Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Final AVERT2015 Recap! :)

I was trying to not have a super long post, but in order to wrap up AVERT2015, this post is gonna be a little lengthy (BUT, it will FINALLY wrap up the recap). It only took me a month to complete. Lol. Thank you for your patience! :) I hope you enjoy (again, sorry for so much in this post). :)

We stayed in Bowman, ND and the next day, found a cute little museum (of course we did). It was actually kind of interesting. If you find yourself near Bowman, go check out the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum.

The newspaper at the bottom is an actual copy of the paper from when Lincoln was assassinated
I like the fact that Teddy Roosevelt read a book a day his entire adult life. I wish I could do that!
After leaving Bowman, we made a quick stop at a historical marker. We actually read about Fort Dilts at the museum, and decided to take a little detour to see it. 
It was kinda neat that at one of the grave markers, the great-great granddaughter of one of the men killed there had left a note to him.
Yes, we made a random stop to take pictures of sunflowers (my mom loves sunflowers).

We made it to Montana (our 6th state) by lunchtime. Our goal was to make it most of the way across Montana in a day, since we were going to try and squeeze in two days at Yellowstone. We did make a quick (well, hour and a half) stop at Pompeys Pillar. This is where William Clark (of Lewis and Clark) carved his name in the side of a rock back in 1806. This is the last remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

No, I didn't really step in the boat. BUT, they should know better than to tempt me. :) They also had a replica jacket that Lewis and Clark would have worn. That thing was heavy!
Taking a selfie with William Clark- he wouldn't smile
After A LOT of driving, we finally stopped in Bozeman, MT for the night. We found a cute hotel called C'mon Inn. It was by far the nicest hotel we stayed at while on our trip. If I were to go back and visit Bozeman, I would stay there. I loved that our room had a balcony view over a lobby area (that had 9 hot tubs). 
Not, this wasn't a real goat
The next day we got up and made the drive to Yellowstone National Park. The drive TO Yellowstone was just as pretty as Yellowstone itself. We stopped to take a lot of pictures (no, I won't post them all). :)

I really wanted to put my feet in the water, but I refrained
We realized on our way to Yellowstone we had time for a quick trip to Idaho (state number 7!) It was a little out of our way, but worth it to cross another state off our list.

Our goal was to stop and see something in each state we visited (not counting the state sign). We noticed we were close to the Longest Main Street in America, so we decided to drive down that. It wasn't anything too exciting, but still, it's something historical (have you noticed we are history nerds?) :)

On our way back towards Yellowstone, we noticed a pizza parlor near a place called Mack's Inn Resort, so we stopped there for lunch. We had been searching for a hotel room near Yellowstone (since we planned to go there two days) and the cheapest one was $160 (and that was for a Motel 6). Some advice: If you plan on going to Yellowstone and want to stay the night nearby, book it MONTHS in advance for a good deal, or you will pay the price. Anyways, while we were eating, we noticed the little inn next door. I checked and they had an available room. It was MUCH cheaper than anything else we had seen, so we booked a room for that night. It was only about 30 minutes from the West Yellowstone entrance. We finally got to Yellowstone by early afternoon.

We crossed into our 8th state (Wyoming) while inside Yellowstone. If you have never been to Yellowstone, you do a lot of driving. There are many places to pull over so you can see the scenery and take pictures, but the "main attractions" are about 35-40 minutes apart (unless you have wildlife in the road that delay you). You can only go about 45 miles per hour inside the park. Of course we HAD to see Old Faithful, so we decided to make that our first stop of the day. They can guesstimate when Old Faithful will erupt (usually every 90 minutes or so). After looking for a spot in the Old Faithful parking lot for about 10 minutes, we finally got out of the car and made our way over to it. No joke, we had just managed to get a spot kinda up close when it erupted. We made it just in time (it would have been disheartening to have just missed it and had to wait another hour and a half to see it). I was able to get a video of it. I'm gonna try and upload the video here (not sure it will work or not).

We drove around for several more hours, checking out waterfalls and some of the many geysers. Yellowstone is beautiful. I'm sad we only had two days to visit. They do warn you about the wildlife. We did see some while we were there. We saw several elk and a herd of bison (a park ranger informed us that they were bison and not buffalo). There are no buffaloes in North America. The song "Home on the Range" totally lied to us. My childhood is ruined (not really).

Disclaimer before you look at the pictures of me and the bison. I am NOT as close as I seem. I had several friends message me about my safety when I posted them on social media. I'm not THAT brave (or stupid, I guess) to get that close to wildlife. :) It is ALL about the camera angles. And there were people a lot closer than me (so I figured I could out run them if need be). Lol. Again, I could bore you with MANY Yellowstone pictures, I tried to only pick a few (okay, a little more than a few).

It was supposed to rain all day, but it held off until the end of the day. And it stopped after about 30 minutes. But it did bring the temperatures down, I was forced to put on my hoodie!
We got out to take our selfies with the bison and had just made it back to the car when the herd decided to cross the road. As you can tell, they had the right-of-way. Lol. ;)
After staying the night at the inn in Idaho, we went back the next day for what we thought would be a quick day at Yellowstone (we had planned to leave by 1pm, we didn't leave until 5pm). A lot of that was due to road construction (yes, even Yellowstone cannot escape road construction), and also a back up of cars due to people getting out of their vehicles to see a grizzly bear and her cubs eating a bison (hope it wasn't one we met the day before). We caught a glimpse of the grizzly (from the safety of the car), but unfortunately could not get a good picture. But hey- we saw a bear! The only wildlife we didn't see was a moose (I was disappointed). I'll spare you the gory details of how I suffered a little bit of car sickness (which never happens to me). Thankfully there were plenty of places to pull over, so no damage was done to my car. Lol. It also happened as we were leaving, so I didn't miss much of the scenery (I took a Dramamine and slept for a while after that but Mel told me I didn't miss anything exciting as we were leaving). Since we stayed so long at Yellowstone, we had to skip visiting Cody, WY (although we did stop at the Buffalo Bill Dam just outside of it).

We made it all the way to Casper, WY to stay the night. That meant we only had about four hours to drive the next day to make it to Denver, CO (it was actually a little less than that thanks to Wyoming's 85 miles per hour speed limit on the interstate). I was excited about our trip to Denver because we were able to go to a Rockies baseball game, meaning I can cross another ballpark off my bucket list (and I can update #3 on my 101 in 1001 list)! Thanks to Mel for sitting through a baseball game (she had to put up with my sports watching while we were roommates). :) Coors Field was beautiful (they didn't serve Dr Pepper, so I had to remove one star from my review). Lol. But besides that, it was awesome. We found GREAT seats on StubHub. They were normally $60 club level seats but we got them for about half of that cost. They were playing the Braves that night (my second favorite team). Sadly, the Braves didn't win, but that's okay.

A storm hit Denver that night. The rain held off until the last out of the game, but the sky looked really pretty as the storm was rolling in. 

The next morning we were ready to head for home, but first we stopped by the Garden of the Gods. It was breath-taking. Sadly we didn't get to spend as much time as we would have liked (I was possibly ready to get home), but I'm glad we made time to drive through it.

You can see Pike's Peak behind me. Those are the "purple mountains majesties" in the song America the Beautiful
New Mexico was the 10th state of our trip. We were only there for about an hour (we cut across a corner of it to get from Colorado to Texas, but we did make one quick stop (just to say we were there).

I'll admit I was very happy to see the Texas state sign (the 11th and final state of our trip)- it was good to be "home" (although the state sign and MY home were still seven hours apart. It always seems the longest part of any road trip is getting through Texas). Lol. We stopped about 10 pm for dinner in Amarillo (yes, the first place we ate at in Texas was Whataburger, are you surprised?) The whole day I had been determined to get home that night (usually towards the end of a trip, I'm just ready to be home), but Amarillo was still a good five and a half hours from Dallas, so we decided it would be best to stay the night in Amarillo and just get up early the next morning to get home. Yes, I did sing "Amarillo by Morning" when we left the next day. I figured George Strait would appreciate that. Lol.

Yes, I did hug the Texas state sign, don't judge. Lol
I took a picture of my mileage when we left and when we got back. We drove a total of 3,846. Totally worth it!
Thanks for sticking with me during this recap. Sorry today's post was so long. I was ready to just be done with it. :) We are already planning a road trip for next year, so stay tuned for that!
Have a great day!

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