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Old 07-07-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
statman
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Road Trip!

Last week my brother, Mike, his wife Bonnie and I went on a road trip to some places that I've always wanted to visit. We flew from San Antonio to Denver and rented a car. From there we drove to South Dakota, and to get there, we had to drive through a portion of Wyoming and ran across some passing thunderstorms...



I thought it was cool the way the sun, peeking through the clouds lit up the falling rain as well as producing a small rainbow.

While in SD, we took a bus tour that visited several places in the Black Hills. Here we are at the first stop...the Mount Rushmore National Memoria...


Me, Mike and Bonnie.

Then we toured through Custer State Park hoping to see some buffalo. Much to our disappointment, we didn't catch glimpse of any bison, but we did see a few deer and a few of these guys...


While in the park, we also visited Sylvan Lake. It's a beautiful place and also where part of the film National Treasure: Book of Secrets was filmed. This is a panorama of the lake stitched together from four separate shots...


We also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, but by that time the weather was starting to turn bad, so I don't have any pics.

The next day we stopped in at the Bear Country USA drive through wildlife park. They have variety of animals in several enclosures in the drive through portion including elk, reindeer, wolves, buffalo, mountain lions, big horn sheep and bears. Lots of black and brown bears... The only two grizzly bears they had were in the walk around portion of the park. Here's a pic of one of them...



The next day, we visited Deadwood, an old gold rush town that is now a gambling destination of sorts. It's also the place where Wild Bill Hickock was killed whilst holding the "deadman's hand"... aces and eights. We also hit Sturgis, home of the world's largest biker rally, that day.

The following day, we began our trek further west, stopping in at the Devil's Tower National Monument. It is quite a site to behold. It's monolithic appearance is unique in the somewhat hilly terrain surrounding it. I can see why Spielberg chose this area as a setting in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Very picturesque!



While in the park we came across a prairie dog town and I snapped off this shot...



Heading further west we passed through the Bighorn Mountains. I took this picture from a scenic overlook off the highway that winds through them...



Our next destination was the one I was most excited about... Yellowstone National Park!
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:49 PM   #2
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Yellowstone National Park is a fantastic place to visit if you love outdoor scenery as do I. There are so many things to see...

The Yellowstone River Lower Falls is an awesome sight to behold. The thunderous sound sound if the water of the river pounding the rocks at the base of the falls is thrilling. A natural wonder indeed!

This shot was taken from the north rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. In order to get to this spot during the "golden hour" (almost) we got up at 4 AM and drove into the park from our cabin outside of Cody, WY. It was well worth the effort.



The scene you see here is a panoramic shot of the Grand Prismatic Springs. One of the many thermal features (hot springs/geysers) in Yellowstone.

This panorama is stitched together in PS CS4 from three separate shots.



The Excelsior Geyser is another thermal feature of Yellowstone National Park. It is located near the Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin. It's beautiful turquoise waters look inviting, but at nearly 200 degrees, I would advise against jumping in.



The Old Faithful Geyser is probably the most famous feature of Yellowstone, but I felt it was a bit of a letdown compared to some of the other sights in the park. Still, it's quite impressive and worth seeing.



We saw a variety of wildlife in the park including elk, buffalo, bighorn sheep, a timber wolf, and a badger. We were really hoping to see some bears in the wild, and we did, just not very many. We saw a black bear on the side of the road and one (a cub) in a tree. We also were fortunate enough to see some grizzly bears too. Unfortunately, the only decent picture I got is not very good, as the bears were several hundred yards away from the road. There are actually three bears in this pic, but you can only see one clearly...



Funny thing about traveling through Yellowstone: if you see a bunch of cars pulled over to the side of the road with people standing around pointing, you better stop too. It's most likely a bear that they are gawking at! LOL

Yellowstone is such a wonderful place to visit... everyone should do so at least once in their lifetime. I spent only one short day in the area, but I definitely plan on visiting again!

The last picture I have for you is one I took while in Denver(actually it was in Georgetown near Denver) on the last day of our vacation. We took a train ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad that took us from Georgetown, CO to Silver Plume, Co and back. It is a historic railway from the old silver mining days of Colorado. On one of the stops, we were able to tour an old silver mine. Quite interesting...

Anywho... here's a pic of the train...




Thanks for looking! I hope you folks like the pics.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:20 AM   #3
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Sweet pics Paulie!
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:22 AM   #4
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Great pics Paul !

Man that Devils tower is so cool looking !

That friggin bear needs some teeth whitening big time ! lol
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:24 AM   #5
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as I posted on DA - these are awesome pics - really makes me want to make that trip!! Thanks for posting Paul!
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwf6171 View Post
Sweet pics Paulie!
Thanks Mikey!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex655321 View Post
Great pics Paul !

Man that Devils tower is so cool looking !

That friggin bear needs some teeth whitening big time ! lol
Thanks Lou!

Cleaning the bear's teeth can be your job.



Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeGiant View Post
as I posted on DA - these are awesome pics - really makes me want to make that trip!! Thanks for posting Paul!
Thanks again Dave!

I will definitely make a trip back up to Yellowstone one day, but this time, I'm spending more than a day in the park. BTW, there is lodging in the park, but you better reserve it EARLY if you want to get in. We stayed at a nice, kinda rustic, place about 32 miles from the east entrance because we couldn't get a room in Yellowstone.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:34 AM   #7
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wasn't someone just killed by a grizzly at Yellowstone?
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:40 AM   #8
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wasn't someone just killed by a grizzly at Yellowstone?
Yup. wasn't me though...







Seriously though... it was a hiker who, along with his wife happened upon a mamma grizz and her cubs and apparently the bear attacked him while protecting the babies.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:41 AM   #9
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Yup. wasn't me though...







Seriously though... it was a hiker who, along with his wife happened upon a mamma grizz and her cubs and apparently the bear attacked him while protecting the babies.
glad to hear it wasn't you

Tragic story ... but you have to know it is possible when you hike where wild grizzlies live.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:44 AM   #10
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Paul, mate, thank you SO much for the pics and info!! LOVED looking through this and Steph and I will definitely have to hit this part of the US when we return!

Oh and love the shirt
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