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Old 06-28-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,401,578 times
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To make a long story really short, July 15th I am taking off on my "drifter" trip. My Mom died a couple months ago and after all of that I really need to just get away for awhile. I have always wanted to just take off for a month or so and just drive, see new things, and all that. Kinda like a drifter.
I am in Elkhart Indiana. I have a few friends in Southern California so that's where I am driving to. I drove the Southwest Route to Los Angeles and back a couple years ago and that was fun. I was wondering if the Northern Plains route has much to see? Wanted to drop by Mt. Rushmore but that's about all I can think of so I may take the 40, 44 route again (old 66).
My mom bought me a 2008 Honda Civic as her last gift to me and I really wanna take it out on a long trip, it drives soooo well and smooth. Great gas mileage as well. Only thing is, I don't wanna pay for hotels every night so I am thinking about getting a good tent and air mattress and finding campgrounds as I go. I have a Garmin GPS that will also come in handy for finding campgrounds.
Guess I'm on here to just get any kind of advice I can from some of you seasoned campers out there. Any info and adive would be greatly appreciated.
Thank You!
FYI: I'm a 32 yo guy.
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,416 posts, read 17,382,101 times
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I'd highly recommend the northern route for July-August camping trips. The Rushmore/Black Hills area will be overly busy with bikers the first week in August as Sturgis, SD hosts its annual Bike Rally. Otherwise you can normally find good, cheap camping in Forest Service campgrounds from the Black Hills west. Even if the campgrounds are full, I believe you can camp on any U.S. Forest Service land for free as long as you do it so many feet from any roads. (300 feet?) Be aware that many areas often have fire restrictions that time of the year as the forests and grasslands dry up.

There are hundreds of great places to see along northern routes. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon are beautiful states, and the Rockies are good for cool weather all summer. The Black Hills themselves have MUCH more to see than just Mount Rushmore, and heading west from there you can enjoy Devils Tower, the nation's first national monument in NE Wyoming, the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone Park in NW Wyoming, the nation's first national park, Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and many, many more interesting and historic areas along the way to the Pacific Coast where you'll find mile after mile of scenic coasts, rain forests, redwood forests, etc. You owe it to yourself to see the Rocky Mountain and northwest states.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:16 AM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,401,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WyoNewk View Post
I'd highly recommend the northern route for July-August camping trips. The Rushmore/Black Hills area will be overly busy with bikers the first week in August as Sturgis, SD hosts its annual Bike Rally. Otherwise you can normally find good, cheap camping in Forest Service campgrounds from the Black Hills west. Even if the campgrounds are full, I believe you can camp on any U.S. Forest Service land for free as long as you do it so many feet from any roads. (300 feet?) Be aware that many areas often have fire restrictions that time of the year as the forests and grasslands dry up.

There are hundreds of great places to see along northern routes. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon are beautiful states, and the Rockies are good for cool weather all summer. The Black Hills themselves have MUCH more to see than just Mount Rushmore, and heading west from there you can enjoy Devils Tower, the nation's first national monument in NE Wyoming, the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone Park in NW Wyoming, the nation's first national park, Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and many, many more interesting and historic areas along the way to the Pacific Coast where you'll find mile after mile of scenic coasts, rain forests, redwood forests, etc. You owe it to yourself to see the Rocky Mountain and northwest states.
Thanks!!!
I'm leaving July 15th so I should already be way past the area of the biker events out there.
I was thinking of taking the route you said, but after Oregon take the California Pacific Coast Highway down to LA, stay with my friends for a week or 2, then go down the San Diego and then take the old 66 route all the way back home. Kinda like driving one huge loop.
I'd really like to find out the camping laws in all these states.
I'm going to do more searching online for things to see on that route because I'm not familiar with it...yet another good reason to take that route
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:45 PM
 
Location: San Diego
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You gotta stop in the Rockies in some towns like Estes Park. You won't be disappointed but be careful driving as you'll be driving with your mouth open staring at those Mt tops.
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Old 06-29-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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I think you will enjoy the Northern route. If you haven't seen Yellowstone, that isn't far from Mt Rushmore and it is a must see. Also Glacier Park. You won't be disappointed seeing the beautiful spectacular coastline of Oregon and northern California, nothing like it in my opinion. California is the most beautiful state in the whole union, lower 48. .
Enjoy your trip and if you like, please keep us posted.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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I highly recommend the northern route. Particularly Montana and the Cor-d-Alene area of Idaho. Spectacular country and great for "getting away" from it all.

Make your way down Highway 95 in Idaho and you've got the amazing Bitterroot wilderness on your left hand side the whole way.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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About the camping laws: the laws on National Forests and BLM land are the same from state to state. Usually very open and non-restrictive. You can make camp anywhere and have a fire anywhere as long as there's not a fire restriction in effect for a particular area.

I never heard of making camp 300 feet from a road in a Natl Forest. I have seen many times that you must make camp no less than 200 feet from a lake.

My friend and I spent a few weeks last year driving around Wyoming/Idaho/Montana. We camped out most of the time in designated campgrounds. I didn't use my GPS to find campgrounds, I used recreational maps I bought for like $3 each ... Check out http://www.gtrmapping.com/. Very good quality and up to date maps of the west.
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:28 AM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,401,578 times
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Yahoo! Maps, Driving Directions, and Traffic

That link there is a Yahoo! map of my proposed route. It's not certain, but likely I will take this route.

I'm sure along the way they will have signs to different attractions. My main concern now is camping once I get to Nevada and Az, Ca Can I tent camp there or is it too hot? Don't wanna pass out in my tent from heat so if need be in those desert spots I may wait til I find a hotel. Suggestions on that?
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:33 AM
 
Location: United States
2,497 posts, read 6,401,578 times
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I just looked at my map again and I see that Yellowstone is not far off my route, maybe a few hours, so I think I'll try to go there to camp. It's just north of my route through Wyoming.
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,819 posts, read 9,470,378 times
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Well your route takes you through a large area of Wyoming where not much is going on. In fact your route completely avoids the mountains of Wyoming and does a good job of avoiding mountains entirely! In my opinion, if you can swing up through Yellowstone and spend some more time in the mountainous areas you'll be rewarded with very beautiful country. As for camping, if you can find mountains in AZ and NV (which there are in some places) then camping will be okay. Otherwise, yes it will be too hot. I camp quite a bit from the months of April to September and I avoid the lower desert areas in July and August.
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