Warren & Emily SwanTrips → 1993

We had just built our new home in the country near Paw Paw, IL, and hadn’t taken a vacation the previous year while trying to sell our Wheaton home.  So we really packed it in this trip. 

We spent time at the Badlands of South Dakota, taking several hikes.  The kids enjoyed the infamous tourist trap, Wall Drug.

At Mount Rushmore, we viewed the faces on the mountain before setting up camp, then went to see the mountain with the huge spotlights on it at night.

We enjoyed the drives of the Needles Highway, Spearfish Caņon and Roughlock Falls.  We’d seen these latter two in 1988.  This trip we camped at Devil’s Tower, which we hiked around.  The girls kept a careful watch for things to observe in their Jr. Ranger booklets.

American Bison The bison had increased at Yellowstone National Park over the years, as attested to by this bison which passed just inches away from the right side of our van, while we stopped and waited.  →

We spent several days at Yellowstone, taking in the usual unusual sites.

Natural Bridge ← One of the lesser known sites at Yellowstone is the Natural Bridge.  It hasn’t been in the guide books since years before Warren first visited the park back in 1981 when he was single.  You have to know how to get there on an unmarked road.  Olive, Heidi and Daniel are mere specks at the base of the “bridge”. 

I won’t attempt to describe Yellowstone any further, because if you haven’t been there, some of the description might sound made up science fiction.  It is a strange and wonderful place.  But it also becoming so heavily visited that it is a “challenge to enjoy”.

We drove past the beautiful Teton mountains, then south down to visit Fort Bridger.  We enjoyed Dinosaur National Monument, including the Tilted Rocks, the Josie Morris cabin, and the Journey Through Time auto road.  At times the Yampa Bench Road seemed like a 4-wheel drive road.  Which is OK, because we were driving a 4-wheel drive Chevy Astro (which turned out to be a lemon).

Devil’s Gate Bridge

Camping west of Denver, we visited the Georgetown Loop Railroad again (see The 1990 Trip).  Warren hallooed up to the engineer, Hugo, who had let Warren ride in the cab 3 years earlier.  And so history repeated itself.  Hugo invited him back up into the cab for this trip.  After getting the family installed in the first carriage, Warren took the camera with him into the cab.

This is a picture, from the cab window, of Devil’s Gate bridge over 90 feet above the river below, which we are about to cross.  →

We visited the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, which is interesting for allowing the kids to climb all over the equipment, which is usually barred at other railroad museums.  As usual, a trip to Denver is not complete without supper at Casa Bonita.  It was a little overwhelming for Daniel, especially since the music was a bit loud.  But Olive & Heidi really enjoyed it.

Heading back toward Illinois on US-36, we camped at Prairie Dog State Park in Kansas.  But we’d no sooner went to bed when the wind became so strong, we half expected to see Dorothy and Toto go flying by, with Miss Gulch following.  So we broke camp rapidly in the rain, and ended up spending the night snoring in the van at a rest area at Smith Center, where there were several others overnighting already.

Geographical Center of 48 States ← We again stopped at the Geographical Center of the Contiguous States, as we had in 1987, but this time with four children. 

Entering Illinois, we asked around in Monmouth and found Wyatt Earp’s Birthplace.  There were old west re-enactors there, at this last stop on this vacation.


visited 11 states (22%)
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