Fort Mill, SC to Kalispell, MT

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Retinens803

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I am in charge of planning the wedding anniversary this year and I have decided on a road trip! Feel free to throw in any routes, places to camp, places to see or visit. I have never planned a long distance road trip like this before so I need help from whoever is willing to lend assistance.

Current stats of rig.
Stock 2016 4Runner Trail with AT tires. All of this will hopefully change before time to leave!

Timeframe:
09/06/19 - 09/22/19

Budget:
Not sure yet

Starting location:
Fort Mill, SC

Ending location:
Kalispell, MT

Occupants:
2 humans, 1 furry child (may not be going)

Places to Visit:
St Louis Zoo
Omaha Zoo
Badlands
Black Hills
Mt Rushmore
Custer State Park
Glacier National Park

Camps:
Unknown
 
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Retinens803

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So I think I am going to change the dates to 1st week of September due to weather. She doesn’t like driving in snow and neither do i so we are going to limit our chances. The best we can.

Debating on taking I-90W or I-20W.

I want to take I-94W but don’t know how long time wise it would take to bypass the tolls.
 

justjames

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Seeing as no one has responded, I'll make a couple of comments.

Google says it's about 37 hours from you to Kalispell. Round trip that is six 12 hour days of interstate. If you're a glutton for interstate driving perhaps you can do it faster. To me, either of those leave very little time for sightseeing or exploring.

If there are sights you want to see on I-94W, why worry about $20 worth of tolls?

Montana is nothing short of spectacular, you need more time.
 

Retinens803

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Seeing as no one has responded, I'll make a couple of comments.

Google says it's about 37 hours from you to Kalispell. Round trip that is six 12 hour days of interstate. If you're a glutton for interstate driving perhaps you can do it faster. To me, either of those leave very little time for sightseeing or exploring.

If there are sights you want to see on I-94W, why worry about $20 worth of tolls?

Montana is nothing short of spectacular, you need more time.
Thanks for posting reminded me that I needed to change the dates!
 
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SandlapperOverland

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Interstate it until you get to South Dakota.

The pine forests of Missouri and Kentucky are the same as those in South and North Carolina.

They aren’t so much trails but not-so-well-maintained county roads in the northeast portion of Wyoming near Devil’s Tower that are pretty neat.

And be sure to stop by Deadwood and the Badlands.
 

SandlapperOverland

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I just reread your post and wanted to chime in some more.

Definitely interstate it until you get to the Dakotas. Along I-90 there are several cool spots to serve as a jumping off point: the Corn Palace in Mitchell, 1880 Town is cheesy but fun, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is just across from the entrance to the Badlands and is worth a stop since you actually get to go inside the bunker complex.

The Badlands itself...I mean plan at least a full day there. Don’t short change it like we did.

Outside of the Badlands, the Black Hills are worth at least 2-3 days. Custer State Park in Custer, SD is breathtaking and has some great camping spots. Hill City, Lead and Deadwood are definitely worth a gander; Lead is home to a large gold mine that is now a research lab for studying neutrinos. The Black Hills has a bunch of trails as well that you can check out.

There’s a couple of gold mines you can explore - Big Thunder Mine is pretty neat and you can pan for gold (flakes) after the tour of the mine.

The “center of the United States” is locates in Belle Fourche but the real center of the US is off the beaten path down a gravel/dirt road 20-30 miles north of Belle Fourche.

There are unimproved roads that can get you from there to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and then into Montana.

It’s a great area; you really can’t do anything wrong out there.
 

Retinens803

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Finally nailed down some places that we are going to visit updates are above. Now trying to figure out camp\logistics of the St Louis section. From Ft Mill to St Louis Zoo we are looking at 12 hrs non stop. The Zoo hours are 9-5 even if I was to leave at 3 am Friday that only allows 2 hours of zoo time. I could leave at 5 pm Thursday and sleep in Nashville getting 8 hours closer. That allows for a 5 hour to the zoo arriving roughly around 1 pm for 4 hours of zoo time. Only down side to Thursday is it would be another 8 hours of drive time after working a full day with a 1 am arrival. I would have to find a camp spot that is tent friendly and doesn't cost much as we are only sleeping.

Anyone have ideas? Suggestions on camps that are tent friendly?
 

SandlapperOverland

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I feel your pain. I'm trying to plan our trip for next year and I'm running into the same problems. My solution is to just Motel 6 or Red Roof Inn in until we get west of the Mississippi for the little bit of sleep we get. I have two small kids (7 & 4) and it just seems easier for me to throw them into a cheap motel room for 5-6 hours of sleep as opposed to setting up camp and dealing with all of that.

Have you checked out hipcamp.com, freecampsites.net, or campendium.com?
 

SandlapperOverland

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If something happens and the St. Louis Zoo doesn't pan out, check out the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. It's a massive pre-Columbian Native American city right outside of St. Louis.
 
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David C Gibbs

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Fort Mill to Kalispell, MT

Kalispell, MT to Fort Mill

That is a lot of windshield time... total miles 5356, at 60 miles per hours in 82.6 hours behind the wheel. The route coming back gets your through a portion of Yellowstone, the Tetons, The Wascht Front and Salt Lake, Rocky Mtns & Denver and the Fly-over flatlands into Nashville, then Home. Your driving 10 full days of the 17...

(?) What is the longest road trip you & the Mrs., have taken so far?
David
 

Retinens803

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Fort Mill to New Orleans

I take that back we flew in to Boston and drove the coast all the way up to bar harbor, to moose head lake, Stowe VT, down route 100 back to Boston. That was for our honeymoon
 
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David C Gibbs

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We flew into Boston, spent 1st night in Waltham, so I could hit the Federal Archives, then drove to Skowhegan, MA, then continued up to Quebec 2 nights, across to Montreal 1 night, Burington, VT 1 night, down Lake Champlain to Fort Ticonderoga, across the lake via Ferry, to Mt. Independence, a stop at the Rev. War Battle site of Hubbardton, and into Bennington 1 night. In Bennington, VT - I stumbled across Robert Frost's grave, looking for a relative. We spent 2 nights in Belchertown and 2 nights in Boston, before flying back to Boise.
 
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Kdj

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Near Unnamed Road, Perry, MO 63462
39°31'46.6"N 91°41'53.6"W Indian creek state recreation area might be on your way. I havent stayed there but pined it as a good spot near st. louis.
I have stayed here
Unnamed Road
Unnamed Road, Montgomery City, MO 63361
Google Maps Graham cave state park. nice for a quick night. But might be out of way for you, just off I70.
 

Retinens803

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We are finally can start our 36 hour countdown! I feel like I have spent SO much money for this trip. We are going to be pushing hard to attempt to make it an hour or so outside of St. Louis as our first camp spot.

Looks like the T-Storms are going to follow us across the country! Pics will come of the packed rig later tonight.
 
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Retinens803

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We did make it back unfortunately. Once I get some free time I have to go through and organize all of the pictures from the camera then start the upload. It was way harder to do try to upload photos while on the road then previously expected.