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The Wild West Trip of a Lifetime

Updated on February 11, 2015

Traveling the American West

Have you always wanted to visit the American "west" - the wild west - and experience its grandeur the way it must have been back in the days before "the west was won?" So did I!

Back in June of 2002, I got to do just that. My family and I took a driving trip across the states of South Dakota and Wyoming. Along the way we experienced abundant wildlife, seemingly endless grasslands, majestic mountains, incredible natural and man made monuments that filled us with awe, with lots of the feel of the old west and much, much more.

Come along with me as I recount the 'Wild West' trip of a lifetime!

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Logo for the AAA Ohio Auto Club
Logo for the AAA Ohio Auto Club

A Rough Start...

We planned our 10 day "Wild West" trip over several months. We covered every single travel detail...or so we thought. Ah, but there's always at least one unforeseen glitch!

The plan was to fly from Ohio to Pierre (pronounced by the locals as 'Peer'), South Dakota, pick up a rental car and spend 10 days driving across South Dakota and Wyoming visiting sites we had mapped out all along the way. We intended to leave the car in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and fly home to Ohio. That was the part of the plan that ended up causing us a problem that had us fearing we would have to reconfigure our entire trip.

A few days before we were due to leave, I got online and on the phone to reconfirm all of our reservations. I noticed online that our car rental reservation was for a pick up and return to Avis at the Pierre airport. We weren't returning to Pierre. I had a number to call for Avis, but no one answered...odd.

It turns out, Pierre is tiny...nothing like the state capitals we're used to "out east". The Avis franchisee in Pierre (who worked out of her home, and only took calls sporadically) had only a few cars and no way to retrieve one of her cars if it was left elsewhere. The only other rental agency in Pierre at the time had nothing available for me. I tried to change our plane and car rental reservations to Rapid City, SD but all of the flights were full.

AAA saved the day and the trip! They found us ground transport out of Rapid City that would pick us up in Pierre, drive us to the Rapid City airport where we could pick up our one way rental and be on our way. What a relief! We had to reconfigure our trip just a little bit and we added about $400 in expense between the ground transport and the one way rental but "the trip of a lifetime" was back on! Thanks AAA!

South Dakota Prairie Dog
South Dakota Prairie Dog

Crossing South Dakota

Grasslands and Buffalo

Our ground transport arrived to pick us up in Pierre about mid-day. My gaffe over the rental car turned into a blessing in disguise. Our driver, a wonderful woman with a heart of gold, became our defacto tour guide when she picked us up in a Rapid City Airport "courtesy mini van". Her spouse, an Air Force retiree, had spent part of his career at a now defunct missile base near Rapid City. They moved back to the area they had grown to love after his retirement. Our driver was a wealth of South Dakota history and full of information about the things we had told her we were interested in seeing.

As she drove, we reveled in scenery we never expected; rolling hills in brilliant green, vast grasslands (Buffalo Gap National Grassland), herds of buffalo (roaming free in places and - wherever the buffalo were - the prairie dogs that we were to learn are actually a help to the buffalo and not necessarily the nuisance we thought them to be! For more exposure to the buffalo and the prairie dogs, our driver advised us to check out South Dakota's Custer State Park in the Black Hills region. We were later to learn of other sites in and near the park that would pique our interest...more on that later!

During our chauffeured drive, we passed through a part of Wall, South Dakota . You couldn't miss the signs promoting Wall's claim to fame, the worlds largest drugstore. Our transportation angel let us know it was worth a stop there since we had told her we intended to head east from Rapid City the following day to visit Badlands National Park. Again, she was right!

We stayed at a wonderful hotel in downtown Rapid City that first night (that has since changed hands and been rebranded) and we ate at the nearby restaurant "Sanford's Grub and Pub" (reminiscent of the Sanford and Son show with respect to atmosphere and d├ęcor). Despite the name, back then it was very kid friendly, reasonably priced and the food was decent. It's still open but it's been 10 years so check out the current reviews before you go.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Grasslands Guide

The complete guide to all of the grasslands areas of the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada. This covers everything in the Black Hills area of South Dakota and also the portions of Wyoming that are covered in this lens.

Wall Drug Store, Wall, SD

Wall Drug Store, Wall, SD
Wall Drug Store, Wall, SD

"Center" Hall, Wall Drug Store

"Center" Hall, Wall Drug Store
"Center" Hall, Wall Drug Store
A View of the Badlands
A View of the Badlands

Badlands!

After a quick stop at Wall Drug Store to pick up sun screen - that turned into an hour and a half marveling at the store and visiting the shooting gallery (yes, really, they had a shooting gallery) - we were off to Badlands National Park for our first full day of touring the wild west.

The Badlands are not to be missed if you ever find yourself anywhere near western South Dakota. The "geologic deposits", as the ever shifting rock and dirt outcroppings (half size mountains, I say) are called, are an unbelievable "freak of nature" the likes of which you'll probably never see anywhere else. They're beautiful and unique and unfathomable all in one.

The park is 244,000+ acres. Much of it is covered by these incredible formations that any rock hound would love. The rest of the park is prairie where buffalo, prairie dogs and other animals roam freely.

Please note: If you plan to hike in the Badlands, you should stick to well established trails in designated areas. Though it takes time for these formations to shift and change, what was one way one month may appear totally different the next!

A view of the vastness of the Badlands
A view of the vastness of the Badlands

A view of the vastness of the Badlands from a high plateau that existed at the time of our trip. The formations in the picture averaged 3-7 stories in height with some even higher. The plateau we were on when I took this photo was more than 10 stories high... Truly, these are ever changing, mini mountains!

Photo Credits: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Black Hills! - Deadwood, Gold, Custer State Park and Caves

Broken Boot Gold Mine, Deadwood, SD
Broken Boot Gold Mine, Deadwood, SD

We based ourselves, for days two and three of our wild west adventure, in a nice hotel/casino that actually was more of a family hotel than anything, Comfort Inn - Gulches of Fun in Deadwood, South Dakota. Deadwood is about 45 miles northwest of Rapid City, in the northern part of the Black Hills. Yes, there was a casino on site. We never visited it and we never felt any pressure to do so. We had a child in tow and we passed a few nice hours playing mini-golf, soaking each other on the bumper boats, shooting things up in the arcade and watching him ride the kiddie rides. If you have little ones, it's likely still "the place" to stay in Deadwood.

Today, Deadwood is known for it's gaming halls. Indeed, that's not too much of a leap from it's early history. It's the town where Wild Bill Hickok met his death after a card game gone wrong. He's buried there in Mt. Moriah Cemetery along with his long time love, Calamity Jane. You can visit the cemetery (for a small fee) and also see the re-enactment of the ill-fated poker match and shooting in a bar down the street from the original location that was lost to fire many years ago (a "newer" building is now on that site).

If you visit Mt Moriah, plan to go early in the morning and be sure to chat up the attendant at the entrance. When we were there, the volunteer on duty was a wealth of information and willing to chat awhile as we were the first visitors of the day. We left later with a book, Mount Moriah: Kill a Man...Start a Cemetery, which gave us a full, rich history of Deadwood from a local author and cemetery volunteer. We also left with tips about visiting the Broken Boot Gold Mine and Jewel Cave.

You can see a modern, still working gold mine a top a distant hill when you're standing near some high points inside the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. If you want to tour an old fashioned, wild west mine of the type that drew settlers to the area, The Broken Boot Gold Mine with the main entrance right in Deadwood, is a good bet. When we were there, discounts were available to both AAA members and military members. Still, the fee to visit was minimal for the only chance you'll probably ever get to go inside a once working mine. Plus, you can pan for some real gold for a small fee after your tour!

One final note about Deadwood: As a mecca for gamblers, there were and likely still are, some great places to spend your "winnings" on good food. As prime beef country, a featured dish at many restaurants involves steak. We partook of 2 different $7.77 T-bone dinners while we were there, back in the day. While I'm sure the price has gone up, I'm equally sure quality steak at reasonable wild west prices can still be had in Deadwood!

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Panning for Gold

Panning for Gold
Panning for Gold

Panning for Gold

Everything you need to start your own, small scale, gold prospecting operation. With the price of gold at an all time high - and seemingly climbing everyday - many are getting gold fever again!

Mt Rushmore National Park Monument
Mt Rushmore National Park Monument

Black Hills Continued

Rushmore and Crazy Horse

On day three in the Black Hills, we were ready to take in some world famous monuments. We headed south from Deadwood about an hour to visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. We were there early, as the park opened. It was a good time to go as we had some really great photo opportunities we might not otherwise have had as the day went along. We spent a little over an hour there and then we headed further south on a "scenic route" trip toward Custer State Park.

We relaxed a bit at the park, checked out the granite peaks and did some wildlife watching - including the parks vast buffalo herd - and then we enjoyed some lunch alongside the parks curiously named Stockade Lake. After that we were off to visit Jewel Cave National Monument. Both Jewel Cave and Wind Cave were recommended sites to visit by the volunteer at Mt. Moriah. We only had time for one and, so, we chose Jewel Cave. We weren't disappointed! It was an amazing tour of a beautiful underground world that's part of one of the largest cave systems in the United States.

After our visit to Jewel Cave, we headed on over to the site of the still under construction (and probably will be under construction for another 50 years) Crazy Horse Memorial. Crazy Horse is not a government funded project. It's a private venture to carve a memorial to the Indian Chief Crazy Horse into the side of the mountain. This project is absolutely massive in scale and, though work is done almost daily, it will be many years before it is completed. Both manpower and funding are constant concerns though a new in 2002 visitor center was, then, beginning to relieve some of the funding stresses.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial

To give you some idea of the size and scale of the undertaking to carve Crazy Horse, there is both a full size bulldozer and a full size backhoe painted in the typical construction yellow located on the 2nd ledge below the opening (to the right of it) in what will eventually be the outstretched arm of Crazy Horse. They show up as a very slight yellow discoloration against the brownish stone background... You probably can't even see them here! Yes, it's that big!

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Mt Rushmore, Black Hills & Badlands - The Most Popular Guide

This one book covers all of the most interesting places to visit in and around the Black Hills all in one convenient guide. You can't go wrong in western South Dakota if you have this book handy.

Yellowstone and Teton

A marker -
Yellowstone National Park
get directions

Devils Tower National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument

Crossing into Wyoming

Devils Tower National Monument

Day 4 had us up and at it early again. While there was certainly more of the Black Hills to explore, we were leaving South Dakota by way of a brief detour northeast so we could say we'd visited the famous/infamous Sturgis, SD - mecca for Harley Davidson and other motorcycle enthusiasts - then we were on our way into Wyoming to see the marvel of nature that is Devils Tower National Monument.

The monument is a geologic rock formation that "sticks out like a sore thumb" in an area that is primarily an only slightly rolling prairie. Though there are some other rock outcroppings in the area, nothing approaches the height and circumference of Devils Tower. Indeed, it's so large, you'll need to allow a half hour or more just to walk the path around the base if you do not stop at all. As the surface of the rock face is very popular with climbers though, there is always something to stop and watch. Visiting the monument can turn into a couple of hours or more excursion but it's an enjoyable one.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Sturgis and Devils Tower Items of Interest

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition)

What, you ask, does this movie have to do with Devil's Tower? Well, it's sort of about it. It was a Steven Spielberg blockbuster about aliens that's stood the test of time. The "mountain" plays a significant role is this fictional classic.

 

Buffalo, Wyoming and Bighorn National Forest

Big Horn National Forest
Big Horn National Forest

After leaving Devils Tower, We proceeded on our way to Buffalo, Wyoming, our planned stop for the night on our way to Yellowstone. Frankly, there are only a small handful of towns along the northern corridor of Wyoming. Buffalo is quite small but, truthfully, we stopped there because it's about a 9 hour drive with very minimal stops from Deadwood, on the western edge of South Dakota to Yellowstone National Park on the Western Edge of Wyoming. We knew we wanted to drive through Sturgis first (which was really just a very quick detour) and we wanted to stop at Devils Tower (about an hour and a half of driving and 2 hours or so in the Monument area) that day. Added to that was the fact that we had our seven year old son with us. Even to go only as far as Cody, Wyoming would have meant a very long day in the car.

We drove through more vast grasslands to get to Buffalo and then sat down at the local Pizza Hut (one of the few restaurants in town 10 years ago) and had a pie while we listened to the locals chat about everything and nothing. We threw laundry in to wash at a laundromat close to our hotel and, while we waited for it, we browsed a small shop filled with the work of local artists and we took a ride on a restored old fashioned carousel nearby. After that "exhausting" evening, we turned in for the night in our hotel, a clean, comfortable chain place right off the main road (also one of the few).

Now, we hear it told that there's plenty more to Buffalo than what we saw and we concede that. We do know that it's a stone's throw from the Big Horn National Forest which we would have the pleasure of driving through - and stopping for several photo ops (see just above) - on day five of our trip. Up to that point, never had we seen such roadside beauty as we saw as we passed through Big Horn. Amazing!

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Great Images of Buffalo, Wyoming...Back Then...

Okay, back then I didn't give Buffalo, Wyoming its due. I rectified that not long ago when I acquired this gem of a book that details the history of the area. The old photographs are simply great!

Entrance - Buffalo Bill Historical Center
Entrance - Buffalo Bill Historical Center

Cody, Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Historical Center

On day five we left our Buffalo digs right after an early breakfast. We had plans to make Yellowstone - by way of Cody - before nightfall. We were hoping to work in a couple of hours at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, over 3 hours from Buffalo, before heading into Yellowstone. We got our wish....but, in hindsight, we wished we had gone ahead and driven to Cody the day before so we could have spent more time at the massive museum devoted to all thing Western.

The museum was divided into five full sections in 2002 and it still appears to be today. My former spouse could have spent several hours in the section devoted to firearms alone! I, on the other hand, was completely entranced by the Western Art area including some famous works of sculptor Frederic Remington (who's studio is now recreated on site at the museum). They were awe inspiring!

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Bull Riding at Buffalo Bill!
Bull Riding at Buffalo Bill!

A "cowhand" at the museum gives "The Boy" a taste of practicing to ride a bull!

Remington Sculpture
Remington Sculpture

The Wild West in Sculpture

One of my favorite parts of the museum was the portion devoted to sculpture. One of the best known sculptures of all things western was the artist Fredric Remington (1861 to 1909) who was even better known for his paintings depicting life in the Wild West. The museum has several Remington paintings and sculptures. They've even done a recreation of his studio on site.

To sculpt, Remington often worked in bronze and that's what the piece here is. My photo of this piece does not do it justice. It's a very large and intricately detailed scene that had me looking upon it in awe. It was my first look at a "real" Remington and it was simply amazing.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Yellowstone National Park!

Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Geyser - Yellowstone National Park

From Cody, we rolled west on I20/14/16 through some majestic scenery. We ascended from the plains into the mountains. Where we had been in jeans and sweat shirts, we now pulled on jackets and gloves and pulled off the road just inside the gates of Yellowstone National Park to make snow balls (in June!). It wasn't windy cold but more like comfortable cold to a family used to Ohio winters. It was just cool enough to keep the snow from melting at the higher elevations but not so cold as to keep most people indoors. We would experience many weather patterns in the park over the next couple of days depending on our relative elevation. Layers were the rule of the day!

We set ourselves up with a nice room at the Canyon Lodge facilities in the northeastern part of the central park area (around the caldera rim). If you're familiar, Old Faithful and the Old Faithful Lodge are on the the southwestern corner of the same rim. The Canyon and Old Faithful areas are many miles apart, on the aptly named Grand Loop Road that rings that entire area.

You could spend a week at Yellowstone and never see everything in the main portion of the park where most of its visitors spend their time. It would take several weeks or even months to view all of the vast wilderness that is Yellowstone. We had 2 days. We made the most of them!

My photo above is, of course, of the most famous "resident" of the park, the Old Faithful geyser. You can't go to Yellowstone for the first time and not see it, but there's so much more there. I can't even begin to describe the amount of wildlife we saw (buffalo, moose, elk, bears, a wolf... on and on), and the incredible variety of scenery. I'm including a photo gallery below just to give you a small taste of all of that.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

Yellowstone National Park in Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The yellow canyon walls that give Yellowstone its name.A hot spring on high plateauA truly hot spring...Animal bones...A view of the Upper Falls, canyon and Yellowstone RIverCanyon Lodge - Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and the lodge management company, Xanterra Resorts.
The yellow canyon walls that give Yellowstone its name.
The yellow canyon walls that give Yellowstone its name.
A hot spring on high plateau
A hot spring on high plateau
A truly hot spring...Animal bones...
A truly hot spring...Animal bones...
A view of the Upper Falls, canyon and Yellowstone RIver
A view of the Upper Falls, canyon and Yellowstone RIver
Canyon Lodge - Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and the lodge management company, Xanterra Resorts.
Canyon Lodge - Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and the lodge management company, Xanterra Resorts.

The Only Yellowstone Guide You'll Ever Need!

Everything is here: every geyser, every hot spring, every waterfall, every lake and pond, every scenic overlook, every trail...everything. You'll want to carry this with you. It's an absolute wealth of information that, even though it was last published in 2009, remains one of Amazon's best book sellers, ever.

Death in Yellowstone - Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park

Are you interested in an offbeat read? This book caught my ex-husbands eye in a "Harvey Store" in the park while we were at Yellowstone. He read it in the evenings during the rest of our trip. I read it after we got home. It's somewhat morbid, yes, but interesting none the less the crazy, stupid things that people will do that, sometimes, wind up getting them killed.

Grand Teton National Park Mountain Range
Grand Teton National Park Mountain Range

Grand Teton National Park!

After two, too short days in Yellowstone, we were on to "Teton" or "the Teton's" as the locals call the Grand Teton National Park area/mountain range. The Tetons literally rise up out of the plains. There are no foothills. It's just wide open prairie and then mountains.

It was mid June by the time we ventured into Grand Teton National Park. On the ground the temperature was comfortably in the low 60s with a light breeze. The peaks, as you can see were still snow capped. One of the best views for a panorama of the whole range is the view from the Jackson Lake Lodge...incredible!

We spent only a day wandering around taking in the mountains. We would have liked to have had more time but obligations back home in Ohio were beginning to beckon.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

String Lake - Teton Mountain Range View
String Lake - Teton Mountain Range View

We entered Grand Teton National Park on Teton Park Road. This photo is a view taken during one of our first stops inside the park. I believe the picture was taken standing next to String Lake looking southwest at the mountain range.

Photo Credit: MJsConsignments, June 2002

The Best Way to Experience Teton is... - On Foot

Outside of the Tetons, you'll never get this close to a mountain range without having to hike through foothills. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore beautiful mountains while saving your legs!

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Mayor Starts the Show
The Mayor Starts the Show

We ended our day in the Tetons in probably the nicest Best Western the chain ever built in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, "The Best Western Plus Lodge at Jackson Hole". The website says it recently reopened (spring of 2012) after a full renovation. It was already a 4 to 5 star property at a reasonable price when we were so I can only imagine it now.

Anyway, when we got there, we planned on just crashing for awhile as we'd spent a long day traversing the park by car and on foot but...a bellman told us about the nightly "Shootout" on the town square. We just HAD to check that out! We were not disappointed!

It seems like the whole town gets involved in the story leading up to the shootout and in the shootout itself. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday through Saturday, you can watch the proceedings at 6:00pm. Look for the antler arches and find a good spot for the show!

The Best History of Jackson Hole Out There

Do you want to know all about Jackson Hole, now a skiers paradise that had it's beginnings as the wildest of the Wild West? You can't go wrong with this gem of a book!

Homeward Bound

We sat in a nice little cafe at the Jackson Hole airport the next morning as we waited for the flight that would take us to Denver for our connection back home to Ohio. We marveled out the windows at the mountains for a few more precious minutes.

It was quite a trip! We have fond memories that we relive in the hundreds of pictures that we took from time to time. If you ever have the opportunity to see any of the sights I've described here, take it. They're beautiful and wonderful beyond anything you could ever imagine.

Awarded Lens of the Day
Awarded Lens of the Day

Lens of the Day!

August 16th, 2012

This lens was awarded Lens of the Day when it was a Squidoo lens on August 16th, 2012. Thank you Squidoo and thank you visitors!

Please Tell Us What You Love About the American West

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    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I lived in Colorado for years, and this hub makes me regret that I didn't take the time for a driving tour of at least parts of Wyoming and maybe South Dakota as well. On the other hand, Colorado has its own share of buffalo and prairie dogs and other great sights. Still, I wish I'd taken that tour.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      What a wonderful trip. I had the opportunity to visit many of these places way back in 1987. It's a beautiful part of the country. Well done.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      What a journey you had. I always love a theme to our trips.

    • profile image

      dream1983 5 years ago

      Awesome lens, great job!

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      What a fun vacation idea for the family. Nicely presented.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these great resources.

    • EbooksFreeWeekl1 profile image

      EbooksFreeWeekl1 5 years ago

      I've yet to still visit there. Very interesting lens. Congrats on your purple star! :)

    • profile image

      MyBabyBoo 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, nicely done!

    • profile image

      gaser983 5 years ago

      Great lens, well done!

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens

    • DocKetchup profile image

      DocKetchup 5 years ago

      Most comprehensive! Thanks for compiling this and sharing your thoughts.

    • oktoys profile image

      oktoys 5 years ago

      A lot of information, tnx.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to make it to Yellowstone.

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. I'm on the border to North Dakota on the Canadian side. We used to go to the Black hills every summer.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      Congratulations on your LotD and Purple star. What an adventure, you are a brave one, so much history to be seen.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      What a fantastic trip. I'd love to go there. So far I've only been to New York and Boston in the US - not quite the Wild West!

    • profile image

      grannysage 5 years ago

      I loved Devil's Tower, spent the night next to it in a campground. I also visited the Big Horn Medicine Wheel which is very sacred to the Native Americans. Crazy Horse intrigued me, although it is controversial among the Native people. There is a lot of history there. I am glad you got to experience so much of it.

    • WaleedMohammed LM profile image

      WaleedMohammed LM 5 years ago

      Looks Fun!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a wonderful trip! I've been to Yellowstone and Jackson Hole and would love to go back and see more. Thanks for sharing your trip.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @udaddy14: hj

      vé máy bay vn airline || Hàng không giá re

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD and purple star ~ wow! I feel like I've been on a mini vacation! SquidAngel Blessed! <3

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    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @MarkJustice: They're amazing! I had some truly great photos so it was hard to choose just a couple. I went for ones that showed the vastness but I have so many more.

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @norma-holt: Thank you so much for featuring my lens on your Blessed lens and also on your LOTD lens. You're an Angel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Sounds like you had a drip trip in the end. Its amazing how the best made plans can always go astray. That's why we don't plan a trip (driving with a van) Sometimes the date we takeoff on changes within days and then we just head off in a general direction and make changes as we learn or hear of something different and it comes with lots of great surprises that way.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What an awesome trip! Thanks so much for sharing it and congratulations on your Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      MarkJustice 5 years ago

      Great lens, I live in South Dakota and remain in awe of the badlands.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      You certainly had one great adventure and have produced a beautifully doumented lens with some wonderful pics. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses. Hugs

    • profile image

      NewUsedCarsSacramento 5 years ago

      I just love everything about the American West. Your lens is wonderful...nice content and great pictures. And congratulations on LOTD...

    • profile image

      games_rush 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great info..Looking forward to visit it in the near future..:)

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      A simply amazing lens documenting a great trip! I thoroughly enjoyed it - thank you!

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @captainj88: New England has its own merits. I was stationed at a military post not far from Boston for a couple of years. I very much enjoyed the city and traveling into upstate New York, New Hampshire and Vermont. You'll just have to plan a wild west trip now for a whole new perspective!

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @randomthings lm: That would be cool! I was military stationed in Maryland for a few years. They do a similar round-up of the wild horses in Assateague State Park every year. It was something to see.

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @sdmary: We didn't see the Burros or even know about them. We wound up in the park only after the conversation with our driver the first day about the buffalo and our chat with the volunteer at Mt Moriah about the caves.

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @lewisgirl: We were actually there at the end of the 2nd week of June. Things were in full swing but it was still a bit on the chilly side in the morning (gloves and hats and we could see our breath). It wasn't too bad. There were a lot of people but not a lot of the RV/Camper traffic we had been told would be the rule as Summer heated up. We were really able to get up close to some wild life since the crowds were so small. Walking to breakfast our first morning there, we were about 20 yards from a moose...I had no idea they were so big!

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @writerkath: The coffee was 5 cents when we were there 10 years ago too. It's one of their billboard claims so it's probably still the same. The counter was mobbed so we didn't even try for it!

    • PattiJAdkins profile image

      PattiJAdkins 5 years ago

      This is a great lens. Sounds like a fun trip with much beauty. Thanks for sharing :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      We so loved Yellowstone. Such beauty there! Really nice page!

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      DebMartin 5 years ago

      What a wonderful memories you must have. Well done. d

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens! THANK YOU!

    • CoolGamesOnline1 profile image

      CoolGamesOnline1 5 years ago

      GREAT LENS!! and informative! cool pictures! GOOD JOB!!!

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Terrific and informative lens! I've never been to Wyoming and South Dakota. They are definitely on my travel wish list! Thanks for the great info!

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Congratulations on LOTD and purple star ~ wow! I feel like I've been on a mini vacation! SquidAngel Blessed! B : )

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      its_jess 5 years ago

      Great Lens. I learned so much from this lens. Thanks.

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      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on LOTD and the purple star. Sounds like your family had fun and a great education to boot.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. As an avid traveller I really loved reading your tale and can see myself enjoying that part of the world. I have been to the USA twice and have seen much of the country but have never gotten up that north in the west. I love the high mountains and amazing rock formations of the American West, they are really amazing!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD and your Purple Star! :) You brought back fond memories of driving through SD - the Badlands, Wall Drug (what a hoot! plus 5-cent coffee - at least when I was there), Black Hills... Gorgeous country! Thanks for the memories!

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 5 years ago

      My family made a similar trip when I was 16 and brother was 14. We drove all the way from Detroit. Flying would have been a better option. Congrats on LOD and purple star. Blessings.

    • Jillynn profile image

      Jillynn 5 years ago

      Great job! Well earned LOTD!

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Congrats on LOTD! My husband and I are always talking about buying an RV and driving all over the country. This is a great intro to an area of the country about which I did not know much, and I will now research it a little more!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 5 years ago from Pittsburgh

      Your trip of a lifetime sounds amazing. I'd like to do the same. Blessings**

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      Jobdegraaf1 5 years ago

      Congratz to your lens of the day!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      Congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day (LOTD)!!!

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 5 years ago

      The history and all of the people who helped settled the Old West into what the West has become today. Without them opening the way the West would have never been settled. For that is what made the Old West History adventuresome, interesting and a family library filled with History books on the subject. Really enjoyed riding in the backseat with you as you traveled from one destination to the next in this lens. The photos were an added bonus as they are really good. Thank You for sharing and congratulations on the well deserved awards..

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      We enjoy the wilderness, which is quiet and natural. Thank you for publishing this lens. I enjoyed the tour of these beautiful places.

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 5 years ago

      I drove back and forth from Billings to Chicago numerous times while attending school and living in Chicago, so I know the trip through SD and Wyoming very well - loved reading your lens, brought back memories (and I'm so glad you didn't miss including Wall Drug, I would hate to see all those signs go to waste, we even have one here in Billings for Wall Drug:))!

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      It is a stunning place! Thanks for sharing your adventures and congrats on LotD. :)

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 5 years ago

      I lived in Wyoming for years. Great lens and descriptions. If you travel to Yellowstone after school starts and before they close the park for the winter, it is more enjoyable. I drove through one day in October, no traffic and a wolf walked right in front of my car. Amazing place to visit!

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      udaddy14 5 years ago

      Looks like an awesome trip. Great job with the lens.

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      sybil watson 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens about a part of the US we don't hear about as often. I visited Jackson Hole as a teenager and absolutely loved it. The scenery in Wyoming is gorgeous and the town is so fun and interesting. Thanks for bringing back great memories!

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      classifiedshi 5 years ago

      informative topic

    • octopen profile image

      octopen 5 years ago

      Great lens, I would like to visit the American West, the next time I am in USA

    • menskincaretips profile image

      menskincaretips 5 years ago

      Amazing pics and trip! I want to travel to around the U.S someday and this is definitely a great side for the wild west!

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      grifith 5 years ago

      Fantastic Lens.

    • essayshub profile image

      essayshub 5 years ago

      this place is really beautiful!

    • alaiamax lm profile image

      alaiamax lm 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD!

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      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      American west is so beautiful! It is a nice trip!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! nice lens with great info, we had gone to Wall Drugstore after we noticed miles and miles of advertisements, I also loved Deadwood...we have been to Wyoming as well. Thanks for sharing your experience of your past vacation adventure.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      An amazing trip. Great pix! COngratulations on getting LOTD!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      beautiful trip, thanks for sharing your experiences.

      tour thai lan gia re

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 5 years ago from Johanesburg

      Great experience , congrats on lotd ,hope to visit there on of this days

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Thought I would stop back in and say congratulations on LOTD.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for "taking us along" on your western vacation. Love the photos! Congratulations on LotD!

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      dat-nguyen-35977 5 years ago

      Excellent trip and I am sure a great experience.

      phan mem dang tin

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      sdmary 5 years ago

      Great lens - brought back a lot of great memories of a similar trip we took when our kids were young. Was hoping you'd mention the Begging Burros of Custer State Park - they were a big hit with my family!

      Thanks for sharing your family's adventures!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a pleasure to return to congratulate you on LotD!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Excellent trip and I am sure a great experience.

      Congrats for LOTD - well deserved. I like how to mix historic facts with trip details, and tips for point of interest. Angel Blessings!

    • vetochemicals profile image

      Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      Beautiful trip, thanks for sharing your experiences. xoxo

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      kgdunst 5 years ago

      I've never been yet but really really tempting! Gotta do more study myself. Thanks for sharing with all of us

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      congrats on the LOTD

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Congratulations on making LotD! :)

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @aka-rms: Very exciting! Thank you very much!

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 5 years ago

      wow! what an informative lens :-) thanks for sharing

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this fun lens was selected as LotD today! You can read all about it at SquidooHQ: http://hq.squidoo.com/lotd/the-wild-west-trip-of-a...

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 5 years ago

      I can just amazing that how fantastic trip you had. great lens.

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      footballsuperstar 5 years ago

      A fantastic and very ispiring story on your trip :-) And congratulations on getting the lense of the day you should be very proud :-)

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      Sounds like a great trip. I love the west.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice peace of work. This lens looks like a quality lens. Can you please let me know how much we can earn through squidoo.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 5 years ago from California

      Montana and I've been to all those places too. I love the West! My favorite things from your trip are the buffaloes, Deadwood, the Badlands and Mt Rushmore. Congrats for LOTD and Angel Blessings.

    • Snowsprite profile image

      Fay 5 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Seems like a great trip.

    • Decatty profile image

      Decatty 5 years ago

      @vaigavenugopal: Great lens, thank you for sharing.

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      This will be a great place to visit. I love to natural! It will be great if I can visit these places since I can only see these places in TV.

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 5 years ago from Arizona

      I must love the American West since I choose to live in it:) Great lens, looks like an awesome trip. Congrats on Lens of the Day!

    • selah74 profile image

      selah74 5 years ago

      sounds like a great trip

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Great article about your trip-Angel Blessed

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Great article about your trip-Angel Blessed

    • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

      BillyPilgrim LM 5 years ago

      Looks like an awesome adventure! Great lens, thanks for sharing x

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      The trip of a lifetime for sure with plenty of wild west adventure right from the start, pioneers had transportation troubles too. I love your delight and enthusiasm that shine through like gold, I think you struck the mother lode! I love your pictures...they paint a thousand more words, thank you for sharing the smiles!

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 5 years ago from Ohio

      I recently had a journey from Ohio to the west coast and back via two different routes. Our preferred strategy was to stay off the interstates as much as possible. SquidAngel Blessings.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      Happy memories of my last vacation with my parents at Mt. Rushmore.Thank you!