I’ve traveled to 44 of the states. I’m missing Alaska (ahem), Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Delaware. It’s funny, because a ton of my college friends live in Boston and I’ve visited them many times, but never made it north of Peabody, MA.
However, I’ve only camped in 12 states, which are shown on a map on the side of my fifth wheel. So, when I was planning my route west I thought it’d be nice to drive roads I’d never traveled and camp in places I’d never camped in. This thought led to a LOT of vacillation, as I planned routes that went through Canada, along the northern coast of Lake Superior, or routes south through Nebraska, Iowa, etc.
The horrible floods suffered in the Plains after the first bomb cyclone this year has pretty much ruled that route out. Tons of campgrounds and roads are closed due to the flooding. And the route through Canada would take a long time. As tempting as it is, I’d like to get to Washington fairly quickly. Whatever extra days I have before meeting people in Coeur d’Alene will be spent camping in my sister’s driveway in beautiful (?) Spangle, WA. She’s the mayor, so I figure no one will mind.
Grain might not be your thing, but Spangle is part of the rolling hills of the Palouse region of southeastern Washington. This is where they grow wheat, barley, etc. And I think there is certainly a beauty in the hills.
The next problem I had was when to leave. Initially, I tried to make reservations for the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, but most of the campgrounds I contacted were requiring a 3 night minimum due to it being a holiday. By pushing back my leave date to Sunday, I found a KOA in Gaylord, Michigan that would allow one night. My next stop will come in the Upper Peninsula–a place I’ve never been to. I’m a little nervous about driving over the 5 mile long Mighty Mac bridge, but the campground will be worth it.
Gulp, I have to drive over this thing? Pulling a giant wall for the wind to grab? Yikes. I researched how many people have died plunging over this bridge (yes, I did). Only 2. One lady was going too fast in a Yugo and flipped over it after losing control. The other guy was ruled a suicide. I feel better about my odds of making it.
Here’s a picture of the site I’ve reserved:
Backs right up onto the water. I decided I’d spend 2 days here. The rest of the stops are all overnights. And the distance between Spangle and my last stop in Montana is going to be a challenge, but it’s hard to justify spending one more night on the road in Idaho when Spangle is just a few more hours. We’ll see if I make it. I can always pull over and rest for a while before going on. That’s the great thing about pulling your bed, kitchen and bathroom with you!!
Here’s the map of the route, taken from RV Trip Wizard. This is a very helpful planning tool, and you can click on campgrounds and read reviews about them–something that is almost essential. You don’t want to spend a long day on the road only to pull into a campground with Deliverance banjos playing next to you.
Leave Sunday, May 26. Drive from New Castle, IN to the Gaylord KOA in Gaylord, MI. 397 miles, roughly 6 hours.
May 27: drive to Manistique Lakeshore Campground, Manistique, MI. 156 miles, about 2.5 hours.
May 28: stay in Manistique. Enjoy the UP.
May 29 (Wednesday): drive to Cloquet/Duluth KOA in Cloquet, MN. 346 miles, almost 7 hours.
May 30: drive to Red River State Recreation Campground, East Grand Forks, MN. 256 miles, about 5 hours.
May 31 (Friday): drive to Fort Stevenson State Park in Garrison, ND. 247 miles, 4.5 hours.
June 1: drive to Miles City KOA in Miles City, MT. 329 miles, 5 hours.
June 2: drive to Missouri Headwaters State Park in Three Forks, MT. 315 miles, 4.5 hours
June 3: drive 389 miles (hopefully) to the Holling’s driveway in Spangle, WA. 389 miles (and over the Rockies), 6 hours.
So, with this route, I’ll be camping in only 2 new states to me: Michigan and North Dakota. However, I’ll be driving along U.S. Highway 2 for much of it, which I’ve never driven. And avoiding I-90, which I’ve driven back and forth many, many times. I did decide to drop down to the freeway in North Dakota because I wanted to avoid Williston, ND. This is a big oil area and I’ve heard the roads are a mess due to truck traffic. I’d also prefer to cross the Rockies on the freeway, though I have little basis for this reasoning.
Next up: the Alaska itinerary. Please feel free to comment below! And hit the follow button so you never miss a post!
5 Replies to “From Indiana to Washington”
Nice overview. The places in route look very nice. I particularly like the UP, a place I visited many times as my parents and their families were from there.
Thanks, John. I’ve always loved hearing your stories about the UP, and am looking forward to finally seeing it!
We drove over the Mac bridge with our 5th wheel last year, it was fairly windy, but NO problems. We just slowed down some. We are leaving for Alaska 2 weeks after you, so looking forward to your preview.
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I think I’ll be ok, as long as it’s not too windy. I’ve got plenty of time to get to my next stop, so I can always wait a while for the weather to improve–though in northern Michigan that may be a pipe dream! Have you guys decided where you’ll be going? Amanda and Jeff are joining me when I’m in Homer to Denali.
Our path is very similar to yours, but starting in Blaine, BC and coming back via Banff/Lake Louise. Maybe we’ll cross paths at some point!