Boston to Big Sky

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ThundahBeagle

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This Friday we are heading out on our road trip/camping/ nephew's wedding. Leaving the Boston area and driving out west. Our destination is Big Sky. We have two weeks to get out there and back while attending my nephew's wedding and seeing what we want to see.

Me, the Lady Beagle, and my dog, Scout the ThundahBeagle. We will be driving my 2014 GMC Sierra Z71 double cab. I have a Leer 180 cap (camper shell) on the back and built a platform in the bed. We have totes to slide under the platform and an air mattress and sleeping bags for the platform. No tent needed.

I've been working on maintenance over the last few months to try to make sure the truck is ready.

The plan is to meet my brother in law in South Dakota and stop at any number of places we have listed, either on the way to, or on the way back from Big Sky.

It's an an ambitious list. I doubt we will see it all and probably not all of any places we do see, but we will adjust on the fly:

Badlands
Black Hills
Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse
Custer
Spearfish
Deadwood
Sturgis
Yellowstone
Grand Tetons
Devil's Tower

Ive never been west of the Mississippi. But I have no desire to waste too much time seeing places like Chicago or Cleveland. Been to them both and that's not what I want to stop and see out there. We dont plan to stop for any site seeing until Sioux Falls or so.

Will keep you posted.
 
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RJ Howell

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It's shame Canada is still closed to traveling through because I now do that as I go west into the northern tier of the US. Keep it in mind as you plan other runs westward and try it. I leave the US in Vermont and re enter in the UP of Michigan (Sault st Marie). This opens up some great exploration before SD!

Badlands is great and worth a couple days (at least one full day) of exploring. Just before the West Entrance there's a free camp area up on 'The Wall'. You'll see the radio tower and the dirt road up there. The sites in the NP are nice as well.

The Black Hills are awesome! I'm a real fan of south of Rt90, yet I've done Stugis, Spearfish & Deadwood...

I found as we left Yellowstone and traveled east towards home I should have saved so time for Shoshone & Bighorn NF's. I planned on only a couple days in Yellowstone and ended up there a week.

Great trip ahead of ya! Enjoy!
 
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FishinCrzy

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Been to some of those sites. Yellowstone and Glacier are spectacular. Deadwood we didn't even stop as we drove through to Rushmore. Custer as in Little Big Horn? That was interesting. I like visiting battlefields. Have a safe trip!
 
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ThundahBeagle

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It's shame Canada is still closed to traveling through because I now do that as I go west into the northern tier of the US. Keep it in mind as you plan other runs westward and try it. I leave the US in Vermont and re enter in the UP of Michigan (Sault st Marie). This opens up some great exploration before SD!

Badlands is great and worth a couple days (at least one full day) of exploring. Just before the West Entrance there's a free camp area up on 'The Wall'. You'll see the radio tower and the dirt road up there. The sites in the NP are nice as well.

The Black Hills are awesome! I'm a real fan of south of Rt90, yet I've done Stugis, Spearfish & Deadwood...

I found as we left Yellowstone and traveled east towards home I should have saved so time for Shoshone & Bighorn NF's. I planned on only a couple days in Yellowstone and ended up there a week.

Great trip ahead of ya! Enjoy!
Thank you for the tips, RJ. Attention will be paid, and I will look for that camp site. You may have mentioned to me before in another thread, about going through VT, Canada and returning via the UP. I like the idea, but as you just said, we may not be allowed. And if we are dont want to chance getting stuck, so we are staying in the US.

I had thought about tr 94 to the north, but theres just way too much cool stuff to see around 90
 

ThundahBeagle

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Been to some of those sites. Yellowstone and Glacier are spectacular. Deadwood we didn't even stop as we drove through to Rushmore. Custer as in Little Big Horn? That was interesting. I like visiting battlefields. Have a safe trip!
I do like History. And thought about Little Big Horn. It's on my paper list, nut didnt list it here. However for the recreational aspect I was thinking custer State Park
 

RJ Howell

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If you're into firearms at all, The Cody Firearms Museum is a must see! We were in Cody during Sturgis (many years back) and caught a Motorcycle Rodeo there. Then I had no idea what Sturgis was all about.. LOL Well, that and Rocky Mtn Oysters...
 

ThundahBeagle

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I've been known to handle a firearm now and then. Not sure if we will make it to the Cody, but we might.

This past weekend I replaced the A/C condenser and refilled with coolant. I have swapped out the transfer case fluid, the coolant. Did the spark plugs and wires and the brake pads and rotors. Had the dealer do a trans pan drop and filter change, then add what trans fluid was lost in that process. Changed filters.

I'm 40% left on oil, so I'll do a change using Pennzoil platinum before I go. It's better than mobile 1 synth. Dropped my studded snows and put my 3 seasons back on.

These few weeks I've been slowly sifting through camping gear. Tomorrow after work I'm going front to back cleaning out any superfluous receipts and papers from the glove box, get all the extra stuff I just tossed into center console out and do a clean of the interior.

Pretty stoked
 

Road

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This Friday we are heading out on our road trip/camping/ nephew's wedding. Leaving the Boston area and driving out west. Our destination is Big Sky. We have two weeks to get out there and back while attending my nephew's wedding and seeing what we want to see.

Me, the Lady Beagle, and my dog, Scout the ThundahBeagle. We will be driving my 2014 GMC Sierra Z71 double cab. I have a Leer 180 cap (camper shell) on the back and built a platform in the bed. We have totes to slide under the platform and an air mattress and sleeping bags for the platform. No tent needed.

I've been working on maintenance over the last few months to try to make sure the truck is ready.

The plan is to meet my brother in law in South Dakota and stop at any number of places we have listed, either on the way to, or on the way back from Big Sky.

It's an an ambitious list. I doubt we will see it all and probably not all of any places we do see, but we will adjust on the fly:

Badlands
Black Hills
Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse
Custer
Spearfish
Deadwood
Sturgis
Yellowstone
Grand Tetons
Devil's Tower

Ive never been west of the Mississippi. But I have no desire to waste too much time seeing places like Chicago or Cleveland. Been to them both and that's not what I want to stop and see out there. We dont plan to stop for any site seeing until Sioux Falls or so.

Will keep you posted.
.
Oh my, ambitious indeed, but with a great outlook and spirit for what you may and may not be able to do.

Never been west of the Big Muddy before?

Holy moly, man, I wish I was co-pilot or trailing along in another vehicle. I'd be steering you left and right all along the way to experience a great evening of blues on Beale St in Memphis the night before you cross the Mississippi, or the river museum, or the Whooping Crane migration along the Platte River, or from any number of historic US Cavalry and Indian War sites, to places commemorating the Lewis and Smith Expedition, and so, so, much more.

I've done that route several times. Here's an example of how it typically goes, though, when traveling with others.

In 2003 or so I took a rock & blues band from the Ohio River Valley to Sturgis for the big motorcycle rally, where we did 11 shows in 9 days. Most of them had never been west of the Mississippi. I did most of the driving; a Chevy Astro full of band members hauling a cargo trailer full of band gear.

I don't remember if it was heading west from Sioux Falls, Sioux City, or Rapid City, though there's a spot on the highway that always hits me and just about takes my breath away. You start dropping down from endless miles of flat land prairies and the landscape changes dramatically in both elevation and scenery. You look out at the vast landscape and can't help but realize you've crossed into the American west of history and legend.

I'd seen it before and was ready. When we hit it I was all "Guys, look! THIS is the American West! See how much everything changes? This is so cool guys, this is the West! You guys gotta see this!"

To a person, they were all pretty much nonplussed; more concerned with their screens. They never looked up other than to say "Oh, yeah, cool."

I hope as a driver you experience that same sense of change, exploration, and wow factor on your adventure that I have when I travel. Whether miles of flat-land prairie or jaw-dropping dramatic landscape, it's all an important part of American history.

I'm envious of your first time experience out there!
.
 

ThundahBeagle

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Oh my, ambitious indeed, but with a great outlook and spirit for what you may and may not be able to do.

Never been west of the Big Muddy before?

Holy moly, man, I wish I was co-pilot or trailing along in another vehicle. I'd be steering you left and right all along the way to experience a great evening of blues on Beale St in Memphis the night before you cross the Mississippi, or the river museum, or the Whooping Crane migration along the Platte River, or from any number of historic US Cavalry and Indian War sites, to places commemorating the Lewis and Smith Expedition, and so, so, much more.

I've done that route several times. Here's an example of how it typically goes, though, when traveling with others.

In 2003 or so I took a rock & blues band from the Ohio River Valley to Sturgis for the big motorcycle rally, where we did 11 shows in 9 days. Most of them had never been west of the Mississippi. I did most of the driving; a Chevy Astro full of band members hauling a cargo trailer full of band gear.

I don't remember if it was heading west from Sioux Falls, Sioux City, or Rapid City, though there's a spot on the highway that always hits me and just about takes my breath away. You start dropping down from endless miles of flat land prairies and the landscape changes dramatically in both elevation and scenery. You look out at the vast landscape and can't help but realize you've crossed into the American west of history and legend.

I'd seen it before and was ready. When we hit it I was all "Guys, look! THIS is the American West! See how much everything changes? This is so cool guys, this is the West! You guys gotta see this!"

To a person, they were all pretty much nonplussed; more concerned with their screens. They never looked up other than to say "Oh, yeah, cool."

I hope as a driver you experience that same sense of change, exploration, and wow factor on your adventure that I have when I travel. Whether miles of flat-land prairie or jaw-dropping dramatic landscape, it's all an important part of American history.

I'm envious of your first time experience out there!
.
Thanks, Road!

Having a copilot who has already been there would undoubtedly steer me to all the best places. I'd love that.
As with RJ, I'm takin' whatever you're sellin' and want to keep any good advice and locations with me, though we will have to plot it out and experience it for ourselves this time around.

Never been west of the big muddy, but I have been TO the big muddy. Was in Memphis on Beal st back in '94. We drove Boston to Cleveland and started heading south. Followed on through Mississippi, to Nashville and on to Memphis in the spring/ early summer. We parked on the river bank itself for free. Hit a diner, found out what Mud Island was, hit a diner, caught some live blues at a place across from Silky O'Sullivans, then thought we'd cap it all off at Silky's, so we ordered the Diver. A great time was had by all.

The other side of the river was in view and in reach, but we headed south to Louisiana, then back up through Alabama, Virginia, then home.

I'm the guy who lives to see the landscape and those little gem moments when you see a big bird migration. Being from Boston we are surrounded by history book locations. I'll be watching for any Civil War and post civil war "old west" sites as well.

Any more tidbits anyone can suggest here will go into our file of good places to be, and we will try to see it, if we can. It's a little bit of a "peak-bagging" list, but with plenty of latitude to stop and take time when someplace catches our eye.

We bought a GoPro for the windshield, maybe to carry while taking walks or hikes. No professional camera equipment. I may bring my old Nikon 2020, just to see what I can capture on film...if I can find any of THAT left. But we will try to lightly document what we see and take lots of cellphone pics
 
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RJ Howell

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I've been known to handle a firearm now and then. Not sure if we will make it to the Cody, but we might.
If you do Deadwood and visit Boothill (to me the only thing in Deadwood still authentic). Do hike up to Seth's gravesite as well, worth the walk! If you do that, then Cody means all that much more..

So much to do out that way!

I'm one that goes away from the interstate as much as possible. Last time through the Prairie of SD we ran Rt14 to Wall, then into the Badlands. Took maybe a couple hours longer, but so much nicer a run. The road-art along that route is pretty cool!
 
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ThundahBeagle

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Wall Drug is on the list already. And I thought about detouring in order to get to Devil's Tower and all that. Or maybe more north to the old ICBM site
 

Road

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I WOULD be interested in knowing more about that Lewis and Smith Expedition, though. That's one I havent read about...
I was wondering about that one too. @Road needs to get more sleep!
.
HA! Oops. Yep, sleep is always good for clarity.

You guys never heard of the Jerry Lewis and Mel Smith Comedy Expedition? They hit all the spots that Meriwether and William did.

No, all seriousness aside, every time I see a Lewis & Clark marker, or a memorial like the one on the Missouri for their quartermaster, Sargent Floyd, I stop and take it in.

Civil War markers, skirmish sites, and large battlefields, too, you bet. Some areas are so rife with history you can go from one spot to another all day.
.
 
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ThundahBeagle

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HA! Oops. Yep, sleep is always good for clarity.

You guys never heard of the Jerry Lewis and Mel Smith Comedy Expedition? They hit all the spots that Meriwether and William did.

No, all seriousness aside, every time I see a Lewis & Clark marker, or a memorial like the one on the Missouri for their quartermaster, Sargent Floyd, I stop and take it in.

Civil War markers, skirmish sites, and large battlefields, too, you bet. Some areas are so rife with history you can go from one spot to another all day.
.
I saw an article a few years ago that told the story of an old rifle that had been leaned on a tree in the late 1800's, possibly after a skirmish or battle, that had only just been rediscovered, still leaning against the tree but its stock was now the color of extremely well seasoned cordwood
 
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ThundahBeagle

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In fairness to @Road , there is a Lewis and Clark Expeditions fly fishing outfitters that take people along the Smith River, I guess. But the Jerry Lewis and Mel Smith tour sounds like a blast! Mel had a great walk-on part in Princess Bride
 
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FishinCrzy

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Civil War markers, skirmish sites, and large battlefields, too, you bet. Some areas are so rife with history you can go from one spot to another all day.
I was recently kinda ninja camping at an area with lots of Revolutionary and War of Northern Aggression history. I had read about a particular skirmish and was wondering where the battery for three guns would have been placed. Being it was still winterish and the leaves were fairly absent I was wandering around the area. I was actually trying to figure out where the property lines were and danged if I didn't wander into the heavy brush and found the battery for the three cannons that sank the yankee gunboat. I'm still wondering why it isn't more well marked but I think it's on the edge of private property and the owners don't encourage tourists. It was kind of an exciting find for me.
 

Road

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I was recently kinda ninja camping at an area with lots of Revolutionary and War of Northern Aggression history. I had read about a particular skirmish and was wondering where the battery for three guns would have been placed. Being it was still winterish and the leaves were fairly absent I was wandering around the area. I was actually trying to figure out where the property lines were and danged if I didn't wander into the heavy brush and found the battery for the three cannons that sank the yankee gunboat. I'm still wondering why it isn't more well marked but I think it's on the edge of private property and the owners don't encourage tourists. It was kind of an exciting find for me.
.
Very cool! That would be exciting, for sure.

One of the coolest Civil War sites I've been to in the last few years is the USS Cairo (an Ironclad that was sunk on the Yazoo River) Museum, part of the awesome Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. I just wander around places like that all day long.
.
 
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FishinCrzy

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Very cool! That would be exciting, for sure.

One of the coolest Civil War sites I've been to in the last few years is the USS Cairo (an Ironclad that was sunk on the Yazoo River) Museum, part of the awesome Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi. I just wander around places like that all day long.
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Was at Vicksburg some years back. Near there for work anyway. We drove around the battlefield and the town some. It was August as I recall and rather hot and humid. Still, it was easy to imagine how the siege and battles went there on the river. Yes, the particulars of every skirmish and battle is fascinating to me. The great thing I am finding about retirement is not having to rush from one thing to another and seeing all you want to see. I did get to spend some quality time at Gettysburg battlefield and then Appomattox. It was very moving to see the salient points of the battles that I had read so much about. I look forward to seeing some of the forts and historic sites in the West also. I like to try and project myself into a previous era and imagine how it was to deal with situations without all our modern accoutrements.

I've only been to England once, so far. But, the history everywhere you turn could keep a history buff enthralled for a lifetime. They do such a good job of preserving their history and landscape. I hope to get back and visit my retired history teacher buddy and do some more walkarounds. He wants to go over to Normandy and visit some of those battlefields. I kind of prefer the more ancient stuff.
 
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ThundahBeagle

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After getting off to a bit of a late start on Saturday, crossed the Mississippi on I-80 and it's the first time I've been this far west. The "Largest Truck Stop" in Wolcott is something to see. My brother in law is waiting in Sioux Falls so im excited to get moving that way.

We are between Davenport and Des Moines. After a short nap there, we are en route to Sioux Falls. No pics at this point, because, well, it's been what? Cleveland and Chicago. Been to Cleveland a few times over the last 25 years and actually is a nice city. Chicago is Chicago. But I'm not looking for that type of thing.

Having antenna issues with my CB, unfortunately, so I'll be charging up the FRS.

Will post anything cool after weve been there.