rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Fridge Defend
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons  (Read 2502 times)

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« on: December 30, 2018, 12:23:17 PM »
2019 trip to Yellowstone

I am planning a trip from Kentucky to Yellowstone and would like to run my itinerary by the experts to see how it looks. Some background and parameters: It will be me, wife, and 2 12 year old girls. and we have 2 weeks. We are driving a 2018 Ford F-350 dually towing a Premier 34BHPR 38 ft travel trailer. In order to maximize vacation, make good time, and keep girls from going stir crazy in the truck the trip out will be driving at night. I work third shift and mostly 12 hour shifts so driving at night isn't an issue for me. I have cousins in Rapid City and Gillette, WY who will be joining us in a convoy to Yellowstone and the Tetons.

7/17 - Leave Kentucky 8pm, arrive Rock Port Rivers Edge Campground in Rock Port, MO around 8am 7/18. Girls will swim and hang out in camper while i sleep.

7/18 - leave Rock Port, MO around 4pm, arrive Rapid City 4am 7/19 staying at Rapid City KOA. After I get a nap, tour Badlands, Mt Rushmore and hang out with family.

7/20 - leave Rapid City 8am and head to Hardin, MT KOA via Gillette WY and arrive at Little Bighorn Battlefield 2pm.

7/21 - leave Hardin, MT 9am to West Yellowstone, MT KOA via I-90, arriving 2pm

7/21 through 7/26 - tour Yellowstone NP

7/26 - leave West Yellowstone KOA 9am via US 191, arrive Virginian RV park in Jackson, WY 12pm. Drive through Grand Teton NP and see a few sights.

7/27 - Leave Jackson, WY 9am, arrive Cody, WY KOA 2pm. Tour Buffalo Bill Museum and drive the Beartooth/Chief Joseph Highway.

7/29 - Leave Cody, WY 9am, arrive Kennebec, SD KOA 8pm.

7/29 - Leave Kennebec, SD 3am, arrive Kansas City KOA 1pm on 7/30.

730 - leave KC KOA 8pm, arrive home at 6am.

To those in the know, how does this trip look? Any advice? Any other forums or threads I should be posting this on?



Thanks in advance,



Adam

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 14249
  • Good things are illegal immoral or over 1000 watts
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 12:36:53 PM »
Quote
Drive through Grand Teton NP and see a few sights.
I almost choked when I read this. If it were me I would do just the opposite and spend five days at the Tetons and just drive through Yellowstone and see a few sights. I like the Tetons much better than Yellowstone.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2018 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/s2JcpKVxX3Ez3c8j9
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 01:17:04 PM »
First off welcome, driving at night may be ok the first night or two, but really is not a good idea out west, particularly in the late spring and early summer months, as there is just way too much wild life on the roads, deer, etc.  I live in Louisiana and when I was younger I used to do a lot of my long distance driving at night also, this is ok in the eastern US, but not a good idea once you get west of a line that runs from central Texas on up.  I recall one trip I was on a number of years ago, in a rush to get home I decided to head back from west Texas after the end of the days events at 9 pm around sunset in about May, within the first 90 miles I had seen over 15 deer either crossing the road or grazing along side, and another 6-8 dead deer along the shoulder of the road.  At that point I decided to stop for the night, I have hit a deer once in my life (12 point buck), and I don't care to repeat the experience.  This gets worse as the wildlife gets larger with Elk, Moose, etc. as we were stopped at the gas station by fishing bridge leaving Yellowstone at about 8 am last year a tow truck pulled in dragging what was once a full size SUV, the thing was totaled, the whole front end was smashed in, I asked the tow truck driver what happened and he said a tourist had hit a moose, this was in Yellowstone where the speed limits are 45 mph, I can't imagine what it would have been like on the interstate in a 75 mph zone.

p.s. on the Yellowstone vs Grand Tetons debate, it really depends on how you like to travel.  With Yellowstone you can see a lot more from your car, or along short trails from the highway pullouts.  With Grand Tetons you really have to get out and away a good bit more to see stuff.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 01:22:48 PM by Isaac-1 »
2002 Safari Trek 2830

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 6232
  • Westminster, CO
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 01:31:51 PM »
What average speed are you using to calculate travel times? If it's much over 50 mph average you might want to refigure your times, since there'll need to be allowance for rest stops, fuel stops and meal stops, even if you can combine some of them. And given that driving an RV (whether towed or towing) takes more concentration than driving a car, thus takes more out of you in the same number of miles.

You might also check some of your routing -- for instance I-90 doesn't get within an hour and a half of Yellowstone park (or West Yellowstone), so you'll need to recognize that a fair chunk of those miles from I-90 to W. Yell. may be at 45 mph or lower at times, since you'll be restricted by traffic (often heavy that time of year) and the road itself which, though the speed limit may be 60 or 65 some places, may only let you average 30-40 mph. Note, too, that speed limits within the parks are 45 mph or less (some places 25 mph), not to mention bison jams, bear jams, etc., meaning that sometimes bison get on the highway and you may not go much faster than they can walk for a mile or more, and lots of people stop and gawk not caring if they provide for other traffic getting through; while the rangers try to control this, there's only so much they can do, and they certainly can do nothing about the wildlife on the road.

And about which park to spend the most time in, that depends on your interests. I sympathize with Tom preferring the Tetons, but I'm not sure I completely agree for someone who is out there for the first time. For repeat visits his remarks are much more pertinent, though (IMO). Still, both are worth spending time in, both are beautiful, and it's all different from what you are used to and worthy of taking camera(s) along.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Gizmo100

  • ---
  • Posts: 2486
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 02:08:18 PM »
I will add I just did a 550 mile trip from AR. It was a one day trip. I was still tired after a good nights sleep. Your first 2 days are some long hauls.
2017 Heartland Trail runner 24 SLE
2017 Ford F150 3.5 Eco boost

To be 1/2 the man my dog thinks I am...But twice the man My wife thinks I am...

SusanV

  • Guest
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2018, 02:08:30 PM »
5 days in Yellowstone will give you a nice overview, but I agree, driving through the Tetons for a look at the sights may not give you much of an experience.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 02:10:55 PM by SusanV »

jackiemac

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4144
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 07:40:39 PM »
Hi, I have some tips but dont have time to fully respond for a few days.  One thing though, the kids will be sleeping in the truck not trailer?
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in the US till Nov 2019

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 08:48:49 PM »
Hi, I have some tips but dont have time to fully respond for a few days.  One thing though, the kids will be sleeping in the truck not trailer?

They will be sleeping in truck while I'm driving.  When we stop and camp, they will swim with my wife (making sure to stop and rv parks with good pools) or just hang out in camper. 

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2018, 08:56:22 PM »
What average speed are you using to calculate travel times? If it's much over 50 mph average you might want to refigure your times, since there'll need to be allowance for rest stops, fuel stops and meal stops, even if you can combine some of them. And given that driving an RV (whether towed or towing) takes more concentration than driving a car, thus takes more out of you in the same number of miles.

You might also check some of your routing -- for instance I-90 doesn't get within an hour and a half of Yellowstone park (or West Yellowstone), so you'll need to recognize that a fair chunk of those miles from I-90 to W. Yell. may be at 45 mph or lower at times, since you'll be restricted by traffic (often heavy that time of year) and the road itself which, though the speed limit may be 60 or 65 some places, may only let you average 30-40 mph. Note, too, that speed limits within the parks are 45 mph or less (some places 25 mph), not to mention bison jams, bear jams, etc., meaning that sometimes bison get on the highway and you may not go much faster than they can walk for a mile or more, and lots of people stop and gawk not caring if they provide for other traffic getting through; while the rangers try to control this, there's only so much they can do, and they certainly can do nothing about the wildlife on the road.

And about which park to spend the most time in, that depends on your interests. I sympathize with Tom preferring the Tetons, but I'm not sure I completely agree for someone who is out there for the first time. For repeat visits his remarks are much more pertinent, though (IMO). Still, both are worth spending time in, both are beautiful, and it's all different from what you are used to and worthy of taking camera(s) along.

From KY to SD and rest of interstate i was figuring an average speed of 55mph.  I suppose I'll have to reduce that when calculating drive times in the park, eh? 

As far as route to West Yellowstone, I figured we would make better time taking i-90 through Billings and Bozeman, then turn south on US 191 into West Yellowstone, rather than entering park from the east, especially since we will be coming from Little Bighorn.

Gizmo100

  • ---
  • Posts: 2486
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2018, 10:36:02 PM »
From KY to SD and rest of interstate i was figuring an average speed of 55mph.  I suppose I'll have to reduce that when calculating drive times in the park, eh? 

As far as route to West Yellowstone, I figured we would make better time taking i-90 through Billings and Bozeman, then turn south on US 191 into West Yellowstone, rather than entering park from the east, especially since we will be coming from Little Bighorn.

On my recent trip I avg. 50 MPH overall. No traffic problems and quick gas stops. (The wife wanted to get home) The trip was 95% interstate.
On my setup @ 60 MPH I get 8 MPG. If I run 70 MPH I get between 4 -6 MPH. which just means that many more stops for gas.
So either way not much change in time but a lot more money for gas.
Your MPG at higher speeds may not be an issue.
2017 Heartland Trail runner 24 SLE
2017 Ford F150 3.5 Eco boost

To be 1/2 the man my dog thinks I am...But twice the man My wife thinks I am...

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2018, 12:37:25 AM »
In 12,000+ miles in my current coach I have yet to exceed an average speed of 50 mph, the best I have managed was 499 miles in 10 hours and 3 minutes, all but 80 miles of which was on I-10 in west Texas. Stopping only for fuel, to eat and the occasional road side rest area to stretch and walk around for a few minutes.  This was also the most miles I have driven in a single day in my current coach.  It would have been better except for a bad accident which delayed traffic by over half an hour just about 10 miles short of my destination.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 1363
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2018, 07:15:50 AM »
On 7/26 you are allotting 3 hours to go from West Yellowstone to Jackson, driving through Yellowstone NP.

In July traffic is usually at a crawl in Yellowstone.  I would suggest planning for 4-6 hours for the drive.  Also don't over look the time it takes to get into the RV park and get set up.  I'm sure you know that is not a 10 minute process to register, park and set up.  That doesn't leave much time to drive back through the Tetons.

If you pulled out of the RV park at 5am, right when it is getting daylight, that would probably work better. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 1363
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2018, 07:30:24 AM »
I would skip everything but Yellowstone and the Tetons.  That is drive directly to Yellowstone via the quickest route possible, then spend all your time in the two national parks.  When finished with the parks drive directly home.  BTW that is what we always did with our kids for the years from about 3-15 years old, drive quickly to some place and then leisure time while there. No rushing at the main focus for the trip.

Keep in mind the two 12 yr old girls will be much happier with some down time in the afternoons at camp to relax and play.  Kids get very tired of what adults do sometimes.  That is: Drive, go to museum, drive, look at scenic stuff, drive, look at more scenic stuff, get back to camp at 6pm tired, eat supper go to bed and then repeat the same the next day.  Gets very boring for kids.

A couple of examples are: Move the RV from Yellowstone to Jackson and then drive through the Tetons, same with the move from Jackson to Cody.  Neither are what kids get excited about doing.

Happy kids, happy parents.  :)

Usually kids do enjoy walking or hiking on trails for a 1-4 hours hike, much more than looking out the window of a car/truck.  There are some very nice hikes in both parks.

While in Yellowstone, be sure to remember there is a lot more to the geyser basin than Old Faithful.  Old Faithful is nice, but you sit or stand so far back, with a 100 or more of your favorite friends (NOT), all you see is a fountain of water going up and then down.  Plan a 3-4 hour walk though the geyser basin where you can get up close, 10-50 feet, from an active geyser.  You get to see the water going down, the noise of gurgling and spraying, the rumbling of the ground and then the water and steam coming up.  Be sure to check the expected schedule of some of the large infrequent geysers.  If you are lucky you can get up close to one, 40-60 feet away, that erupts 50-75 feet into the air.  That is a exciting experience.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 07:41:04 AM by AStravelers »
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

SusanV

  • Guest
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2018, 09:21:50 AM »
Without wishing to throw a wrench into your plans, especially if they're set in stone, I agree with AStravelers about spending more time in Yellowstone and Tetons. I'd carve at least a day, probably two, out of the end of your journey and add it to your time in the Tetons. So many magical things can happen in both parks when you slow WAY down and take the time to allow them to happen. It's incredible how much time you can spend watching moose graze, watching foxes hunt, or watching bears lumbering along the hillside. Those are the moments your 12 year olds are likely to remember forever.

Obviously, it's your call completely, and it's likely both parks will still be there next time you head out that way (if they aren't, we've got bigger problems to worry about!).

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2018, 10:09:29 AM »
To follow up on these latest comments, I too tend to think you should make a more direct line for the Yellowstone area, though I understand the family caravan issue comes into play here.  I would also suggest you look at scenic routing, not the fastest getting too and from Yellowstone.  I-90 across Montana may be the fastest route, but while a nice drive, is far from the most interesting views.  For example there is the wind river canyon highway between Shoshoni and Thermopolis, perhaps the most scenic drive I have ever taken outside of a national park.

On another topic if you have never been to Yellowstone, be aware that the place can cause a sense of sensory overload, this is particularly bad if you are rushing things.  There is just so much to see, it becomes overwhelming, and people just sort of shut down with no, I don't want to walk 3 minutes to see the 5th awe inspiring waterfall of the morning, after a round of seeing Buffalo, Elk and other wildlife, and perhaps a thermal feature or five.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

IBTripping

  • ---
  • Posts: 617
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2018, 03:11:51 PM »
On another topic if you have never been to Yellowstone, be aware that the place can cause a sense of sensory overload, this is particularly bad if you are rushing things.  There is just so much to see, it becomes overwhelming, and people just sort of shut down with no, I don't want to walk 3 minutes to see the 5th awe inspiring waterfall of the morning, after a round of seeing Buffalo, Elk and other wildlife, and perhaps a thermal feature or five.

Absolutely!!! Totally agree!!!
1996 Coachmen Catalina 230BH
2004 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7L

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2019, 05:12:30 PM »
I should add that I have some experience towing campers.  Specifically, after Hurricane Katrina, i hauled over 50 campers (30ft avg) from Northern Indiana factories to locations in Southern Miss, Louisiana, and Florida.  Our hard dates (reservations currently set in stone) are West Yellowstone KOA 7/21-7/26, Virginian RV Park 7/26-7/27.  I haven't booked anything else. 

I want to take my family's interests into account and Badlands and Mt Rushmore are on their list. 

Coming from Rapid City heading to West Yellowstone, we will have to spend the night somewhere along the way.  Although my current Itinerary includes stopping at Little Bighorn Battlefield, I initially thought of spending a night in Cody but want to see the Museum and drive the Beartooth and can't get that accomplished in one night.  (random thought was to spend a night in Cody, see the museum, then just drive from West Yellowstone to the Beartooth and make that one of our 5 Yellowstone tour days). 

This plan is still very fluid...
I want to thank everyone for the advise thus far.  It is much appreciated!

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2019, 05:51:08 PM »
You mention wanting to tour the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum, this place is huge, we were on a tight schedule when we were passing through Cody on our Yellowstone / big solar eclipse trip a year and and a half ago, we spent about 5 hours in the museum, and I know their were entire wings of it that we did not set foot in, other parts were just walk through and glance at exhibits.  A person with even a casual interest in the material could easily spend 2 or 3 days in this museum, also the material on display is very diverse, the extensive collection of thousands of firearms is just one small part of this museum, which also includes art, western artifacts, and a nature museum.  (note looking at the museums web page they have major renovations going on in the firearms exhibit opening in July)
2002 Safari Trek 2830

IBTripping

  • ---
  • Posts: 617
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2019, 09:20:45 PM »
Whatever you do, don't mention to the Buffalo Bill Museum staff that Buffalo Bill is buried on a mountain overlooking Denver, CO and covered with a ton of cement to prevent Cody, WY from stealing the body and bringing back to Cody.  ;D ;D ;D
1996 Coachmen Catalina 230BH
2004 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7L

Chakara

  • ---
  • Posts: 157
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2019, 09:33:15 PM »
They will be sleeping in truck while I'm driving.  When we stop and camp, they will swim with my wife (making sure to stop and rv parks with good pools) or just hang out in camper.

Aw, I see.  I thought they were gonna swim in the camper.....and then I wanted to see your camper!

-Kyle
2018 Arctic Fox 27.5L
2015 Chevy 3500 Dually LTZ

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2019, 04:37:49 PM »
Taking into account the girls needing burn energy after driving long days and shortening the days somewhat as well as all of us being on same sleep schedule, i have updated the itinerary:

With u getting another day off here’s my updated itinerary:

7/17 - leave home at 3am arrive KC KOA 2pm

7/18 - KC KOA to Kennebec, SD KOA 8am to 6pm

7/19 - Kennebec KOA to Rapid City driving through Badlands and Wall Drug on way 8am to 2pm. Tour Mt Rushmore after setting up camp

7/20 - rapid city to Hardin, MT via Gillette, WY 9am to 3pm. Go to Little Bighorn battlefield in afternoon

7/21 - Hardin, MT to West Yellowstone KOA 9am to 3pm

7/26 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons in afternoon

7/27 - Jackson to Cody 7am to 3pm. Tour museum and beartooth highway in 2 days

7/29 - Cody to Ft Collins KOA 6am to 2pm. Drive through RMNP.

7/30 - FT Collins KOA to Topeka KOA 8am to 6pm

7/31 - Topeka KOA to home 8am to 6pm

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2019, 05:08:57 PM »
Is there any particular reason for so many KOA's?  Nothing against KOA, but it is sort of the Holiday Inn Express of commercial RV campgrounds.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

kportra

  • ---
  • Posts: 167
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2019, 05:30:24 PM »
When you say "see the Beartooths" what exactly do you mean?  If you are considering driving the Beartooth highway from Red Lodge into Wyoming with a trailer - think again.  That is a very beautiful drive, but not in a motorhome and not towing.  The grades are too steep and the switchbacks are too tight.  It would be a white-knuckle experience.  Plus it would add hours to your itinerary.  You'll see plenty of mountains on your trip.
2017 Heartland Prowler Lynx 18LX
2014 F-150 XLT 3.5L Ecoboost
Big Sky Country

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2019, 05:54:55 PM »
When you say "see the Beartooths" what exactly do you mean?  If you are considering driving the Beartooth highway from Red Lodge into Wyoming with a trailer - think again.  That is a very beautiful drive, but not in a motorhome and not towing.  The grades are too steep and the switchbacks are too tight.  It would be a white-knuckle experience.  Plus it would add hours to your itinerary.  You'll see plenty of mountains on your trip.

We will be doing 2 nights in Cody. On our first morning, we will drive the truck only and leave the camper at campsite.

wadecool

  • ---
  • Posts: 13
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2019, 06:03:19 PM »
Is there any particular reason for so many KOA's?  Nothing against KOA, but it is sort of the Holiday Inn Express of commercial RV campgrounds.

Only chose KOA's because KOA corporate seems to expect a certain standard to be maintained at individual locations (kinda like Holiday Inn does).  Girls will want to swim after long drives cooped up in the truck, and pools at KOA's are more likely to be nice.  I have no doubt there are many amazing rv parks out there but for some reason we tend to get duds more often than not.  On a trip of a lifetime, I didn't want to risk it.

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 6232
  • Westminster, CO
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2019, 06:12:50 PM »
That latest schedule still looks so tight, to me, that I don't think you'll see a lot in some places, I think you're still being optimistic on travel times, and there's no provision for the unexpected, which often happens (at least to us). For instance:
7/26 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons in afternoon

You won't see much. If all you intend to do is drive to the lake and view a little scenery, then you might be OK, but two full days will just scratch the surface, let alone four or five hours in the afternoon (if you get that long).

Granted that you'll have several days for Yellowstone, which may work OK for you.

7/27 - Jackson to Cody 7am to 3pm. Tour museum and beartooth highway in 2 days
I'm not sure you can make it that quickly since the speed limit for much of the trip will vary from 45 mph down to 25 mph, so you'll not see very much of the museum or else you'll not drive the Beartooth, which will likely take most of the day -- remember, it's slow going and you'll be lucky to average 35-40 mph, less on Beartooth itself.

If you like country music, especially the more western variety, Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue is very much worth seeing, a nice dinner and a great show at the museum in the evening. There are several other attractions in Cody that, to me, are worth seeing, too.

7/29 - Cody to Ft Collins KOA 6am to 2pm. Drive through RMNP.
If you get into the KOA and settled in camp by 2PM, you'll have time to get to the RMNP entrance and spend an hour or two (it's not a 30 minute drive) in the park before heading back to Ft. Collins. RMNP is huge, though not as large as Yellowstone of course. I'd suggest eliminating this side trip, save it for the future, and allocate that time to seeing other things.

Perhaps I'm a tad pessimistic on the time element (and I didn't comment on some other areas I think are too tight), but I think you're trying to fit too many things in. You might also keep in mind that traffic can be a problem, not counting any bison jams or bear jams (traffic and or animal slowing you to a crawl). But I wish you well, and hope it works out better for you than I'd anticipate, and that you don't get as worn out as I suspect you will on that schedule. Luck...
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Isaac-1

  • ---
  • Posts: 2392
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2019, 06:32:07 PM »
I agree, it looks like you are driving all these miles to get to places as if they are check points on some rally circuit, and no time scheduled to see the places once you get there.
2002 Safari Trek 2830

tanglemoose

  • ---
  • Posts: 354
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2019, 08:47:40 PM »
As far as route to West Yellowstone, I figured we would make better time taking i-90 through Billings and Bozeman, then turn south on US 191 into West Yellowstone, rather than entering park from the east, especially since we will be coming from Little Bighorn.

We drive from West Yellowstone to Red Lodge via 191 and I 90.. only stopping for gas as we live here. Takes 5 hours on good day, usually dump at Town Pump...

Also, plan on very slow drives in park. I would recommend  staying at various ends... places in park. It is huge and with kiddos you want to do less back track driving... swim at Boiling River, Firehole with kids... also Koa at Cody has pool....

Driving the Beartooth highway is awesome. I would drive to Red Lodge we have pool at koa, and then drive the pass... just some ideas, great trip. Our kids grudgingly went and visited park for 20 years... now taking their kids!
As for Tetons... lots of wildlife... and things to do in Jackson, but a long drive to Jackson... I would camp in center of what you want to see and go from there!
Donna and Mark
and our Golden Lexie
New 2017 TT Keystone Cougar  Same model... but NEW Features!
2015 Keystone Cougar 1/2 Ton Series, 21rbswe, 26'
2013 Toyota Tundra
Living in Cold Montana Country.....

jackiemac

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4144
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2019, 08:27:14 AM »
Taking into account the girls needing burn energy after driving long days and shortening the days somewhat as well as all of us being on same sleep schedule, i have updated the itinerary:

With u getting another day off here’s my updated itinerary:

7/17 - leave home at 3am arrive KC KOA 2pm

7/18 - KC KOA to Kennebec, SD KOA 8am to 6pm

7/19 - Kennebec KOA to Rapid City driving through Badlands and Wall Drug on way 8am to 2pm. Tour Mt Rushmore after setting up camp

7/20 - rapid city to Hardin, MT via Gillette, WY 9am to 3pm. Go to Little Bighorn battlefield in afternoon

7/21 - Hardin, MT to West Yellowstone KOA 9am to 3pm

7/26 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons in afternoon

7/27 - Jackson to Cody 7am to 3pm. Tour museum and beartooth highway in 2 days

7/29 - Cody to Ft Collins KOA 6am to 2pm. Drive through RMNP.

7/30 - FT Collins KOA to Topeka KOA 8am to 6pm

7/31 - Topeka KOA to home 8am to 6pm

Hi

I think your idea of driving through the Badlands on the way to Rapid City is sensible.  From what I recall the roads through the Badlands are pretty decent for a rig your size.  If you see any of the black tailed prairie dogs, stop and look for burrowing owls which also use the old burrows to live in.  I wouldn't leave much time for Wall Drug if you plan to go there unless you like shopping.

We visited Mount Rushmore and went to the evening show which was quite patriotic.  However, I much preferred the Crazy Horse National Monument, very interesting with a decent museum and information about the statue and the American Indians.

If you get the chance pop into Deadwood, it is a nice town with lots of wild west history.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield is interesting although mostly fields with some graves and the small museum.  Not much parking for big rigs but I assume you are going in your truck.

Here is a post with some info about South Dakota:

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,111188.msg1019896.html#msg1019896

We drove the route via Broadus and the road was decent apart from one stretch with roadworks.  Probably quieter than the Interstate.  That said if you are planning on going via Gilette, I would have thought that your trip would be shorter going from there to Cody and missing out the Battlefield.  I would stay longer in the Tetons and miss that out if it were me.... you will see lots in the museum in Cody which will probably replicate the Bighorn stuff.

If you did that then you could go in the Eastern entrance of Yellowstone and see that side of the park as you drove to West Yellowstone and then you could do a day trip to the Northern end and the Beartooth Highway.  Note that the Chief Joseph Highway is also a lovely drive if you come into the park from that end and you should be OK in your rig as we did it with ours - 54ft total.

If you are up on the Beartooth Highway stop and the top and wander around the rocks and listen for the squeaking of the little Pika's that live there.  On the way down to Red Lodge there are several glacial lakes on the left that are very beautiful.  Nice ice cream shop in Red Lodge and the beer from there is nice!

The Old Trail Town in Cody is quite interesting if you have time.

Here are a few links relating to the Tetons and Yellowstone.  I agree with Seilerbird that the Tetons are spectacular and it is a shame you are not spending longer there.

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,112258.msg1013394.html#msg1013394

http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,111583.msg1007894.html#msg1007894


Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 08:28:59 AM by jackiemac »
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in the US till Nov 2019

AStravelers

  • ---
  • Posts: 1363
  • Part time travelers, 4-8 months each year.
Re: 2019 Trip from KY to Yellowstone/Tetons
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2019, 06:31:47 AM »
Taking into account the girls needing burn energy after driving long days and shortening the days somewhat as well as all of us being on same sleep schedule, i have updated the itinerary:

With u getting another day off here’s my updated itinerary:

7/17 - leave home at 3am arrive KC KOA 2pm

7/18 - KC KOA to Kennebec, SD KOA 8am to 6pm

7/19 - Kennebec KOA to Rapid City driving through Badlands and Wall Drug on way 8am to 2pm. Tour Mt Rushmore after setting up camp

7/20 - rapid city to Hardin, MT via Gillette, WY 9am to 3pm. Go to Little Bighorn battlefield in afternoon

7/21 - Hardin, MT to West Yellowstone KOA 9am to 3pm

7/26 - West Yellowstone to Jackson WY 7am to 1pm. Tour Tetons in afternoon

7/27 - Jackson to Cody 7am to 3pm. Tour museum and beartooth highway in 2 days

7/29 - Cody to Ft Collins KOA 6am to 2pm. Drive through RMNP.

7/30 - FT Collins KOA to Topeka KOA 8am to 6pm

7/31 - Topeka KOA to home 8am to 6pm
It would be fantastic if you would come back in August after completing your trip and share your experiences, good and bad. 

I do understand from your statements that you and family have several reasons for the tight schedule and interest in seeing "everything" on one trip.   I really do hope it all works out for all of you in the end.  You have planned a very, very, very ambitious trip.   
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Journey 36G
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4
650 watts residential solar panels--400AH Lithium batteries

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/