The 3 days we spent at Yellowstone were magnificent! In Hayden Valley, the bisons roamed and even crossed the street in front of us. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with the Yellowstone River flowing through it, the waterfalls, and the Painter’s Palette hot springs were beautiful and amazing considering all the colors are created by bacteria living in different temperatures! A bad accident—helicopter rescue— blocked our entrance to Grand Prismatic spring and when we tried to return on Friday, it was cool(55) and drizzling resulting in mountains of steam covering the spring, severely limiting our view even though we were standing right in front of it! Maybe next time!
Explored the Upper Loop of Yellowstone Wednesday. Marveled at the formations at Mammoth Hot Springs complete with a superb tour by a Ranger. Next, we hiked the Norris Geyser Basin—-2 mile hike across what looked like a Martian landscape. It was an 83* day and the carbon dioxide bubbling up from the geysers actually made us lightheaded. Trekked through fields of fumaroles, mud volcanoes, geysers,fumaroles, and hot springs—-I’m getting to be a hydrothermal expert! Traveled across the Continental Divide! Last geyser of the day was Old Faithful—not the largest geyser, just a big, very predictable geyser! Though they claim the park is not crowded, there were at least 1,000 people watching old Faithful. Had a super dinner overlooking Yellowstone Lake. Stayed in the park in a top-dollar hotel with no AC, no WiFi, no elevator and no TV AND they don’t clean your room or replace towels!!!! More Yellowstone tomorrow.
Driving day today! Fabulous scenery watching the farms of South Dakota become the ranches of Wyoming and Montana. Flat lands became rolling hills and rolling hills became mountains! A few catch-up notes! Adam Vinatieri’s great, great, grandfather emigrated from Italy and became bandmaster for General Custer. As the regiment was leaving for Little Big Horn, Custer told Felix Vinatieri’s to go back to camp, saving his life. Felix Vinatieri then settled in Rapid City where Adam was later born. BTW, Adam was Evil Knieval’s third cousin! Amazing what one learns when traveling! At Mt. Rushmore, I met the only surviving person who worked on Mt Rushmore. He was such a sweet old man and has written a book about his experiences. No one was near him so we began to chat and I bought his book! Staying just outside Yellowstone Gate tonight!
Stopped at Oacama SD at the Lewis and Clark Memorial on the banks of the Missouri River. Tremendous view of the Missouri and the Lewis & Clark Memorial Bridge. Excellent museum with a life-size model of the keel boat the expedition used to sail up the Mighty Mo . Loved the detailed displays showcasing their tools, clothing, foods, and tents. I assumed the 50 foot stainless steel statue outside was Sacajawea, but rather it is a tribute to the indigenous people. “Dignity” wears a diamond patterned quilt which is the most sacred pattern of the Lakota. More oceans of corn, herds of cattle and a new addition—-seas of sunflowers on both sides of the highway! We were shocked to learn that Route 90 — the major interstate— is sometimes totally closed during icy or stormy conditions. We stopped at Wall
Drug which is evidently an Americana landmark famous for advertising Free Ice Water and 5 cent coffee during the Depression. They still have 5 cent cups of coffee! Sign of the day for a Mexican restaurant: Mexican food so good, Trump would build a wall around it! Onto Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore!
Drove through southern Minnesota from Madison, crossing the Mississippi River. More oceans of corn & soybean with the addition of cows and hogs. Islands of trees sprout in the middle of enormous farms. The trees have been planted to surround the homes and barns, protecting them from the wind sweeping over prairie expanses as well as giving them some shade! Very few trees on the prairie! Impressed by the huge number of wind turbines, stretching as far as the eye could see on both sides of the highway. Tried our first 100% organic, grass-fed beef jerky and we liked it! Entered South Dakota and saw signs for new homes at $48/sq foot. That means you could get a 2000 sq ft home for 100K—- not that I could ever live in South Dakota! The Corn Palace is definitely unique and we marveled at how it is re-created every year with a new theme. Learned a great deal about prairie life and the history of the Corn Palace. Spending the night in Mitchell, SD.
Incredible day in South Bend, IN! The tour included the original building, cathedral, grotto, and stadium— just beautiful buildings and landscaping! The perfect setting for me to earn a doctorate! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. The grotto is an exact replica of Lourdes! We lit a candle for all our gone but not forgotten family members. We then drove through oceans of cornfields and soybeans heading to Madison, WI where we are spending the night!
Left Arlington at 4:06 AM ! Gorgeous day to drive! Nothing like driving along Lake Erie for hours to appreciate its size! Stopped for a picnic lunch by a vineyard overlooking the lake! Spending the night just south of Toledo. Decided to stop at South Bend and tour Norte Dame tomorrow! Tracking license plates and so far I have 16 states listed.
The car is ready, packed with both summer & winter gear, maps, trip-tix and hopefully enough snacks and water to keep us well- hydrated and hunger-free!