Day Eight: Where the Deer and the Antelope Play (?)

Day Eight: Where the Deer and the Antelope Play (?)

Today we left our comfy cabin and headed to Yellowstone National Park (via the West Entrance, if that  means anything to you). We stop first at the Biscuit Basin to look at some of the geysers and hot springs:

IMG_1383 IMG_1378 IMG_1375 IMG_1414

After enjoying the smell of the sulfurous springs, we continued in the car to Old Faithful and of course, we got our obligatory picture of Old Faithful erupting:


We then headed north to Mammoth Hot Springs with a stop for a picnic along the way. Here are some of the pictures from Mammoth Hot Springs:

IMG_1485 IMG_1482


We continued from there around to Tower Falls :


All along the way, we enjoyed amazing views:

IMG_1494 IMG_1478 IMG_1465 IMG_1496

Now – about the title of this post. I’ve heard many times how much wildlife you can see in Yellowstone and having to stop to let buffalo or elk cross. After covering half the park, about the only thing we had seen were ravens.

Finally, we caught a herd of buffalo:


And just down the road, we found a solitary bison:


A little farther along, my son caught a picture of a goat:


And we were almost out of the park when we finally saw an elk:


And other than the aforementioned ravens, that is the all the animals we saw at Yellowstone.

Despite not being many animals, the thing that’s amazing about Yellowstone is the variety of scenery. There are geysers basins that look like something from an alien world, and then you’re driving into wooded plains, sage covered grass lands, pine tree covered mountains and sharp canyon walls.

Tomorrow is another driving day – but much shorter.

Happy journeys!



Read More

Day Seven: Wild Montana Skies

Day Seven: Wild Montana Skies

Today was purely a driving day. That’s not to say there wasn’t plenty of things to see, but the point of today was to get from Gillette, WY to the West Entrance of Yellowstone – over 470 miles.

As indicated by the lyrics, the morning started out very wet. We headed out on our old friend I-90 and travelled north and then crossed into Montana:


And we travelled across Montana from Wibaux to Bozeman before turning south to the West Entrance of Yellowstone.  We passed by Little Big Horn, but with seven hours of driving today, we didn’t really want to take the extra time – maybe on the way back. Montana was a variety of landscapes – flat plains, rolling hills, buttes, and mountains.  Here’s a handful of pictures I took:

IMG_1342 IMG_1341 IMG_1339 IMG_1334 IMG_1362 IMG_1360 IMG_1355 IMG_1350 IMG_1348 IMG_1345

Tomorrow we tour Yellowstone National Park.

Happy journeys!


Read More

Day Six: North By Northwest Close Encounters

Day Six: North By Northwest Close Encounters

We packed up the Cube, left the Badlands and headed west. Our first stop today was the site of the finale of North By Northwest –  Mount Rushmore. In fact, in the town of Keystone, we passed an area where the movie was filmed. Unfortunately,we weren’t allowed to escape from spies and climb down George Washington’s face, but we did get lots of pictures including the obligatory picture:


After leaving Mt. Rushmore, we travelled down the road to the Crazy Horse Memorial:


And after a bit of traveling in circles, we finally got back on the way to Devil’s Tower. I’ve been dying to see this ever since I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I am, however, very disappointed to point out that I didn’t find the hidden military base behind the mountain or UFO’s flying around:


From there we travelled on to our eventual destination of Gillette, Wyoming. Here’s some random scenery on the way:


The thing that struck me today was the scale of the dreams of Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. Both of these projects are measured not in days, but decades and both projects outlived their originators. That kind of long term vision and thinking is something we don’t see in the age of internet time, where unless it happens instantly, it’s too long. Seeing these demonstrations of persistence of vision makes me wonder if we as a society are capable of attempting projects like these that require perseverance measured in decades, and not days. It’s inspiring and reconfirms my commitment to my novel.

Tomorrow it’s a long travel day as we traverse the state of Wyoming to arrive in Yellowstone National Park.

Happy journeys!


Read More

Day Five: Into The Badlands

Day Five: Into The Badlands

We got an early start because we had a bunch of South Dakota to drive through to get to the Badlands and our campground. Not long after we got on the road, we started seeing signs for Wall Drug every mile for the next the 292 miles – the seemingly western equivalent of South of the Border.

During that time, the scenery had changed from corn and soy bean fields to fields of sorghum, sunflowers, and just plain grass.

We stopped at Wall Drug – a tourist attraction of epic proportions, but we did enjoy looking around and as you can see, I was able to ride the elusive Giant Jackalope


After a quick picnic lunch in the car, we continued to the Badlands National Park.  When got out at the first Scenic Overlook, we were treated by a sign similar to this:


In case you can’t read it, it says “Beware of Rattlesnakes”.  Gee Toto, we’re not in the North East anymore!

Below are just a few of the nearly two hundred pictures I took while we were in Badlands. The scenery was amazing!

IMG_1243 IMG_1228 IMG_1225 IMG_1126

Tomorrow it’s on to Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and Devil’s Tower.  Disappointingly, we are not going to be able to stop at the the town of Red Shirt (a silly Star Trek reference).

Happy journeys!


Read More

Day Four: On The Road Again…

Day Four: On The Road Again…

I got up nice and early and went to Rosen Nissan who was kind enough to fit us in this morning. Turns out the noise was from the connection between the muffler and the center pipe.  They clamped it together and we should be good for now! So, a little later than planned, we were on the road again.

We drove a little distance out of Madison and stopped for coffee. When we did, there was also a Cheese Market and a Jerky Outlet, so we had to partake. After refueling the car (and us), we hit the road.

We saw this cool site around Orange, WI:

IMG_0992  IMG_0991

We drove into Minnesota, which apparently seems to be embarrassed about itself because this was the only sign we saw on Route 90 when we crossed the border:

No fancy, welcoming sign, just information.

So we continued to drive across the bottom of Minnesota.  And drove some more…And drove some more…..

Until we finally made it to South Dakota:


It was kind of a long day because of the late stuff, but we’ve just got back from supper and settling in for the night.

One thing I’ve noticed so far is that during much of our trip, the landscape (with a few exceptions) could be anyplace in upstate New York.  We’ve seen plains that go on for over and gentle rolling hills; lakes and rivers. Tomorrow, we drive to Wall, SD and then into the Bad Lands. This will probably be the point where the landscape REALLY changes.

Happy Journeys!


Read More