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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Photo Stop Suggestions for Trip?
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01/12/2006 11:36:48 AM · #1
Myself, my sister, and my 11 yr. old daughter will be traveling from Ohio (Cincinnati area) to Seattle in June. We will be driving out and back and plan to be gone about 3 weeks...perhaps a few days more if budget allows.

I would love to compile a list of some "must see" stops. I'm not sure of the route yet. That will be determined in part by the stops we want to make. We will be making the obvious stops in the National Parks, so I really don't need those listed - however if you have specific advice regarding things in the parks that are maybe not commonly known, that would be great!

We won't have the time to travel 100% off Interstate, but I would like to do probably 1/4 of the trip off of Interstate roads, so I'm looking for scenic driving routes as well as specific stops.

My sis also has some knee problems, so can't do major hiking or especially a lot of steps. She can walk for a couple of miles fine, as long as it's not a bunch of steps or too difficult.

Thanks in advance! I'll be bumping this once in a while to get fresh ideas as I get closer to June, but I figure it will be here before I know it! Oh...and we will be driving a 4WD vehicle.

01/12/2006 04:48:06 PM · #2
How about Carhenge?

If you are travelling I-80, there is the original Cabela's in Sidney, NE which is a cool place , especially if you enjoy the outdoors. There is also the Platte River Archway monument in Kearney, NE. Kinda spendy to get in, but pretty cool if you like old west history. There is also Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff Monument, but they are kind of off the beaten path. Believe it or not, there is some pretty cool stuff to photograph in Nebraska and Iowa.

Good luck in your adventure!
01/12/2006 04:53:59 PM · #3
If you are coming through Wyoming I sugest you take the Snowy Range Hwy off I-80 after Laramie. Incredible drive!
01/12/2006 05:01:22 PM · #4
Be sure to hit Jackson, Wyoming which is near Grand Teton National Park and the namesake city for the Jackson Hole area. It's a great mountain town.

Definitely hit Grand Teton National Park and some good photo areas such as Mormon Row (which is easily accessible by car).

I made a trip to Wyoming last May and visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone and the scenery is beautiful. I will definitely be returning to explore some more, my trip was far too short. We did the Clark Griswold tour of Yellowstone... and if you have seen the National Lampoons Vacation movies you will understand what I mean. Remember the seen at the Grand Canyon? That was basically how we did Yellowstone... we only had one day.
01/12/2006 06:38:25 PM · #5
driving through Iowa look up the Amana COlonies
01/12/2006 07:41:02 PM · #6
If you make it all the way up north to Highway 20 (heading east), there are sooooo many beautiful spots along that road. Most of the highlights are very easy walks, and well worth it. Just the drive alone is wonderful, too!
01/12/2006 07:48:19 PM · #7
You could visit Smith Center, KS which is the geographic center of the US.

Nearby is the world's largest ball of twine. In downtown Salina, KS you can eat some Cozy Burgers.

Near Omaha is the SAC museum. A lot of great aircraft in there.

Oh, and whatever you do, DO NOT, under ANY circumstances eat at a place called Happy Chef. It has a 20ft tall statue of a chef out front. You will laugh and think it would be great fun to eat at such a ridiculous place just to say you did. Don't fall for it. We did. We had to stop early, check into a hotel and fight about whose turn it was to sit on the toilet.
01/12/2006 08:13:21 PM · #8
I just used the auto-route feature on Microsoft Streets & Trips to see where you might be heading, and whether it would coincide with anywhere I've been in my travels.

Streets & Trips takes you through South Dakota on I-90... so I'll have to recommend a stop at Wall Drug. You won't be able to resist stopping there anyway, since there are hundreds of signs for the place, beginning many miles from there! It's one of those little pieces of Americana you can't help but stop at...

The Badlands of South Dakota are in this general vicinity, too. What a cool area that is! I'd definitely recommend taking the drive through there. It's a photographer's dreamland!

Devil's Tower isn't too far off your route (assuming you go the general direction S&T maps out). That's where Close Encounters of the Third Kind was filmed. Kind of a neat mountain to see in person.

There's a place in Rapid City, SD, we stopped called "Bear Country USA." This was an interesting little stop. You drive through this park, and the bears are literally on the road and come up to your car. Odd, yet interesting, and good for some pics!

Yellowstone is certainly an awesome place to visit. There are various bubbling springs, Old Faithful, and plenty of wildlife to keep your shutter clicking!

It would probably be a bit out of your way, but if you ended up in the southern portion of Idaho, there's a neat place called Craters of the Moon. It's a large area just filled with a landscape of lava rock, with caves and walking trails. It really was like being on a different planet, I thought!

Anyway... I'm envious of your trip -- I'm sure you'll have a great time!
01/20/2006 07:58:16 PM · #9
Some great ideas...just what I was looking for!

I also forgot to ask about lodging. If anyone has stayed in a chain or even single type hotel/motel that is affordable and memorable in some good way, please let me know. We basically just need clean, bed and bath...nothing fancy. We're probably not going to make too many reservations because we want some flexibility - but we might have to make a few if it's an area that is normally booked.

Anyway, thanks again. I'm really looking forward to this!
04/24/2006 12:22:34 PM · #10
Updating this for some fresh suggestions as we are really starting to finalize some plans.

Looks like we'll be doing I-90 West mostly on the way out and coming home a little more to the South on I-70. I'm open for some great photo op suggestions!
04/24/2006 12:36:38 PM · #11
alanfreed already suggested most of the places I was going to mention but he left out historic Deadwood in the SD Black Hills, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana.
04/24/2006 12:45:18 PM · #12
Originally posted by jpochard:

Looks like we'll be doing I-90 West

Columbia Gorge is on the way, quite impressive.

Then, despite the detour, I would suggest Leavenworth - you'll think you somehow landed in a Bavarian town in the European Alps. It is VERY pretty and full of motels!!

I still think that if you have the time, you might want to head north after that, then west on the I20 - it is simply magnificent.

The edit was to change Columbia GEORGE into Columbia GORGE :-)

Message edited by author 2006-04-24 12:48:21.
04/24/2006 01:43:30 PM · #13
Absolutely detour far enough to get in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I also made the Griswold tour of those two parks back in 1999. I have been 17 times since. You won't be sorry, and leave some free time to see the parks. At least a day for the Tetons and 2-3 in Yellowstone will keep you busy. Jackson is a terrific town, and if you hit it on Tuesday, the Rancher has $1.50 pint nights. Some of the best micro brews in the country are there. If you get into Jackson for only 1 night, eat at the Gunbarrel. By far the best wild game restaurant in town. The least expensive spot to stay there is the Motel 6. I have stayed there, the Four Seasons and everywhere in between. I choose the Motel 6 most every time we are there now. Its a clean place with a bed, shower and pillow. In the Tetons, I highly recommend Colter Bay's Tent Village. It open June 2, and you sleep in a very cozy, but large, building that has two log walls, two canvas walls and a canvas roof. Its $39 a night, showers are close, and you will enjoy it immensely. From I-90, its only about an hour and a half south to Yellowstone's North Entrance. I'd head south through the park, do one side of the loop, head into the Tetons, sleep at Colter Bay, up the next morning into Jackson, play in the town, eat at the Gunbarrel, sleep at Motel 6, head into Teton Village, take the tram to the top of the resort, drive through Moose, WY back into the Tetons, see the other side of the Yellowstone loop, head out of the park into West Yellowstone, MT, sleep there, see Quake Lake, then head back toward the interstate through Big Sky toward Bozeman.

If you an extra day or two, get onto Glacier National Park as well. Its the only place in the country better than Yellowstone. From I-90, its about 2 hours north of Missoula. The Belton Chalet is a fantastic place to stay and eat. If you get there, see if Patrick Norris is still the head chef. He was an old high school buddy from Athens, GA that my wife and I ran into out there on our honeymoon. Hadn't seen him in 11 years or so. So tell him Eric from GA said hello! Spend the day on the Going-to-the-Sun-Road. Cross it both ways. You'll see something you missed every time. Stop at Logan's Pass and make the mile hike to hidden lake. I have seen big horn and mountain goats within 20 feet of me each time I have been there. Just stay calm, take your shots and move on.

From there, you can head back down to Kalispell, Take US 2 into Libby and Sandpoint, ID, then into Spokane to pick up the interstate again. You would not be disappointed with any of these choices. All three of the National Parks will give you some of the most amazing landscape and wildlife photos you will ever get. Elk and Bison in YNP and GTNP, mountain goats, grizzlies and big horns in GNP.

My wife and I were trying to figure out what we were going to do for vacation this year. Typing this, I just figured it out.
04/24/2006 02:37:41 PM · #14
A quick glance through this thread doesn't show anyone suggesting taking a couple days to visit the OLympic peninsula: Olympic national Park (inland) and the spectacular "Zoomdak Beaches" on the coast. You simply cannot go to Seattle and NOT head the rest of the way to the coast; you can actually day-trip the coast from Seattle, though I'd recommend overnighting it.

Robt.
04/24/2006 02:49:33 PM · #15
I second Olympic National Park and would add Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helen's. The cascades are amazing.

Between Salt Lake City and Yellowstone is very beautiful but I'm at work and don't remember the backroads we took. Do remember Bear Lake's beautiful blueness...
04/24/2006 03:47:37 PM · #16
So far we have on our agenda:

Wall Drug
Corn Palace

National Parks and Monuments:

Crazy Horse
Badlands
Mt. Rushmore
Devil's Tower
Yellowstone
Grand Teton
Glacier
Mt. Rainier
Olympic
Cascades
Arches
Rocky Mountain
Great Sand Dune (possible)

Also, probably up to Vancouver for a day. We'll be spending probably 3 days in the Yellowstone area and maybe 4 or 5 in the Seattle area.

You guys have given some great information. I appreciate you taking the time to share! I am SO looking forward to the trip.
04/24/2006 03:58:29 PM · #17
Eric,

Do you know if there is a website for the Cotter Bays Tent place?

EDIT: Nevermind...I see that it's Colter Bay, not Cotter Bay.

Message edited by author 2006-04-24 16:05:07.
04/24/2006 04:15:17 PM · #18
It is indeed Colter Bay. Also, have you purchased the annual National Parks Pass. Its $50 I think, and it will save you a ton. It is good for a year from the first use. Getting into Yellowstone is $20 for 7 days, and each park has a fee. Just a thought.

Message edited by author 2006-04-24 16:17:37.
04/24/2006 08:41:34 PM · #19
Originally posted by ericwoo:

It is indeed Colter Bay. Also, have you purchased the annual National Parks Pass. Its $50 I think, and it will save you a ton. It is good for a year from the first use. Getting into Yellowstone is $20 for 7 days, and each park has a fee. Just a thought.


Yep, we do know about the pass and plan to use it a lot!
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