Nebraska. South Dakota. Wyoming.
This day was very eventful and very long.
we left Claire's at about 7am heading to Nebraska for our short tour of that state and then on to South Dakota for Mount Rushmore.
Nebraska was super boring, don't go there.
We crossed to the Dakota and while the scenery slightly improved the highlight of the day was a Flintstones themed Caravan park..i saw the sign advertised before we got there and thought if we could see it from the road we would pull in.
When we eventually got there we spent about 45 mins there, taking photos and deciding what to buy from the gift store. it was so amazing, it felt like you were in the cartoon and everything was spot on.
I was so happy at this i didn't really realise that making that pit stop would put us very behind our trip.
We eventually got to Mt Rushmore at 4pm. the mountain was pretty cool, not as big as expected but considering back in 1912 (or something like that) these heads were carved into stone i think i was a good place to visit. very american.
The trip was Dakota to Wyoming was more eventful than i wanted. We were driving through the mountains and i look to my left and see this white stuff on the mountain side and ask if that was snow.. and yes it was and it wasn't the only snow we were going to see either. we get up higher and more and more snow appears and while this may not seem shocking to you it was to us. I came over for a US summer and i was driving through snow. We got out and took some photos and then continued on our way.
We trekked through more snow covered mountains and it appeared that things weren't going to get warmer, the amount of snow in these fields could have put NSW to shame.
By this time it was getting late and we were running out of fuel. We could have stopped in Ten sleeps to get gas but i thought we would make it.
So its 11pm and we are on a scenic highway.. no other cars in sight and the gauge drops into the red, we make it onto a more used highway, the 120 but we are getting so close to the last dash that we are talking about how we are going to have to sleep in the car and get fuel in the morning.
Jaymee notices a small town, much like Ten sleeps 30 miles away and we practically crawl into this town at 11:30 and find a Gas station and i have never been happier. now we have a rule- always buy fuel when we are 1/4 of a tank.
We get to Cody about midnight and try and find our couch surfer. the directions from google maps are wrong. we spend 30 mins on the phone with this guy to get directions before he has to come get us even though he has lived in the town for 30 years but to his defence he was lovely and the bed was super comfy.
In the morning we set off with 2 free poppyseed muffins and excitement to get to Yellowstone.
A short drive and we are at the entrance to Yellowstone only to be stopped by a ranger and told that they haven't decided if they are going to open this entry and if we want to go in we might have to go up the top entry. this is a 3 hour longer drive. we don't really want to do it but we really want to see the park, it was the entire reason we came up so far and just as we were about to make our decision the ranger drives past letting us know it is getting opened. YES.
Continue through and low and behold more snow. fuck loads more. the decision to not hike was made quickly, we were not prepared for snow and we would get frost bite.
The drive through the park was enough though and we would get out of the car to see the Geyers if they were close.
I cannot explain how much snow there was driving, we actually couldn't believe it, it was like it was winter.
Just as we got to the lake we were going to get out to take photos and noticed that all this people were parked on the side of the road a ranger was there too.. a Grizzly bear cub was mauling something across the road and even though the brochure told us to stay 45 feet away everyone was taking photos 20 feet away. so we joined in but not too close because if there is a cub then the mum isn't too far away.
We get back to it and head down to Old Faithful Geyers and watch him erupt. it was kind of boring but i guess i haven't really seen anything like it before so it was good to see.
I might mention that i am getting around in my blanket because i am ill equipt for this weather so i get some good looks.. anyway we figure out our next stop and it is the Great Prismatic Springs , it is in all the guide books and it looks amazing but because the weather is so shit we do a quick tour around and get back to the car for our Journey to Salt Lake.
I hate hiking so this version of Yellowstone very much pleased me. it was so beautiful to see that much snow in such a different environment, it had been a very long time since i saw that much snow and obviously the first time i saw Bears in the wild. Yellowstone is just one of those places that should be on your list but in saying that i could write that about my whole trip.