Haven't heard of restrictions on sliding glass doors, but then we've never looked into a seasonal site anywhere.
My impression is that if you have holding tanks, you have a TT; park models - to my knowledge - don't have holding tanks. (I could be wrong about this.)
Our site at Gouldings last year.
You will have better access to the valley if you take a tour. We saw signs, not very far into it, indicating that non-resident vehicles were not allowed beyond a certain point (exempting the tour trucks.)
Unless you have a large family, or a wife that won't go camping unless it's in the Hilton, you may not need a 5th wheel. I'd agree that, with the truck you have, you could get a decent trailer. Whether you go with a trailer or a motorhome, though, I wouldn't advise buying anything very old - no more than 5 years, and probably not as old as that. (Speaking from personal experience.) :) RVs - with a few possible exceptions - are not built for heavy, longterm use.
You might get a copy of the Mountain Directory West. They list all passes of concern to RVers and truckers, with descriptions of the grades, terrain, etc. Very handy item to have! Most larger camping-related stores (such as Camping World) or truck stops will likely have it.
Gouldings is the only game in town - well, almost. There is a tribal CG just inside the entrance to Monument Valley which has no shade; not sure about what hookups they have (but I think none). Gouldings is pretty nice, actually, and has space for large rigs, but you WILL need advance reservations. The CG is part of a larger complex (hotel, restaurant, gas station, grocery store). Definitely recommend the guided tours of MV; you can reserve ahead through the CG and they pick up right there. Guides are Navajo from the area. We really enjoyed ours.
Despite being part of the large complex, the CG is off by itself in a pretty, red-rock canyon; some sites have a little shade, as there are some trees in the CG.
The KOA in Billings is very nice, actually - but is overpriced. It's the "flagship" of the brand, and they try to make it a bit more "special." Quiet, though? - probably not.
Although it's not near your halfway point, the KOA in Hardin MT is plenty decent, off the interstate about 1/2 mile (not much road noise) and you could spend the "off" day visiting the nearby Little Bighorn National Battlefield, which is worth a stop. The hourly ranger talks are fascinating, as each ranger has a different presentation, and you can do a self-drive tour and/or a guided tour (the guides are Indian). I found it a more interesting visit than I expected.
Agreed about judging; yes, it's more comfortable towing below the tow rating, but not "wrong" to do it at or near the tow rating. :) We were one of those towing the "big rig", in our case a 34' TT with slide, with our 1/2 ton, and we had far more problems with the camper itself than with the truck. (No problems with the truck, in fact.) We downsized in order to fit into more public campgrounds, which we prefer to private ones much of the time. I'm enjoying the towing experience more, I'll admit, but I don't think our choice of the larger trailer was wrong at the time we bought it.
Also agreed on posting the name of the dealer with the honest salesman. They are a rare breed! :)
Have driven 20; good road, even some rest areas enroute. There's a private CG in Burns that gets good reviews, and looked nice (and shady!) from the road. Some interesting scenery, especially about 30-50 miles west of Boise.
Our favorite route for years, which helped avoid some of the worst (including what is often a bottleneck at the junction of I-65 & I-80) was to take exit #220 off I-65 (Rte 10), and head west to US 41. Turn north on 41 and take it to S.R.2 (which becomes S.R. 17 when you cross the Illinois border) - that will go west a bit, then take a rather sharp turn to the right - continue north on that road (it will turn into S.R.1 after 17 turns off to the west) until it turns into a 4-lane and becomes 394,I believe). That will take you to I-90/294 tollway - go west on that & stay on the tollway around Chicago. Eventually it will reconnect with I-94 in Lake County IL, and you can take that north to Milwaukee. (Not 100% sure of the route after that, as we only went to Elkhart Lake once.)
If you stay on 80 and go west of the Chicago 'burbs, it will be a long way around, and more 2-lane roads, but may involve less traffic.
I might have wished for a longer period of time when she's banned from the national parks. Glad she was ordered to pay restitution and issue a written apology. I hope she learns the correct lesson from this experience - and that others, who might have followed in her footsteps, do too!
x2 on Three Island Crossing. Wide grassy, shady sites with electric & water hookups, and there is a dump station. Historic area (Oregon Trail). I'd suggest staying in several different locations, as there is a different "flavor" in each one.
Two other good state parks along I-84 (or reachable from it) include Massacre Rocks, just west of American Falls (though not many sites available for large rigs) and Bruneau Dunes SP, south of Mountain Home, in sw Idaho - interesting large sand dunes in the park, and an astronomical telescope in the park as well; on weekend nights, volunteers come to open it to the public, and often bring their own smaller telescopes. Great & interesting program. You may need to make reservations; some of these parks can get filled up, especially on weekends. Idaho takes reservations for its state parks via ReserveAmerica, I believe up to 9 months in advance.
Craters of the Moon National Monument, on US 20, has a campground - very open, unique terrain, no shade, no hookups. Large rigs apparently will have some trouble negotiating the CG, though some sites will be large enough. Definitely dark skies there!
If you prefer private campgrounds, Mountain Home RV Park is an excellent place - exceptionally clean & nice. Along US 20, the Arco KOA is a nice CG as well, and fairly quiet - not right along the road (several blocks away) and not even near a RR track! :) Amenities include some shade, an evening ice cream social and morning (free) waffle breakfast.
Farther north, Ponderosa SP is a gorgeous gem. And VERY popular; you will need reservations there for sure. Also good advice about Yellowstone & the Tetons being close to s.e. Idaho.
Sounds like a wonderful trip! Glad you already have reservations in the busy spots. I second the suggestion for the Rafter J Bar in the Black Hills - and the Hills are so much more than Mt. Rushmore! Don't miss the Crazy Horse memorial! There's an old steam train one can ride there, lots of hiking/biking trails, etc. Depending on the size of your rig, Custer State Park has some nice campgrounds as well, some with electric hookups.
A couple other spots I'd recommend seeing: Devils Tower in n.e. Wyoming and Little Bighorn National Battlefield - both are between the Black Hills and Cody/Yellowstone/Glacier, the latter being just off I-90. The KOA at Devils Tower is right at the base of the tower - great view! A couple nice CGs near Little Bighorn; it's worth a day to tour the battlefield, which you can do on your own as well as with local guides. Don't miss the hourly ranger talk(s) at Little Bighorn.
I don't advise traveling US 14 (and especially not 14A) or Beartooth Hwy with your entire rig - just with the toad/tow vehicle. Beautiful drives but very tough with RVs.
Our previous TT had a GVWR of 7600 lbs (we probably overloaded it somewhat, and towed it weighing perhaps 8000 lbs.) The truck pulled it fine, but we could tell we were right at the limit (and above the GVWR of the truck, actually). And I'm sure stopping it was a little tough on the brakes, good as they are. I'd not recommend as heavy a trailer as you're considering with this light of a truck. The engine will do fine, but it will tax the body.
Sorry I can't help with the last part of your route, but the rest of it should be fine. If you'd rather pick something more scenic than the Snake River Plain, you might consider US 20 across Idaho instead of the interstates.
From what I remember (it's been about 25 years), I agree with Renee, the CG at Crater Lake doesn't have sites big enough for your rig. There are several private CGs outside the park that get good reviews.
The holding tank of an RV is not the same as a septic tank for a house; there will be little to no breakdown over time. You are right, though, that it's best to let the black tank get as full as possible before dumping it, just to flush everything out easier. No reason not to do the same with the gray tank either. We can generally go 4 days camping without having to dump, though if we are moving on after 2-3 nights, we'll usually dump all waste tanks when leaving the CG, just so we're not carrying the extra weight of the wastewater around.
JMHO, but the cryptic title of your post may not serve to get you as many responses as you might like. I'd suggest titling your posts in a way that we know what's likely to be addressed in them.