The Army is PCSing me again. Hopefully this is the last time before I retire from service. Anyways, looking at a trip from Fort irwin, CA to Berlin Center, OH and then down to Fort Benning, GA. I'll be traveling with the wife, my 18 year old daughter, my almost 4yr old son... and three cats.
We would like to leave fort irwin and go through Yellowstone, then through Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands and then to the farm in Ohio. I will sign out March 1st. I've already done some research and seen there are few campgrounds open up north that time of year. We don't have to much of a concern with that as we usually overnight in parking lots on travel days. I've also seen only one gate is open in Yellowstone in March. So my queastion for some of you all who have travelled that way in the winter time, is it worth fighting the cold to see Yellowstone that time of year, or should I just take I-40 back east and plan a trip to the NW at a later date. I like to try to work these trips in during a PCS move as it helps cover the costs of being on the road.
I have everything on the camper set up for extended stays without hookups, a lot of you all have helped me make the decisions with modifications to make that happen (we've been boondocking in the desert alot). Only thing I dont have is enclosed tanks. I can heat tape the two lines that gave me trouble in Yosimite last year, but I don't see anything else I can do about that at this time. Tank heaters are not in the budget since I just blew my camper money on a solar kit.
Also, I have a large dog kennel for the three cats. Do you think its okay to strap that down to the tie down points in the toy hauler and put the cats there to travel? I really dont know how rough or noisy it is back there while travelling. One of the cats travels really well (but sheds alot), the other two are crazies in the car and I dont want to deal with it, not to mention 4 people and three cats in the cab of the truck would just be horrible.
Here are the "opening dates" for Yellowstone, that I could locate on the national park site.
Where do I enter Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone has 5 entrances to the park:
North Entrance - Gardiner, MT, the North Entrance is the only park entrance open to wheeled vehicles all year. November through April, provides access to Cooke City, MT. US Highway 212 east of Cooke City is closed to wheeled vehicles November through April. The Mammoth to Norris road is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from around December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service is Bozeman, MT
West Entrance - West Yellowstone, MT, the West Entrance is open to wheeled vehicles from April 20 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service is West Yellowstone, MT, Bozeman, MT, Idaho Falls, ID, and Salt Lake City, UT.
Northeast Entrance - Silver Gate and Cooke City, MT, is open year around for wheeled vehicles to Cooke City through the North Entrance. Opening dates for roads east of Cooke City vary from year to year, depending on the weather. The Beartooth Highway is
open from late May/early June to mid October and is dependent upon weather conditions. Closest airline service is Billings, MT.
South & East Entrances - Open to wheeled vehicles from May 11 to November 4, and to tracked oversnow vehicles from December 17 to March 12. Closest airline service to the South Entrance is Jackson, WY and Cody, WY to the East Entrance.
So, unless you have "tracked oversnow vehicle", there won't be any chance you can even enter Yellowstone.
This is not really something that you can see/do during the middle of the winter.
If you are adventurous, go for it.
The only entrance open will be the North Entrance from Gardiner, Mt. The Mammoth Campground is open all year. At 6000', it is going to be cold. Dry camping. Water is available, but no dump. The road thru Larmar Valley is kept open if it snows.
can anyone suggest somewhere nice to go. most likely travel 40 from Barstow to Memphis, then take the bluegrass parkway through Kentucky, up through Louisville and Cincinnati, and then north through Ohio to the farm. A detour from that route is fine if you all know a great place to visit.
I have friends who went to Yellowstone one Christmas break and rented snowmobiles to ride around inside the park. They had fun and said it was pretty with all the snow. But you can't get too far, probably, on a snowmobile's tank of gas, so your range in the park would be limited. And I doubt you'd want to do that for more than one or two days.
Along the I-40 route, you might detour to Santa Fe and see some of the artsy shops there. In OK, Red Rock Canyon SP is an interesting place to camp because it's down in the canyon with the reddish walls all around. In AR, I'd recommend Petit Jean SP (S. off the x-way between Morrilton and Russellville) for its high overlooks, cave, waterfall (probably dry now though) and "turtle rocks"... oh, and there's a nice playground, too.
* This post was
edited 12/26/16 09:11pm by rexlion *
--currently in between trailers-- To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... (Ecclesiastes 3)
I'd agree that Yellowstone takes a lot of focused prep, and best not to include this time. It'll be cold there! 40 has plenty of smaller things, like most routes and started do. OK Native American Museum and country, library in little Rock, Sante Fe certainly, and Elvis of course. Catch Ali in Louisville as you head north.
Da Moose - 2001 Dutchman 31' on E450
(Looking for a 5-bike hitch carrier)
Palo Duro Canyon State Park outside Amarillo is definitely worth a stop. We like the Mesquite campground best but, if you need a break from the camper, they have some neat cabins as well. The Panhandle-Plains museum in nearby Canyon, TX is great.
Agree with thoughts about Petit Jean. Nice trails and good campground.
We have done several 2-3 month trips and my thoughts on this are that we aren't going to go more than 20-30 miles without passing a Walmart, Target or other discount chain.
We have our regular pots and pans that stay in the RV, we have staples (flour, sugar, cornmeal, dried beans, eggs, milk and sodas) with us. I will usually purchase a couple of frozen bagged meals to fix when I am tired and don't really feel like cooking. I have one set of sheets/blankets for each bed and these will be washed along the way. If they need to be replaced, we replace then on the road.
We have not travelled in that direction...yet, so I have no recommendations.