S: Another Great American Road Trip (July 2011)
FC: Another Great American Road Trip Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. July 2011
1: Sights on the road in Montana. Along the road in Montana, long abandoned log cabins scatter the landscape. In Montana we also enjoyed the local huckleberry ice cream while learning about different kinds of trout.
2: After enjoying Montana’s road and its attractions, we crossed through the entrance into Yellowstone National Park.. The cornerstone of the arch was laid by Theodore Roosevelt.
4: Mammoth Hot Springs
8: Beautiful, but a little stinky,. Cascading hot springs make up Mammoth Hot Springs.
9: The first herd of buffalo on our journey was an exciting sight to see. But we needed to make camp before sunset. We were in for one cold night! The stars were beautiful at that altitude. After a short shivery sleep we woke to frosty windows, broke camp, and were on our way before better-prepared campers were up. I knew we'd be high up but I didn't realize it could be that cold in mid July.
10: Fountain Paint Pot | A beautiful place with bubbling mud pots, gushing geysers, and beautiful paint pots.
12: Old Faithful
13: Black Sand Basin
14: Midway Geyser Basin
15: Grand Prismatic Spring
16: Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser Crater. The colors are beautiful. Excelsior is crazy clear and sky blue. The great colors of Grand Prismatic also rises in the steam.
17: Around the park. Dragon’s Mouth Spring smelled like rotten egg salad sandwiches..
18: The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
19: Sights from the North East loop of the park.. A very beautiful, but terrifyingly narrow road, hugging the sides of the mountains. | These pictures are from the few times I was willing to look out the window.
20: Little Big Horn Museum and Battlefield
22: Where Custer and company fell and were buried. The black gravestone is Custer’s.
24: Along Battlefield Road.
29: Mount Moriah Cemetery | The wild gold rush town of Deadwood is nestled in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The current inhabitants honor it’s questionable past by legalizing gambling and providing other touristy pleasures. While the majority of the town burned down, the cemetery where the early settlers were buried is maintained up hill from town. In this cemetery lie the bones of Deadwood’s most famous, such as, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Sol Star. Also laid to rest high above the others, in a plot just for them, which requires a 1/3 mile walk up a STEEP hill, are the remains of Seth Bullock and his wife Martha. There they look over the town of Deadwood. Well worth the walk. This is also the first cemetery I've walked through alone after dark. No ghosts seen.
30: Prairie Homestead This original homestead has a sod and wood house. We had the chance to tour the interesting house and outbuildings. The property also contains a colony of rare white prairie dogs. While it is fun to watch them eat, play, and bark, they must have been a huge pain to homesteaders.
34: The best tourist trap ever! This place is more like a mall than a drug store. There are shops, restaurants, a “mining” opportunity, and a courtyard with photo ops. It's also a good place for kids to get rid of some energy before another few hours in the car.
35: In the main cafeteria we enjoyed great buffalo burgers as well as their famous doughnuts, 5 cent cups of coffee, and the free ice water that started everything. All very enjoyable!
38: The Road of Nebraska including Car Stonehenge
39: "Oregon Trail Wagon Train" A great place to make camp inspired by the pioneers but with modern comforts. Great food, good people, a view of Chimney Rock, and a lot of frogs hopping around..
40: Chimney Rock A famous landmark on the Pioneer’s journey west. Seeing Chimney Rock marked the end of the vast plains and signaled the beginning of the mountainous journey ahead.
41: We enjoyed a three-hour tour via horse drawn wagon. We also had opportunity to drive the wagon and walk to the base of Chimney Rock. The driver/tour guide was full of stories from the Pioneer days. He is also one of the very few people able to build and fix antique style wagons. This was a true highlight of our trip! Ii also marked the start of our Oregon Trail inspired journey west.
42: Above is a chunk from Chimney Rock where someone has carved their name. Many Pioneers did just that. Most have worn away as the rock is really clay and sandstone. So it’s eroding away quickly. It was more impressive in Pioneer days.
43: Scotts Bluff Another important landmark on the Pioneer's journey west. It is seen in famous paintings of Westward Expansion.
44: Good visitor center and museum. There was more Pioneer graffiti and examples of all the different kinds of wagons used for the journey. Along with fake oxen to "pull" them.
46: Fort Laramie We arrived at Fort Laramie near closing time. Though this was disappointing at first we were given a private tour of the Fort by a very knowledgeable and eccentric park ranger as he went around locking up the buildings.
48: Cheyenne | Cheyenne ,WY, is a great town like city. There’s even parking available downtown! There are many large cowboy boots around the town. They are painted by local artist. This one was my favorite. There was a big storm the night before and tree debris was everywhere. We enjoyed the lightning and downpour through the window of our hotel. We visited The Nelson Museum of the West. An eccentric millionaire who loves big game hunting and The West founded this museum. I’m guessing the museum was set up as a place to display his collection.s.
52: Sights on the road in Idaho.
53: Oregon Trail Interpretive Center Here visitors can pretend to be a Pioneer and take a simulated journey west. This was a great way to summarize our own journey west along the Oregon Trail. There are real wagon ruts visible on the site.