Warren & Emily SwanTrips → 2004

We took Grandmother Wells with us.  We would be leaving her with her other daughter, Olive, in DeKalb, IL, to spend the next couple of weeks.  After we spent a few days in Northern Illinois visiting with family and friends, we headed west via US-52 and I-90.  We were taking Daniel and Amy to sites we had been to before several times.  But they had been too young to remember any of them, in 1993

Badlands National Park The first main visit, after the dubious “Corn Palace” in Mitchell, SD (a sports stadium with different colored corn nailed onto it to form pictures), was a 2-night stay at Badlands National Park. 

Here are Daniel, Amy and Emily at the end of the Door Trail.  →

We hiked several trails while here. 

Of course we had to stop at Wall Drug for a couple of hours when we left here. 

Four Great Presidents ← The Black Hills being next, you cannot go through this area without stopping to view these 4 great presidents carved into Mount Rushmore. 

We were designing, by mere sight, as to which portion of the mountain should and could be used to commemorate yet another great Republican president, Ronald Reagan, the third greatest president we’ve ever had. 

Leaving here we did not go straight up to I-90, but enjoyed the drive through Spearfish Caņon, which we always enjoy when going through these parts.  That evening we made it to Devil’s Tower, where we camped.  We watched the lights of climbers as they descended the tower after dark. 

Devil’s Tower Here we are looking up at the North face of Devil’s Tower as we hike around it, clockwise.  →

We found, at Cody, WY, that the East entrance of Yellowstone was closed during most of the day for road repairs.  So we deflected up Chief Joseph Scenic Highway to US-212 and entered Yellowstone National Park at the Northeast entrance.  We camped at Norris Campground on the West side. 

We hiked around Porcelain Basin at the Norris Geyser Basin the evening we got there.  The next day was spent at Mammoth Hot Springs, where all the springs were suffering from a lack of water, and at Sheepeater Cliff, and finally, getting drenched with rain hiking Norris Junction’s Back Basin, home of Steamboat — the highest geyser in the world, when it erupts (the previous time was October, 2003).  After a short drive around Firehole Lake Drive, a trip into West Yellowstone, MT that evening was relaxing; in spite of the extra hour it took to get there due to bison on the road, and a subsequent long line of cars crawling along. 

By now the weather was getting worse and snow was called for.  We didn’t want to have to drive with the trailer through that, so we decided to give up the next morning and take our leisurely time heading home.  As we left we did hike around one more geyser basin, Fountain Paint Pots, which is short and very interesting. 

Old Faithful ← Of course, we couldn’t leave Yellowstone without stopping by to see Old Faithful erupt.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes. 

By now we had to outrun the snow.  At Rawlins, WY we copped out and stayed in a hotel.  We’d beaten the snow, but it was raining a very cold rain. 

Our last camping night was at a free city park and campground in McCook, NE.  It rained all night.  The next day we drove south, then East to outrun the rain.  We only got to spend a short late-afternoon in historic Dodge City, KS, and were considering camping near there to see more the next day, when the thunderstorms caught up with a vengeance; including lightning.  So we decided to go ahead and push on toward home, arriving about 1:30 am. 


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