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Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Christchurch
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Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Hi All

Well after a lot of thought, planning and re-planning with lots of arguments etc our family have finally put together our itinerary for our planned family trip summer 2011 for Canada/USA. I would appreciate any comments or feedback or suggestions. I do realize it is a long way out to plan this but we will actually have to start booking some of this in a couple of months.

We are a family of four (Mum, Dad and two teenage boys). We love the outdoors but would not by any stretch of the imagination call ourselves great hikers. We are happy to do a walk up to an hour or so with more easy than moderate terrain – we are just not that fit. We are NOT into cities or shopping – we are interested in scenery esp. something we can’t see at home and really interested in wildlife. New Zealand (home) has great scenery but no native mammals so even a chipmunk is a novelty to us.

We have travelled the USA before so are not novices. This time like previous times we are getting a RV. We did toy briefly with hiring a SUV/Travel trailer combo but hubby decided that trying to back a 22-26ft trailer would be harder than the 30ft RV.

Here is the itinerary

Arrive via LA then onto Seattle – overnight

Pick up RV and head towards North Cascades National Park (Newhalem area) – stay 2 nights (1 day to explore).

Then East to Omak – then north through the Okanagan Valley - stopping overnight at Okanagan Lake Provincial Park.

Then up to Clearwater, BC – stopping two nights there to give us a day exploring the Wells Gray Provincial Park corridor.

Then onto Jasper for four nights – giving us three whole days to explore this area

Then onto Banff via the Ice Pathway – spending 4 nights in Banff (three days to explore)

From Banff it’s down to Glacier National Park, MT staying three nights (two days to explore)

Then south stopping overnight in Missoula before ending up in Yellowstone for 6 nights – probably staying at Grant Village.

Then south again to the Grand Tetons – spending 3 nights (two days to explore).

From there we have to head South to drop the RV back at Salt Lake City (with a overnight stop close to SLC as RV has to be back by 11am) – it is the closest place for this that gives us connections with LA that fit our international flight schedule – saves us having to spend a extra night in a hotel. We are also aware of the one way drop off fee but it is worth it to save having to travel all the way back to Seattle – a long way for us. I know none of the mileages are huge but the husband does not want to drive huge mileages in a day and we want to allow for down time to sit and read, enjoy were we are and also allow time for those little chores like laundry.

As I said we would appreciate comments and indication of anything we missed considering our requirements.

Regards

Kiwi

West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Hi 4kiwitravellers;

Ensure that the RV rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the RV into Canada. You may be asked by Customs when entering Canada, or when re-entering the US, for this documentation.

Best Regards

Christchurch
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2. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Thanks Rescue Team for the tip - my husband is a little concerned re the boarder crossings - we have never done it by road before but have had several experiences hopping back and forwards from US to Canada and always feeling like I was getting a grilling why was I doing it.

cheers

Kiwi

Port Moody, Canada
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3. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Besides papers for the RV itself be prepared to possibly ditch some of the food you may be carrying as you cross the border and be aware of the amount of alcohol you'll be allowed to transport across the border each way.

as to your itinerary.. sounds like you've allowed a nice amount of time in each spot.. the biggest issue I would have is you're going to need to haul the 30' rv around to see many of the sights...as we don't rv I'm not sure how the saving your spot in the rv park/camping spot works while you are off doing local touring. I guess this would be the big advantage of the tent trailer as you unhook and then go off to explore. Suggest for the Alberta part fo the trip you also check posts by Camping Girl ( I seem to remember her form the Alberta forum ) as she has some excellent links to info.

We drove part of Glacier last year in an SUV and I was white knuckled by the end.. actually had to pull over and let DH drive as the height/narrow road/ long drop/ was just too much for me.. and I usually do about 70% of the driving on road trips!

Christchurch
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4. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Thanks Traveller47 for the info re the boarder crossing. Will keep this in mind - but don't drink very much so that won't be a problem - but will keep the food thing in mind though.

As to driving the 30ft RV - hubby has done this before so most of the time he should be fine - I even managed to scare him to almost death last time we were in the US in 2008 when I managed to naviagate us so we had to take the Moggy Dunway - a 1000ft decent down a gravel road with lots of swish backs - the hubby and boys still remind me of that one.

As to keeping your place in the campground - most have little tickets or similar on a post at your campsite letting people know it is occupied or you do what we do here at home - leave something behind in the middle of the site like a chair or upturned bucket - most people are polite enough to observe campground etiquette.

I must admit I am still thinking about the SUV/travel trailer combo due to the freedom the SUV will give us but the travel trailer with the SUV total length will be longer than the RV and the hubby is not sure about backing it into campsites. Plus there are a few other practical things that make it less attractive.

Thanks for the input

cheers

Kiwi

western WA
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5. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

First red flag:

LA to Seattle in one day. Arrrrgh. I wouldn't want to be on that death march. Any chance to fly north? Did you check domestic flights on Allegiant or Alaska Air? The online trip planners say 16 hours, but I think it would be more like 20 - 24. I assume the teens can't drive (too young for rental agreement, at least).

They rent RVs in Seattle too, so you could rent there and do a round trip. Much easier drive than LA to Seattle.

Second data point: Missoula as a half way point between Glacier and Yellowstone. Go down what Montanans call the Eastern Slope. It is much more direct and quite pretty. You can make it from Glacier to Yellowstone in a day.

You could spend a night in Bozeman or Livingston as a fun stop. Both are much closer to the park and have a lot to offer.

Don't stay all in one place in Yellowstone, especially since you have an RV and have options. You can go to Cody, Red Lodge, Beartooth Highway, Mammoth, etc. You have plenty of time. Making everything a day trip will be adding way too much drive time. Drive time is always SLOW in the park -- sometimes only 30 miles per hour, because of animal sightings etc. Even if you don't want to SEE the animal (and you probably do) everyone else does.

Edited: 07 April 2010, 02:48
western WA
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6. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Post in Washington, BC, Montana and Wyoming forums for fine tuned information.

Christchurch
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7. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Thanks Ainwa

Should have clarified - yes we are flying between LA and Seattle - no way would I want to do that drive in a day - only way I would do it is over a couple of weeks up the 101 enjoying all the sights along the way and then I would drive it in the opposite direction so all the sights would be on the side of the road I was driving.

Will look at you suggestion re which way to drive from Glacier tonight when I can get the kids off their computers and Google earth works at more than a snails pace (it is school holidays in NZ and every kids appears to be using the internet including mine so everything is kind of slow at present).

I did think re your suggestion - different campgrounds in Yellowstone depending on what part of the park we were exploring - hubby not so keen on it but I will remind him re the slow traffic - we visited the park in 1994 and it was bad then so I expect it has only got worse. And yes we do want to see the wildlife - main reason for coming - I owe the husband a bear sighting - last trip in 2008 the kids and saw a bear - he didn't. Plus if I could see a wolf that would be the cherry on the top of the trip - they only reintroduced them to Yellowstone the year after we were there.

As to posting in the forums I will do in the next few days - thought I would see how I went with the road trip forum first.

cheers and thanks for the help

Kiwi

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Hi Kiwi. I'm sure you are a Nurse Practitioner now! Congrats.

I'm not familiar with camping and RV's but I do know there are restrictions driving Going to the Sun rd in Glacier NP. Please pay attention to that www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/gttsrfaq.htm

From East Glacier (my prefered side of the park) you could drive to Billings and Red Lodge before heading over Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph hw to Cody. With a big rig like that I doubt East Glacier to Red Lodge will be a one day drive. We did it by car and took most of the day. Beartooth Pass is fantastic but also many switchbacks. A friend of ours did it with his 34 feeter but he is an experienced RV driver and drove Moki Dugway several times just for fun ;)

Anyway, it's a great drive over Beartooth and Chief Joseph to Cody and please stay 2 nights in Cody for the NIte Rodeo and the outstanding Buffalo Bill museum. From Cody you could take the easy drive to Yellowstone's east entrance.

Tet

Edited: 07 April 2010, 09:26
Christchurch
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9. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

Hi Tet

No Not NP yet - had to put it on hold due to work issues - your employer has to sponsor you through it here and due to political issues this did not happen - but there are always holidays to plan and look forward to!

Thanks for the heads up re the Going to the Sun - but I did do my homework better this time and saw that - thought we might do one of those red bus trips over it and back - that way the hubby can enjoy it too and take as many photo's as he wants. I learnt my lesson with the Moki Dugway - the boys still remind me about that one. I can't believe anyone would drive that for fun - though I could send your friend on a few hair raising roads here in NZ if he is that way inclined.

You are the second person to suggest the East side - I am really going to have to look at that - now the kids are in bed and the mother-in-law has been feed and gone home.

Our big wish this time is to see more wildlife - bears, bison, wolfs etc. The only normal wildlife I see is the students at the local university - though some of them are pretty wild.

But I have a week off work at present so I am trying to do as much research as possible - thanks for the great suggestions.

cheers

Kiwi

Summerland, Canada
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10. Re: Plse comment: WA/Candian Rockies/Yellowstone itenerary

I don’t know what time of year you are coming. If you are in the Okanagan in spring summer and even the fall you should think of staying at least 1 night. If you are staying at the Lake Okanagan campsite you can look across the lake at Naramata where there are many great local wineries and a great place to explore with great hiking and you will have a good chance at seeing wildlife. I live close the lake Okanagan campsite and it is a beautiful area and one that is worth the time to see and explore. If you have any questions PM me