I'm preparing to do it again.

Travel Forums North America I'm preparing to do it again.

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1. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 532 posts) 9w 1 Star this if you like it!

For some years now I've been planning to go to the USA again. Of course, Covid got in the way, but now I see my way clear and I'm doing much the same as I did previously - I've bought a vehicle to drive around the country and I'm thinking about the places I'll go.

This time I've bought a full-blown campervan. It's a 1990 Dodge B350 which I found on Craigslist in Oregon. A bit rough around the edges, but I'm assured that it's sound bodily and mechanically.

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Ready to go. This Dodge has some shortcomings, but I'll attend to those as I travel. It features a 360ci V8, 4-speed automatic transmission and a Dana 60 rear end, it sleeps two and has air conditioning via the roof unit.
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As my driving trip will be starting from that point I'll be heading more or less straight up to Vancouver Island to visit a friend who's almost finished restoring a rare Peugeot 404 coupe. I'm hoping it will be finished so I can take a ride in it, while when I leave his place he's recommended I go across through Kamloops to Jasper, then experience the highway which follows the Rockies down through the Jasper and Banff National Parks. That sounds good, and it takes me to visit Jon in Spokane:

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From that point on I have no set plans. I want to go to Yellowstone and I do need to go South East to Oklahoma and Arkansas fairly early in the trip to visit my adopted daughters. I will really be focussing on spending time with these young ladies, all of whom have had terrible experiences over the past year or so. Four or five days with them during this part of the trip will be good.

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Adoptees. From my 2016 trip, the three young ladies I 'adopted' and who are now as much a part of my life as my own children.

Then I would expect to head up to Indiana to see my son (it really would be nice if he took a day off to drive down to Arkansas to meet the girls) and I'll make a large loop across the North-Eastern parts, I have someone to visit in West Virginia, then back to spend more time with the girls. All along the way there are people I've previously met or promised to meet, while I'll be chasing after some car parts to load into the van so I can take them home with it.

The final stretch would be to head West, ultimately to LA, by which time I expect to have put about 10 - 12,000 miles on the Dodge.

[ Edit: Edited on 13 Mar 2024, 12:19 GMT by Ray Bell ]

2. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2585 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

I am sure you know, but the Yellowstone visit needs to be well planned in advance. I really enjoyed spending time in Arkansas - especially the Hot Springs area, and I think there are Hot Springs in West Virginia too.

3. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 532 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

I'd never heard of that regarding Yellowstone, Rosalie...

What does it amount to? I did drive into the park on my last trip, but I'd barely got past the entryway - maybe two miles in - when it started to snow. I wasn't in a position to risk getting stuck in there and went back out again.

The Hot Springs area is in the wrong part of Arkansas for us to have easy access for the two who live there, they're in Fayetteville, and also for the one from Oklahoma. There are lake areas in the North of Arkansas more conveniently accessed by them. Mind you, one of the girls did tell me about Hot Springs and now that you remind me I will have to put it onto my list of places to go.

And by coincidence I just got off the phone, I had called my friend in West Virginia to let her know I'll be heading her way some time in the not too distant future. It seems the hot springs there are quite a way from her home in Weston WV.

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2585 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

staying in the park sells out a year in advance, and they are mostly closed I think in the winter. You may have better luck if camping.

5. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 532 posts) 9w Star this if you like it!

Sounds like it might be a simple drive-through...

But obviously I can pull up anywhere with my van to camp the night. Being mindful of nature around me, of course, I expect I'll be setting up a cassette toilet in the van before I go too far.

6. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 330 posts) 8w 1 Star this if you like it!

Ray, Yellowstone isn't just a "simple drive-through" during high season, It is one of our most-visited national parks and traffic can be slow and congested. For instance:

https://www.facebook.com/YellowstoneNPS/photos/update-as-of-430-pm-traffic-congestion-is-heavy-throughout-the-park-especially-a/1812431265438886/

Additionally, you are not allowed to just "pull up anywhere" within the park. You must camp only in designated campgrounds, and reservations for those fill very far in advance.
https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

As a matter of course, dispersed camping is allowed in most US national forests/on BLM land but there are also often some rules around doing so, such as distance from a road, no open fires unless allowed, etc. You do have to be cautious not to camp on private property, and some states have few areas where dispersed camping is allowed.

Oh, and you want to follow food-safety rules in bear country. This might be helpful:

https://tmbtent.com/yellowstone-dispersed-camping/

And, of course, the park's website:
https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

[ Edit: Edited on 16 Mar 2024, 13:01 GMT by goodfish ]

7. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 532 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Someone says on that Facebook page that 'after Labor Day' it will be fine...

Maybe I have to do all my timing to get to this point? September 2 that would be this year.

If I backtrack time to fit in with that, I'd be crossing Montana on September 1, Spokane on August 30 & 31, the loop from Vancouver Island through Jasper August 27-29, Seattle to Vancouver Island August 26, from picking up the van to Seattle August 20-25 (includes a loop to Sacramento and a drive up the coast through Crescent City).

Fly out of Brisbane would then be August 19 or so. That's close to the departure date I had in mind. Sorry, I now realise that I hadn't included any time frame in my introductory post. If there's no camping available in the park I'll just have to do it all in one day.

8. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2585 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Even if it were possible a drive through in one day would miss most of the best of the park.

9. Posted by goodfish (Full Member 330 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

Labor Day weekend is Aug 31, Sept 1 and Sept 2. As it's a 3-day holiday weekend, the park will be VERY busy. I would expect the same to be true for the entire first week of Sept.

[ Edit: Edited on 16 Mar 2024, 17:46 GMT by goodfish ]

10. Posted by Ray Bell (Budding Member 532 posts) 8w Star this if you like it!

I will bear all that in mind...

Obviously, at this stage I'm only planning in broad terms. I could go to Bonneville first, too, they have an event there September 6 -9.