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I'm trying to plan out a summer trip to Yellowstone from the middle Tennessee area. I don't want to just get on the interstate and go. I would like to find some interesting sites along the way. Maybe stay off the interstate as much as possible without going a long way out of the way. We are a couple of old people so strenuous activities would be out of the question. On the way home, we will probably swing up through Neche North Dakota to visit some relatives.

Anyone got any tips?
 

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I'm trying to plan out a summer trip to Yellowstone from the middle Tennessee area. I don't want to just get on the interstate and go. I would like to find some interesting sites along the way. Maybe stay off the interstate as much as possible without going a long way out of the way. We are a couple of old people so strenuous activities would be out of the question. On the way home, we will probably swing up through Neche North Dakota to visit some relatives.

Anyone got any tips?
If you plan to drive back across ND, don't forget to pack No-Doz.

If it were me, and I was as far north as Neche, I'd take my passport, drive from Neche to Winnepeg, drive eastward on KH11 and KH17 around the north shore of Lake Superior and down through LP Michigan.
 

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When I lived in Chicago and traveled west, my preference was to stick to the freeways and get to the mountains as quick as possible. That said, I have taken my time at various places in between.

Neche ND is in the far northeast corner of the state. I've driven the Chicago to Grand Forks and places west a number of times. Generally the more interesting areas along this route are along the Mississippi River. A stop at the headwaters is worth it (Lake Itasca Minn). The Red River Valley (Fargo north to Canada) is not that interesting - here the river crosses a wide flat floodplain, devoted to crops like sugar beets and potatoes.

US 2 all the way across to Glacier NP is an ok drive - mostly flat with a fair share of 4 lane. Teddy Roosevelt NP in western ND is an interesting stop, as are the Black Hills if you cross SD.

Heading west from the Black Hills I like to cross the Big Horn Mtns (US16 or US14). From Cody you can continue straight west to Yellowstone, or go NW on 296 to the NE entrance of Yellowstone. A side trip on US212 over Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge is one of the most scenic highways in the area.

From Tennessee, if one direction took me north to ND, I'd be inclined to pass through Colorado in the other direction. For example cross through Rocky Mtn NP, and then west into Utah before turning north to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

You can 'drive' and sample almost any of these roads via Google's Streetview mode.
 

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From Tennessee, if one direction took me north to ND, I'd be inclined to pass through Colorado in the other direction. For example cross through Rocky Mtn NP, and then west into Utah before turning north to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.
Ditto.

Highly recommend going through Boulder and staying a couple days at Estes Park and then going through RMNP from there. Perhaps onto Steamboat Springs, CO and north.

Teton NP is spectacular. Stayed a week in a lakeview condo at Signal Mountain Lodge (dog-friendly). I'd go back there in a heartbeat. Stayed a few days in an Old Faithful Snow Lodge cabin (dog-friendly).

In route to ND I'd try to go via Beartooth Scenic Highway. If you haven't seen Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower, the Chief Crazy Horse memorial and the Black Hills that'd be another few days.

Closer to Tennessee you might want to drive through Missouri's Ozarks.

Epic trip!

:)
 

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From Middle Tennessee, you might consider heading northwest toward the Mississippi river, get on the Great River Road and take that north. There's lots of scenery and local flavor along the way. Be sure and stop at Fast Eddies Bon Air in Alton, Illinois for burgers or chicken! You could cut across Iowa on 2 lane highways and work your way to Dyersville to see the ball field built in the cornfield for the movie "Field of Dreams".

My wife and I always start our trips from Central Illinois to Yellowstone by heading to the South Dakota Badlands first. Although we like to hike and are active, you can see much of Badlands National Park from your car. Also, there's lots to do in that general vicinity including many natural and historical attractions.

I applaud your desire to stay off interstates. You don't see the country that way; just lots of chain restaurants and bad drivers.
 

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I'm an employee at Yellowstone and will be returning for my 3rd season this summer. That being said, I've traveled every route to Yellowstone from Albequerque to North Dakota, and there really isn't a route that isn't boring during the middle part of the country.

However, don't miss the Tetons for sure - we're in Asheville and when we go back out there in 2 weeks we're planning on going Asheville > Memphis > Tulsa > Denver > Bozeman.

September is definitely the best time to be in the park. The animals are all mating (elk bugling, buffalo fighting) and there are hardly any mosquitos left. The crowds die down from 3+ million in june/july/august to less than a million in september due to school being in session. If you hit me up beforehand, I can get you in the park for free, and if you're the hiker type I'd love to show you the backcountry. I've hiked 500 miles in the park and a couple hundred in the beartooths, gallatins, and tetons. Keep in mind that only 2% of Yellowstone is visible from the road.

I'll be giving tours in a 1932 restored tour bus in the park this year. You should definitely hop on my tour!!
 
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