Saturday, July 5, 2008

What an amazing vacation!

DSC_0114, originally uploaded by heyer00.

A few weeks ago we returned from our first trip out to the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Yellowstone National Park. It was truly an incredible trip. This was our first time out there. We drove out to the Black Hills area (of course stopping at Wall Drug!) and spent several days there.

We toured Mt. Rushmore, drove the Iron Mountain Road, drove through the Wildlife Loop Road at Custer State Park, toured Jewel Cave, the Mammoth Dig site, drove the Needles highway, and walked around Sylvan Lake.

Then we headed to Cody, Wyoming, stopping at Devil's Tower National Monument on the way. There isn't much to see in most of Wyoming (it seems pretty desolate, yet beautiful), but the drive wasn't bad. I got a little nervous (okay, maybe a lot nervous) when we drove over the Big Horn Mountains, but I really enjoyed being at the top - there was snow in June! It was about 65 degrees outside, but there was snow on the ground.

We drove on to Cody, which was our destination, our "home base" while touring Yellowstone. We drove the lower loop of Yellowstone in one incredible day. Yellowstone is so beautiful, but I really think the way to see it is to stay in a lodge in the park. The drive in and out between Yellowstone and Cody was a bit tiring, especially with kids.

While we were in Cody we also toured the Buffalo Bill historical center, saw the Cody Gunfighters in front of the Irma Hotel, and went to the Cody Nite Rodeo.

We stopped in Rapid City again on our way home and stayed a few days. We toured the South Dakota School of Mines Museum of Geology, Bear Country USA, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, and went to Watiki water park.

On the last day of our trip, we drove through the Badlands National Park. The Badlands is beautiful, but I think we would have been more impressed with the scenery had we seen it on the way out instead of the way back.

I am so glad that we took this vacation and gave the girls (and us!) and opportunity to see all these interesting and beautiful sites.

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