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Canadian Rockies/Yellowstone

July 7 - July 23, 2002

TMP43.jpg (107607 bytes) Here we are standing in front of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. Dad turned 80 two days after returned from this trip.I took over 600 pictures on this trip of which you will only see a very small number here.

We left my parents house at 5:30 Saturday morning for the 7:00 am bus departure from Holiday Tours in Randleman, NC. After a lunch stop in Charleston, WVa we drove on to our first evening stop in Sellersberg, IN. After checking into our hotel and freshening up we hopped back on the bus for a beautiful ride through the Indiana countryside to the Joe Huber Family Farm & Restaurant in Starlight, IN. What a spread they put on the table: fried chicken, country ham, mashed potatoes, beans, corn-on-the-cob, slaw, etc. all grown right on the farm and served fresh to the table. This was their family meal which was paid for as part of our the trip but they have other things on their menu. After dinner we were invited to one of their evening country music shows behind the restaurant in their Country Bash barn. Great place for a meal and tour if you get in the area.

Up early the next morning and off to our next destination, the Wisconsin Dells. We took a two hour boat ride up and down the Wisconsin River and into the various coves along the way. These pictures represent a small sample of the famous rock formations you see along the way.

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It is now Monday morning and we are off to next destination, Duluth, MN. After our lunch stop in Superior, WI at a Perkins restaurant along the river front we crossed the bridge into Duluth and drove around to the waterfront along the MN side of Lake Superior. We walked around the waterfront and visited the gift shops while waiting for the 3:30 boat tour of the Lake. W first headed out under this bridge into the portion of the lake ships use to continue on into the lower portions of the United States. As you can see there is a very large tanker making its way out of the port.

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After turning around and going back under the bridge we continued our tour along the waterfront crossing back into Superior, WI. We actually passed by the restaurant where we had eaten lunch earlier. The third picture illustrates an example of the many large grain silos along the water front for major US exporters where ships were loading for overseas transport. We also saw huge piles of ore and coal for exporting. After our two hour boat ride we checked into our hotel for the evening located further up the waterfront.

Tuesday found us heading off for Minot, ND. Along the way we stopped in the little town of Bimidji, MN for lunch. They have a bigger than life sized statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue ox. After walking around the town and visitors center we found a little place for lunch where I ate Walleye fish for the first time in my life. Very good!! The scenery from Duluth to Minot was primarily agricultural and dairy farms along the way. We saw a lot of flax fields in this part of the state.

Wednesday, we crossed the border in to Canada on our way to Regina, Saskatchewan where we took a tour of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building for a tour and chance to sit in on one of their sessions. The building itself is very beautiful with a lot of marble interiors. The tour included a look at their library which is open to the public during regular hours. From there we headed over to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Museum and training grounds. If you are ever near Regina, this museum is well worth your time for a visit.

TMP25.jpg (91682 bytes) Thursday's route takes us along Rt 1, Canada through Moose Jaw with lunch in Medicine Hat. We arrived in Calgary with just enough time to change cloths before hopping back on the bus for our ride over to the Calgary Tower for our dinner. Located in downtown Calgary the restaurant sits 190 meters above the ground and rotates a full 360 degrees in one hour. From here we could get a full view of the entire city including the Calgary Stamped going on just a few blocks away from us. On the way out of town the next morning we toured the site of the 1988 winter Olympic Games held in Calgary. Now you can see what it looks like without all the snow and people. It seemed to me to be a lot smaller than it looks on television.

Friday morning we began to see the Canadian Rockies off into the distance long before we arrived at the entrance to Banff National Park. After entering the park we drove directly to Banff located right at the base of the mountains. After checking into the Mount Royal Hotel, our home for the next two nights, we boarded the bus for the short ride to Sulphur Mountain where we took the eight minute gondola ride to the Summit. (Be sure to look at the web site for a picture) I was very proud of both me and my mom for being brave enough to ride it to the top. I took the first picture from the gondola window. After arriving at the top I took the trail (picture on left of their web site) up to the next summit. The third picture is just one of many views we had along the way. While up top we ate lunch, shopped in the gift shop, and walked around looking at the stunning views. It was also very hot, 80 degrees.

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Back at the hotel while mom and dad rested I did a quick load of laundry for myself and dad. With all the hot weather I was going through shorts faster than I though I would and wanted to wash up a few pairs. Dad needed a few shirts and underwear washed. After finishing up the laundry we headed out to walk around the town and find something for dinner. I found an Irish pub, St. James Gate Old Irish Pub where I ate a delicious meal of Haddock and fries better known as Fish and Chips.

TMP23.jpg (79575 bytes) The next morning we boarded the bus for our ride along the Ice Fields Parkway to the Columbia Ice Fields and the Athabasca Glacier. Along the way we stopped at Lake Louis. I just cannot describe the stunning views of the mountains, glaciers, and rivers along the way

TMP42.jpg (97190 bytes) TMP41.jpg (93678 bytes) Once we arrived at the visitors center we very quickly ate lunch before loading their bus that takes us out to the snow coaches. These coaches took us out on the glacier where we actually walked around on the glacier ice as you can see in the picture of me pointing out toward the glacier behind me. It was very cold and windy but we were only out there for a short time. Along the way the coach driver gave us a history of the glacier, etc. Dinner that night was at a lovely little Italian place Guido's Ristorante.

Sunday morning we were back on the road again driving down Hwy 1 to Calgary to connect to Hwy 2 toward Lethbridge. Again we saw beautiful fields of rape, canola, and other type fields as well as faint glimpses of the Rockies along the way.

Monday morning we crossed the border back into the good ol' USA. at Coutts, Montana on our way to Butte, Montana. Again, breath taking mountains and scenery along both Hwy 4 in Canada and on Interstate 15 to Butte. After a lunch stop at great little place called Elmers we visited Giant Springs State Park for a picture event of the falls, springs and fish hatchery located there. I also got a pretty good close up picture of a local snake sunning himself on the rocks just for Bob.

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Tuesday we were back on the road again heading for Yellowstone National Park. We entered the Park via the North Entrance from I-89. Again, awesome scenery of mountains especially in and around Bozeman. Upon entering the park we ate lunch at one of the Park fast food restaurants before beginning our stops at the various geysers, mud holes, waterfalls, etc.

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Our final stop for the evening was at Old Faithful. After watching it blow the first time we ate at the cafe just down the path. After dinner we stuck around for one more eruption that was better than the first one. Afterwards we drove on to our Park Lodge accommodations for the night.

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The next morning we drove around Lake Yellowstone and made a visit to what is known as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We made several stops from both sides of the canyon for pictures before finally exiting the park via the East entrance and driving on to Cody, WY.

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We arrived around 3:30 to tour the Buffalo Bill Museum. We only had two hours and I could have spent all day. I really enjoyed the firearms exhibit portion of the museum. I also spent a hour or so just walking around in downtown Cody, a very typical small western town.

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Thursday morning we took off down Hwy 14 E to I-95 and our beautiful drive through the Big Horn Mountains. As we headed on toward Deadwood, SD we passed huge ranches along the way. We did not have time to tour the city of Deadwood which consisted mostly of saloons and gambling places, the most famous being Saloon 10 where Buffalo Bill was shot in the back while playing poker. By the time we checked into our hotel and had dinner it was time to get back on the bus and drive over to the Passion Play, an outdoor drama presented by the towns people of Spearfish where the amphitheater is located.

Friday was going to be a long with with a lot of traveling and site seeing stops. First it was a stop at Bear County USA. You must stay in your cars to drive through the park because the animals live here in freedom without cages and barriers except to keep the animals apart from each other. After a tour through the park you can stop at the visitor center and walk around their animal farm area. The baby bears were having so much fun I could hardly tear myself away from watching them.

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After we left Bear Country it was on to Mount Rushmore.

TMP44.jpg (109248 bytes) Need I say more about this great monument. I walked the trail up to the base of the mountain taking a lot of pictures of both the monument and the surrounding hillside. From various angles along the trail you can get individual pictures of each figure. We were left on our own to tour the Monument Park area and museum, get some lunch, and meet back at the bus around 1:30.

Our next stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial.

TMP14.jpg (93247 bytes) TMP15.jpg (110474 bytes) This project is just getting underway and is not financed by any federal funding. As you can see from the first picture of the completed monument and the second one of the actual work they have a long way to go. I spent a lot of time in the museum portion of the center which included Indian Crafts and exhibits. We left in late afternoon to drive on to Wall, SD, site of the famous Wall Drug. I will leave it up to you to read the history of this famous place on your own. Needless to say it was something to see. We ate dinner across the street at the Cactus Cafe. The temperature was well over 100 degrees.

Saturday morning found us on the way to Sioux Falls, SD. First off al we took the Hwy 240 loop that winds around the Badlands National Park. This was almost the highlight of the trip for me. I could not imagine what these mountains looked liked until I actually stepped foot on them. You can walk right out on the mountains which are made up of a very interesting gravel/loose cement like consistency. I have a hard time deciding between the Badlands and the Rockies as my favorites along the trip.

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From there it was on to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD for a quick tour and then to the hotel.

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The tour is now officially winding down. Sunday was a long riding day as we headed south and east for Davenport, Iowa. Monday we took off for Lexington, Ky. On the way we through Indiana we stopped at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway for lunch and tour of the facility and museum. My dad and I took the van ride that takes you around the track.

Tuesday found us back at home around 6:00 in Level Cross after 6,197 miles of what was absolutely a trip I will never forget. I hope you enjoyed the trip. It was difficult to decide which pictures to share with you. The web site links will help to fill in some of the gaps where pictures where impossible to get.

Be sure to visit my travel page to see some of the other trips I have taken in the last few years.

Updated Saturday, April 26, 2003



Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Barbara Fritchman Thompson. All Rights Reserved.