Good evening all. First I wanted to say what a great forum this looks to be with a wealth of knowledge and a friendly community. I thought it would be a good idea to post our upcoming trip and hopefully get some good tips/ideas. My much younger teenage sister and I will be traveling from Tennessee to Montana, beginning Thursday, July 10th and returning Sunday, July 27th. I've always wanted to drive across the country and she hasn't traveled much, so we are very much looking forward to this adventure.
A little about us…we are avid gold prospectors that enjoy anything to do with the outdoors and site seeing. She is on break before beginning her senior year and I'm lucky to be able to take a few weeks off work for a long awaited and much needed vacation. Along the way, we hope to see as many sites as we can, hike, pick up souvenirs, and eat at the good spots.
I've converted the camper top of my truck into a camper, but we will also have a tent/hammocks for the nights we have more time for setup. We realize the trip might seem rushed in parts, but we hope to see as much as we can in the time allotted, as many of these locations will be new for both of us. We would like to try camping each night in state/national parks for showers/restrooms.
7/10 Thursday: Leave northeast TN for Nashville after work for the evening - 283 miles/4.25 hours.
7/11 Friday: Leave Nashville for Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas - 454 miles/7 hours. Have this evening and most of the next day at the diamond mine.
7/12 Saturday: Leave Crater of Diamonds late afternoon for Fort Worth, Texas and dinner/overnight stay with family - 271 miles/4.25 hours.
7/13 Sunday: Leave Fort Worth for Pikes Peak/Garden of the Gods, Colorado - 750 miles/12 hours. Have all morning the next day for hiking/site seeing.
7/14 Monday: Leave Pikes Peak/Garden of the Gods for Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming - 500 miles/7.75 hours. Have most of the next day for fossil hunting in the area.
7/15 Tuesday: Leave Fossil Butte in the afternoon and head around Bear Lake through Utah and Idaho for Jackson, Wyoming - 191 miles/3.75 hours. We thought driving around the lake would be a scenic route, only adds 45 minutes rather than going straight to Jackson, and adds two additional states.
7/16 Wednesday: Leave Jackson for Yellowstone. Have all day in the park and we are open to suggestions on time frame and what to see as we drive and hike through the park from the southern entrance to the north.
7/17 Thursday: Yellowstone all day.
7/18 Friday: Leave Yellowstone for Glacier National Park, Montana - 379 miles/6.25 hours. We would like to drive in on the eastern side of the park and hike to one of the glaciers and then make the drive down Going to the Sun Road. Have the remainder of Friday in the park and most of the next day.
7/19 Saturday: Leave Glacier Park towards Helena, Montana area - 220 miles/4 hours.
7/20 Sunday through 7/24 Thursday: Stay with friends in the Helena area.
7/25 Friday: Leave Helena area for Mount Rushmore/Crazy Horse, South Dakota - 626 miles/10 hours. Hopefully arrive early enough in the day to see both sites shortly, but we realize the long drive home will put make those sites more difficult to see. Possibly add Badlands National Park if possible.
7/26 Saturday: Leave Mount Rushmore/Crazy Horse/Badlands area for Saint Louis, Missouri - 974 miles/14 hours. If we had time, maybe taking a road into both Nebraska and Kansas just so my sidekick could add those states to her now growing list of states she will have traveled to. Spend the next morning visiting the arch before heading home.
7/27 Sunday: Leave Saint Louis for northeast TN - 551 miles/8.5 hours. This route will be across Illinois and Indiana, then down through Kentucky as I've only traveled back from Saint Louis down to Nashville and then up towards northeast TN before, so just a different route since I haven't come that way before.
7/28 Monday: Somehow drag myself back into the office!
Thanks for reading and any input on sites to see, things to know, tips and other ideas are greatly appreciated. I wish everyone safe travels and a wonderful time on the road.