We hit the road August 23rd in The Dirigible on our western road trip. The ultimate destination was Boise, Idaho, but we had a mini-vacation on the way.
Our route lead through Iowa and north to Mitchell, South Dakota where we made a stop at that icon of Americana, the Corn Palace. Built in 1892 to attract tourists, the outside of this public auditorium/arena is solid corn & natural materials. New design every year.
Next we visited the Badlands National Park. The Badlands is a world unto itself outside of Rapid City. We also did a quick pass through of Wall Drug, a crazy tourist trap, but fun.
The Black Hills area is a delight. Dramatic canyons, rock formations, green forests. winding roads and canyons. Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Keystone, Deadwood. A brewery trail. Highly recommend Sick and Twisted in Hill City and Mount Rushmore in Custer. We always enjoy the local people we run into in these places.
One of my favorite spots was Wind Cave National Park – a definite return destination. Great camping on wide open grassland, noisy buffalo over the ridge, fascinating cave tour. One of the biggest, most intricate cave system in the world.
Heading west through Wyoming a stop at Devil’s Tower for a cool hike around the base. The tower’s height is 5, 112 feet.
An awesome drive through Big Horn National Forest got us to Cody, Wyoming outside the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Three days and camping in the park provided a good overview. Waterfalls, geysers, hot pots, fumaroles, rivers, mountains. Names like Old Faithful, Prismatic Spring, Mamouth Hot Springs, Artist’s Point, Artists’ Paint Pots, Lewis Falls, Norris Geyser Basin… We saw Joe the Buffalo (in the road with friends EVERYWHERE), Ernie the Elk (next to the road), but no Melvin the Moose. We missed the Lamar Valley, but that is for the next visit.
From Yellowstone we drove south through Grand Teton National Park to Jackson, Wyoming. Our friend Bill worked the summer for the Forest Service and we joined him for Labor Day Weekend at his work camp south of Jackson. We paddled the Snake River Canyon and hiked next to Jenny Lake in the Park, enjoyed Melvin’s Brewery in Alpine and Thai Me Up Restaurant & Brewery in Jackson.
From there we drove to Boise to prep for an eight day river trip on the Salmon River. Part I complete!