This has been a bit of a struggle for me to implement because up until a few years ago I had a horrible phobia of planes! It tends to limit your travel potential if you can only drive places! Now that I can handle flying (with the help of knitting and watching movies in-route) my travel possibilities have really opened up!
In July, I took a trip that was several years in the making----The American West! For me, this trip was more of a study in geography than in history but I managed to get some in! The itinerary:
- Meet up with sisters-in-law in Las Vegas (I’ll admit, this was not the most historical or culturally enriching portion of the trip but we did go to the Beatles Cirque du Soleil which was pretty awesome!)
- Rent an enormous SUV to carry the 5 of us on our trip.
- Drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon via Zion National Park.
- Tour the Grand Canyon. Here’s the deal- there is a reason why visiting the Grand Canyon is on so many people’s bucket lists---it is amazing. No photographs or descriptions can convey its enormity and immense beauty. We chose the North Rim because it is more remote and thus not as congested as the South Rim.
- Drive to Yellowstone National Park.
- Yellowstone is another place that is indescribable. It is a place that can overwhelm all of your senses (the sulfur is crazy!) and its beauty is undeniable. The wildlife is amazing, the geothermal features are awe inspiring, and the scenery made me wish I was a painter.
- Drive to Mount Rushmore via Devil’s Tower and the Black Hills.
- See Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. If you don’t know about the Crazy Horse Memorial, read more about it here and read about sculptors of both monuments here (by the way the two sculptor's stories are fascinating glimpses into America's past). When it is finished it will be quite a lot larger than Mount Rushmore. It was interesting to me how much both monuments were constructed as more than just a labor of love, but as a testament to the people who contributed to the story of our nation.
- Drive back via Colorado through the Rockies. Can you believe that I didn’t take any pictures?
- Spend a few more days in Las Vegas before returning home. While there we toured the Hoover Dam and I learned quite a bit about how irrigation changed the course of history for the South West.
I posted these stats to my friends on Facebook. A teacher friend said it gave him the idea to assign his students to write a story in list form! Enjoy!
-Flights from Newark to Las Vegas and back
-78 hours in the car (we named it Pegasus)
-3,551 miles driven
-190.4 gallons of gas used
-18.9 miles/gallon (Pegasus was a Yukon XL)
-16 days total traveling
-Too many bathroom breaks to count!
States Traveled to:
-Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado
License Plates Seen:
-Over 40 US States and 5ish Canadian Provinces
Natural Wonders Viewed:
-Grand Canyon- North Rim
-Great Salt Lake
-Zion National Park
-Yellowstone National Park: Old Faithful, geothermal features, mud volcanoes --- they all smell pretty bad
-Custer State Park
-South Dakota’s Black Hills
-Bison (they’re not buffalo!) and baby bison
-A baby bear (I missed it during the bronchitis- see below)
-A Prairie Dog Town (that’s what they’re called, everyone knows that)
Man-Made Wonders Viewed:
-Crazy Horse Memorial
-Pinball Hall of Fame (I was a pinball wizard!)
-Venetian, Cesar’s Palace, Mirage
-Ben: ended up about $50
-Dawn: ended down about $50
I got bronchitis on the trip!
-Meds taken before and after diagnosis: DayQuil, NyQuil, Sudafed, 2 types of Mucinex, 2 types of nasal spray, antibiotics
-A million tissues!
-A ton of coughing!
-Some extra nasty phlegm!
-I learned all about Buffalo Bill, carving into mountains, the difference between buffalo and bison, and irrigation in the South West
-I saw Cirque du Soleil!!!!
-14 postcards sent by Ben and I
-2 bags of checked luggage each weighing 50 pounds (we over packed)
-There were several sibling squabbles, the spouses didn’t squabble because we rock!
-A ton of snacks were consumed
-$15 sundaes were consumed!
-Several souvenirs were purchased
-Las Vegas feels like someone left the oven open. Dry heat, my foot!
-There are places with no cell service. I’m talking to you Wyoming! I survived this quite easily.
-About 1,300 pictures were taken (that’s just Ben and I)
-Arizona (occasionally pronounced Ara-zIna on the trip) is the time warp state.
-Zoe was VERY happy to see us when we got home!
-We had a wonderful time and are already thinking about where we can go on our next road trip!!!!