Indian Creek is a lovely little CG, BUT this year it's in the midst of a long stretch of MAJOR road construction. (And I suspect next year, and possibly the year after that. As I said, it's major construction.) Much of this stretch of road is one-lane, with up to 30-minute delays while the other side waits for the pilot car. Staying at Indian Creek might be a pain while this is going on. That said, there are lots of other attractive CGs in the park. The smaller ones are first-come, the others reservable.
Henry's Lake has electric & water hookups, dump station and a somewhat Spartan showerhouse. Fantastic 360-degree view! Can be windy. No shade. It isn't large, so sites may or may not be available.
Grizzly RV in West Yellowstone has gotten our vote multiple times. Very manicured, but certainly convenient, has FHUs, can accommodate big rigs but also welcomes popups & tents, and rates are competitive with other private CGs outside Yellowstone.
I think the reason for so few mfgs of them is that the bigger RV companies have been buying up the smaller ones. There still seem to be quite a few around - though more in the Midwest than the west, it seems.
There is - or at least last month there was - major construction on Ashton Hill. Narrow lanes, rough no-pavement areas, etc. It's not a huge issue, but was certainly interesting to tow through! It's possible it's better now, but just a heads-up. Otherwise, 20 is a great road, and very scenic.
We have roughly the same truck (did yours come with a "tow package"?) and have towed 3 trailers with it: a 22' hybrid trailer (I forget the GVWR of the trailer but it was under 6000 lbs, I'm sure), a 34' "light" trailer with a GVWR of 7600 lbs, and our current 27' trailer with a GVWR of 6500 lbs. It did well with all 3, but I will say it seems an awful lot happier with the new trailer than with the big one.
DO NOT choose the 9800-lb one UNLESS it has a cargo carrying capacity (which will be listed on a sticker either on the outside of the trailer or inside a cupboard somewhere) of AT LEAST 2800 lbs. Seriously. Payload capacity of the Tundra is low compared to other 1/2-ton trucks, and that will limit the tongue weight of the trailer you pull. We travel with just us 2 adults and a 10-lb cat, plus perhaps 250 pounds of stuff in the truck at most (counting the weight of the hitch) and we were right at capacity with our large trailer - in fact, we were a bit overweight for the truck's GVWR. The other trailer you're looking at is about the maximum you should consider with the truck you have, IMO.
Incidentally, all the negative stuff you will hear about the Tundra as far as weights go is pretty much true. However, you will probably love the truck otherwise. :)
Absolutely. We always felt 294 was the better option anyway - but for sure during rush hour! :) That said, 294 can slow to a crawl in parts during rush hour.
Msmith, check your private messages. I wrote out a route that will save you some of the congestion around the junction of I-80 and I-65.
Holy cow, 2 weeks and you don't have reservations already?
Where to stay: With a popup, you have a little more flexibility, as long as you can do without hookups. Nevertheless, at least half of the campgrounds inside Yellowstone take reservations (through Xanterra.com) and are likely to be full. The first-come, first-served campgrounds (check Xanterra for the list) will probably be full by midday. You can stay outside the park - there are some nice national forest/national park campgrounds (no hookups) in the Tetons if you're coming in from the south. If you're coming in from the east (Cody), be aware that Cody itself is a good 2-hour drive (one way) from the Yellowstone Grand Loop road (which is where you need to be). Plan on a minimum of 3 full days in Yellowstone to just skim the highlights; 4 or 5 days better, especially if you want to include the (next-door) Grand Teton National Park. (One entry fee of $25 per vehicle covers both parks for a week. Keep your receipt.) Most convenient place to stay outside the park or if you need hookups is in West Yellowstone, which is, as it sounds, on the west side of the park. Grizzly RV, two different KOAs, some smaller private campgrounds, and Henrys Lake State Park (Idaho) are decent choices. Call ahead NOW to reserve a site. I strongly recommend you check rvparkreviews.com for information on CGs, and do a search for "Yellowstone" on this site for "what to expect."
Briefly, what to expect - lots of driving, 45 mph or less, beautiful scenery (much milder & less spectacular than Colorado), high altitude (most of the park is 7500 feet or higher), lots of wildlife (especially bison), some of which will be right alongside the road or even on it, none of which is tame. Thermal features (geysers, hot springs, etc.) in many areas of the park, but concentrated in a few areas. Also expect lots of fellow tourists everywhere.
Supplies: bring clothes for layering; bring rain gear - the park has been wet this year & is often cool at night. Cameras & binoculars for sure. Re: food - there are restaurants (pricey), hot dog-burger-ice cream places (not all that cheap) and cafeterias in the park at the major lodging areas (Old Faithful, Canyon, Lake, Mammoth, Grant Village). Yellowstone General Stores often have small grocery stores (very pricey). West Yellowstone has a couple (pricey) small grocery stores. Cody has a Walmart.
What to do: Sightsee. Depending on your family's interests, there are some activities offered in & around the park, such as horseback riding, scenic boat tours, fishing (Wyoming licenses required, but short-term ones are not terribly expensive), hiking. Be sure to check with the rangers before you hike, as there are some restrictions and some very important cautions you will need to know about. There are also other activities outside the park - the Cody rodeo, a brand-new rope climbing/zipline park in West Yellowstone, the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone - lots more. Swimming, TV and Wifi connections are rather limited in the area.
Msmith, Definitely take 294. Camperpaul, isn't 94 under construction this year? Or is that 90?
The "beltway" around Indianapolis is I-465. To head to Dayton, take the section that goes around Indy to the north - unless that's under construction. (Hoosiers, any clues on this?)
Be sure to check if RVs are allowed on that section of LSD (Lake Shore Drive). Parts of it are closed to RVs - even to pickup trucks!
Since you have the family with you, another couple of ideas: Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, IN or Illinois Beach State Park in Zion, IL. Both are about 45-50 miles out of the city but are along commuter rail lines that will take you right into downtown. The parks have electric hookups (also some water hookups at IL Beach) and both parks have decent beaches in them (Lake Michigan). Although IMO Indiana Dunes is a bit nicer CG, both are decent places to stay. Bring bug spray, though. That area of the country has LOTS of mosquitoes.
I assume yours is a gas-electric HWH. If so, did you have it set to run on electric, or just on gas? We have had problems with past HWHs not being all that reliable on gas, but they worked ok on electric. Perhaps you need to set it on that instead. There should be a switch on the outside of the heater itself, plus one in the circuit panel. If it's a gas-only heater, then you may just have a blockage of the gas to it - spiderwebs are a common cause of that and can be cleaned out. They make special tools to do that (not expensive) which most RV supply places would have.
Not the same vehicle, and RWD to boot, but we had a V6 SUV with which we towed a shorter, lighter HTT than the trailer you're considering. It struggled bigtime in 20 mph headwinds across the plains; we didn't dare take it over mountains. Ended up buying a much more capable tow vehicle. Sorry, I agree with the others here so far - too much trailer for your TV.
Depends on how far west in Nebraska you're interested in, but we liked Ft Kearny State Rec Area (you'd need advance res's for a weekend night, though) - electric hookups at the sites, nice shade. A really big rig might have a problem fitting in most sites, though.
Ft Kearny State Historic Park (different park) is nearby & interesting if you're into history.
We actually liked the Cheyenne KOA (in case you find you can get to eastern Wyoming on the day you were aiming for western Nebraska). Big rigs may have to unhitch to fit in the pull-thru sites, and the CG is covered in river rock (round stones about the size of golf balls) so a bit difficult for those with mobility issues, but it's very clean and the road & train noise isn't bad at all.
Haven't stayed there, but Cabela's in Sidney, Nebraska has a fairly large CG, with space for big rigs and hookups, behind their flagship store there. Walk to restaurants as well as to shopping in Cabela's itself. It gets good reviews.
We're just learning some places in Idaho, but have so far enjoyed Massacre Rocks State Park near American Falls (electric-water hookups) - big rigs won't find many sites to fit in, and the lower loop will be far less noisy; Bruneau Dunes State Park - about 20 miles or more off the interstate but quiet & peaceful (busy on weekends but a great star show then!), electric hookups; Castle Rocks State Park by the City of Rocks - off the beaten path but within 45 miles of the interstate in 2 directions, elec-water sites in pinon pines, great view, some sites will accommodate big rigs. Village of Trees RV "Resort" just east of Burley is nice - not as shady as it sounds like, but fairly large grassy sites, FHUs, and along the Snake River; older but clean facilities. Friends have seen the Mountain Home RV Park and said it was very nice; we haven't been there yet.
I do not recommend the Boise-Meridian KOA. Tight spaces, an RV parking lot. Clean, but not where I'd choose to stay again. Our local KOA (Pocatello) is making improvements, and many sites have some shade - awfully nice this time of year!
We will be staying on both sides of the park during our upcoming trip to Glacier - first at West Glacier, then on the east side at a CG in St Mary('s?) I know there had been some posts in the past about the best route to take (we'll take US 2 around the south end of the park, but there are several choices from there to where we want to go) - I can't seem to find those old posts, so - with apologies - could folks here recommend the best route to take? We'll be towing our 27' TT. TIA!
Tunnels on the PA turnpike at one time had two-way traffic in one tunnel. When I was in trucking in Pa. I delivered the "banana frames" for a new tunnel so each lane had their own tunnel. It was quite a project. Tunnel borer tires were the height of my 18 wheel tractor.
So, the next time you're going through one of the Eastern tunnels and don't see an eighteen wheeler bearing down on you from the opposite direction, think maybe, jerrybo66 had a small part in your safety...
Thank you, Jerry. I will admit, I used to enjoy the old, 2-lane tunnels on the Pike when I was a kid. They sure do seem safer & nicer now.
As noted, except for the Sierras, the Wasatch just east of SLC, and one pass between Cheyenne & Laramie in Wyoming, it's pretty flat. In fact, once you get to Cheyenne, you'll be going very, very gradually downhill. Lots of trucks - I-80 is the workhorse of America - and Wyoming is quite windy (springtime the worst, I suspect). For that matter, it can be windy across the plains anywhere; heading east, you'll catch either a crosswind or a tailwind, and the latter can be quite helpful to the mpg.