Thursday, July 5, 2012

3,276 Miles

Yes, that is the amount of miles we just finished driving! We just returned from our two week road trip vacation to Yellowstone National Park and quite a few other places. 12 days. 8 states. 3,276 miles. Is anyone exhausted just reading that? This was our total route:
I've grown up doing these kinds of sightseeing vacations with my family and our fifth wheel travel trailer. Mitch loves to camp too, but he had never done anything like this. Therefore, we loaded up our trailer and headed up to Reno, Nevada to meet up with my parents, my sister and my grandparents (my grandparents don't have a trailer - they drove in their car and stayed at local hotels wherever we ended up for the night).

The first night, we left at night and made it as far as Bishop, CA. We spent the night in a Vons parking lot :) We drove and met up with my family in Boomtown, Nevada (close to Reno) at my dads favorite place, Cabela's. It's similar to like a Bass Pro Shop or Camping World or something of that nature. They have a zillion taxidermy animals in all of the Cabela's. Kind of cool...

Next stop, Idaho Falls, Idaho. This place has a really pretty man-made set of falls running through the center of town. 

That's the Idaho Falls Mormon Temple in the background there. Next stop was Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming!

Old Faithful Inn in the backgroud and the crowd building as the eruption draws near

Often when you are in the park, there will be wildlife on the roadway. They do their own thing and there's nothing you can do about it. The rangers don't usually disturb them either. Therefore, experiences such as one we had our second day are not super uncommon. During our second day in the park, we were driving along and then traffic came to a dead stop. Word from the opposing traffic was that there was an entire herd of buffalo on the road. We waited and waited and waited. In the end, it took us just under 2 hours to go 5 miles. When we finally got up to the front, we actually got caught in the midst of it all. My phone was INSIDE the truck the whole time, so this shows you how close the buffalo were. No zoom was used.
After our time in Yellowstone, we took a day trip through the South entrance to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the Grand Teton National Park.
In Jackson Hole, I found an interesting item for sale in the window of one of the stores.

After this part of our trip, we were initially going to go north to Glacier National Park in north Montana. Unfortunately and sadly there were two major wildfires up in that area. Therefore, we decided to head east and go to Mount Rushmore. Mitch had never been there either so it was super exciting for me to see him experience it.

This is the original sculpture made that displayed what the carving was initially supposed to look like. However, the artist died suddenly and the sculpture was never completed.
My mom, my sister and me taking an ice cream break at Mt. Rushmore.

Mitch and my dad

Since we were so close to Sturgis, South Dakota, we decided to go ahead and stop by there. Apparently this saloon has its own television show, but I've never seen it.

They have a pet donkey there that just wanders around named Emmit

Our next destination was Wall, South Dakota. On our way there, we stopped at a camping place to buy a couple of things. I didn't get the memo that this was common practice out toward the midwest.

Mitch with a pretty lady at Wall Drug

The HUGE ice cream that my mom got at Wall Drug
Pretty scenery and wildfires. There were SO many burning in each state!

Our next stop was Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. This is the base that my dad was stationed at when he was in the service. It is still an active military base. My dad worked on missles in silos such as this:

While we were there, we heard a plane coming in and it was one of the planes in the Air Force One fleet. That was pretty dang cool to see. Great timing! Props to my sister who was able to whip her phone out fast enough to actually capture a picture of it!

One of our last stops together as a group was Independence Rock in Wyoming. I love going to this place because there is so much history involved. It is so cool to visit a place that you learned about quite a bit in school.

Can you find us??
Shortly after, for practicality reasons, we split off from my family and headed south to go home. In southern Utah, Mitch and I stopped at Zion National Park because Mitch had never seen it. We stayed in a cute little campground nearby.

My freakishly awesome accidentally artistic photo of a tunnel we drove through

On the way home, we were about midway between Vegas and Baker, Nevada. It was 106 degrees outside and miserable. We saw a girl waving her arms on the side of the road and everyone was flying by her and her car. We decided to stop and help her. Her and her marine boyfriend had overheated their car and Mitch is a really good mechanic so he tried to fix the issue for them. Turns out we weren't able to fix it (after an hour of Mitch trying) and they were going to have to tow it to Vegas but we gave them some water and chatted while Mitch was working on the car and then went on our way after they had called a tow truck. We had helped another guy out the day prior who ran out of gas on the side of the road. This is one of the many things that I love so much about Mitch. He is so caring and giving and always willing to help anyone he can. He is a very selfless person.

So after we left the marine and his girlfriend, not 10 minutes later, this happened to us :(  Sad day....

The road was just too blasted hot or something. Once again, Mitch had to endure being in the intense heat. Thank goodness he had thought ahead and brought everything needed to change this ourselves so we wouldn't have to wait for a tow truck.
Well, there you have it, a ridiculously long recap of our vacation. It was quite the whirlwind but so much fun. We saw so much and it was really exciting for me to see Mitch experience it for the first time.


Marihelen said...

Thanks for sharing!! Looks like you had a great time. Love U, Marihelen

Meg said...

Loving your blog! I'm from Utah, so I'm glad you stopped in!! :-) Xo


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