Definitely recommend 3 Island Crossing SP. Massacre Rocks is nice but not super-friendly for large rigs. Off the interstate but interesting to visit and a nice CG is Bruneau Dunes SP. Another interesting side trip, should you be interested, is Castle Rocks SP/City of Rocks National Refuge in far south central Idaho; nice campground there (elec-water) and fascinating scenery, but can be very hot in the summer. I'm not sure, but I think the weekday senior rates are available for in-state residents only. If not, they'd be worth considering.
We haven't found a CG we especially like for Boise; we'll keep trying. :) Have heard good things about Mountain Home RV Park but haven't been there yet; that's about 50 miles east of Boise. Could be a good base camp for visiting Boise and Bruneau Dunes.
One CG we also like, great for an overnighter or for a few days' base camp, is Village of Trees RV Park in Declo, along I-84. It's right on the Snake River (and you can fish from there; license probably needed) and despite being right along the interstate, the trees serve as a bit of a buffer and the noise isn't bad, especially in A & B loops. Conveniently located behind a gas station/restaurant. (It's better than it sounds, trust me.) FHUs, nice private bathrooms in the satellite bathhouse. Good base camp for City of Rocks, Twin Falls, Minidoka National Historic Site, etc.
Glacier has a lot of nice CGs nearby and in Kalispell, but you will need reservations in July & August. Large rigs can be quite happy at the West Glacier KOA, which is an exceptionally nice CG, despite lack of shade. For Yellowstone, our favorite for a stay longer than a few days (which the OP plans to do, and is strongly recommended) is Grizzly RV in West Yellowstone. FHU, very nice CG, convenient to town (restaurants, tourist shops) and only a few blocks from the west gate of the park.
Doug, to lighten the load, you might consider a hybrid trailer (HTT). I know you said you don't want to mess with canvas, but these can be a good lightweight option for a family. The trailer itself is full-height, so loading it is much easier than a popup, but the beds (canvas-covered) deploy in camp, giving you more living space for the trailer length than a regular fully-hard-sided trailer does. You might find a good option here for you, without having to change out your truck.
Agree - go through Yellowstone. It's definitely the most direct, and the passes inside the parks aren't bad at all. 26 is a pretty ride, but it will take you all day between Jackson & West. YNP, probably 1/2 day or slightly more.
I am hypersensitive to sound but take the onus upon myself to deal with it. Certain harmonics, repetitive sounds, or sounds that vary in modulation are enough to put me over the edge. Can't take whistling or humming, either. It actually stems from when I was severely hypoglycemic-noise intolerance is a symptom. So I find my own white noise, use ear plugs, or just do my best to ignore. It is VERY tough sometimes but I recognize I am the one with the problem.
I can totally relate to Crowe here, though I don't have a medical reason for being sensitive to noise. And like Crowe, we came up with a solution which blocks most noise (deep bass, though, still booms through). Actually, I think I wouldn't mind the neighbors' a/c running (as long as it sounded normal and wasn't clanging or something); that could be very soothing. Siding with everyone here on this issue.
I also recommend going in the winter if you can. The hard part will be getting to West Yellowstone or Gardiner from where you are, especially with unpredictable weather. We did a package deal with Xanterra, the in-part concessioner, two winters ago, taking a snowcoach in to Old Faithful from "West" and staying 3 nights at Snow Lodge, then snowcoach back to "West." It was quite an adventure! Weather was mild, meaning highs were in the 20s and 30s, and we had a few snowstorms, including a blizzard the day we were leaving.
The only facilities open inside the park during the winter are Mammoth Hotel and Old Faithful Snow Lodge, plus some of the visitor centers. They are not open all winter long - at least at OF - but only from December through February. If you want to go in November or March, you will have to take a day trip in via snowmobile (in a group) from West, or drive - weather permitting - to Mammoth and Lamar Valley from north of the park. Whoever commented that you should leave the RV at home is right, though Mammoth CG inside the park may be open all winter. (However, the drive there & back that time of year across the northern tier of states is likely to be touch and go.) And it can be VERY cold; temperatures around -30 are not uncommon, and can get even colder in the center of the park.
Ditto the Biltmore. Amazing place! Well worth the time.
Other must-sees, IMO: Gettysburg (allow a full day also), and - if anyone in the family is into horses - Kentucky Horse Park and Old Friends Farm in the Lexington area. Nice CG at KY Horse Park too, makes a good base camp for the area.
There is cellphone service in the Fishing Bridge-Lake area now; a tower was installed over last winter. Previously there was basically no cell service there. (This explains the discrepancy in the answers.) Still no antenna-TV service or cable. Satellite reception might be possible, depending on the campsite & weather.
I would say there is basically no difference between weekdays & weekends. Years ago when I worked in the park (waiting tables), we thought it was a bit busier midweek - figures, since people would take a week vacation & spend the weekends driving to/from the park, spending Tues - Thurs there. But the difference, if any, is slight.
Early June is likely to be cold. (And I mean cold - as in snow showers, some of the roads closed, below freezing at night, and a good possibility of chilly rain.) Mid- to late June would be more comfortable, but if you're prepared, and have enough layers of clothes and a way to protect your camper's water system, earlier will be less crowded and therefore a bit more pleasant. This year, most of the calves were visible mid-June, but earlier than that, not in evidence. Possibly the mamas were keeping them away from the roads & people.)
I agree - an extended-stay motel would probably be your best bet. Very, VERY few CGs stay open in the winter. Not sure any in that area stay open year-round. Illinois winters are not to be taken lightly.
We stayed in our TT in late March one year - temps below freezing at night, snowing one day - and went through 2 30-lb tanks and 1 20-lb tank of propane during that 10-day period. And this was a TT with enclosed belly and under-floor ducting. We also used (and still do, during shoulder seasons) a small electric space heater to supplement the furnace.
Just a quick check of Dixon and Rochelle (both about 20 miles from tiny Ashton) show several chains - Comfort & Quality Inns, Holiday Inn Express, Super 8, etc. - in those towns, plus others probably available in DeKalb (farther east than Rochelle). Some of these may have "efficiency" or suite-type accommodations with a fridge & microwave, as well as longterm rates.
If Illinois state parks are open for camping during this timeframe, there will be no water, either as a hookup (they don't have those anyway) or even in the bathhouse. Likely the only "facilities" will be pit toilets.
Three Island Crossing SP, Idaho - site #59, back-in with electric & water hookups. Sites in this CG are very spacious. They always have water sprinklers going, so the humidity is pretty high (for Idaho). :)
I have really enjoyed some of the recent pictures in this thread. Those Wisconsin & UP of Michigan CGs bring back good memories. :)
Tumalo SP, near Bend OR, site #60 in C loop. Back-in FHU; our 27' TT just fit in the site. This CG has very few long sites and no pull-throughs. Nice CG nonetheless. We were there on the weekend, so there were a lot more people than we were used to, but sites are fairly wide, especially in this loop.
Champoeg SP, Oregon, in the Willamette Valley. Park name is pronounced "Shampoo-ey" - seriously. This was site #27 in B loop, back-in FHU. Very nice CG, loved how big our site was, and at least semi-private.
Ours have bent in the same way. Equal-I-zer replaces them at no cost - at least they did ours. This year we also bought the new-style pins and they seem to be lasting better. You might try that; they're fairly inexpensive. We bought them at a local RV service shop (State Trailer in our area.)
Same issue with the Lance - they're made in California. CharlieWhiskey, you may be on to something about going direct to the manufacturers. It could well be worth the drive. With your vehicle's weigh limit, it does limit your choices. Another possibility you could consider is the Chalet - it's a "a-shaped" small trailer, but one model of Chalet has a bump-up section so you can stand at the kitchen counter. Perhaps you've got a dealer not quite as far away who deals with them? Good luck!
Sounds like a good trip. You might consider spending some time - an extra day or two - in the Flathead Lake area of Montana, about 50-80 miles south of Kalispell. Lolo Pass is a beautiful drive. Great NFS CG (some sites w/ electric hookups) is Powell CG.
Agree on the timeframe for Glacier. It's beautiful there, and you can get from the west side to the east side of the park if Going to the Sun Road is closed, but that road is, IMO, the main event. It usually opens sometime after 4th of July. LOTS of snow up there. If you can time the trip a week or two later, it might be good.
Incidentally, for Glacier, I might recommend spending time on both sides of the park. We did Glacier this summer for the first time and stayed for about 5 days on each side. Very different terrain, vegetation, etc.
I know it's been mentioned, but don't forget your passports!! And do watch out for CGs being closed; that said, many areas still have a CG or two that stay open all year, though they may not have water available. Good luck to you! Hope you find some good color (we're starting to have some nice color up here) and that you don't wear yourselves out with all the driving. Have a great trip!
LOL! Loving the last 3 posts!! I would have never thought of that. (Yep, I'm from inland.) I think I'll take acorns & sap too. As far as the previous comment about pine cones, the worst are the ones from the loblolly pines in SC - those suckers are HUGE! They sound like a bomb is going off when they land!!