Idaho Falls to Elko to Verdi (home)

Well I didn’t post last night because where we stayed in Elko didn’t have wifi. But that is ok because I didn’t have a whole lot to report.

We hit wind today , so no wonder we see these wind mills.

We go by the Snake River which makes the Truckee look pretty small.
We go by the Massacre Rocks State Park. (I am assuming for the buffalo)

We go through a lot of agricultural area. This time since we are in Idaho you can add potatoes to the corn fields.

Idaho potato country

We end up in Elko for the night. We have fantastic BBQ’d steaks and fresh sautéed vegetables for dinner. And finish up with apple pie and ice cream bars with caramel topping.

We end the day by enjoying sitting around the “campfire”!

Today we drove home from Elko to Verdi. Ending a great trip to South Dakota. We traveled a total of 2733 miles in the motorhome pulling Lizzie on the trailer. And a total of 1769 miles in Lizzie, for a grand total of 4502 miles for the entire trip. All without incident until I managed to jackknife the trailer into the motorhome in our own driveway!

Cody, Wyoming to Idaho Falls via Yellowstone Park

We get up early and I get this photo of the sunrise from our campground.

Sunrise in Cody

The fog is just lifting when we go by Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

Morning mist rising.

Bluffs along the Shoshone River
The Shoshone River

We enter Yellowstone Park through the East Entrance and not too far into the park I see my first bear in Yellowstone!

My first sighting of a bear at Yellowstone.
The next wildlife sighting is of this coyote pair.

We continue  on through the park by the Yellowstone River.

We make a stop to see Old Faithful and time it perfect.

Old Faithful erupting

We leave Old Faithful with plans for our next stop to be a picnic lunch, but we somehow loose John and Nancy in all the traffic. We stop at Excelsior Geyser Falls, mistake, we are trapped by all the traffic. We luck out by the time we get to the parking area to get a spot beside a tour bus.

Crater and Falls

We continue on and luck into seeing a meadow with a herd of buffalo.

And here is my up close and personal shot:

We cross the Continental Divide again.

And go by Yellowstone Lake. We see all the devastation from the forest fire.

We finally catch up and find John and Nancy and have our picnic lunch on the Madison River.

Others are enjoying the river by fly fishing.

We have to go through some yucky major road construction, but the sights are well worth it. The fall colors are starting as we head on into Idaho Falls.

When we finally find the right campground – Snake River RV Campground – it is quite nice. We go out to a nice dinner to end another great day.

Hardin, Montana to Cody, Wyoming

We get up early so we will have time to site see in Cody. This is the only ‘live’ wildlife I saw today. They were in the stream right by our campsite this morning.

We travel through some pretty country in Montana.

The Bighorn Mountains.

We get into Cody at 10:45, stayed at Absaroka Bay RV Park. We unhitch the trailer with Lizzie and all four of us go in our motorhome to see the Buffalo Bill Center.

Front of the museums, there are five different ones at the center.

It is an amazing museum, there is so much to see that the ticket is good for two days. We spend six hours there!

Lots of statues
Sacagawea
Chief Sitting Bull

There are a lot of beautiful art works:

Depicting the life in the West.

We buy another print of a painting done by Charlie Russell of buffalo fording a river.

There is a whole section on Buffalo Bill:

The Plains Indian Museum:

Beautiful Indian head dress of Sitting Bull
White Man Runs Him, scout for Custer

Wolves in the Natural History Museum

There also was the Cody Firearms Museum. And we went to a live Raptor Show.

A red tailed hawk
A horned owl
A paragon falcon

And a bald eagle

We came back to our camp site and fixed BBQ’d hamburgers for dinner. Then went to bed to be ready for a full day tomorrow going through Yellowstone.

Heading Home Spearfish, SD to Hardin,Montana

We get up and say goodby to everyone at the Farewell Breakfast. We are on the road by 9. I get a hold of Debbie and we make plans to meet her and Tom in Gillette at 11. We go to lunch and talk the whole time. It is so good to see her and try and catch up. She has to leave and head back to work and we head on. There are a lot of pronghorn antelope in the fields on the way to Buffalo. Tom gave us some jerky from an antelope he had just shot.

Best friends make contact!

We make it to the Little Bighorn Battlefield. It is free entry after 4:30 and we drive in at 4:31! We watch the movie and make it on the drive loop of the battlefield. It is pretty sobering to see all the grave stones.

An Indian model in the museum. Sitting Bull was the chief of the Sioux.
Custer was the head of the 7th Calvary and dies in this battle.
It is easy to see how they were ambushed in all of these rolling hills and valleys.
The Little Bighorn River
There are headstones all over the hills, placed where people were killed.

National cemetery established in 1879.
We go to Hardin, Wyoming and stay at a RV Park called Grand View.

We went 305 miles today. It was a nice day. I drove a lot of it.

Wall thru Badlands Loop, to Sturgis, back to Spearfish

Today we leave Wall and go on the Badlands Loop Drive. The Badlands are pretty in their own way. I don’t think they are as dramatic as Bryce Canyon, but none the less definitely worth seeing.

Entering the Badlands

Looking out one side of the car are the Badlands.

Looking out the other side are the wide open spaces of the grasslands.

And then around a curve and these guys are out on a bluff.

We continue on with new sights around every bend, with stops to enjoy the country.

And then I got my chance to get my up and personal shot of the Bighorn Sheep!

We leave the Badlands and head for Sturgis. We take the lesser traveled road again instead of the freeway.

Don’t know why anyone would try to homestead here.

I finally get my chance to get my up and personal shot of the big commercial sunflowers.

In this field the sunflowers are drying up, but it is the closest I have been able to get to them.

Today is our last day of touring for this tour, so I think this is an appropriate shot with the sunflowers all hanging their hears down!

But as they say “All good things must come to an end”!

We go to Sturgis and stop for lunch. Our first stop is at the     Knuckle Saloon, but we leave after finding out the wait is over 45 minutes.

.The Famous Knuckle Saloon

We head onto The Jambonz and have a great lunch – Southern Foods (catfish and gumbo) and finish off with homemade peach cobbler! The atmosphere was also great.

They had Southern “Soul Food”

We make it to the hotel in Spearfish and it is time to load Tin Lizzie back on the trailer. She has taken us 1769 miles with no breakdowns! She got a free ride of 1335 miles coming and we will take the Northern route back home.

Lizzie loaded on the trailer to go home.

A few parting shots of people:

Jim and his order of “small” nachos and Karen and Dave Bockman.
Bob and Marilynn
Carolyn and Don McBride
Bill and Janie and Jeri and Larry

Tomorrow will be the Farewell Breakfast.

Mitchell to Wall

We start out early because it is a long drive day. It is foggy again in the morning.

Foggy morning

We don’t make it far and stop for Jim and Kathy’s car which stops on them. So it called for a road side seminar.

The seminar must have been interesting because those attending kept growing.

They get things running and we head on. The next stop is at the rest area with the statue called “Dignity”.

The back of her cape.
Linda, Marilynn, Lori, Cheryl, Karen, and Kathy in front of Dignity.

From here we head across the Missouri River.

Crossing the Missouri River.

It makes the Truckee River look like a stream.

We are headed to Wall. I didn’t count the number of signs for Wall, but I think there are more than curves on Iron Mountain Road!

On the way since we stayed on the frontage road instead of the freeway we stopped for a “running board and trunk” picnic lunch on the prairie.

This is Model A tail gating!

I also got some photos of the sunflower fields. I think they are pretty.

Sunflower fields are prettier than corn or hay.

We stop at the Pioneer Auto Museum. It had a little of everything.

Like the saying: One person’s junk is another’s treasure, fit the bill here.
This car was certainly one of a kind.
More than just cars.

Old trunks and suitcases

A soft top pickup and a Model A with snow tracks put on.

We make it to Wall. We walk down town to see the pharmacy, which was closed. We stop and talk to the Ranger at the Grasslands Museum and comment on the native garden. I get my picture of a native prairie sunflower.

These sunflowers were covered with pollinators.

We have dinner across the street from the Wall Drug. I have a buffalo burger. We walk back and call it a night.

 

Watertown to Mitchell via De Smet

Foggy morning

Today we are on the road by 8. It is low clouds and a light rain. Not the most fun to drive in, but not hot and windy.

Next we drive by Lake Preston.

This one is for you, Preston

We are making a detour through De Smet so I can see the Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead.

I really enjoy the stop.

The church
Inside their house

The barn

Prairie homes
A sod home, actually built in the ground with a sod roof.

Laura Ingalls Wilder actual photos
As we were leaving we met the De Smet News reporter and photographer. We will be in the Wednesday edition!

We then head onto Mitchell and go to the Hansen Wheel and Wagon Shop. We are given a very informative tour.

Old cars and even older wagons

A few of the wagons they have built or restored.

They have only 12 employees including the owner and his wife and daughter.
Two of their biggest clients are Wells Fargo and Anhauser/Busch.

We then go to the Corn Palace where large murals are made out of corn.

Theme: South Dakota Weather

We end the day with a good dinner and get ready for a long driving day tomorrow.

 

Sioux Falls to Watertown

We get up and have breakfast. Janet’s pickup won’t start again. Larry Nixon and others stay to help her. Bill’s brakes still have a problem so he is taking it to a shop. With everyone being helped we head out on the country roads toward Watertown. It is through guess what? Cornfields! It is pretty in its own way, but certainly not my mountains and trees.

Through corn fields
The corn is dry in some fields already.

We make a stop because Rick gets drowsy, maybe a lack of change of scenery?
So I take advantage and get my up and close personal shot, this time of corn!

We head on following our directions very carefully and guess what we come too?

This, so we have two choices right or left?
We went through this by going left. One by one we are loosing people from our group of 7 starting out.

We continue but Rick gets drowsy again so we pull over and I take over driving. Next thing we know is John says I have trouble and has stopped. I turn around and go back to them.

Nancy calls the trouble truck and they say where are you? The obvious answer is on a road in the middle of a corn field!

Rick changes the coil and gets them running and we are on our way again. We make it to the Redlin Art Center too late for lunch but they are sweet and have saved us lunch in our beautiful keepsake tins. They put on the movie for us and then we tour the museum. Beautiful paintings and we buy some mementos of our trip. A expensive stop but we will have good memories.

One of the things we bought was this painting on a blanket, which we can use in the cabin or Lizzie!

Vermillion to Sioux Falls

Last night coming into Vermillion Lizzie back fired and stopped, but Rick got her started and we made it to the hotel. We were tired from driving in the wind, I guess Lizzie was complaining too.

We got up this morning and Rick went to start Lizzie and she wouldn’t start. He found one of the connectors to the spark plug off. He fixed that and we headed to the  National Music Museum and got out of the parking lot and she backfired again and stopped cold. We pushed her to the side of the road and got a ride in the trouble truck to the museum. I keep kidding Jim and Carlene that we need to get to know each other better, but preferably not this way.

Rick working on Lizzie

We spend two hours at the Music Museum, which was very interesting.

Outside the National Music Museum

I find the violin workshop especially interesting. From the wood working tools

to the blueprint designs, to the patterns

to putting them together.

To the Stradivarius which they say is worth 2-3 million. This one is for you Carrie!

I also liked the old instruments made out of various things:

Like a string instrument made out of a barrel.
An instrument made out of a wooden cigar box.
And one made out of a stove pipe!

I also enjoyed seeing the zither because we have one at home with mother of pearl inlay.

Zither very similar to the one we have.

We leave the museum and go back to the hotel where Lizzie is patiently waiting. Work commences on her, with a coil change and a distributor change. With many helpful hands and ideas she starts up and we are off and running.

All hands on deck!

We head on towards Sioux Falls.

Through more farming and dairy land.
I liked this prairie scene.

Because we had to work on Lizzie we didn’t get gas when everyone else did. So we came into Sioux Falls on fumes, literally. We stopped at the very first gas station and took 10.89 gallons into a 11 gallon tank!

Our radiator is taking on a well used look. Look out John Hulstrom, there maybe some competition out there!

 

This pretty guy was found on Pete and Linda’s radiator.

We check into the hotel and head to Falls Park where we have a BBQ dinner and look at the Falls of the Big Sioux River.

There are numerous cascading falls.

A shot of all the falls from the tower

We listen to a great presentation by Marcus of the Great Lakes Tour to be done next year. We are ready to sign up. We return to the hotel and Rick helps Larry Snuttjer with his steering and John with his starter, while I do the blog.

Winner to Vermillion, via Yankton

We get up and have breakfast. Rick tries to find a solenoid for John’s car but with no luck. So we stay behind the rest of the group and drive with John and Nancy. He needs to hot-wire it every time he needs to start it.

However the theme of the day is WIND, CORN, and HAY! And more of the same for 228 miles.

Corn fields for as far as you can see!
Acres of fields with huge “rolls” of hay. They don’t do bales here.
More hay and corn
And the scenery doesn’t change much – more hay and corn!

Meanwhile the wind is making us see what life on the prairie is all about. There are no trees or mountains to help buffer it. I knew there was a reason I love living in the mountains!

Our first sight of the Missouri River.

I am truly amazed how big the Missouri River is.

Right before crossing over the Missouri.
Crossing the Missouri River. (I am actually included in a picture – ha-ha).
A stop on the way to help change Art and Olive’s flat tire.

We make a stop for lunch in Yankton at JoDean’s Restaurant. We are the last ones to come in. It is a buffet. I like the decor.

Surprised that we would choose a restaurant that has old vehicles inside? And a FORD at that.
Here is a ride for you Carrie & Nick.
A pretty wooden sleigh
Note the gas had lead. Now we try to find gas without alcohol!

We go onto the Gavin’s Point Dam and the Lewis and Clark Visitor’s Center.

Gavin’s Point Power House and Dam.
The water going from the lake through the power house back into the river.

We go through the Lewis and Clark Museum and watch a good movie on their expedition.

Guess why the leaves are going horizontal instead of vertical? Yep the wind didn’t go away while we were inside!

We get to Vermillion our home for the night. Rick again tries to find parts for John with no luck. However he is successful in helping Bill with his brakes with parts he brought.

Bill working on his brakes.

We all enjoy a long “happy-hour” and then hit the sack.

Hot Springs to Winner through The Badlands

To start with today I am going to add a few more pictures from yesterday ( I simply got too tired last night to continue).

Some of the group at the top of Iron Mountain Road
We ran into a road block of burros in Custer State Park

A Big Guy taking a dust bath

Today we started the day out seeing a lot of wild turkeys beside the road.

Wild turkeys

We then are on our way through the back side of the Badlands.

Heading into the Badlands

We make a stop at the ghost town of Scenic.

Scenic, SD

The guys in front of the saloon. I find it kind of ironic that Scenic is at the starting of the Badlands!

Scenes in “Scenic”

We go on through the Badlands heading to Interior, SD

Interior, SD

We have lunch at Interior, I have the Indian taco on fry bread. It was huge and I couldn’t eat it all. We visit the gift shop, the visitor’s center and take the loop walk.

All the cars at Badlands

Lizzie in the Badlands

Highway #44 sure should be in the running for “Loneliest Highway”. However the Badlands have their own special beauty.

Lizzie and the Badlands
Lizzie and the Badlands

We take the loop walk even though it has signs to look out for rattlesnakes!

Gay, Janet, Bob, Lori in front Marilynn, Kathy, John, Rick, and Pete in back
Views from on the loop walk

You can see forever

We head onto Winner.

It is a very long day. We go 280 miles today and with the time change (losing an Hour) we don’t get to the hotel until 8:45 in the dark. So that is all for today.

Hill City to Custer State Park to Hot Springs

We start the day by going over Iron Mountain Road. It is: 17 miles long, with 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtails, 3 tunnels, 4 Presidents, and 2 splits! We had fun doing it.

The first thing we saw was a mother mountain goat and this was her baby.
We go through tunnels
One of the 314 curves
One last view of Mt. Rushmore

We head onto Custer State Park. This is a place where all creatures great or small, slow or fast are a wonder to see!

The slowest creature we saw today. Marilynn rescued it from getting hit on the road.
The fastest creature on this continent!
The smallest creature I saw today was this pretty green grasshopper.
And what would a drive thru the prairie be without a picture of these guys!
The greatest creature of course was this fellow!
This guy came right up to our car. They are such beautiful creatures.

I can’t believe what it must have been like in years past with the thousands of bison on the plains. I can only compare it to seeing the great migration in Africa. It is an awesome sight that I will never forget.

Seeing a herd of buffalo in the grasslands.

We can’t do a trip without a “fix-it” moment. John and Nancy’s car would not start at the Visitor’s Center. The group to the rescue, never leaving one stranded is the name of the game, right?

The “new” ignition switch, but it worked enough to get him back to the motel.

Today we travel through a lot of different terrain:

Through pretty tree area
Through the pine trees
By mountain lakes
Through rolling grasslands

And like the creatures of this great land, some of us go fast and some of us go slow, but we all end up getting to the same place having seen a lot of new places!

We end the day in Hot Springs and four of us Kathy and Jim and Rick and I relax and enjoy the hot springs which the town was named after.

We take “The Plunge”
Very nice hot springs with no added chemicals at a nice 87*
I just liked this mural

Add another good day spent with nature, seeing new places and enjoying doing it with friends and sharing our adventures with those who couldn’t join us.

Crazy Horse Memorial and Needles Hwy.

We all leave together to Crazy Horse and they set us up for a photo op with the cars and Crazy Horse as the back drop.

Coming into Crazy Horse
First view of Crazy Horse.
The whole group of A’s in fore ground of Crazy Horse.
Lori, Rick and Lizzie at Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse with its slow progress.

It doesn’t seem like they have made much progress since Rick and I were here 30 years ago. The face is complete and they say the arm and his hair  is what they are working on now. They are now on the third generation of the Korczak Ziolkowski family working on it. They have added a lot more to the visiting area however and it is very informative about native American culture.

Marilynn & Bob and Rick & I take the bus tour closer to the base of the sculpture.
A close up of Crazy Horse’s face.

We spend time seeing everything: watch film, Indian Museum, Sculptor’s Studio/home, Bison exhibit, other beautiful sculpture’s done, the 1/34 scale model of Crazy Horse, and watch a native Lakota do the hoop dance.

We have lunch and head to Needles Hwy, a very pretty windy road.

This guy was posing for all to see!
All I wanted to take from him was his picture and the joy of seeing him in nature.
One of several narrow tunnels we went through. The fall colors are just starting.
We reach the “Needles”
The guys and their cars: Bob, John, and Rick.
Lizzie at the “Needles”
The Needles Hwy.
We head through the last one-way tunnel.

We get back just in time before a quick little thunder storm. It was a great day!

 

Mt. Rushmore

Today we all traveled together to Mt. Rushmore. We did group pictures of the cars with Mt. Rushmore in the back ground and then went to see the sites.

Rick and Lizzie in front of Mt. Rushmore
Cars in front of Mt. Rushmore
Mt. Rushmore

Lori and Rick at Mt. Rushmore

Up close and personal with the four:

George Washington
Abraham Lincoln
Thomas Jefferson

 

Theodore Roosevelt

Next we take a ride on the old steam engine 1880 train.

The 1880 train taking on water before we start.

Some of us who took the train ride: Jim and Kathy, Bob and Marilynn, and John and Nancy.
All aboard, we are off and going.

We go through pretty country with rock walls, trees, stream, and meadows. There are a lot of deer. It is an hour ride each way. When we get back we go to dinner and then return to Mt. Rushmore for the night lighting ceremony.

Mt. Rushmore at dusk .
And with lights after dark.

The end of another full day of fun.

 

Spearfish to Deadwood to Hill City

Today we head to Deadwood first. We all go at the same time to start the walking “poker run”. I start with a King, but then quit. I take pictures of Rick driving Tin Lizzie under the city sign and then by the “Tin Lizzie” casino.

We are making it a road trip with the Model A’s
Most of our cars in Deadwood
We aren’t the first to visit Deadwood in a Model A!
Rick driving Lizzie under the entrance sign to Deadwood.
Tin Lizzie under the Tin Lizzie casino sign

We then go up to the Mt. Moriah Cemetery. There are 3,627 burials here, including Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Wild Bill’s head stone
Wild Bill Hickok’s grave.

Bronze statue of “Wild Bill”
Calamity Jane’s grave

I even find a “JENSEN” head stone

Pictures as leaving Deadwood.

We leave town after huge ice cream cones and head for the scenic route to Hill City.

We go through pretty hills with aspen and pine trees with green meadows, running streams and a lot of deer. We even come across two wild turkeys, but I haven’t found any big horn sheep yet. We decide to go to the Wonderland Cave and take their tour.

Entrance to the cave. There is only one way in and one way out!
And that is via 126 stairs down and 126 stairs back up! They use to rappel in.
Pretty rock formations

Copper in a geode.

Cathedral columns

We all make it back up.

We finish off the day by going to dinner at the Alpine restaurant. What a meal, a fantastic bacon wrapped filet mignon steak with baked potato, bread, and a 1/4 wedge salad for only $11.95! Now that is the way to end the day.

Devils Tower

We get up at 6 and have breakfast. We are on the road at 8:45. We are a group of five cars to start and pick up two others on the way. On the way we make a stop in an old town called: Hulett. We had fun there until the antique shop owner decided to get grumpy with us and I thought he might try to really put us in jail or in coffins! We escaped and headed on.  We enter Devils Tower National Monument with ease with one exception: Marilynn had a “senior moment” and couldn’t remember her birthdate! When they take me away will someone come rescue me? We hike to the base of the tower and get a fantastic view of the valley below. We watch a couple climb half way up the tower and then come down. We head on, passing prairie dog town and make a stop in Sundance and have a picnic lunch. After lunch as we are headed back to Spearfish  we end up in a race with a large buck. He was really pretty with a big rack. This time I do get a picture of him on the run as we are going by in the car. Maybe my photo skills are improving? After getting back to Spearfish we drive up Spearfish Canyon as far as Bridalveil Falls and then head back to the hotel. It was a fun first day.

We are in the middle of the pack.
Taking a little rest on a “FORD” bench.
Part