We just returned from a ten day trip through our beautiful Western Parks. We started out in Rapid City, South Dakota which we found to be a beautiful community. As we arrived, the annual Sturgis Bike Week was about to begin and rather than just a week, it is spread over about two weeks. This was the 74th year the bikers have been coming to the area and they were expecting somewhere between 500,000 to 750,000 bikes. It was great to witness a little portion of this rally.
On our way toward Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we stopped for lunch at the lodge at the foot of the jagged Teton Mountains. What a great location for dinning and photos. Jackson Hole, home for Harrison Ford, is an outstanding destination all on its own. We had two great nights at the Rustic Lodge, which is anything but rustic. While there we took about a 13 mile Scenic Float trip on the Snake River. We then heading into Salt Lake City, Utah for a great farewell dinner and evening at the downtown Radisson Hotel.
We started out in the Badlands National Park which is beautiful. That evening we went out on a buffalo safari in about six large open air vehicles. Well, we didn't just see the buffalo from the road, but drove right into the herd. As we would stop, it was nothing to have 2-3 of them within just a couple of feet of the door. The next day, we visited the world's largest mammoth site, where scientists are currently excavating remains of woolly mammoths that were trapped in a pond and died more than 26,000 years ago.
We visited Crazy Horse Memorial, built in honor of the fearless Sioux Indian Chief whose fame is derived from the Battle of Little Bighorn. The next morning we visit Mount Rushmore. Seen this large stone monument before, but I still find it amazing to view. Then it was off to Deadwood, where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are laid to rest on Boot Hill.
The next morning after entering Wyoming, we stopped at an authentic Western Ranch known as U Cross Ranch. Before lunch Carolyn saddled up and went for a ride around part of the ranch. This is a beautiful ranch with 30 guest rooms, beautiful in-ground pool surrounded by some beautiful hills.
The next couple of days we spent in Yellowstone Park with one night at the Old Faithful Inn and one night at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. Old Faithful Geyser did her thing every 92 minutes or so, putting on a great show for all. Needless to say, as we were preparing to pull up in front of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel we were greeted by not one, but a couple of dozen elk. As we ate dinner that evening many of the returned walking just outside our dinning room window. Walking across the street back to the hotel required a little detour as many of the elk decided the front lawn of the hotel provided a tasty treat.
Looking into 2015:
On May 6th we had our presentation on Trains, Wineries & Treasures of Northern California scheduled for April of 2015. As I write this we are approximately half full, so don't delay if you are interested in joining us on this great trip. We will have 9 amazing days spread over San Francisco, Sonora, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Sonoma & Napa featuring the Napa Valley Wine Train which we will be on for lunch giving you the opportunity to see the various wineries while you dine.
When you open the Extended Trips or Day Trips tab, make sure you select the link at the bottom of the page to view details on each trip.