23 Aug

Girl Camper: Episode 98 Tips for Touring Yellowstone

On this week’s show I’m sharing my tips for camping in and touring Yellowstone National Park.

When camping in Yellowstone you have 12 campgrounds to choose from offering 2000 sites within the park. Seven of them are run by NPS and are offered on a first come, first served basis. They have no hookups but offer fire rings and lush surroundings.

The only campground in the park that offers full hook ups is Fishing Bridge Campground. The campground is conveniently located but not very camp like. There are no fires allowed and the sites are stacked on top of each other without even picnic tables.

 

Touring the park requires patience and a plan. Some of my tips are:

1) Start your day early before most tourists are out. The roads don’t start to get crowded before 10 am and you can see two sights by then without all the people.

2) Ask a Ranger for advice. They know the peak and off peak times to see things, where the animal sightings are and the best hiking trails.  A ranger suggested to me that we travel counter clockwise on the lower Grand Loop because the majority of people travel clockwise.

3) Pack a lunch. You will save time, money and be healthier! The food is concession grade, expensive and you have to wait a long time for it.

4) Wear appropriate shoes. Yellowstone is not a sanitized theme park. The hiking trails are full of sticks, vines and gravel. Flip flops can ruin your day.

5) Keep jackets and rain gear in the car. The weather can change dramatically and very quickly.

6) Allow extra time for animal jams, heavy volume and poor parking. Everything takes longer than you think it will.

7) Follow the rules for staying away from the animals. Photograph them at a safe distance.

27 Jun

Girl Camper: #90 Trip Planning Part One

On today’s show I am sharing my process for planning the National Parks Tour I am heading out on this summer. If you have ever thought about taking time to visit our National Parks or have wanted to take a loooong road trip to places you’ve been dreaming of, this is the show for you. Where do you start? How far ahead do you have to plan? How do you figure out what route to take? Where is it safe to camp alone? How many hours a day should you plan on driving? I faced all these questions when planning the trip  and I am breaking down the process and giving you some ideas on planning your next great adventure.

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The starting point for my trip planning was choosing the destination. Yellowstone National Park was first pick. Once that was determined I figured out the miles,  2136 miles each way. That’s 32 hours of driving if you are in a car. If you are towing a trailer you can easily add another 6 to that estimate. With that in mind I knew that we needed at least four weeks to make the trip and enjoy it. Each time we added a stop, we went to Google Maps to look at the route and determine how much time it would add to the trip and how much distance was between each of the stops.

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Once the distance and allotted time were nailed down we set about researching what route to take and what we wanted to see along the way. The research started with podcasts of course. RVFTA’s podcast on Yellowstone last year was a great help. There’s also a National Parks Podcast that helped me get the lay of the land in Yellowstone. This helped me to be realistic about how much time things would actually take once inside the park.

Some books that were great planning tools included The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations by Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi and Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen.

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Favorite Apps include the National Parks App by Chimani. Within the National Parks app is the ability to download specific parks and gain all kinds of information on parking, hiking, camping, routes within the parks as well as Ranger Programs and the degree of difficulty a certain hike might be. You can also use it for trip planning and to have a map of the park downloaded which doesn’t require Internet.

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This episode also covers reservation making tips and how we chose which campgrounds to stay at.

I promised the recipe for the campfire cookies and here it is! My sweet friend Jodi made these for me and since she is not generally a baker I  knew it was a labor of love. She found the recipe at the Food Network website.

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