Saturday, August 22, 2009

South Dakota/Yellowstone Roadrip Pics

South Dakota / Yellowstone, Wyoming

*note: I had planned on heavily editing this post for this blog and leave the longer post for my "personal" blog, but I got lazy. Don't feel bad for not reading all of the details! :)

Scott and I have been talking about going to Yellowstone for several months, but I always figured it would be one of those things that we talked about but never did--kind of like Europe (hint hint). I also knew that I wanted to go to Mount Rushmore and The Badlands, but all of those things are so far away and not really on the way to anything.

It wasn't until I saw that Sturgis Bike Week was the first week of August that I really pushed for the trip. With a short window of time, we decided we'd head to South Dakota and then head over to Yellowstone. We basically planned our entire trip within a week's period of time!

We decided we'd leave on Friday night, but I had a party to attend, so we didn't end up leaving until 10:00 at night.

Trish ExcitedScott

That first night we drove through Oklahoma and Kansas. We hit some really bad storms in Kansas (although I slept through most of it), but finally hit Topeka at dawn. The next day we drove through Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Below: Nebraska


It was a long day driving through South Dakota, but we finally got to The Badlands around 7:00. Knowing that we wouldn't have time to drop our stuff off at the hotel in Rapid City, we continued on the loop through the park. The scenery was absolutely amazing and it was especially nice driving through at dusk when the sun made the formations really red. We saw some Pronghorn and Prairie Dogs, which made me really excited to see even more wildlife.

The Badlands
Scott, The BadlandsTrish, The Badlands

The Badlands, South Dakota
Scott and Trish, The BadlandsThe Badlands, South Dakota

Scott and Trish, The Badlands
Exhausted and stinky from being on the road for 23 hours, we hit the bed pretty quickly once we got to our hotel in Rapid City.


The next morning we woke early to head out to Mount Rushmore since we had agreed to meet my friend Lisa and her family at 10:00. We were on the bike and the ride was a lot of fun, but I could already tell it was going to be much warmer than we anticipated!

We had an absolute blast driving through the Black Hills--the mountains (sorry, hills) are gorgeous and the weather couldn't have been better. Mount Rushmore was probably a little less impressive than I was expecting, but it was still really neat to see. What was more impressive was the Crazy Horse Memorial. It looks like they are making slow progress on the sculpting, but even what they have finished is really amazing.

I think our favorite thing about the entire day was driving through the hills with all of the other bikers. We stopped for lunch in Hill City and oogled all of the bikes. Even though we got some strange looks for our non-Harley ride, it was really cool to be amongst so many other people all doing the same thing. It was like the hills were made for bikes. We drove through Custer State Park before we realized the day had gotten away from us and we needed to be back in Rapid City for dinner with Lisa and her family.

Black Hills, South DakotaScott & Trish, South Dakota

Mount RushmoreMount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore
Scott and Trish Mount Rushmore
Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial


After wearing ourselves out the day before, we prepared ourselves for yet another busy day. We headed out early in the morning towards Deadwood, but we ran into some pretty nasty weather. Luckily by the time we got to Deadwood, the sun had come out and no more rain was in sight. Deadwood is home to Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, so we went to a little museum (yes, I know...but what's a trip without at least one trip to the museum?) and afterwards grabbed some lunch. The streets and parking lots were full of bikes and we knew that this was just a little taste of what was ahead of us in Sturgis. We had an absolute blast and really enjoyed the hubbub.

Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood, South Dakota

We finally headed out to Sturgis from Deadwood. I can't even begin to describe just how many bikes were in this little podunk town. Hundreds of thousands, I would guess. None of these pictures do the mayhem any justice and Scott and I were both in complete awe. Honestly, though, we both preferred the atmosphere in Deadwood where everyone was joined to have a great time. Sturgis seemed really commercialized--miles of street front lined with tents selling t-shirts. We still had a good time, despite the heat, and found some ice cream (to make Trish happy), but a few hours was plenty of time for us both.

Sturgis, South Dakota
Scott, Sturgis Rally
Hill City, South Dakota
Hill City, SD

We did manage, however, to ham it up a bit (like the true tourists we are). Below I'm handcuffed to the Police Truck and Scott is enjoying himself on an Indian. Dream on little boy!

Scott, SturgisTrish, Sturgis


And on the road again. On our way out of South Dakota and into Wyoming, we stopped at Devil's Tower, which is the first national monument. I'm a sucker for stuff like this, so of course I made Scott take the minor detour.

Devil's Tower, Wyoming
The trip to Yellowstone turned out to be quite a long one, but it was really gorgeous (mostly). Sorry for those of you in Wyoming--I don't think I can claim it as my favorite state. So much open space, and I'm a sucker for open space. We ran into some bad weather outside of Big Horn National Park, but once we made it into the mountains, the weather cleared up a lot. The drive through the mountains was mostly good until we ran into a bit of construction. As you can see from one of the pictures below, for a few miles there was no road at all! Just a dirt path. Yikes...

Most of the pictures below are taken in Big Horn National Park, Wyoming.

Trish with GorillapodTrish and Scott, Wyoming

Big Horn WyomingWyoming Road Work

Scott and Trish, Big Horn Wyoming


Why is it that we're always getting to the national parks just at dusk. On our last roadtrip out west, we ended up driving through Yosemite in complete darkness! But made it we did. The landscape right before Yellowstone, coming through Cody was phenomenal. It was amazing to me how each mile brought on different types of rock formations and mountains.

Trish and Scott, Yellowstone
The following pictures are of our various campsites. We got to our first campsite in Grant Village about 10:00 pm. I learned how to set up the tent for the first time while Scott worked on building the campfire. It had been raining, again, but luckily it stopped just as we were setting up camp. Throughout our four-day stay in Yellowstone we camped at three different sites: Grant Village, Madison, and Bridge Bay (see tent picture below). I think of the three, Madison was my favorite. It is set in the mountains where as the others are closer to Lake Yellowstone. All were nicely wooded, though.

Scott, YellowstoneTrish, Yellowstone

Tent CampingBridge Bay Tent Camp, Yellowstone

For the most part the weather was really nice during our stay. The first day was gorgeous and actually a little on the hot side. We had some rain the last two days, but what can you do? At night it slipped down to the 30s, but it really only felt cold our last night since it had been raining in the evening and the sun didn't have a chance to warm us up. My toes nearly froze off that night, but we managed OK. We cooked most of our meals on our little camp stove, which was a life saver. No more campfire dinners, which are such a pain!

Trish and Scott, Yellowstone
Trish and Scott, Yellowstone

On our first day we saw all of the geysers and hot springs in the Lower Basin. The steam from the geysers and hot springs was really hot, but it was amazing to look at all of the different natural formations.

Yellowstone GeyserYellowstone Geyser

Old Faithful
Old Faithful

One of the most exciting things for me, at first, was seeing the wildlife. I kind of whined to Scott about not seeing anything, but once we saw one we saw hundreds. There were more Bison than we could count, which often caused traffic jams on the roads, and we also saw numerous Elk and Muledeer.

Mule Deer, YellowstoneBison, Yellowstone

One of my favorite things about Yellowstone was The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and seeing the falls. Unfortunately we ran into some bad weather that afternoon and had to head to the Canyon Lodge (for some ice cream), but seeing the canyons was just another example at how vastly different the scenery is in Yellowstone.

Tower Falls, YellowstoneCanyon Falls, Yellowstone

On our last day we headed up to the Mammoth Hot Springs on the very northern edge of Yellowstone. We quickly drove into Montana, just so we could say we were there, and then headed to the hot springs themselves. The northern part of Yellowstone is much more mountainous than the lower half, but the hot springs stuck out in the landscape where the hills were barren of any trees.

Mammoth, YellowstoneMammonth, Yellowstone

I really wish that Yellowstone were closer to Texas, because I would head back in a heartbeat. We only had three full days, and we were originally only supposed to have two days but knew we couldn't see it all in such a short period of time.

Yellowstone Flower
Scott and Trish, Yellowstone After our last [freezing] night, we woke early early in the morning and headed home. We stopped the night in Pueblo, Colorado and it was wonderful to sleep in a real bed versus an air mattress. Although it was a great trip, we were both glad to be back home in the end.

miles in the truck
400 miles on the bike
60 hours driving (not including within the parks)
10 states
9 days/nights
4 nights tent/4 nights Marriott/1 night driving
6 state parks/national parks/national forests
100s of wildlife
100,000s of motorcycles
7 ice cream treats
2 s'mores
1 tent

WHEW!!!! I'm exhausted just thinking about it. :)


bermudaonion said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe you did all that driving in that short time! No wonder you're exhausted. Your pictures are gorgeous - it looks like you saw some beautiful sites. Thanks for sharing.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What great pictures! It looks like you had such a good time! Now I can't wait to go on our own scheduled trip to S.D. and the Badlands in just 3 weeks! And if my pictures don't turn out, I'll know where to go! :--)

christina said...

Trish -

This post is awesome! I love all of the pics and the tidbits of info to go along with it. What a vacation! Yay!

Tasha said...

Great photos. Sounds like a fun trip.

claire said...

Thanks for sharing the experience! It was fun to look at the photos especially. :D

Molly said...

LOVED reading all the details. I am so glad you decided against editing for us :)

I hope to go to Yellowstone someday - although I am not sure I will brave the tent accommodations.

I am sure you drove right by my exit off I-35 in Kansas. Summer storms are our specialty, unfortunately.

Sure hope you have had a chance to rest up from such an amazing trip.

Stephanie said...

Wow! What an amazing trip!! My husband has been wanting to go to Sturgis for years, but I hate riding for long periods of time on the bike. He makes me nervous!

I have a friend that works in Yellowstone. He is a water ecologist, and spends all his time testing the waters in the park. It's really an amazing place, isn't it?

By the way, I just had to mention that you and your hubby are an incredibly cute couple!!

Booklogged said...

Wow - what a wonderful trip. I liked that you included the ice cream treats and the s'mores.

ANovelMenagerie said...

Great post and great pics! Thanks for sharing!


serendipity_viv said...

Wow - what an amazing journey you took. I am so jealous, there are so many places in your pictures I dream of one day seeing. I remember watching a programme about The Crazy Indian memorial and thought it was amazing. I am glad you had such a fabulous trip.

Ana S. said...

Now I want to go on a roadtrip! And I want to go camping - it's been so long. I love the scenery and I love the wildlife. I'm glad you had such a great time, even if it was exhausting!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

OMG..what gorgeous photos--all of them. i especially enjoyed the Mount Rushmore, Badlands, and Tellowstone --places I've never been. I pictures of you and hubby are just great. thanks for sharing trish

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Bermuda - It was a packed trip--I was glad to be home.

*Rhapsody - I can't wait to hear about your trip! The Badlands are really cool.

*Christina - It was a really fun trip!

*Charley - We had a great time, but it made me wonder how Steinbeck traveled around for a year! It's exhausting.

*Claire - We took around 800 pictures, so it took a long time to decide what to include and what not--even still this post is so long!

*Molly - There are also cabins and hotels within Yellowstone, but the tent isn't so bad! We took 35 up from Dallas all the way to Topeka, so I guess we probably did drive by your town.

*Stephanie - We didn't drive the bike--took it on a trailer. Yes, we're fake bikers. :)

*Booklogged - It is ridiculous the amount of ice cream we ate on the trip! Yellowstone had great ice cream, though. :)

*NovelMenagerie - Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. :)

*Vivienne - I don't think the Crazy Horse Memorial will be finished for another 50 years or so, but it will be really amazing when it's done.

*Nymeth - Do you have good camping in your neck of the woods? I didn't go as a child, so I'm trying to make up for it now. It's a lot of work but a lot of fun!

*Diane - If you can ever make it out to South Dakota and Yellowstone, I'd recommend it. I just wish they weren't so far away from everything!

BurtonReview said...

Well color me jealous. Here I am a transplant in TX from NY, & right around the corner from you. And yet, the coincidences don't end there.. I was born at Ellsworth AFB, in South Dakota, right near Rapid City, and Mt. Rushmore. My family moved to NY once my dad got out of the Air Force. We never went back to SD until a RARE trip with my dad and me and my brother.. and long story short, we went to Mt Rushmore and the lake where my dad had long ago once pulled my brother out of it to save him (he pulled him out by grabbing a handful of hair).. and as I was 16 with a freshly minted learner's permit, I drove in SD!! On back roads that I wonder if they were roads at this point. It was fun, memorable and the photos we took were awesome, the caves were great, the badlands were awe inspiring; why did my parents ever move away?! (family) And we went to Devils Tower also, people were climbing it! I will never forget that trip, the last trip I ever took with my dad. It will be held near and dear to me especially since my dad passed away last November. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and bringing back such wonderful (& sad) memories for me.

BurtonReview said...

PS Did you see the prairie dogs!? My dad told me that for fun the guys would go out shooting them!!! I was NOT impressed!Guess there isn't alot of entertainment on the AFB in the early 70's!

Lisa said...

That's quite a trip in such a short time--and with so little time to plan! Why does everyone want to think that all there is of Nebraska is what you can see from an Interstate, though? :(

Laura said...

I love all your pictures! It looks like a really memorable trip. I'm glad you were able to find ice cream all over the country :) I'm slightly disappointent there are zero pictures of Scott's zookeeper outfit. Maybe next time...:)

Tammy said...

Wonderful post, Trish! I love reading fellow blogger's traveling adventures. I've never been to any of the places you went, but my husband and I have talked about all of them, so maybe one day. Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and I second Stephanie -- you guys are so cute and look so happy!

Lisa said...

What a great post, Trish. I am jealous of this vacation. I wish we'd done some real traveling before we had the boys. It's SO MUCH harder to travel now.

My favorite pictures are the first one of the two of you in the badlands (LOVE the background!), the camp scenes (you know I'm obsessed with camping), and the one in Yellowstone of the two of you with the camera on the ground. Tell Scott I'm proud of him for letting you take so many pictures of the two of you.

Marie, they still shoot prairie dogs for fun.

CJ said...

What a great trip! Your photos are amazing - I really liked the one of your shadows. And Bike Week is supposed to be something else. I'm glad you had a good time.


Corinne said...

I think that post should win an award :) What an AMAZING trip. I did Yellowstone and the Badlands with my parents when I was growing up and I remember them oh so fondly. Camping is so stinking fun, I love knowing that you love it too :)

Terri B. said...

Great pictures Trish! I especially like the pictures of your shadows -- so creative :o)

I haven't been to any of these places, so I feel like you've taken me on a little trip. And all those bikes! Geesh! I've never seen that many bikes in one place.

Melody said...

Oh my! What great pictures, Trish! I enjoyed reading this post!!

I've never seen so many bikes in my life! I'm sure you and your husband enjoyed the trip!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pics and the road trip must have been so much fun. Thanks for sharing this with us.

I am dying to go camping now after seeing the tent.

Anonymous said...

Wow…what lovely photographs. I want to go on a road trip too.
I like you expressions in the pics, you look so excited :)

Thanks for sharing Trish.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Marie Burton - Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It sounds like an amazing trip you had with your father and I'm so glad you have those memories. And yes, we did see the prairie dogs--cute little guys!

*Lit and Life - We actually only drove in Nebraska for about an hour and not on the Interstate--on 75 on the very Eastern edge of the state. Wish we could have seen more!

*Laura - I emailed you a picture of the zookeeper outfit, hopefully you got it. And yes, the ice cream was delicious!

*Tammy - I hope you guys get to take a similar trip one day--we were able to see so many amazing things!

*Lisa - I think that's why we're so hungry to take so many trips now--get it all done while we still have the freedom to do so. And thanks to the gorillapod for so many pictures of the two of us! Otherwise they'd all be of Scott. :P

*CJ - Bike week definitely was something else--we were in a constant state of shock from the amount of bikes and the noise. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

*Corinne - Ah thank you--it took me a long time to draft up this post, so I'm glad you guys are enjoying. :) I LOVE camping, too, but it's usually too hot in Texas to go.

*Terri - It is really difficult to capture just how many bikes we saw--thousands of them! Hope you get to make it out to some of these places.

*Melody - Usually I get a little annoyed with bikers, but it was really fun during the trip to see bikers everywhere we went--even Yellowstone!

*Shweta - Oh definitely go camping if you can--it is quite the experience. Thanks for coming by!

*Violet - Haha! I WAS excited! :) It was a fun trip--road trips are usually among my favorite vacations.

Paxton said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome! I've always wanted to see Mt Rushmore and the Badlands, but there's nothing else around there to justify the trip up from Fla.

Great pics, looks like you had an awesome time. Someday I'll make the journey up there to see Rushmore.

Brenda said...

Hi! Glad you enjoyed SD and the Sturgis Rally!

Brenda (SD librarian)

Serena said...

Gorgeous photos! WOW, I am so in AWE!

And only 2 smores...crazy! I would have had like 10!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a great trip. I love the pictures.

Unknown said...

I love living vicariously through these posts. Thanks.

valentina said...

what a trip!
yellowstone will always remind me of Yogi bear! lol

Jeane said...

Thanks for sharing the photos, they're great! You've reminded me so clearly of my own road trips in the past where we saw Yellowstone, the Badlands and the Black Hills. So cool. Love the wildlife.

Kim L said...

Wow, that is quite the trip! I'm totally jealous... I want to take a last minute road trip so badly right now:-)

I didn't know you and Scott were bikers! Awesome. I don't know what I would think about Sturgis either, I've heard it is just so crowded and insane there during the rally. Deadwood sounds like it was a lot of fun!

And nice pictures!

joyh82 said...

what a trip! Hope you have marriot rewards. I would love to see Yellowstone one day.

The Reading Momster said...

wowwwwwwwww! whatta trip girlie... gosh! i am all so thrilled at seeing all the pics and places i know i would never go :D


Care said...

What a fabulous trip! very cool.

tanabata said...

Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us and all those fabulous photos. It sounds like you had a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

Eeeee! I get to enjoy the American scenery through you! ^-~

No, but more seriously, it sounds like you and Scott have an absolutely lovely time on your road trip. It certainly looks fantastic (even if you did have one night where you nearly lost your toes to the cold. I'm glad to hear you didn't!)!

And you two look so cute together. ^-^

Jeane said...

I'm coming back to let you know I just gave you a blog award!

Anonymous said...

Trish, it looks like you had such a marvelous time! I loved the expression of joy on your face in all the pictures. You are a better traveler than I; of course, I did better in my 20s, too. ;) You've seen places I've never been, and I enjoyed your vacation vicariously.

Thoughts of Joy said...

Loved seeing and reading about your speedy vacation! You know how to pack a lot in a short period of time. :)

Thoughts of Joy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JoAnn said...

I enjoyed this post so much! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

Anna said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing the pics!

Diary of an Eccentric

Debi said...

Oh Trish, what an amazing trip!!!!! I'm so glad you all had so much fun!!!!!! Loved all the two are just too darn adorable! :D

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I know you guys are over a month past caring about my response, but compulsive Trish wanted to say thanks for coming by and taking such an interest in my non-bookish trips, etc. :)