great place to visit and spend a little time!

  26. This is a little unusual, but the highlight of our trip to Wyoming was driving the back roads northwest of Rock Springs to see the wild horse herds. We also saw a badger and pronged horn antelope.

  27. Try Flameing Gorge for fishing, across to Vernal, Utah to see the National Forest, if you were heading the other direction, head to Jackson Hole and along the way you may spot some old falling down sheds that were former Pony Express waypoints?