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Old 04-23-2012, 08:27 PM
4 posts, read 13,575 times
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I have a loose plan, trying to make it to the border of South Dakota and Montana in the first day, stopping somewhere around Mt. Rushmore and Custer. After that big push the first day everything's pretty open. I was hoping to make stops at Devil's Tower and spend a day or two in Yellowstone, then going up towards Missoula and cutting down onto Highway 12 because I think it might be more scenic than going towards Boise (although I really have no idea). After that it's pretty much just Interstate 84/Highway 30 towards Portland.

Everything after Yellowstone is where I have basically no idea about. I'd love to hear about other major stops that I'm missing, or nice stops that are often missed along the way, even in the first half of the trip.

For reference, I also have a Google Map of this plan set up here: Portland 4/23 8PM - Google Maps

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Old 04-24-2012, 12:46 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,527 posts, read 39,903,732 times
Reputation: 23634
my very detailed message just got ate.

short version:
Corn Palace, Mitchel SD(see history / display)
Wall drug, worthwhile tourist trap
Steak in Hill City, SD at old hotel
stay at Main Street Manor Hostel in Lead
Take back road from LEAD to Spearfish and eat at Junction.
Nice outdoor museum at Spearfish
Devil's tower
Steak in Story, WY
Sherdian to Lovell via Bighorn Scenic Byway
MUST DO !!! Yellowstone via Beartooth Highway - Wyoming
Drive see Yellowstone VERY EARLY AM, lunchtime and early evening (less traffic, more wildlife)
See Tetons and take a float trip from Jackson Dam to Jackson Hole.

Virginia City, MT,

over 12 into ID, Kendrick and Moscow, ID
Take a detour to Palouse Falls, WA.

Take SR 14 on WA side to Stone Hedge / Maryhill

Petroglyphs at Horse Thief State Park WA (good camping, just before The Dalles Bridge)

Cross to I-84. Stop at Columbia Gorge Interp center (west of The Dalles)
Hood River, has plenty of coffee and brew pubs.
Stop at Bonneville Dam for Hatchery, gardens, visitors center.
get on Scenic Highway west bound. (BEFORE coming on trip...watch PBS / OPB special on Sam Hill road designer, built this road to optimize scenery)
Eat at Multnohmah Falls Lodge (very good fare for fair price)

When in Portland
See international Rose gardens in Pennisula and Washington Parks.
Crystal Springs Garden (Rhodies, nice evening spot)

Go to coast (1 hr) and see Ecola @ Cannon Beach and Hug Point State parks. For driftwood beach make a loop through Twin Rocks, Tillamook for cheese and IceCream (good museums).
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:18 AM
4 posts, read 13,575 times
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Wow, thanks for that list! I'll be coming back to this over the next few days to check all of it out when I have time.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:35 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,527 posts, read 39,903,732 times
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Time of yr~~?? THAT is very important for route / reservations / travel conditions. You MUST make it a point to avoid this (Black Hills) http://www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com/

Aug. 6th - 12th, 2012....It is a zoo, and you will NOT find quiet / peaceful or a place to eat or stay. That said.... I've attended and raced at Sturgis in my younger days, and am still supportive of it, but not something to recommend to all.

Mt Rushmore @ night for 'Lighting Ceremony'

while on this route: Sherdian to Lovell, WY via Bighorn Scenic Byway (14 and 14a)
Take a nap or romantic interlude in the tall grass next to the mtn stream (One of those 'lifetime' memories).

If you are into Western Art, you might want to detour to Cody from Powell, but I would STILL take the Beartooth NE entrance, there is absolutely Nothing equal in USA, and a GREAT way to enter the park. (Beartooth Highway Opens late in yr and closes early)

Thermopolis if you are serious into Hot Springs, tho there will be several along your route, none quite like Thermopolis (which is quite a ways out of your way, but closest to Cody)

Tetons - Cowboy breakfast at Jenny Lake Lodge (another spectacular spot to stay and enjoy evening / early morning).(Breakfast is a 'tour' of sorts... wagon ride to campsite / kitchen with gorgeous views)

Kendrick, ID is one of my favorite 'rural 'sleepy' towns. Nothing special (that's what so special). Moscow is a NICE college town.

Hiking / water falls in Columbia River Gorge, very 'cool' in Aug. (Fresh fish (Steelhead) then too) AND wild berries, YUM.

Remember it rains in Portland from mid October to July 5th. Sometimes fall is nice.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:42 PM
Location: Bel Air, California
21,318 posts, read 21,867,229 times
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in South Dakota skip the Corn Palace and Wall Drug (you'll never get those two hours back) and spend that time on a drive through the Badlands which will still leave time to walk out into the bluffs and be transported back to the time before tourist traps and interstates.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:01 PM
4 posts, read 13,575 times
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I've been out west twice before (to Devil's Tower the first time, Glacier National the second) with family so I've done the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, etc. but it was all when I was about 8-10 years old (early 20s now). This is my drive for moving to Portland for the summer with a friend and I will be going in mid-late May and driving back on my own in late August so the rally isn't a concern thankfully.

I'll be taking about a week or so to go to places along the way, making an effort to travel a couple hundred miles more west each day. The exception will probably be for an extra day or two in Yellowstone. That said, I'm looking more for scenic roads and such so I can do some nice photography breaks along the way and make use of my DSLR.

I like that you mentioned the hostel in Lead though because I wasn't thinking them and they're definitely cheaper than motels if the weather's too dangerous to camp for whatever reason.

You mentioned roads being closed around Yellowstone... Since I'll be going roughly a month from now, would that be too early for Beartooth to be open?

Again, I still haven't gone over everything you mentioned. I've got a bunch of assignments due Friday so I'm trying to not get too sucked in to planning before the weekend lol.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:11 PM
Location: Wyoming
9,415 posts, read 17,378,768 times
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Check on the Beartooth when the time is closer. I believe snowfall was down a little this year, and it's been a warm spring so far, so it might be open in late May.
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