When I was a single mom, I had no money or time to go on vacations. I did take my kids for a 3 day trip to Branson, MO. This was before all the shows took over the city. We stayed in a small cabin, and I brought food for 2 meals a day, and we dined out for one. We spent two days at Silver Dollar City. We took in Marvel Cave. I have been through it again a couple years ago visiting Silver Dollar City, and I cannot believe I took little children through this cave. It is a miracle that we all survived. It’s a pretty scary place, especially for one who is afraid of heights. On the way home, we visited Fantastic Caverns, which was a lot more palatable since the only way through the caverns is to ride in trams. That was pretty much my travels. Later in my career, I was fortunate to travel around the country for conferences and business meetings. I could extend my business travels over the weekend and take time to visit the local areas.
Five years ago this week, I met Dennis. We have been married now for four years. Dennis is the king of all road trips. I was used to flying everywhere I went, and he pointed out all the things I missed seeing on the way. We are leaving to visit my son and his family in the Los Angeles area. We will be driving all the way to San Antonio, Texas. Why? Because I have never been there, and Dennis says I should see it. We will go through Oklahoma City, Dallas, Waco, and then on to San Antonio. From there we will catch Interstate 10, which will take us right to LA.
I want to share with you some of the scenery and unique places we saw to and from our road trip we took three years ago. This will be more of a photo album of beautiful, and also off-beat places you might want to see.
On our way to Big Sky, Montana, we went through Mitchell, South Dakota. It is the home of the Corn Palace. It’s an old fashioned entertainment venue. What makes it so interesting is that the building is decorated with corn cobs. They change the murals annually. Unfinished murals look like paint-by-number canvases. We were told that they grow locally the different colored corn just for the corn palace. They cut the corn through the cob lengthwise so it has a flat surface, and then fill the spaces with the different colored corn to make the murals. It’s pretty amazing. There is a gift shop across the street that has a lot of — you guessed it — corn stuff! They also have an annual Corn Festival at the end of August. Now that might be an interesting time to visit
As we continued west on this trip, I took photos from the car as we were traveling full speed down the highway. I was amazed at how well these photos turned out. One of the most amazing was of what I thought was an old house. It appears to be a church, and possibly a tourist attraction. I did not notice until I was home that there was a live camel in the photo! The location was somewhere between Mitchell and Rapid City, South Dakota. Take a look!
As we continued on this path, we saw signs for miles that advertised Wall Drug Store, as they offer a free glass of water on the way to the Badlands. It is worth the stop, and I wish we had more time to really spend in this quaint little shopping area in the middle of nowhere.
We moved through the Badlands and onto Mount Rushmore. We stopped at a service station for gas and found a Museum of stuffed animals from around the world–yes, at the service station! Not sure why it’s in the middle of nowhere, but it made for an interesting stop.
Of course, Mount Rushmore is beautiful. The second photo is exactly what the sky looked like at the end of our day at Mount Rushmore. Just breathtaking!
Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and The Grand Teton National Park–no words to describe it. Why had I waited so long in my life to see these places? I am awestruck by the beauty of God’s creation. I was amazed by the wildlife in the road. They own the land–they move around, and we watch in awe. I was struck by how big the sky really was. The mountains, the roads winding through, all visual eye candy.
As we drove, I realized I would not have seen all this scenery if I was on an airplane. There is so much beauty in this county that we miss because we are in a hurry. We are concerned about getting from destination to destination. My husband has taught me to love all the beauty in-between. We finally arrived at Big Sky in Montana, which is located in the Gallatin National Forest. We saw folks fly fishing in the streams, horses grazing on the mountainside. The views were breathtaking. We were a short drive to Yellowstone National Park. We saw the headwaters of the Missouri River where Lewis and Clark camped out in 1805.
Yellowstone National Park was the final destination. Wildlife roamed the park. They had right of way on the road (try to tell them they don’t)! In all my life, I have never seen any place like Yellowstone. Photos don’t do it justice. It boils, it roils, it smells like sulfur, it is desolate, it is full of vegetation and animals, it is the most unique place on this planet that I have seen so for.
I hope this little tour of our trip out west in 2014 has inspired you to get in your car and drive. Stop along the way. Take longer than it takes just to drive. See the sites, meet the people. Take photos, and know it will never be as good as seeing in person. I am so grateful I married the “King of all Road Trips.” He has shown me so many places all over this country that I had never seen or experienced before.