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Old 02-22-2018, 08:42 PM   #1
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Any good routes from Nashville to Rapid city

Hey folks
Iím starting to plan our trip for late August from Nashville to Mount Rushmore. Is there any highways besides the interstates? Iím planning on 3 days drive time one way and 5 days at the campground. Iíve mapped it out and know Iíll have to drive some of the interstates. Really would like to get around St. Louis and Kansas City. Maybe route 36? I70 is bad with traffic from what Iíve heard. And the wife wants to drive the Rv which she has never done!
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:45 PM   #2
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the Interstate is the BEST place for a new driver to learn how to drive a rig.... multiple lanes, wider lanes, wide shoulders .... why would you want to 'avoid' interstates?

I'm not saying that sight-seeing from your large front windshield has it's pleasures in rural roads and off-interstate driving... but just avoiding interstates for the sake of 'traffic' probably puts you and your rig in more risk, than less.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:10 AM   #3
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I understand I donít have problems with interstates I drive them on a daily basis, just wonder I know 36 is all 4 lane just asking if anyone travels it
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:27 AM   #4
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As you will need to average a bit over 400 miles a day( for only 3 days of travel)
I-24w,I-57n,I-64w,I-255s which turns into I-270n in MO.
then US 64/40west to I-70w..
In KC area I-435n to I-29n, I-90w to destination,
(The 255 & 270 take you south and around the congestion of St Louis, the same for using 435n in KC area.)
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:56 AM   #5
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You'll need the interstates to save travel time. For us, we average about 50 miles per hour, counting gas, stretch and eating stops. That's driving 65 on the interstates. So, if that holds true for you, 400 miles is an 8 hour day.

Western South Dakota is on Mountain time, which is great for traveling west, not so great when traveling east. (Going east, we change our clocks before we go to bed.)

Opinion Alert! You may not want to think about this, but if you are doing 3 rigorous days out and 3 rigorous days back, and just 5 days in the Black Hills, you might want to leave the camper at home and take your car. We had a similar trip a few years ago, and although we love all the benefits of having your own bed and kitchen, the car was a better choice for us that time. Saved a lot in gas and campgrounds that trip, spent on motels instead.

That was our personal experience, your results will vary.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:11 AM   #7
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I travel a lot for work so a 10 hr day driving is not hard for me. I know the interstates are faster and the major cities have bypasses around them. Just checking to see if any of yíall traveled the truckers route through the country
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:33 AM   #8
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We've done a similar trip Detroit -> Rapid City (twice, both with pull-behinds).

Once you get on I-29 to I-90 its all corn fields--very boring (but relatively easy) driving.

The terrain along I-90 in South Dakota is really long rolling hills (so long inclines followed by long declines).

The other experience we had along I-90, in the flatter part of the state to the east, was the wind: Since its so flat the wind just howls across the prairie and when you come to a bridge over the interstate it would seem to channel the wind along one side of the bridge. We got accustomed to readying ourselves for a blast of wind when we would emerge from under a bridge.

You have to make a stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD and at Wall Drug
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:56 AM   #9
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I've done many of the routes you could consider, including US 20 through Nebraska. We love the back roads and small times when we have time to wander, but I would still recommend staying on the interstates. Simply put there is a whole lot of not much to see across Nebraska and South Dakota. We have done most of the alternative routes, Missouri and Iowa's back roads will give you hills. Not mountains, just big hills.

The truck routes are great when you have the time to stop and explore. Late August is a great time to visit any popular tourist area like Mt Rushmore. The crowds are much less, with kids heading back to school, and the Sturgis bikers are mostly cleared out from the rally. Everybody should have that Rapid City area on their bucket list.

When time allows we like to stop in the welcome centers entering a state we will be spending some time in, or might on a future trip. We pick up some knowledge, and some brochures for things we might try to see.
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:24 AM   #10
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As for the routing I posted...and "trucker routes"..
50 years driving truck hauling mostly oversize loads.
5.5 million miles under my butt.
Happy Trails
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:50 AM   #11
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Thanks saddlesore that was the route I had mapped out. Just though Iíd ask to see if there was any other routes. Thanks to everyone for the input! I just know Iím ready to go LOL
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:12 AM   #12
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Don't forget that the site for the movie "Dances with Wolves is on I-90 (The kids will really like that) and then there is the Bad Lands National Park... Even if you just drive thru is well worth the effort
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:15 PM   #13
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If you end up taking I-90 through South Dakota, stop at the Dignity sculpture between exits 263 and 265 near Chamberlin. It is a 50 foot tall statue to honor the cultures of the Lakota and Dakota people.
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Old 02-24-2018, 03:43 AM   #14
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I concur with saddlesore's suggested route. Interstate most of the way.

Another quick but worthy stop is the Kearney, Nebraska Archway museum. It's a great history lesson for all ages, about the westward expansion of the US.

We stopped last summer at the WWI museum in KC. Street parking was easy, and this is a very well done exhibit. They have some great interactive things for kids, too.
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Old 02-24-2018, 04:17 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kev&Peg View Post
Hey folks
Iím starting to plan our trip for late August from Nashville to Mount Rushmore. Is there any highways besides the interstates? Iím planning on 3 days drive time one way and 5 days at the campground. Iíve mapped it out and know Iíll have to drive some of the interstates. Really would like to get around St. Louis and Kansas City. Maybe route 36? I70 is bad with traffic from what Iíve heard. And the wife wants to drive the Rv which she has never done!
We have been to that area of South Dakota, etc. several times. If you wanted to take a bit more time traveling...you could come across the corner of Arkansas into, Missouri then west to Springfiled...a nice drive...then up to KC on interestate...from KC....you can take I70 out to Salina, then north into Nebraska or I29 to Omaha then west to wherever you want to head north...you have a few options to cut across Nebraska...some decent 2 lane...no fantastic scenery..but will get you there.
If you want to go through Badlands enroute to Rapid City..you can do that too.
Enjoy !
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Old 02-24-2018, 05:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vkb View Post
We have been to that area of South Dakota, etc. several times. If you wanted to take a bit more time traveling...you could come across the corner of Arkansas into, Missouri then west to Springfiled...a nice drive...then up to KC on interestate...from KC....you can take I70 out to Salina, then north into Nebraska or I29 to Omaha then west to wherever you want to head north...you have a few options to cut across Nebraska...some decent 2 lane...no fantastic scenery..but will get you there.
If you want to go through Badlands enroute to Rapid City..you can do that too.
Enjoy !
Having only 3 days to travel from Nashville to Rapid City really limits the routes ...and options
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:20 AM   #17
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I have lived in Nashville, Southern IL and west side of St Louis. I definitely agree with saddlesore. I can also assure you that some of the potential side roads are narrow and have 10 foot bridge clearance. I would not think about unknown with a RV GPS
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Old 03-06-2018, 06:30 AM   #18
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I meant WITHOUT a RV GPS.
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Old 03-06-2018, 02:18 PM   #19
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Thanks Iíve just running the big roads
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:09 PM   #20
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Made the drive twice now from West to East on that route when we moved from WA to FL. But have also made the trip through the Black Hills.

If you come across NE on 20, I'd come up 385 to Custer. From there you have access to the Black Hills. Be sure to make the drive up through all of the small towns in the Hills and up toward Deadwood.

I would say visit Mt. Rushmore during the day and the Crazy Horse monument at night for the laser show. If you haven't already booked a campsite near Mt. Rushmore, I would recommend Big Pine Campground in Custer. It's in the pines, a bit more on the rustic camping side vs. pavement and grass, but quiet and the sites are separated. The camp owners were super friendly, guided us to our site, and made sure we were all set before they went back to the office. Also, if you have time and aren't too claustrophobic, visit the nearby Jewel Caves and take the guided tour in to the caves.

Be sure to take the time to drive through the Badlands National Park as well outside of Rapid City. Pretty drive and you can probably get through in a couple of hours, depending on how many stops you make for viewing and pictures.
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