A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9

Travel from Worland, WY to the Grand Teton National Park.

sunny 78 °F

It took a mere 224 miles to travel from our camp-over in Worland, WY to arrive in the Grand Tetons National Park. A short distance but by far the best scenery yet. The travel through another canyon (The Wind River Canyon) and then over the Shoshone Mountains bought us around the bend facing the largest mountains I have seen to date (The Grand Tetons). What a magnificent site to behold. It took my breath away. The mountains have snow near the tops and are very ragged and tall. I know now why they call these the Grand Tetons.

We went through a little town called DuBois which have boardwalks for sidewalks just like in the old western movies. The buildings all have an overhang over the boardwalk. It was very quaint and I was looking for a gunslinger to walk out and start firing his pistol.

The weather here is beautiful. 77degrees with a partly cloudy sky. Tonight it is suppose to go down to 44 degrees with a clear sky which will definitely feel a lot colder for those that have enjoyed the hot summer up to now. I am glad we have a warm sleeping bag in which to keep comfortable.

Tomorrow we are planning on travelling down to Jackson Hole, WY (a distance of about 35 miles) and spending the day touring the town because we understand that there is a lot to see.

Thursday we are planning to drive around the Grand Tetons so that we can see the otherside. At that time we will enter Idaho and then as we travel up to the north we will enter Montana. This is the furthest west and north we will go on this trip.

When we arrived here at our campground we learn that they do have wifi hotspots so I will be able to continue to update the blog on a daily basis. Friday and Saturday we have planned tours provided by the Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). Friday will be exploring the Park for four hours and Saturday we will travel by bus up to Yellowstone to do the lower loop. More about both of those tours as each one happens.

Check the pictures taken today...they are really stunning.

Posted by rburke8 18:32 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Day 8

Travelling from rapid City, SD to Jackso Hole, WY

sunny 88 °F

Morning All.

Yesterday we travelled west on Rte. 90 heading towards the Yellowstone National Park. On the way we stopped at Devils Tower National Monument. What a grand view! The movie doesn't do this monument justice. In person it's a lot bigger and far more majestic. The colors are amazing. As you can see by the pictures there are tons of motorcycles all over the place. Even though the Sturgis bike rally is exciting (and i do want to ride my bike out to the rally) the motorcyclists take over everything. We are told that they will even be in Yellowstone in hordes.

Our drive consisted of crosssing the "Big Horn Mountains" on the Cloud Peak Skyway scenic Byway (Highway 16). This highway takes you from Buffalo to Tensleep, Wy (a distance of 46 miles) raising in elevation from 4100' to 9666'. It is a winding road that actually offers the easiest grade to climb. Diane wanted me to mention that the views were awesome. The varying landscapes from praire grasslands to hugh mountains and then back to rollling scrub brush made the drive a joy to behold. This country is full of such wonderful sights and there are more yet to come.

Last night we went out ot dinner and I enjoyed a "Buffalo" sirloin. Mmm, Mmm, good. Buffalo meat is very tender, lean and juicy. This is because Buffalo will only feed on grass unlike beef who will feed on corn and grain mixed with things that are suppose to be good for us. But when beef eats these things the meat becomes marbled with fat. The buffalo meat has little or no fat what-so-ever. So you get a great tasting hunk of meat. Wish we could get buffalo meat back in NY.

Today we will travel from Worland, Wy (where we stopped for the night) to Moran Jct, Wy, a distance of about 270 mile, where we will camp for the next week while visiting the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Jackson Hole. I am not sure if I will be able to get interent access, so this could be my last entry until next week. I hope not, I would like to continue posting the events of each day as they happen so that I remember everything.

Posted by rburke8 05:55 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 7

Sturgis and Deadwood, SD

sunny 89 °F

This morning we just kicked back and relaxed a bit before we started to do more siteseeing. This vacation business can be pretty rough on the body. We were both a bit tired and I developed another .....yes you know it....sinus infection. I had to go to the emergency room on saturday night to get something to relieve the headache and pain in my right ear. I am going to buy stock in azithromycin. I certainly buy enough of it.

We left to go to Sturgis around 10:30 A.M. and drove the hours drive surrounded by motorcyclists. The actual rally does not begin until Monday, August 9th, but this area (Rapid City, Custer, Hill City, Deadwood and Sturgis and all the areas in between) are full of men and women driving all sorts of motorbikes. The action in each aforementioned towns is tremendous. All you hear all around you are the throaty sounds of the mufflers and all you see are men in bandanas and sunglasses and women that are scantly clad. Tatoo's, piercings, wild hairdos, concessionairs are everywhere. They are expecting to have over 700,000 bikers by weeks end. The locals say this is the week they most dread, but this is the week that enormous amounts of money pour into the couffers of each community. So far we have not heard of any major (or criminal) problems with the bikers. Although, the unfortunate part is that there has been plenty of accidents (mostly involving hitting a wild animal).

We spent about 3 hours walking around Main street in Sturgis and saw some very interesting sights. A lot of the bikes have really neat paint jobs. If i were to guess I would say that some of the paint jobs cost plenty, maybe more then the cost of the bike. I can understand this, as a bike owner myself, as i would gladly spent a lot of money to have my bike painted with the murals that mean a lot to me.

After that we drove the short drive down to Deadwood. Deadwood is a place know for the western outlaws we learn about and seen on TV. The most famous of them was "Wild Bill Hickok". He only spent 6 weeks in Deadwood and then was rudly shot in the back of the head while playing poker. He is buried in Deadwood. Now Deadwood is full of bars which have casinos in them and yes, I donated my usual $25.00 to the casino cause. I think that should be a deduction for my taxes! We only stayed in Deadwood for about 2 hours and then drove the backroads back to Rapid City and our campground.

I have attached a couple of photos showing our little camper stuck between 2 large campers. I think I need a raise.

Tomorrow is a travel day. We will be stoppping at Devil's Tower, which was featured in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". Then we plan on stopping somewhere between there and Jackson Hole, WY for the night. I'll let you know how that works out.

Please sure to check the pictures.

Posted by rburke8 19:02 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 6

Mt. Rushmore, Custer Park

semi-overcast 72 °F

Hey everyone.

We got back late last night and decided to wait until this morning to write about our adventures.

Friday evening after we had dinner, we drove out to Mt. Rushmore to see the lightning ceremony that they have every night (I videoed the entire ceremnoy for you). This ceremony is indeed a sight to behold. As we approached you could see the fiqures on the mountain but could not quite make out the features. Eevn as we entered the park it was difficult to make out the four different faces. The ceremony itself was very touching; first a Park Ranger talks and then they have a movie about the four different Presidents and at the end of the presentation the lights come on illuminating the the beauty at the top of the mountain. What a spectacular view. To end up the ceremony the Park Ranger invites all active and retired military veterans to the stage while a Boy Scout troop lowers the American Flag. the whole ceremony certainly tugged at my heart.

Yesterday (on Saturday) upon the advice of a couple, camping next to us, we took a coachbus tour (Mt. Rushmore Tours) provided by Ft. Hays. You can learn more about their tour by checking out their link at www.mountrushmoretours.com. We spent 9 hours starting out at Mount Rushmore (now I've seen in daylight and it still is very impressive) then traveling through Custer Park on the Iron Mountain road which is very narrow and winding. We drove through 3 tunnels that are directlly alined with Mt Rushmore. These tunnels were very tight for the bus but not as tight as the last one. More about that later. We didn't see a lot of wildlife during the first half of the tour. We stopped at "State Game Lodge" (made famous by Calvin Coolidge) for lunch where I had a big bowl of "Buffalo stew". It was delicious. After lunch traveling through Custer Park on the "Needles highway" and entered an area called the "Needles" which are hugh spires of rock that look like needles and from a distance resemble cathedrals. We had to drive through a tunnel that was 8' 4" wide and it's narrowest point. The bus (with mirrors) was 8' 2" wide being a 45' retired greyhound. It was amazing to watch the driver guide that bus through without touchin the sides at all. I wa slucky to sit inh the front and was in awe of his talent. At the other end there was a hugh crowd of spectators that were taking pictures of us driving through the tunnel.

We then continued towards the town of Custer and were very lucky to come upon a small herd of Buffalo at a ranch where they were being raised. These massive animals are something to behold when you first get to see one. They are suppose to be wild but this herd ambled right up to us and didn't appear shy what-so-ever. A cow buffalo actualy came to within an arm's length of us as we stood outside the bus to get pictures of the herd. She pawed the ground and snorted and then rolled over to scratch her back. It was quite the display, but rather intimidating because if she decided to charge us there wasn't any room to get away.

We traveled through the town of Custer and the then up to the progressing Crazy Horse monument which is very similiar to Mount Rushmore. This monument is no where near completion and will probably take another 20-30 year to finish.

Our guide and bus driver was extremely knowledgeable of the area having grown up right there and provided some wonderful commentary throughout the entire tour. All in all I found that the tour was worth every penny and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

Today, we are headed over to Stugis to see the motorcycle rally spectacle. Then we are going to be close to Dead wood so we are stopping there to see the sights

Posted by rburke8 06:13 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Day 5

Touring the Badlands and Wall Drugs

sunny 92 °F

After some much needed rest we set out at 8:30 A.M. to see the Badlands. It took about an hour of driving to arrive at the south entrance. I was pleased to find out that I was eligible for a National Parks free pass for the rest of my life due to being a disabled veteran. Veterans check this out because it is a great perk.

The Badland are so awesome. Going from flat praire grasslands to the sudden peaks of of geologic deposits containing some of the richest fossils. These peaks will not last forever and will eventually erode away. It's so magnificent, the colors, the lines, the canyons, and the grasslands around make up a beautiful picture that only the human eye can really appreciate. I took lots of pictures and will post them here but they only show a smalll part of what the Badlands are about.

The next place we went to is a place called Wall Drugstore in Wall, SD. This is a glimspe back into time where the Cowboys and Indians rule the praire land. The store stretches for several buildings emcompassing all kinds of things to purchase commemorating your visit to the Badlands and South Dakota. Our visit here also coincides witht the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD and all you could see were motorcycles, motorcyclists (men and women) and the shops in Wall were definitely playing on them with tons a gear for the Bike rally (jewelry, t-shirts, boots, vests etc.).

Be sure to take a look at the pictures that will be posted.

Posted by rburke8 16:33 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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