Road tripping October 19, 2013

With Julie’s new job in Canada, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take a trip across the States and see the northern portion of the country. We had originally planned to visit all the national parks that were up there, however a government shutdown through a few wrinkles into the trip. We ended up “sneaking” into some of the parks which turned out to be entertaining in itself.

We began the trip in Seattle with our car packed with all the basics we would need to start our new lives in Canada. The first day we planned on driving through Washington, ending up in Whitefish, Montana which is near Glacier National Park. We stayed at a great bed and breakfast called the Good Medicine Lodge. We would highly recommend a stay. The owners are great and welcoming, plus they have a couple jars of homemade cookie for the taking.

The next day we planned on visiting what we could of Glacier National Park and then making our way down to Butte, Montana for the night. For Glacier National Park, we were informed that there was a privately owned gift shop inside of the park. If you approached the ranger at the gate, they would have to let you in to visit the gift shop. So thats what we did. We weren’t able to see the glacier, but we did get some nice lake views.

The third day, we had originally planned on going to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons but those were completely closed and out of the way. In the end, we decided that our goal for the day was just to get out of Montana. So our stop for the day was Deadwood, South Dakota. Deadwood is now a large gambling town. In fact our hotel was connected to a casino. They even gave us $10 credits to gamble. We spent the night playing slots for a while until we think we figured out how the machines work. All we saw was that they shined lights and make noise but we couldn’t tell exactly what won the game.

Our fourth day goal was to stay at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. However, we would stop at Mt Rushmore and the Badlands National Park. Mt Rushmore itself was also closed. Except that the monument was easily visible from the highway. In fact, most people just parked on the side of the road and took pictures. Thats what we ended up doing too. Until we got yelled at by a park ranger to take our pictures and go. Going out of Mt Rushmore, we ended up at a small pit stop in Bear Country USA. We were sad that we had not seen many wild animals along our trip. No bears, moose, or buffalo. So we decided to go through this drive through park to get our bear fix. It did not disappoint. They had bears everywhere! Finally, our last stop for the day was a drive through the Badlands. Even though it was a National Park, the road into the park was open as it is a public highway. So we got to see the park without having to pay! The badlands was like a mini grand canyon. Sharon even chased after deer that galloped away.

The final day, we left Sioux Falls for Chicago where we would take a break at Sharon’s place before making the last push into Canada. Overall, I would recommend go through these areas. We all really enjoyed Montana. Its a great state with a variety of scenery.