S: The Great American West
BC: "There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again." -- Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
FC: The Great American West | June 28 - July19, 2003
1: CAMPING | What a beautiful night! | Day 1: Crawfordsville KOA, Indiana June 28, 2003 | In June 2003, Matt was laid off and given a severance package. So, we took three weeks to travel the Great American West! Our points of interest would be Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil's Tower, Yellowstone, the Great Salt Lake, and the Grand Canyon.
2: What the??? (Porter Sculpture Park, Montrose, SD) | 13-Lined Ground Squirrel, the only thing interesting at Rolling Acres Campground, Newton IA 6-29-03 | Bug guts and bike handles | Regular (Grey) Squirrel
3: Tee-Pees? | Missouri River, Chamberlain, SD 6-30-03 | The ride from IN to SD took us across IL and IA, some of the dullest states in terms of natural scenery. However, on I-90, we did come across a few roadside oddities! | Days 2-3: Newton, IA to Kennebec, SD I-80/I-90 June 29th-30th, 2003
4: Drew, 9 months
5: Kennebec KOA, Kennebec, SD | In Kennebec, SD there was a downpour on the morning of July 1st.. We were blessed with sighting a full rainbow!
7: En route to Rapid City, SD, we saw signs for 1880 Town, which is also visible from the interstate. We decided to stop in and check it out. We enjoyed this little tourist trap. | Like a shot from a western movie! | 1880 Town | Day 4: July 1, 2003
8: Day 4: July 1, 2003
9: As we traveled west from Kennebec, we drove past the Badlands which we had visited on a previous trip. The scenery was starting to get more interesting! We panned for gold at Wade's Gold Mill in Hill City, SD (near our campground) and then went on for the evening show at Mt. Rushmore. The view from Mt. Rushmore is incredible! We were also fascinated by the geological formations of the Black Hills.
11: From the Crazy Horse Memorial 1/34th scale model by Korczak Ziolkowski
12: Tipi at Crazy Horse Memorial | Family photo at Crazy Horse | Pronghorn Antelope, Custer State Park Custer, SD July 2, 2003 | Prairie Dogs, Custer State Park
13: Day 5: Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, and Cosmos Mystery Area July 2, 2003 | Weird Balance Challenges | Height Change at Cosmos | "There once was a tough buffalo. Unkillable." John, age 7
14: On July 1st and 2nd, we stayed at the Mt. Rushmore KOA at Palmer Gulch, Hill City, SD. The kids enjoyed the cool water slide and little wading pool | Day 5: July 2, 2003
15: Fun in the Sun | Connor, age 2 Lizzy, age 4.5 John, age 7 Julia, age 8.5
16: Day 6: July 3, 2003 Devil's Tower National Monument, WY
17: On July 3rd we picnicked at Devil's Tower National Monument near the SD-WY border. We stayed the night at the Big Horn Mountain KOA in Sheridan, WY near the Big Horn Mountains. The kids had fun riding on the rental bikes.
19: Day 7: July 4 Big Horn Mountains, WY en route to Yellowstone. Having traversed the Big Horns before, we knew we had to take the longer, easier route with the RV. The Big Horns are a prime location for free range cattle grazing.
20: Yellowstone National Park, July 4, 2003 West Entrance | Firehole Canyon Drive | Firehole Falls
21: Yellowstone Grizzly Campground, West Yellowstone, Montana | Fireworks in West Yellowstone | Seen from the campsite | After driving through Yellowstone Nat'l Park to get to our campground in West Yellowstone, MT, we took a trip back into the park to see some sights. Our first wildlife spotted was a big bull elk
22: Day 8: July 5, 2003 On our way into the park we saw the Golden Eagle atop its nest.. We took the Grand Loop Road from Madison to the Norris Geyser Basin, stopping at Gibbon Falls
23: Sunset along the Madison River 7-4-03
24: Thermal pool | Julia and John | Small thermal pool | geyser wanna-be | hot spring | Artists' Paintpots trail | Duh! | Buffalo! | Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone | Yellowstone River | More of the river | Close-up | Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone | from Lookout Point | Day 8: July 5, 2003 Grand Loop Road: Madison, Norris, Canyon Village.
25: Canyon to Tower Rd.: Mt. Washburn, Tower Falls, Roosevelt Lodge | Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River | Forest Fire caused by fireworks
26: Emerald Spring, Pretty + Stinky = "Pretty Stinky" | "Why won't you look at the camera?" | Waiting on the geyser | Colorful thermophile bacteria | Steamboat Geyser | Day 9: July 6, 2010 Norris Geyser Basin to Mammoth Hot Springs
27: Mammoth Hot Springs | Julia helping out and earning her Junior Ranger's Badge | L: Backside of Mammoth Springs R: Thomas Moran's "Lower Falls of the Yellowstone"
29: Day 9: Lamar Valley | Black Bears | Heavenly | Umm??? | Elk Harem | Beautiful Lamar Valley | "Tough Buffalo"
30: Day 10: July 7, 2003 Lower Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pot, Old Faithful en route to Grand Tetons
31: Drew and daddy | Sulphur! Yuck! | Since we were heading south towards the Grand Tetons, we were able to hit a more spots in Yellowstone during our departure.
32: At Old Faithful, the kids attended a ranger talk on geysers which fulfilled the last requirement for their Jr. Ranger Badges. | It's cool,but there's waiting involved and lots and lots of people!
33: Junior Rangers!
34: Days 10-12: July7-9
35: Grand Teton National Park
36: Days 13-16: July 10-13, 2003 Matt, the two little boys and I stayed at the Salt Lake City KOA while Julia, John, and Lizzy stayed at the Morrissey's in N. Salt Lake. They had fun getting to know Uncle Jimmy, aunt Margo and cousins Kaity, James, and Annah.
37: It was incredibly hot for our visit. The guys went out to see the Great Salt Lake, while the rest of us gals stayed behind to play with Connor and AJ. | <-- a forest fire in one of the nearby canyons!
38: Day 17: July 14, 2003 We headed south from Salt Lake on our way to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along the way we saw fascinating geologic formations. We stayed the night at the Kaibab Camper Village on Hwy 67.
39: The Grand Canyon (North Rim)
40: Lava formations in Grants, NM | Navajo Bridge, Colorado River Crossing | Vermilion Cliffs, Kanab, AZ
41: Days 19-21: July16-18, 2003 By day 19 we were ready to head back home. Once we left the North Rim, it became increasingly hot, over 100*F! We stayed one night each in Cibola Sands KOA (Grants, NM), Amarillo KOA (TX), Mingo Campground (Tulsa, OK), and St. Louis KOA (Granite City, IL). We didn't visit any sites along the way...just plugged along. Most of our time was spent inside the RV because of the heat or high winds (OK). On our way into St. Louis, there was a severe thunderstorm. We had planned to visit the St. Louis Arch, but there had been a fire in it so it was closed for the day. On July 19th we arrived back home! | CadillacRanch, Amarillo, TX | Storm clouds over St. Louis, MO