Monday, July 1, 2013

Western Trip Planning

I’ve been working on this year’s trip west and have the itinerary pretty well finalized as shown below.   It is planned to include places we all want to see and things we think will be interesting for Madison.  Since we’ll be traveling during summer vacation time and I wanted to ensure camping spots, I have made reservations through the West Yellowstone stop. 

If you travelers out there have any suggestions for routes, sites, campgrounds (pos. or neg. - reservations are changeable if need be), restaurants, etc. please let me know.  Also, I've recently began reading several blogs from folks traveling in the areas we plan to visit and getting lot's of ideas. 

As you can see, our major stops are: Black Hills, Glacier NP area, Yellowstone area, Southern Utah, Durango Co, and Denver with shorter stops in Salt Lake City and Kansas City plus six days out and five days back.

Day Leave Arrive Miles
1 Home Paducah, KY 311
2 Paducah, KY Goodfield, IL 307
3 Goodfield, IL West Salem, WI 321
5 West Salem, WI Salem, SD 340
6 Salem, SD Hill City, SD 340
11 Hill City, SD Billings, MT 333
12 Billings, MT Garrison, MT 315
13 Garrison, MT Kalispell, MT 178
19 Kalispell, MT W. Yellowstone, MT 389
26 W. Yellowstone, MT Salt Lake City, UT 320
28 Salt Lake City, UT Kanab, UT 313
32 Kanab, UT Durango, CO 336
38 Durango, CO Littleton, CO 331
46 Littleton, CO WaKeeney, KS 312
47 WaKeeney, KS Higginsville, MO 350
50 Higginsville, MO Sikeston, MO 335
51 Sikeston, MO Home 361

The RV is currently at the shop for warranty work and we plan another short shakedown trip before heading west.  We hope to meet up with several bloggers and friends along the way, a couple of which we have yet to meet.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.



  1. that's a big trip and a lot of driving but not what I would consider West. Ha. I was thinking of the west coast. have a good one.

  2. Wow Larry! Looks like quite the trip! I have trouble planning for a weekend getaway, I can't imagine the logistics of this!

  3. Sounds like a great trip Larry. We've been to West Yellowstone and the park and enjoyed it very much, especially the big buffalo roaming about freely. Have fun and we'll enjoy your posts.

  4. I sure hope a visit to the best BBQ in Kansas City is on the agenda (my back yard), or a trip to Branson... Madison will be the youngest person there by several decades

    ... And we have plenty of tips for South Dakota... Custer State Park and lunch or dinner at the Game Lodge (former Presidential Summer White House (Silent Cal)... It is now a wild game restaurant... the Elk is fabulous. Deadwood is worth the trip, especially if you like the slots. Lead, SD is the only gold mine still working in the area and has a very good tour... but the convenient gift shop can run you into the thousands... oddly enough, Jackie never wants the souvenir T-Shirt from there.

    Have a safe and fun trip!

    Dave and Jackie

  5. Holy smokes! 51 days?! What an awesome trip. I swear, Larry, retirement is looking better and better!!! I was thrilled to escape for nine days this month, but two months straight? Wow. That sounds wonderful.

  6. Hi Larry! For Kanab if you are an animal lover I highly recommend visiting (and perhaps volunteering) at Best Friends Animal Society.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

  7. So happy for you and Bev - hope you have a wonderful, safe, fabulous trip! I think I mentioned before how much we loved the narrow gage train trip in the Durango area as well as the Anasazi Indian Cliff Dwellings - I would make that trip again just to re-visit those wonderful sites. Have a blast and keep up updated!

  8. It sounds as if you have a great trip planned. We stayed in West Yellowstone on our trip last year, and it worked out very well.

  9. Wow, quite an itinerary. Because we are now FTers that would be too much ground to cover in 51 days, but if you don't mind the moving it looks like you'll be able to see a lot of interesting country. I can comment on the Hill City, SD area. You should be able to use that area as a good home base for visiting area attractions.
    Good luck! Will be watching your posts.

  10. Wow, that's quite an itinerary, and a long time to be away from home. Hubs and I were in West Yellowstone last year at this very time. We loved it. I was surprised at how much we loved the Grand Tetons. If you can work that in, I promise you it's well worth it. Looking forward to seeing your pics along the way. How fun to meet up with food bloggers! You're not coming as far West as my state of California, or I'd say c'mon by!

  11. Your itinerary looks like our year 3 of fulltiming. Will follow you and check all the places that you go to and get ideas. Currently we are in the east will head down to FL in winter.

  12. Boy, you sure are going to have the whirlwind trip. I hope you have time to enjoy it. Sometimes traveling so much each day really wears you out so enjoying your touring spots isn't as much fun because of the exhaustion. I would skip Littleton, CO unless you have family there. It is a city like Any City, America. Maybe consider staying in Estes Park and visit Rocky Mountain NP. We just left that area.

    Good luck! It will be fun to follow and see how you do with all that driving.

  13. Your trip sounds fabulous. Looks like any recommendations I'd make already have been made. As a rescue pet advocate (obsessed is more appropriate), I'd be remiss if I didn't "second" the Best Friends Animal Society suggestion. We loved the Black Hills and were "wowed" by Crazy Horse. Try to time Mt Rushmore for the evening presentation. I loved Devils Tower in Wyoming. Then there's the Badlands region for those who love off roading.... If you go to Custer State Park, spend an extra taking the drive through through the Needles Highway area. Oh, so much to see. Can't wait to go back. Have a wonderful time. And thanks for your kind comments on my blog. We're loving every single day of retirement travel.

  14. Larry, I'll begin working on our thoughts and recommendations asap! Parks, museums, animals and food...sights along the way. This might take me a couple of days! Take Care and we'll see you soon...twice! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  15. OH I am so jealous!!!!! Wish I could go with you all. Should be an awesome trip... If you have anymore questions about Yellowstone, Black Hills, Grand Canyon, etc... just ask!!!!

    We are back after being gone for 2 weeks and I'm trying to catch up. I did post a blog today --so you may want to check it out...


  16. Maybe you told me in your email, but when do you leave?

  17. Disappointed I don't see Portland, Oregon on your list, Larry. Maybe you will make it out this way some day. You won't find any more beautiful country anywhere.

  18. It looks like a wonderful trip. I hope Madison enjoys it; it's hard to entertain a teenage girl, but her new puppy should help. It's a way to meet people if nothing else.

  19. Are you a member of Passport America? Do you plan to stay in campgrounds every night or do some Walmart type camping? In Hill City, SD - you must go to the Alpine Inn to eat. It's been a few years since we were there but it was fabulous. Take a break and stop at the corn palace in Mitchell, SD. Their parking lot is big enough for you to park and walk. Wall Drug might be fun for a teenager but it's just a huge tourist trap in my opinion. Billings is a really expensive place to stay (well all of Montana is). If I were you I would go on another 45 miles and stay in Columbus at the Mountain Range RV Park. Any idea when you'll be in Garrison? If you get in early enough, you need to drive over to Deer Lodge and take a tour of the prison there. We could also drive over to Garrison and say hi. In Kalispell, if you belong to the Elks they have electric hookups. We usually stay at the Rocky Mountain Hi campground. They have tree and non tree sites. I prefer the non tree sites so I can see the mountains. Try some huckleberry pie and ice cream while you're there. So much to do in SLC, UT. Try to get up to the Olympic Village in Park City. Go to the Golden Spike Monument - the trains are beautiful. I hate big cities so we haven't ever stayed in SLC. I used to live there about 40 years ago. We always stay at the Kanab RV Corral while in Kanab. Tour Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It is fantastic. Once again, so much to see and do in this area. You will just barely touch the tip of the ice berg. We never have found any good restaurants in Kanab but we only tried two before we gave up. We have never been to Durango so no suggestions on the rest of the journey. Let me know if you have any questions. Oh -just to let you know - you can come through Helena and then go up to Kalispell through the Swan Lake area. It's a gorgeous drive but it's not interstate.

  20. Such an impressive itinerary Larry, I'm jealous. You guys are going to have a fantastic time and I can't wait to see the pictures, that is some gorgeous country.

  21. Too bad your travels aren't bringing you a little closer to the Milwaukee area :) Looks like a great itinerary with lots of beautiful places to see. You should really check out Boulder, Colorado when you're near Denver, if you haven't already been there. It's such a quaint, picturesque town. Our daughter went to the University of Colorado there and we visited often. Pearl Street is a must! Lots of great outdoor dining and the flatirons rock formations and foothills are gorgeous.

  22. This trip looks wonderful. You really have it planned well! I know you are not close to VA, but if you ever are do drop in! We had planned a trip for out west this year but things changed for us. Maybe next year. We did travel to CO a few years back to see Royal Gorge and we are so happy we had since it has burned down, not the bridge but the little shops and zoo, and such. It is neat how you are keeping to 300ish mile days. Is that about 6 hours of driving? Is the RV easy to handle? It looks plush and comfy for sure!


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