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Author Topic: Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation  (Read 1268 times)

Campfire RV

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Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation
« on: July 17, 2013, 11:27:23 PM »
We just returned home late last night from our cross country vacation in the MH. This trip was an excellent adventure for our family and we just had an outstanding time. I will admit we did have a couple downfalls on the trip but the goods outweighed the bads by a long shot. 

Here is a quick summary from our 26 day trip in the MH:
Miles = 4898
Destinations Visited = 8+
Walmart parking lots = 7
Truck Stops = 3
Casino Buffets = 3

We departed home June 20th on our way to our first destination at the Watchman Campground in Zion National Park. The campground was located right next to the Visitors Center and transportation around the park was very easy with the great shuttle bus service provided throughout the day. The road getting to Zion from St. George, UT provided for an array of magnificent views to tease your senses along the way. The views inside the park were even more breathtaking and we just sat on a trail at times in amazement.

We left Zion NP June 22nd and headed east on the 9 which turned out to be an interesting drive and nail biting at times. This road in a 30ft MH was a little challenging due to the sharp hairpin curves and extreme uphill climb but the drive was worth it when it was all said and done. If you do take this trip you will have to purchase a tunnel pass at the park entrance because you will have to pass through a tunnel which was built back in the early 1900's before RV's were built to the height they are now. We had to wait in line at the tunnel for traffic from the other side to get through then the Ranger instructed us to drive in the middle of the road all the way through because the sides of the tunnel over each lane are less than 10ft at times. We exited the park then headed north through southern Utah. The drive on Hwy 6 north towards Vernal, UT was really rough with some really strong cross winds which at times came really close to blowing us off the road. This was a long stretch of road and the winds just made it more difficult to enjoy. We eventually connected with the Hwy 191 for quite some time and this was not an RV friendly road. This was a really rough drive with plenty of potholes and uneven pavement. I don't recommend taking this route if you want a comfortable drive.

June 23rd, we arrived at the Dinosaur National Monument. This was a cool little Quarry with a large amount of dinosaur bones and some fun games for the kids but we felt it was a little too small and not enough to do for the drive we took to get there. We only stayed here a little less than two hours but it was still a neat place to stop and visit. We drove east from the park on Hwy 40 to Steamboat Springs, this town appeared to be a big tourist area since it was so congested. The streets were really tight in places for driving an RV through but we managed. We drove north from here through the northeast corridor of Colorado until we met up with I80 in Laramie. We traveled on through Cheyenne and finally stopped for the night at a truck stop in Wheatland, WY. There was a nice looking park named Lewis & Clark City Park that has free hookups for RV's, they just ask for donations. We considered staying here the night we were staying but we didn't feel comfortable.

June 24th, we drove on up to the Black Hills of South Dakota. While following our GPS to get to our campground we drove through the town of Custer and saw the Crazy Horse Monument on the right side so we decided to stop by and spend some time there. Crazy Horse was an enjoyable place to visit and there is a lot of history to learn about. I knew very little about this place until I began planning our trip to Mt. Rushmore through this site and I appreciate the information provided. The monument is massive in size, I hope to visit it again in the future to see what the progress is then as well. When we left Crazy Horse we followed the GPS to our campground, it also took us past Mt. Rushmore so we were able to our first glimpse on the drive. We were tired so we decided to get to the campground and rest for the day and come back the following day since our campground was only a mile away according to the camp owner on the phone. Unfortunately the GPS location sent us to a wooded area on Hwy 16A just south of Mt. Rushmore. We found a place to pull over and called the camp and they said just follow the road another 45 minutes (Wait a minute, this camp was suppose to be one mile from Mt. Rushmore ???) to get to them. Well, we began the drive to the camp, let me tell you, if you ever visit the Mt. Rushmore area in an RV of 30ft or longer, don't drive Hwy 16A south of Mt. Rushmore! :( This road was extremely dangerous for an RV, the turns were nearly complete circles at sharp angles and we had to go through some tunnels where my wife actually got out and helped guide me through and we barely missed hitting on the sides and top. Well, we did finally make it through and it took a little over an hour and I wasn't happy when I arrived at the campground. While parking the owner told me to pull forward in the grass then backup into the gravel then pull forward to my spot. He was watching as I was pulling forward from the gravel then the MH jumped up and we heard a loud screeetch! I jumped out and noticed there was a large boulder on the ground and the owner could only apologize to me saying he wished he would have said something to me sooner!  >:( Now, my bay door to my propane is busted along with some of the siding so I will be taking it to some repair shops to get some quotes soon.

June 25th, we just hung out at the campground and relaxed from all the travelling the past few days so we all needed a break.

June 26th, we left the campground for Mt. Rushmore and quickly discovered that a ten minute drive to the monument was really a one hour drive.  >:( We finally arrived at Mt. Rushmore and had a wonderful time. This was one of those places I've only read about in books and watched on TV for so many years that I really wanted to see with my own eyes. I was surprised with how well organized the parking was for RV's, we were able to get in very easy and no problems. The Presidential Trail was a fun trail especially with my 5 y/o because there a lot of stairs on the trail. We took plenty of photos throughout the day and just had a really relaxing day as a family and taking in the history. When we left we drove through the town of Keystone and discovered a few other things to do in the area so we stopped for the night at the Mystery Mountain RV Resort on the way to Rapid City. This was a really nice RV park with full hookups for the same price as our last campground that we were not happy with.

June 27th, the RV resort provided a $1 All-U-Can-Eat pancake breakfast. We left shortly after eating breakfast and stopped at the Old McDonald Farm less than a mile from the RV Resort. This was an enjoyable place to stop and spend a few hours if you have small kids. They have a lawn mower train, pig races, farm animal feeding and many other things to do. It is small but fun for the kids. We hit the road again and traveled 275 miles across South Dakota before stopping for the night at Walmart in Mitchell, SD.

June 28th, we drove to Sioux Falls, SD and stopped by to see the Pettigrew Home & Museum. This is an old home was owned by South Dakota's first Senator Richard Pettigrew. Everything was well maintained and still in its original condition as much as possible. I was sad we couldn't take any photos inside but it was still a neat piece of history. We departed and headed south on the I29 and all of the sudden we heard our first alarm in the MH since owning it while driving down the road. We quickly pulled over at a truck stop and discovered it was the O2 alarm so I got the family out and opened all the windows to allow fresh air in. After about 15 minutes I hit the battery kill switch then turned it back on and the alarm stopped. We drove to an RV service company in Sioux City, IA and the tech took a look and said it was a false alarm and everything was fine. We drove a little farther down the road and stopped at the Winnevegas Casino in Sloan, IA for a buffet dinner $10 electric hookup.

June 29th, our 5 y/o daughter woke up at 1am screaming and holding her eye in pain. We drove back to Sioux City to the Mercy Hospital Emergency Room and they diagnosed her with Pink Eye. The staff in the Emergency Room were very friendly and great with our daughter and it was nice to see her smile a little while there under the conditions. We drove back to the casino to get some sleep. We woke up around noon after a long adventurous evening but hey, we were on vacation so we could wake up when we want. We drove all the way to Kansas City and stopped for the night at a Walmart in Oak Grove, MO.

June 30th, we started across MO on I70 and we ran into our first rain of the trip. The rain began pouring down in buckets so we pulled over at a truck stop just west of St. Louis and we were just enjoying the rain since we don't get rain at home but once or twice a year. While parked we discovered our first leak, it was seeping through the rear window in the bedroom. We took off again and drove through St. Louis and made it Mt. Vernon, IL and parked in another Walmart for the night. It rained nearly all night and my daughter asked that I sleep with her. It was nice hearing the rain hitting the roof throughout the night and very soothing.

July 1st, we left Mt. Vernon and headed south to see my family in western Kentucky for the next ten days.

July 11th, we departed western KY and began our trip back home. We stopped at Walmart parking lot in Moberly, MO.

July 12th, we got back on the road and headed west through Kansas City which was a nightmare then stopped at Walmart in Hays, KS.

July 13th, we took some time to visit the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. This was a nice and affordable way to spend a few hours of sightseeing. This is a three story dome with plenty of history about the animals and dinosaurs that roam or did roam the plains of Kansas. There are plenty of snakes, lizards, fish and robotic dinosaurs on display which are entertaining especially if you have young kids. We left Hays around noon and the drive was very comfortable and the weather was perfect crossing the remainder of Kansas and the first couple hours in Colorado. We got caught up in some really strong thunderstorms that forced much of the traffic to pull over while being blasted with strong rains, winds and hail. We pulled over at a truck stop in Limon, CO while the storm passed by then we started out again for Denver. It looked like we were going to get caught up in another storm for a while but they stayed to the north of us a little but we did get hit with the strong winds which made the drive really tough. We spent the night at Walmart in Wheat Ridge, CO on the northwest side of Denver. I don't recommend staying at this Walmart, the parking lot is literally about 100 feet from the freeway so you heard the sound of traffic all night but I was too tired to drive any further that night.

July 14th, we drove through some beautiful country in the Colorado mountains going across the I70. We had planned to stay at the Heaton Campground in Frisco on the Dillon Reservoir but the Dillon Dam Road was closed to RV's and trucks so we stopped in Glenwood Springs, CO and did some shopping at a small mall. The drive from Glenwood Springs to Palisade, CO was absolutely beautiful as the I70 just follows the Colorado River winding its way around through the canyons on both sides of the road. We finally found a great place to stop for the night at the Island Acres Campground which is a Colorado State Park. The park is located right on the Colorado River and nestled between the rocky canyons surrounding it. The park is well maintained, the staff are friendly, fishing is plentiful with the choice of three lakes in the park of which two are stocked or the Colorado River. This was a full hookup site for only $24 and a $7 park fee.

July 15th, we began our drive across Utah and headed for home. The temperatures rose a bit as well so we knew we were getting close to home now. We drove to Beaver, UT before stopping for the night at a truck stop.

July 16th, we drove through the remainder of Utah, the northwest corner of Arizona, Nevada then California. We arrived home safely around 10pm and we were really glad to get home and sleep in our own beds again.

Well, that pretty much sums up our trip, I hope to be able to do this again in the future. RVing is the way to get out and see the country and enjoy it from the luxury of your own home on wheels. We were able to save a lot of money just with meals and not having to pay for a hotel each night along the way. We are considering an upgrade in the next year or two now after this trip, hopefully an "A" Class will be in our near future.   


Josh
2012 Thor Chateau 28Z
2007 Toyota RAV4 FWD/Remco lube pump
Alpha Tow Bar/Blue Ox base plate
U.S. Navy Retired
Good Sam Life Member

ArdraF

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Re: Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2013, 12:28:35 AM »
Josh, you had an interesting trip and made some good memories for your family.  A lot of people with young families ask about stopping at Wal-Marts and truck stops.  For their benefit, I'd like to ask how well that worked out.  Were the kids able to get out and run off some energy?  How were they with the long driving days?  I always wonder about children in such areas, especially truck stops with all the trucks moving around.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Campfire RV

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Re: Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2013, 10:24:00 PM »
Yes, we did make some great memories on this trip. We only have one 5 y/o daughter and she travels well. When we stopped at a Wal-Mart for the night we always arrived early enough in the evening so we could all get out walk around the store and allow our daughter to play with toys for an hour or so each time then we would go back to the MH and prepare for bed. We didn't really have any problems with her when we stopped at truck stops either, as long as she was able to get out of her seat and roam around in the MH for a little while she was good.

I have heard from some families with young kids having problems with long travels but we have been very fortunate in that aspect.
Josh
2012 Thor Chateau 28Z
2007 Toyota RAV4 FWD/Remco lube pump
Alpha Tow Bar/Blue Ox base plate
U.S. Navy Retired
Good Sam Life Member

ArdraF

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  • Posts: 9656
Re: Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2013, 11:38:34 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, Josh.  I'm sure it will help some other family.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

JCZ

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Re: Month Long Cross-Country RV Vacation
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 11:55:14 PM »
Outstanding trip report.  Thank you for posting it.
2013 Fox Mountain 235RLS pulled by a 2012 F-250, 3.55 Electronic Locking Differntial, 6.7L Diesel, Supercab, Lariet, FX-4, Longbed.
http://49errvpark.blogspot.com/

 

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