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Discussion Starter #1
This summer I am supporting the Race Across America (RAAM) bike race. Leaving on June 14th, it will be ~10 days to go from San Diego to Baltimore, keeping moving 24/7. Well, the race keeps going, I will be stopping to sleep.

When I'm done with my official race duties in Baltimore (ok, Annapolis to be more precise), I'll have between 7-12 days to get myself back home to SE Washington state. The time difference is depending on when I actually get to Annapolis and how long I'm there before the race organizers are 'done' with me.


So... 7-12 days to drive one of the northern routes across country during the last week of June through July 4th. (need to report back to work on July 6th)


What are some places, things, sights, people, whatever that you think should not be missed? Preferably of the 'undiscovered' type. What places should I not even bother with?


The only thing on my short list is a drive through Yellowstone. I may also hit up Rushmore and Crazy Horse, and perhaps Devil's Tower while I'm in the area.
 

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Drive through Badlands on the way to the Black Hills. In the Black Hills area, use the forest service roads as much as possible - they're in good shape and you avoid MUCH traffic that time of year. There's a cool little swimming hole at Cascade Falls on hwy 71 south of Hot Spgs S.D. most people don't know about.

Take the back road north out of Sundance, past the Bear Mtn Lookout Tower to Devil's Tower.

You MUST drive the Beartooth Hwy from Red Lodge MT into Yellowstone. Believe me, Yellowstone is amazing, but you don't need to see every geyser and mudpot in the park. Pick 3 or 4, traffic will be very heavy and slow. Check both Mesa Falls south of Yellowstone West Entrance.

roadsideamerica.com is a good site to find unusual, off-the-wall places of interest.

We may cross paths. I'll be doing KC->Cleveland->Chicago->Boulder->Telluride->S. Utah->Flagstaff->Vegas->Area 51:rolleyes:->Yosemite->wetside OR & WA->Seattle->Walla Walla and back to KC in June/early July.
 

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Not only will traffic be almost gridlock in Yellowstone, but it will be very heavy along most of your route. Remember it will be near the peak of the summer tourist season. Allow for major delays.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just looking at stuff... thinking I might stop by 80/20 headquarters in Columbia City, IN. Basically right along the way. I've used plenty of their product in building the van. Shame that it won't be nearly finished for this road trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I ended up with a few distinct destinations on this trip.


First one on the eastern side of things was to stop in Pennsylvania at Falling Water, the house by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was beautiful. As an architecture student of long ago, I was thrilled to be there.


Then I did make it a point to stop by 80/20 going through Indiana. Got a very cool tour of the very large facility. Neat to see how they cater to both the really big customers (Amazon) and the really small (me).


From there it was a detour up to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, just to visit a bike shop. Well, wasn't much of a detour, but I did it anyway. Neat place that sells recumbent bikes, I've been buying online from them for years.


From there it was time to boogie across I-90. It was mid-afternoon on the day that I made it to Badlands National Park. Spent the rest of the day there, doing several of the short little hikes off the road. Then caught the sunset from the top of the plateau.


The next day was into Custer State Park. I hadn't planned to visit Rushmore, and its a good thing. It was rainy that morning as I drove into the park, with a very low cloud ceiling. Instead I turned south and drove the park. First up was the absolutely wonderful loop of Iron Mountain Highway. Then down to the Wildlife Loop, it was a bit quiet out there. And then finishing with a drive through the tunnels of Needles Highway (yes, a ProMaster fits just fine). Off to see Crazy Horse Monument, then back on the road and up to Devil's Tower for the afternoon.


The next day was the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend. And I was headed into Yellowstone. Was I crazy? Maybe... but it was between me and home, so I might as well. Turned out to be not a problem at all. Entered the west side, hardly any traffic. Drove around the lake, there were a few folks, but none of the pullouts or viewpoints were anywhere near full. Stopped at West Thumb Geyser basin and started to see more folks; had a couple busloads of tourists (lots of Japanese folks, who were fun to talk with), but still not bad. Then I had to get past Old Faithful. I didn't even think about going to it, which was good, as it was gridlocked going that way. Stopped at a couple other basins nearby, saw some beautiful stuff with only a few folks on the trails. The roads were again gridlocked as I drove past Grand Prismatic Spring, but then quiet after that. Overall, the park was great, even being the beginning of a major holiday weekend.


I'll get some pictures up sometime as part of a road trip report of my overall journey.
 
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