Please Help w/ Cross Country Road Trip

Apr 1st, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 214
Please Help w/ Cross Country Road Trip

Help! My son and I are driving cross country this summer. We want authentic and real. As I do my research for hotels/motels along the way I'm finding an endless parade of chains. Ugh! My big problems are places like Rapid City, SD, finding a top in Iowa between Chicago and Rapid City, and finding a stop between Rapid City and Yellowstone. Whatever happened to the Ma and Pa motel? I guess they went the way of the Ma and Pa store and restaurant.
We're booked in Yellowstone at the Old Faithful Inn, and at Jackson at the Aman ... but the hard part is between Chicago and Yellowstone. We have tentative reservations at the State Game Lodge outside Rapid City, which reads as interesting.

But I welcome any and all opinions, suggestions, warnings and good advice. Thank you.

Also, we will be between Rapid City and Yellowstone on July 4th. Thank you

horizon is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 10:53 AM
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Yes, there are non-chained motels everywhere. Often they aren't right at the interstate exits, but on old US highways and in the town center.

But most of them are really low-end; really questionable facilities and no guarantee. I don't know why you would want to do that instead of staying at a chain. Unless you really want to save money.

You usually won't have problem finding motel rooms on I-80 or I-90, even in the summer. I'd suggest you just wait and stop wherever you feel like. Find the motel that seems most appealing to you.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 11:02 AM
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For Rapid City try Deadwood instead - close enough to travel to Mt Rushmore, but plenty of indie accommodations, lots of historic interest (also plenty of mom-and-pop casinos on the main street) but well worth a visit en route, especially up to the cemetery to see Wild Bill's and Calamity Jane's graves side by side.

Sheridan WY is a very pleasant (surprisingly so to us) town around halfway between Rapid City and YNP, although you really could do that distance in a day.

I would strongly suggest, though, to continue into Montana on I-90 to visit the Little Big Horn battlefield monument - a very moving and beautiful place. Then you can approach YNP from the Montana side, also very beautiful route.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 1st, 2005, 11:02 AM
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it's not about saving money. i'm prepared to spend whatever is necessary. would prefer to stay at a hotel/in a room that is not the equivalent of shopping malls, in other words the same thing, stamped out endlessly, each like the next, same bed cover, same curtains, same sofas and chairs, same carpeting, etc., and few services. but i'm not looking for a seedy, cheap motel, either. alas, regional authenticity and uniqueness may not exist anymore.
horizon is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Do a search on bed & breakfast at the towns you may be staying overnight. But of course, since you're going with your son, make sure they have rooms with 2 beds instead of one. And definitely not going to be cheap.

Chain motels make sense. They have central reservations, people can get some guarantee of what they'll be getting. That's what roadtrippers want and that's what they get. I don't see how a "mom and pop" motel in some small town can compete or survive except for bottom price.

And as I said, such independent motels do exist. But give me Super 8 or Hampton Inn instead.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Try choosing a couple areas where you think you'd like to stop and contact their Chambers of Commerce/Visitor Bureaus. The locals should be able to give you a more personalized answer. Also, if you go to each state's website, you should be able to get Bed & Breakfast/accomodations listings.
As for the chain accomodations - in rural states where the cities aren't particularly large & even smaller towns are a distance from each other, they may be the only stops available. (The "Big Box" companies everyone seems to want to "get the lowest price at" got rid of most "Moms & Pops" years ago!)
HotWheels is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 03:50 PM
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I would stick with the chains - they have good locks on the doors and a budget that allows for pest control.

We pass those locals properties as they always have weekly rates and alot of junk vehicles in the parking lot - just to make ends meet.

I wouldn't trust 90% of them. and there are no same this & that - you can only see one at a time.

You'll have fun wherever you sleep - you don't want to be up all night 'with the neighbors' !!
maryann is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 126
Your post reminded me of a similar trip many years ago, a little different route.

We stopped at a nice town called Blue Earth, MN (off the I-90). The people were friendly, and had a nice community feel to it. It has the largest statute of the Jolly Green Giant, and it was a memorable stop. We stayed at the Super 8, which was like none other. Flower boxes and shutters on the windows - as if they had plenty of time on their hands during the winter. There is also another hotel in town, and you may want to check it out. Blue Earth is at the intersection of I-90 and Hwy 169, 42 miles west of Albert Lea MN.

mpf is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 07:44 AM
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i've driven cross country a couple of times, my only res being the first night or my destination because you never know what you may find between points a and b!. i've never had a problem with the TONS of mom and pop hotels, ask to look at the room, if you don't like it, move on. on the major routes you should do fine. there are major stretches with no accomodations out west though. you can get the feel for it by seeing, 1, if it is indian res. there may be few or no services, look for a route with a lot of towns and then do a search for that county on google, you may not get a web site but most chambers of commerce have lists of accomodations. you will do fine. and don't always be fooled by chains, i have been in some that i have left, they are franchised out and only as good as the management makes them (excluding hampton inns that seems to have one of the best standardized quality regardless of location).
justme22 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 02:36 PM
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i thank all of you for your opinions. it helps a lot. after much research. i mean MUCH research, we have booked a couple of chains, but they seem to be family owned franchises, which makes a difference. i called personally to the desk to book and the people were nice. we'll be in des moines, i think, one night, and rapid city or deadwood another, and then cody, and then on to yellowstone. again, thanks.
horizon is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Horizon, get a Best Western directory, and use it to plan.

Best Western is a network of usually independent hotels andmotels that use Best Western as a marketing orfganization. BW sets standards they must attain, so the quality is usually good, but hotel designs, fetures, etc., vary greatly.

BAK is offline  
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