I think the best NFS campground for big rigs like yours between Buffalo and Ten Sleep would be Tie Hack. No hookups (you won't need AC), but it's fairly new (13-14 years old) and has sites that will easily accommodate your big MHs. You can reserve sites now, but the ones not reserved go to first-come-first-served within a week or two of the planned stay. Sunday-Thursday you can usually find a site if you're there by 4.
If you want hookups, Buffalo has some nice commercial RV parks -- Deer Park, KOA and Indian Campground.
We also enjoy camping at Devils Tower. Our preference is usually the Parks Service campground inside the monument -- Belle Fourche Campground. But there are no hookups, so if it's too hot we prefer the KOA just outside the entrance.
Just read some reviews about generators not working at higher elevations. Planning a trip to west coast next summer and WILL be spending time at altitude in Montana and Colorado. Is it a problem with carb models or fuel injected? In Glacier we will be at about 8000 ft.
Looking at Kipor generators too. Got really good reviews and very quiet like Honda but not as pricey.
It's going to be a problem with anything that's not turbocharged, and I've yet to hear of a generator that is. Normally aspirated engines just don't produce the power at higher elevations -- less oxygen. At sea level some might be able to run a 13.5 AC with a 2000 watt genny, but at 8,000 it'll take at least 3000 watts.
The bright side is, at 8,000 feet elevation you probably won't need to run the AC. We usually camp at about that elevation and have never wanted AC -- just heat at night. In July. And in August. ;)
Once you get to Minneapolis, the 'north shore' along Lake Superior is a must see. Palisade Head, the many fine waterfalls, Artist's Point at Grand Marais, and more. Be sure to stop for pizza at Sven and Ole's.
I don't know about Sven and Ole's, but I agree that's a great drive!
AWESOME Pics! We are headed up that way on Thursday, staying at Rafter J. Will be nice to do some new exploring!
Do not go through Deadwood.Rapid City is longer but takes less time.
Hiway 59 is good and don't stop In Wheatland for anything.Gas is around 12 cents cheaper in Gillette.
Fuel in Gillette is pretty reasonable EXCEPT at Flying J. There it's normally 20 cents higher than at all the other stations! Unfortunately, it's also the easiest place for refueling bigger RVs. I filled up with diesel yesterday for $3.839 at the Maverick Store on 59 at the south end of town. It's a new facility and can handle most RVs. At Flying J, a mile north and at the intersection of I-90 and Hwy 59, it was $4.059. Until a year or so ago Flying J set the price in town and all the other stations followed. Since then it's been WAY higher than all the rest.
Convenience vs. price. I've also damaged my RV at a smaller gas station because there wasn't room to pull out once I got refueled, so take your pick. (I HAD to get fuel in that instance -- running low and couldn't find a proper station on a rural highway in Oregon.)
Depends on how much time you have to spend. If you haven't seen Devils Tower Nat'l Monument, that's always nice. We like the campground inside the park -- no hookups but usually quiet. If it's too hot and you need AC, the KOA just outside the gate is good, as KOAs go.
If you want to see some scenery on your way to Billings and have an extra day or two, I'd leave I-90 at Buffalo and head over the Bighorns on Hwy 16, then at Worland head north to Greybull/Shell and take Hwy 14 to Dayton/Ranchester, then pick up I-90 again to the Little Bighorn Battlefield before proceeding to Billings.
Buffalo has some nice commercial campgrounds if you want hookups -- KOA and Deer Park are good, and for a great meal try the Winchester right near both of them. If you like NFS campgrounds, Tie Hack is about 15 miles up the mountain from Buffalo and usually has some sites available on weekdays if you get there by 3 or so. Sites are large, carved out of the pines. There's a nice mountain lake (reservoir) about a mile from Tie Hack, also North Fork and Middle Fork streams are both within a mile or two. Lots of NFS campgrounds along Hwy 14 in the Bighorns too, but I'm not that familiar with them. You won't need AC in the mountains.
If you have even more time, consider KarenS' suggestion, or just go to Cody for the museum if you don't have time for Yellowstone. Be advised, however, that the Beartooth Highway is true mountain driving. It's a beautiful drive -- one of the most beautiful ANYWHERE -- but it's steep and winding for a big 5er.
I thought about your post today while in the Black Hills. Hwy 16 from Custer to Newcastle is undergoing a major reconstruction and is a bear! You should be able to make it, but be forewarned. You might want to consider taking Hwy 385 out of the hills.
LOL Pawatt! You listed THREE! Cheater, cheater!
I've got to agree, they're all great roads. I'd forgotten about the north shore of Superior. My first time up there was in June '95 I think. It was 105F! We'd stopped and spent the night at my brother's home in Minneapolis the night before heading out for it. It was over 100F there too. Of course he said that was unheard of but reassured us that once we got past Duluth it would be cool. NOT! The (very) little breeze that we felt was headed out to the lake, so even 50 feet from the shoreline it was sweltering heat. Some places inland were reporting 108F!
Oh my! Hard to pick just one, but I'd have to say the Beartooth Highway from Red Lodge, MT to Yellowstone's NE gate. http://beartoothhighway.com
My late wife and I traveled it during the first of many camping trips together. It's a beautiful drive. Some don't recommend driving it in a motorhome, but that's exactly what we did, and we enjoyed it going into the Park so much that we took the same route back home after visiting Yellowstone and surrounding areas.
Hwy 16 over the Bighorns (Buffalo to Worland) is a nice mountain drive -- not too steep or winding but scenic. Climbing out of Buffalo should be no problem. I think they call it a 7% grade, but I don't know where that came from. It used to be marked 6%. There are a few curves marked 35 mph but if you feel like taking them a little faster going up, no problem.
On the western slope descending into Ten Sleep you'll find a pair of 25 mph "hairpin" curves just after passing Deer Lodge and crossing Ten Sleep Creek. Keep it slow and round them at 25 and you'll be fine. Other than those two curves, it's pretty much a piece of cake. There are three or four pull-offs descending into the canyon, and I'd suggest that you use at least one of them. It's a good place to take a picture and check the heat on your wheels, but there are no more sharp curves after the pair as you first enter the canyon. It's a good 2-lane highway all the way across.
Cloud Peak Skyway Scenic Byway
From the mouth of Ten Sleep Canyon to Worland it's badlands territory -- hilly but mostly straight. From there to Yellowstone it's pretty flat as you'll follow the Big Horn River to Greybull, then high desert to Cody, then follow another river most of the way to Yellowstone.
While the suggestions posted are good, I'd take a different route completely -- I-90 across South Dakota to I-25 at Sioux Falls, then south to I-680/I-80.
Hwy 14 over the Bighorns at Greybull or Hwy 16 over them at Worland would both work, but 16 is a little easier and just as scenic, imho. This would lead you to the historic town of Buffalo (Johnson County Range Wars), where you'd pick up I-90.
From there I'd suggest a slight excursion at Moorcroft to visit the nation's first National Monument, Devils Tower, then head to Sundance (namesake of the Sundance Kid) and I-90 again. This will place you at the edge of the Black Hills, where you'd have any number of interesting sites to explore including Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and Custer State Park, to mention just a few.
Once leaving the Black Hills you'd be only an hour from the South Dakota Badlands, another great short excursion from the interstate (not to mention Wall Drug).
The rest area just past the Missouri River bridge at Chamberlain provides a very nice scenic view of the river and the rugged plains beyond it. East of the river is farm country; west of it is cowboy country, and it's so different that residents of the state identify as either "east river" or "west river".
Normally I'd recommend a quick stop at the Mitchell Corn Palace, but it's currently being renovated and has lost its charm for the summer. Mitchell does have a nice Cabellas, if you're so inclined, as does Rapid City.
If you take I-25 south at Sioux Falls, don't miss the I-680 exchange and stay on I-25. I-680 is a direct route to I-80 through some pretty country and will save you 40-50 miles (wild guess).
Try to stop at the first rest area when arriving in each state to gather tourist information. It'll make your trip through each state much more interesting and you'll be less apt to miss something that would appeal to you.
I live on I-90 and have travelled it as far as it goes both directions, often pulling a smaller 5th wheel with a smaller truck. It's a little curvy in places in Montana but nothing to be concerned about as far as towing. Elevation throughout Wyoming is 3500 to 4500 or so -- ez-pz. Have a nice trip.
I wonder who else is thinking about the implications of an increased heat flow from the giant volcanic caldera that is the whole park? That's what I first thought of, not that a melting road is an inconvenience. Geologist thing.
I did. If it blows, it'll make several states difficult if not impossible for living in.
If/when it blows, it's going to make living difficult for the whole planet! (Can you imagine the CO2 levels THEN!) ;)
All I have to say is THANK YOU to all of you who responded! Because of your comments I re-evaluated what's more important and both my husband and myself realized taking time off and being together as a family and seeing this beautiful country is what's important! I sat down this evening and read all your responses and realized we needed to make a change to get back on the road and that is what we are going to do! I cannot thank you all enough for your heart felt thoughts and encouragement to stay focused and not lose sight of what's the most important in life! Thank you!! :)
Good for you! My late wife and I were able to take ONE long vacation (4-5 weeks). We camped in our TC every night, attended two family weddings, visited her family, my family and lots of wildlife. We had a marvelous time. She died unexpectedly a year later. I'm sooooooo thankful we took that vacation! She was 50 and seemed to be in great health. You just never know....
I drive those sections somewhat frequently. Not much traffic out there. And I would be willing to bet that this will have very little effect on most people's actual driving speed.
I drove the 70 miles between Gillette and Buffalo (I-90) both ways today at 76-77 mph. Two cars passed me going one direction, one car the other direction.
Actually, I drove the 60-mile section between Buffalo and Ranchester at 75-76, and I believe it was only one car that passed me there too.
As you said, not too much traffic.
Same way many businesses operate. Too many people have watched too many TV shows and think the way to get a position is to dress up like a clown and barge in on the CEO....
Reminds me of a guy I interviewed once while on a week-long business trip. We talked, I looked over his samples, got his list of references, etc. and told him I'd get back to him in a week when I returned to the office. Two or three days later I called my partner to check in, and he asks, "Did you hire So And So for the such-and-such job?"
I said that I'd talked to him, but after checking his references had decided he wasn't the right guy.
"Well, he showed up to work yesterday and said you'd hired him, so I showed him his office and got him started."
:S Some people!
I'd second Fliposo's recommendation of Pahaska Teepee. And third the recommendation for the Irma. When vacationing in a place like Cody, WHERE you eat is more memorable than WHAT you eat. Hopefully. ;)
I've been over Hwy 14 and 16 dozens of times each -- maybe hundreds of times over 16. I recommend Hwy 16 out of Buffalo to those wanting an easier route. For scenic beauty, 14 and 16 are close. I think 14 (out of Ranchester/Dayton) is a little prettier going up and coming down, but 16 is prettier across the top. 14A (alternate) is very scenic but a little steep with sharper curves, and I'd not recommend it for towing a long 5er. I'm sure you could make it, but I'd not recommend it. Time-wise, there's not much difference in any of them. I once had a business partner from Greybull who alternately drove 14 and 16 to Gillette. He said one was 5 minute quicker, and I think that was Hwy 16.
The past couple summers Hwy 14 has had some detours and closings due to heavy rains washing out the road and causing rock slides. Nothing yet this year that I've heard.
More often than not, when I go to Cody (from Gillette) I take 16 to Worland, then head through Greybull to Cody. I take 14 now and then for a change of scenery.
If you'll be stopping at Devils Tower (the country's first national monument), there's a couple good campgrounds there. We prefer the one inside the park -- Belle Fourche Campground. It's got no hookups. If you want hookups, the KOA just outside the gate is nice too.
Buffalo has a few nice commercial campgrounds in town -- KOA, Indian Campground and Deer Park Campground. Or if you want something in the mountains, Tie Hack Campground is 12-14 miles out of Buffalo just off Hwy 16. It's one of the newer NFS campgrounds on the mountain and was designed for the bigger rigs. No hookups, just spacious campsites carved out of the pines with picnic tables, fire pits and the occasional deer or moose.
I normally kept my business's name out of it when advertising nationally for key employees. They sent their information to "blind box XXX". I didn't want to be bothered by dozens of calls from hopefuls who may not be anywhere near qualified. I'd go through the resumes, call the most qualified for a phone interview, then invite (at my expense) the best one to visit face-to-face. If I was still impressed, I'd offer the job. If not, I'd go to number two and invite him/her for a visit.
It certainly wasn't because we didn't have a good reputation. We did.