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Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:09 pm    Post subject: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

I am heading out in a few days to visit my father in MN.
My tentative travel plan is:

Day 1 - Oliver Lake, NE (free State Rec Area)
Day 2 - Hot Spring, SD (Rapid City area). National Forest all around.
Day 3 - Pierre, SD Missouri River Rec Area
Day 4 - Sisseton, SD. Maybe boon dock somewhere around Lake City?
Day 5 - Bowstring Lake, MN - Chippewa N.F.

This makes each day a leisurely 250 miles or less. Here is the googlemaps link. Anyone have any specific suggestions? Thanks

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Oliver+Reservoir+S...986021!3e0
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Yellow Rabbit
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Nothing against Nebraska, but Fort Collins to Hot Springs is an easy days drive. You could gain an extra day in the Black Hills by going straight there. I really like Cottonwood Campground just west of Hot Springs. I stayed there this summer in my Westy. Itís really nice for only $10.

I grew up in SD. The Black Hills are awesome. I would also consider a night in the Badlands. Iíve never been a fan of Pierre but I know a lot of people like it. The backroads up there are perfect for cruising in a Vanagon.

On the way back, Iíd stop at Carhenge because, why not....
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westydriver
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Are you opposed to taking a well maintained gravel road through NW Nebraska? I am a big fan of a nice park north of Harrison off Sowbelly Rd. called GH Coffee Park. It's an amazing camp site, free, with natural spring water available, no hook ups. In fact, I'd suggest that over a lot of places up there. You can still get up into Ardmore, which has nothing, through the grasslands. There are some cool places you can catch as well in that area. It's still a quick shoot up to Hot Springs from there and a chance to fill up before trekking north. If you want more info let me know. I spend quite a bit of time up there recreationally and would be happy to help with the experience.

[Admin note: Non-VW photos are deleted from the Gallery]

Looks like posting photo's of the places up there is off limits. Feel free to send me a pm if you want. Cool things to see in Ft Robinson, Toadstool, and avoid the water in Edgemont as it's radioactive.


Last edited by westydriver on Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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jberger
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Not sure how far out of your way you want to go... but we used to camp outside North Liberty Iowa.. on the Coralville Lake. As I remember it there was a pretty awesome mountain bike trail network there.. Sugarbottom or something. Super fun.

J
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Yellow Rabbit wrote:
...You could gain an extra day in the Black Hills by going straight there. I really like Cottonwood Campground just west of Hot Springs. I stayed there this summer in my Westy. Itís really nice for only $10.

...Iíve never been a fan of Pierre but I know a lot of people like it. The backroads up there are perfect for cruising in a Vanagon....
Thanks, I want to check out Oliver Reservoir since it is close by but I can add a day in the Black Hills if I want, or hit it on the way back and spend as much time as I want. I'll keep Cottonwood Campround in my database. I like to find off road type places and it is fun to challenge the Syncro from time to time but some rural campgrounds are great.

westydriver wrote:
Are you opposed to taking a well maintained gravel road through NW Nebraska? I am a big fan of a nice park north of Harrison off Sowbelly Rd. called GH Coffee Park. It's an amazing camp site, free, with natural spring water available, no hook ups. Cool things to see in Ft Robinson, Toadstool, and avoid the water in Edgemont as it's radioactive.

Thanks, I'll google those. The only problem with gravel roads is getting to your destination. Very Happy

jberger wrote:
Not sure how far out of your way you want to go... but we used to camp outside North Liberty Iowa.. on the Coralville Lake. As I remember it there was a pretty awesome mountain bike trail network there.. Sugarbottom or something. Super fun.

J
I hadn't though of bringing my bike. I'll have to google Coralville Lake. THanks
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

All good plans... I came up short in my drive the day before yesterday, although camp was nice on a lake somewhere. I hoped to make up the miles yesterday but I decided to take hwy 395 through the black hills. Very scenic road but including stops to give my dog a break, I came up short of my planned stop again yesterday. Although I'm currently sitting lakeside in a army Corp campground and have the place to myself. Now I have a whopping 350 miles to get back on schedule. That doesn't sound like a lot but vanagon miles are like dog years compared to driving my camry. I better get going, it is already mid morning.
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Pictures!
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:01 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Just curious...what's the scene on Bowstring lake? I'm from here & I've never been there... Question Question Question
I have spent some time on Winnie...

Also, what are your interests? You won't find much true dispersed camping in MN...just sayin...

FWIW...(W to E):
- ND's "Enchanted Highway" off I90 near Dickinson... Wink
- Teddy Roosevelt NP in same neighborhood (has it's own badlands & bison)...
- Itasca SP (MN), headwaters of the Mississippi...
- Bemidji MN, home of the original Paul Bunyan statue...

...and more...(N to S):
- "Big Fish" Supper Club, Bena, MN...supper inside a fish! Laughing
- Akely MN, home of the dorkiest Paul Bunyan statue... Confused
- Hackensack MN, home of Lucy Kensack statue (PB's sweetheart)... Rolling Eyes
- Vining MN's folk-art sculpture park...
- Darwin MN, world's largest ball of twine...
- Vinnie's "Dang Fine Dine-in", Luverne MN (delightful & delicious)...
- Pipestone NP, Pipestone MN (magical, spiritual)...

What else...??.

- Dave

PS: Another vote for Carhenge...definitely... Wink

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DanHoug
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

well, regarding MN... you can't eat inside The Big Fish Supper Club anymore but it is worth a stop for picture as it is a true bit of Kitsch.
https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/12753

however, swing over to Bemidji for the obligatory photo with the true, original Paul and Babe. Lots of excellent places to eat in Bemidji, not one of them a chain. my favorite is the Fish and Crisps or the Lamb Sandwich at Brigid's Pub. i've given up on finding a better fish and chips.

then there's the Lost 40, north of Bowstring yet, a section of old growth timber that was never logged off.
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/snas/detail.html?id=sna01063
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:26 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

westydriver wrote:
[Admin note: Non-VW photos are deleted from the Gallery]

Looks like posting photo's of the places up there is off limits...

Upload any non-van pics off-site (FWIW, I use tinypic.com) & post em wherever you want...free & easy.

Pics! We want more pics! Wink

- Dave
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

joetiger wrote:
Pictures!
pictures tho follow. To much effort to try tho upload while traveling. After a lousy 350 mile day, I'm back on track sitting in camp with a cold beer and my dog has forgiven me for the long drive. A.c. ran continually today and mileage is only around 18 with a very comfortable pressure in the tires of 33/37. I'm a glutton I guess.

Made it to a place called hickington hills campground which is part of the sheyeene national grasslands. As usual I have the place to myself for $6. Very pretty camp. Nothing around lake city or sisseton on a lake that I liked. They have a hand crank well here and trails through the large oak trees and all the campsites are set under the trees.

Tomorrow I'll be in minesoter and most likely find one of those 1000 lakes to camp on.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Hmmm... Possibly Hankinson Hills CG...??? Sounds nice!
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dpg/recarea/?recid=79476

- Dave
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davevickery
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Here are a few pics of my campgrounds along the way.

I had planned to stay at some small reservoir (oliver) in Nebraska that offered free camping but it wasn't that great. The larger lake in NE is McCaughney and that might have been a better bet but it was off my route to head up to the Black Hills so I didn't get to check it out.

So instead of Oliver Reservoir, I drove a little further and found this place near Scottsbluff, NE. It was a place called Minatare State Rec area and you could drive onto the beach and camp anywhere. The white sand and trees reminded me of Mexico or something. It was $8 self pay station and I was the only one there.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


When I got closer to MN, I realized the lakes I was considering were all in on a Reservation. So I focused on Cass lake which is in the middle of the Chipewa National Forest. There is a nice campground right on the lake (kinda pricey I thought) but I found a Forest road just past the campground that led down to the lake and had a great little primitive camp right on the water.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And my final destination in MN.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here was a pic of the Hankinson Hills Campground. Pretty nice after driving across treeless plains for hours.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Driving the midwest takes some skill and preplanning. There is not as much open federal land to just camp anywhere you want and the drive between nice areas where you even want to camp can get long. The Black Hills was nice and I came back through there on the way home.
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

Nice report...that Minatare State Rec area looks sweet! I'll have to check that out next
time through that neighborhood. Sounds like you hit some good spots throughout.

Quote:
... midwest takes some skill and preplanning...not as much open federal land to just camp anywhere you want...

Indeed. You have learned the challenges and adapted well.

Thanks for posting & see you on the road! Wink

- Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 6:00 am    Post subject: Re: Midwest Trip Plan - Nebraska, SD, MN Reply with quote

What happened on the trip that you're considering sell your van Dave? Or, do you just have another van and down-sizing (which is understandable)?

Just curious, I've really learned a lot from many of your posts, especially on the tintop-to-poptop conversion, and would hate to lose your contributions.

Of course, its your business, don't have to talk about it, and can do whatever you want- feel free to tell me exactly that. Very Happy

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