there are a few north of Dubois. Brooks Lake, Pinnacles, and Falls campgrounds.
we have not stayed at them, but they sound pretty decent. try google earthing them and see what they look like from the air.
the KOA in Carlsbad is your best bet.
Roswell Alien museum
cross the mountains on 70 and 380. this route takes you through some of Billy the Kid's country.
there's a nice little federal campground just west of Carrizozo. elec, water and dump station.
going up I 25, there's a real nice rv park at the Isleta Casino. golf course, water, fishing, walking, and it's right on the light rail service which is pretty reasonable to use. the rv park costs around $35.00 a night. a shuttle will take you up to the casino where they have fair to middling dining.
this place is just south of Albuquerque, so it's not far from the balloons gathering.
be aware, but not overly concerned.
as stated, know where the campground shelter is and if the weather looks threatening, tune in to the local news station where it will no doubt be giving you frequent weather updates.
note: a "tornado watch" means weather can/might produce a tornado, hail, high winds, etc.
"tornado warning" means there is a tornado and you should take cover if you are in the projected path of a tornado.
finally, if you are parked under or very close to a big tree, you might want to move your rig as far away as you can to avoid tree damage. but this is only if it is really convenient to do so. otherwise, let your insurance do what you pay for.
personally, I'd take Nevada 95 over CA 99 any day unless it was snowing like crazy up on Donner Pass. Less traffic, less stress.
but if you decide on 99, there's nothing wrong with CA 58 over to Barstow.
There's a couple truck stops at Barstow just south of where you turn north to get to I 40. About 1 mile south.
I often take taco meat already cooked and in a ziplock.
Cooked and sliced brisket with broth in meal sized zip lock bags.
cooked and rough chopped chicken for salad or ala king or alfredo.
cooked pork roast, chopped or pulled for bbq or tacos.
pinto beans, cooked and into meal sized ziplocks.
just a couple points....offered with a smile of sympathy.
you're not going to find many rv parks that have a fenced area to let your dogs run freely. I think I've only seen one, and that is a city campground in Dumas, TX, if it's still there.
you say you like to spend your time reading, computing or watching tv, and maybe just sitting and watching people, etc. that's fine, but you can do that without any amenities.
now, if you want pretty surroundings, trees, grass, water, scenery..you're going to have to check into state parks and BLM rec. areas. Those usually have fairly nice campgrounds.
some states, like kansas and nebraska... if you get off the interstate and run the state roads, you'll find that most the little towns have a tiny city campground with hookups. some of them are in the city park, others are right in the middle of town. interesting places. Marysville, KS comes to mind, a nice park. Great Bend, KS is another and Moberly, MO has a nice one. Some of these have a bathroom, most just have elec hookups and water. some have a dump station.
it's a tough climb, but doable. Just take it easy. You just feel like you're going up up up and will it ever stop??? But it tops out finally and after that it's fine. And so much cooler than down below. And you're so lucky to have a position up there.
first, what are you going to use for camping?
second, you cannot expect to make the same mileage with any kind of camper as you can do in your car.
third, from San Antonio, plan 3 full days to get to the Black Hills, maybe 3 1/2.
route: if you go up through Amarillo, take 83 north to N. Platte, then jog west on I 80 to 385 north.
Chadron NE: there is a nice state park just 9 miles south of town, with pool, horses to ride, elec, water and dump station and decent bathroom/showers.
Continue north on 385. If going to Custer State Park, and that is where you should stay, take 79 north off 385 and go up to 36 which takes you west right into the park. Stay at Game Lodge Campground if you can, or Legion Lake.
Besides Rushmore, there is a T Rex museum at Hill City, a gold mine tour at Lead, and Deadwood for all the old west stuff.
From Custer, go west on 16 and go up and catch I 90 and then go on to Buffalo, WY..nice campground right in town Indian Campground it's called.
Cross the mountains on 16, over to Worland north to Greybull and west into Cody.
Cody has a shootout every afternoon at Irma's Hotel in town. Also a really spectacular scenic drive called Chief Joseph and then on over Beartooth Pass down to Red Lodge MT and then south back to Cody. Plan for a whole day, take a picnic lunch, etc.
Yellowstone: Bridge Bay campground is fairly central to the park and so is Norris. There are two big loops, north and south and each one will take all day.
Try to plan your stop at Old Faithful for around lunch time or supper time, and then you can eat and watch the geyser or watch the geyser and then eat..at the Snow Lodge cafeteria.
And close to Bridge Bay is the Yellowstone Lodge dining room and prices that aren't too bad.
Don't go all that way out there and not go to Grand Teton Park. Just plan to come home that way, down south through the park.
For kids your ages, Grand Teton has some rapids rafting trips, a ski lift ride to the top of a the mountain over in Teton Village and one in Jackson, too.
get your reservations NOW if you can. there are 3 campgrounds that are sort of off the main track.
1. bluebell is a few miles south of highway 16 on the state park scenic loop.
2. stockade lake south is back off the highway at the back of the lake.
3. sylvan lake is up on the north end of the park.
the others are strung along highway 16.
all of the campgrounds are nice, all have some shade or a lot of shade, all have some elec sites and water and bathrooms. Game Lodge is the only one with a dump station.
good luck, hope you can get a reservation.
I don't think you'll have any problem getting into the North Fork campground..it's the one that's furthest from Cody, about 15 miles maybe. The other one could be pretty full, but we've been that way several times in August and never saw either one completely full.
It is an interesting area. Cody itself is interesting and there is a great day trip drive called The Chief Joseph Scenic byway that is spectacular.
at Chadron NE, there is Chadron State Park, about 9 miles south of town on 385.
it's a nice park with elec and water and dump and good bathrooms.
there's a walmart in chadron if you want to stock up before going on...or there's a couple of them in Rapid City and one at Spearfish, too.
chadron is a dinky little town, but it has a couple interesting museums.. Dawes County Museum just a mile south of the junction of 385 and 20, and the Fur Trapper museum a couple miles east of town on 20.
and 20 miles west on 20 is Ft. Robinson which has some good museums and lots of history.
call me strange, but I don't care for filet mignon.
it's tender and flavorful enough, but it looks like a mini pot roast to me.
I much prefer t bones or rib eyes, cooked in a pan or on the grill or under the broiler.
a little lemon pepper and some garlic powder and presto, I've got exactly what I like best.
X 3 on Gros Ventre campground in Grand Teton Park. It has water and a dump station, and you probably won't want an air conditioner even in July.
But... The Virginian RV park in Jackson is very nice and it runs a shuttle downtown and back.
For Yellowstone, if you can't get into Bridge Bay campground in the park, West Yellowstone is your best bet for an rv park. There are several in town or close to town. The Grizzly RV park gets good reviews here.
We like staying south of town down at Henry's Lake State Park, about 15 miles south. It has elec, water and dump and nice showers and a good view and a big clean laundrymat near by and the price is about half what you'll pay for an rv park.