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Last Minute Drive from PA to Oregon, Please Help with Travel Plans

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Jul 25th, 2013, 07:25 PM
  #1
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Last Minute Drive from PA to Oregon, Please Help with Travel Plans

My son is relocating in early August to Portland, OR and I am driving with him from PA and then flying back. We have about 12 or 13 days to get to Portland and then I will spend about 2 or 3 days in Portland before flying home. Right now we are planning to drive to Chicago, spend one or two nights there, drive to Minneapolis, spend one night (he has a friend there), drive through the Badlands to Black Hills, spend one or two nights in Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore. Then we plan to drive to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, spend about 2-3 days there and also hope to hit Jackson Hole. We have a place to stay in Alpine if we choose to stay there. After that we will drive through Idaho, Craters of the Moon and Boise, and then go to Portland. We have a tent, I also have points for staying in Starwood and Marriott hotels. I would appreciate suggestions for other places we should plan to see, whether or not this is a doable itinerary, suggestions on places to stay, and whether we should plan to enter Yellowstone from the North or Grand Tetons and then Yellowstone from the south. Any other information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Jul 25th, 2013, 09:10 PM
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If you are coming from Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore, stop for a short visit to Devil's Tower in NE Wyoming. Enter Yellowstone from the east through Cody.
You will save a little money if you stay in Idaho Falls in between Yellowstone and Craters of the Moon.
From Boise to Portland is an easy drive on I-84. In the Portland area along I-84 stop to see Multnomah Falls.
The other option to get back to PA would be to take the Amtrak Empire Builder from Portland to Chicago and the Capitol Limited to Pittsburgh (or Lake Shore Limited to Erie).
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Jul 25th, 2013, 09:54 PM
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They don't want a train, Tom. Jeez louise.
He's moving. Do you even read what people write?
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Jul 26th, 2013, 10:02 AM
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It's a bit longer, but after the Devil's Tower stop I'd swing north on I-90, visit the Little Bighorn Battlefiled, then into Billings before heading to Red Lodge and entering Yellowstone via Beathtooth Pass and Cooke City. Exit Yellowstone south, through Grand Teton and into Idaho via US 26.
You could make the Black Hills to Red Lodge in a long day, spend the night there, lots of campgrounds in the area, then into Yellowstone.
The downside is you'll miss Cody that route, and Code is a great place to visit...love the museums. Although you could do the Chief Joseph Highway rather than all of Beartooth and go to Cody, entering Yellowstone from the east.
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Jul 26th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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bbqboy yes I read. The boy is keeping the car in Oregon and the father has to get back to PA either by flying or taking the train or renting a car one way.
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Jul 26th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Do you get paid by Amtrak?
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Jul 26th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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I have enough Amtrak Guest Rewards points for a one way trip in a roomette from Oregon to Arizona early next year.
I'm traveling in coach in December (paying cash) from Oregon to Burlington Iowa and back.
Try finding a flight for 2 from Klamath Falls to Burlington and return for less than $2000. My DW and I prefer to stay on the ground and not get groped by the TSA.
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Jul 26th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Tom, what BBQ boy is saying and I sometimes hint. GET over yourself. YOU LOVE trains. It gets tiresome when the thread has not a modicum of possibility of trains being a good idea.
We don't mind if you want to do it/love to do it. It is GREAT. But it is SO SO tiresome to always say==take a train when the people have 2 days to get 1000 miles and you say==take a train.
YOU need to get a life about this.
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Jul 27th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. The train is not an option, I need to be back for work, so I want to maximize my time with my son and then fly back. How much time should we plan to stay in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons? We planned two nights in Yellowstone and One in Grand Tetons. We planned to stay in a tent, is it even possible to get a sight inside the parks? If not, what other options are possible? Thanks.
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Jul 27th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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What you need to know about tent camping in Yellowstone.
http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/indiancg.htm
Camp 3 nights in Yellowstone and drive south on a day trip to see the Tetons. Between Yellowstone and Portland, I think there is a campground in Craters of the Moon.
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Jul 27th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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That is an OK time in Yellowstone and the Tetons. You might look online for a campground (public or private) that will take reservations.
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Jul 28th, 2013, 10:02 PM
  #12
ALF
 
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Last month, my daughter and I did the exact reverse trip, as I moved her from Seattle to NYC (Craters of the Moon - Tetons - Yellowstone - Devils Tower - Black Hills/Rushmore - Badlands - Chicago). We too did a combination of camping, cabins and motels.

There are National Park campgrounds in all of the above, except Black Hills/Rushmore. There are nice cabins and tent cabins at Colter Bay in the Tetons. In the valley leading up to the West entrance to Yellowstone, there are countless little resorts with cabins; if the timing is right, you can stay in one before you enter the park. In Yellowstone, we camped at Canyon campground, but there are several others as well. Our favorite campground was Jenny Lake in the Tetons, but it is very small and fills quickly. The campground at Craters of the Moon is interesting, basically in the middle of a recent lava flow. On our way out of the Tetons, we stayed in the cutest (and cheapest) little cabins (are you getting a theme here?) in the Teton Valley Campground, just over the Idaho border.

We searched for something to do between Chicago and the Badlands. The best we could come up with is the Spam Museum, in Austin, MN, close to the turnoff to go up to Minneapolis. This is a surprisingly good time, and I'd recommend it if you are in the vicinity.

In the Black Hills, check out the Needles area, which we thought was quite scenic. You might also want to go cave exploring in Wind or Jewel Caves.

As others noted, I think it is worthwhile to drive a little out of your way to see Devil's Tower.

In Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is spectacular, particularly the waterfalls. There is a short walk down to a platform right near the biggest one. Everybody goes to see Old Faithful Geyser, rightfully so, but it is a short walk further to see Steamboat Geyser, which we thought was more impressive. The Visitor Center will give you approximate eruption times.

We thought it was worthwhile to take the Jackson Hole Tram to the top of Rendezvous Peak. The views are great and you can walk on several summit trails. We also liked taking the tour boat across Jenny Lake and then hiking up to Inspiration Point. Lastly, consider a sunrise raft trip down the Snake River to see wildlife and scenery.

Bring a good flashlight to go lava tube cave exploring in Craters of the Moon.

Have fun! We did:
https://www.facebook.com/albert.frie...5000001&type=3
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Jul 29th, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #13
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Thanks for all the great information! My son is moving from NYC to Portland. Got tired of the big city. He loved it for two years, though! I will check out the facebook info.
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