Today we drove all day, from very stormy Mpls to the edge of the Badlands in Kadoka, SD. We're staying at the Budget Host Sundowner, a big step down from the Mpls Radisson but nice enough and the price is much better. We ate dinner at the H&H El Centro, just plain good American food and homemade pie. The buffalo burger was delicious. We may just eat breakfast there as well.
Tomorrow we start our tour of the Badlands and Mount Rushmore.
WOW we got a lot in today. Started out in the badlands, they seem like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon to me. What's nice is they have boardwalks in a lot of areas so if you're disabled or just don't like walking up and down rocks you can still see a lot.
Wall Drug was what I expected but I did get a nice red cowboy hat. I recently joined the Red Hat Ladies so it will come in handy.
Mt. Rushmore was a lot smaller than I thought it would be and BOY was it WINDY up there. South Dakota has been cooler than I expected, only in the 60's but mostly sunny and great for touring. We then went to Jewel Cave, one of the largest caves in the country. We just went on the discovery tour as the more extensive tour involved over 300 steps up and back and I'm just not up to that or any spelunking.
We then settled into our hotel and a luscious hot tub soak. G, who has boundless energy is off playing video games.
Tomorrow we plan to do a little more Black Hills touring and see Crazy Horse and other things around here, including maybe a ride on the President's Slide. Pix to follow as soon as I get the camera from the car.
We started out the day with a trip along the wildlife route thru Custer State Park. After what seemed like a long time of seeing nothing but trees, we came across a HUGE herd of buffalo right near the road. After that we came across some wild donkeys that were tame enough for G to get out of the car, feed them an apple and pet one.
We then went to Crazy Horse. The statue is enormous. It's said that all 4 president's heads on Rushmore can fit into just the head of Crazy Horse. We may go back for the light show later this evening.
Today we arrived at Yellowstone, just in time to watch Old Faithful blow its top. It was magnificent. It lasted several minutes and was much quieter than I would have thought, no loud bang just a sort of whoooosh. One of those bucket list kind of sightings, really worthwhile. We got to spot some wildlife on the way, some big horn sheep and more buffalo.
We got settled in our hotel just outside the West entrance and signed up for a tour tomorrow to take a break from driving.
The Snow King resort is a condo. Hooray I can do some cooking AND we have a separate bedroom from the grandchild. Today Harry and G went on a guided bike tour thru the National Elk Preserve while I went shopping in town. I got a purple cowboy hat! We took it easy and cooked supper in, salmon, brown rice and mixed veggies, yum. We had a cocktail on the terrace, too.
Tomorrow we are signed up to take a float trip on the Snake River with a guide, 10 miles thru the Grand Teton National Park. It's supposed to be the best way to see wildlife.
It was really warm in SLC, but we got to see our good friend Ed and meet his new wife Janice. We also toured Temple Sqaure which was quite beautiful and picked up our granddaughter Mo. Here is a picture of the sunset near our hotel in Orem, UT.
Yesterday we drove from SLC, UT to Truckee, Cal. LOOOOOOONG trip, over 500 miles with nothing to see but dessert. And then, magically, when you cross into California, you see green, pine trees, grass and forrest. My kind of scenery. Today we move on to Yosemite
The Hampton at Tahoe/Truckee is great. The room is more of a suite with 2 beds in one bedroom, a sleeper in the living room and a mini kitchen plus a bath and a half. I strongly recommend it. And they have a full hot breakfast too.
Monterey Aquarium and Fishermen's Wharf was great but kind of cooooolllld only in the 50's, they sell a lot of sweatshirts here. Ate dinner at PF Chang's and got Mo her mall fix. Tomorrow we head for San Fran.
Arrived in San Francisco yesterday, strolled Pier 39 and took a boat ride under the bridge and around Alcatraz. Today took the granddaughter shopping for stuff for her denim jacket in Haight-Ashbury, ate dinner at Alioto's and tomorrow we stop in Crescent City, CA on the way to Portland.
Today we visited the Portland Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden. It was the Star Festival so they were doing Origami and placing wishes on Bamboo branches. The gardens were SOOO beautiful and the Japanese Garden had a wonderful overlook of the city.
Went for a short drive to the Mount Hood area. It was impressive. I understand you can ski all year round there, though I don't think too many people do. The falls were also beautiful.
Sunday. we went to the Seattle Center and visited the small amusement park they have there and also rode to the top of the Space Needle. The monorail from the shopping mall to the Space Needle is nice and I would say that the amusement park is much more geared to young kids. We didn't get to go in the Experience Music Project. after the Space Needle we had a great dinner at the Yarrow Bar & Grill at Carillon Point.
Today we took our granddaughter to the airport and we will have the rest of the trip childless yahoooO!
We also got our car back from the shop and will head for Sandpoint, ID tomorrow. All in all, we had a good time in Seattle but it's not our kind of place. The streets are way too steep for comfortable walking for these old bones and also way too busy and crowded. I guess after living in the country for 15 years I'm not much for big cities. More from Sandpoint.
Deer at Sam Owen Park and Lake Pend Oreille
Arrived in Sandpoint this evening. It feels like home since we've been here so many times. The Waterhouse is wonderful and such a welcome respite from the hotels we've been staying in. The room is HUGE, the king size bed feels so roomy after the doubles most hotels were giving us because we had to have two beds w the grandkids. They're both home now and although I would have loved for them to see Sandpoint, it is a welcome relief to be childless at this point. Not sure what will be on our agenda but the weather is great. Sunny and around 85 when we arrived but a blessedly cool night. The room has air conditioning but it was nice to sleep with the open windows and have fresh air wafting in.
Today we are celebrating my bro in law's birthday. His wife took some time off as well and will be doing touristy stuff with me like shoping the Cedar St. Bridge mall.
Last night we went to a local watering hole and heard our old friend Charley Packard and band. (Picture at right) His son Jessie plays bass, drums AND sings AND all at the same time! Amazing! see www.charleypackard.com for his schedule and downloads of his mp3's. If you are in Sandpoint, he appears every Fri and Saturday evening at the Hydra steakhouse.
Summer Chair lift views Bear Grass & Lupine in bloom on the mtn.
This evening we ate at the Hydra, heard Charley Packard again. Great as always. Charley gifted us with a couple of his albums, Cider Mountain Serenade and Designated Driver.
Tomorrow we will go to the Farmer's Market and then the Blue Grass Fest up at Schweitzer.
Today we went to the farmer's market and the Blue Grass Fest on Schweitzer mountain. Also included here are a couple of photos taken from a ride on the lake on Friday.
We left Sandpoint yesterday :(( and are in Bismarck, ND half way home. On the way we decided to drive thru Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We came upon this herd of wild horses. Incredibly beautiful!
Well, what a trip it's been. We left Bismarck, ND early this morning and when we got close to our evening destination hubby said "You know, in just a couple more hours we could be home sleeping in our own bed?" so we went for it and got home about 10 PM. It's great to be back but it was a grand adventure. Things learned along the way:
Don't bother bringing cooking utensils, I only cooked once.
Don't bring fancy clothes, almost all resorts expect casual dress even in the best restaurants.
More than 3 weeks is too much for a 12 and 14 year old grandkid.
Thoroughly review hotels. We didn't do too bad, only 2 disappointments out of 13.
DO bring less clothes that are easily washable.
Next time I will try to find hotels/cabins or some sort of accommodation with at least kitchenette facilities. Eating out twice a day gets to be really expensive.