Category Archives: Travel

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #14 ~ Onward!

It’s eight o’clock in the morning and we’re already headed down the the road before us. We wanted to get a good head start to the day as we made our way towards the Badlands National Park.

A~MAZ~ING!

I found it fascinating all the different colors of the rock formations. We stopped at one of the overlooks, walked up to the rail and here’s these two Big Horn Sheep, MAN! And the Prairie Dogs here, I’ve never seen so many in one place, and fat !   We had a picnic lunch at the Visitor’s Center and then motored on to…

Wall South Dakota

What, you’ve never heard of Wall Drug and the free ice water? It was a blast, I didn’t know that it was so big. We decided on a snack after walking and shopping.

Their doughnuts were outstanding, so were the pies, we tried our slice ala mode along with some free ice water, that’s what they’re known for.

our hotel in Wall South Dakota

We found our hotel, not that difficult, Wall South Dakota is not very big. We only stayed one night, so we made supper just a simple salad in our room and it was to bed early, so that we would be fresh for our next stop.

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Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #13 ~ Next Up Is Keystone South Dakota

On our way out of Sundance Wyoming we went through Deadwood South Dakota, interesting place for a morning visit.

On to the main event: Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

I know that I’ve said WOW! quite a few times already in sharing our Great Western Adventure with everyone, but WOW!

As we walked towards the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, I stopped in my tracks, tears welling up and rolling down my cheeks.

I spotted Hawaii’s State flag in the breeze, which reminded me what a lucky little girl from Kaneohe Oahu I am. My husband was so excited, he plowed ahead, getting as close as he could to this National Treasure. This was a place we both had been waiting all of our lives to see…

So let’s not waste any more time dilly-dallying around.

We didn’t bother with our hotel until later that afternoon. We stayed at the park for the majority of the day, got a quick bite in the cafeteria and then found a good spot to watch the Evening Lighting Ceremony.  I don’t have one of those fancy cameras that can take a good night-time photo, but was really awesome to see!

The next day we had breakfast in our hotel, which was once again the usual “continental-plus” fare and then back to the park for the day. Surprisingly, there is a lot to see and do. We had decided that we would end our day early and have dinner at the Powder House Restaurant. You wouldn’t know that this is a restaurant, it looks like a log cabin, but man, what great food. In my research prior to leaving on this trek, I found that the Powder House specializes in local grass fed beef, bison and game.

My husband and I shared an appetizer of game kebabs-venison, bison and elk, wonderful. My supper was the special game of the day, pheasant with a fresh apple relish if you will and steamed veggies. My DH ordered the Prime Rib and the steamed veg as well. It seems that we had just enough room leftover to share a chocolate mousse.

We found a small grocery store in the next town over and replenished our supplies the next day and spent one more day at Mount Rushmore. We both just sat, in silence, looking up at the four faces that helped to forge America.

WOW, just WOW!

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #12 ~ Sundance

No, not the town that you’re thinking of, Sundance Wyoming. Why did we go there you may ask? Because once again, that was the closest town with a hotel to Devils Tower National Monument.

It’s kinda of out in the middle of, well, nothing and nowhere, but once you spot America’s first National Monument, it’ll take your breath away.

We spent a good part of the day at the park, hiking around the base of the igneous intrusion, that’s what it’s called, I thought it was a granite tower. We tried to have a picnic lunch, but the bees were everywhere and unrelenting.

Trying to find dinner in a very small town can be a challenge, but I had done my homework. Aro Restaurant, very unassuming and homey. Each of us ordered a burger and sweet potato fries that came with ‘yam butter’. When our waitress came back to check on us, I had to ask, what is yam butter. She gave me the basic recipe, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and butterscotch topping. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! Dessert was one of the daily special pies, chocolate and peanut butter with a meringue topping, very good.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #11 ~ Movin’ On Again

Cody Wyoming.

The morning that we left Billings, heading towards Cody, it was pouring buckets! It was very difficult to see the road; its good thing we have a GPS device, especially since there has been no Cell Phone reception for the majority of our trip. In fact the rain stayed with us for most of our time in Cody, but that didn’t dampen our adventurous spirit.

@ the Whitney Museum in Cody Wyoming

We took the Cody Trolley, which included entrance to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, WOW! Five museums under one roof.

@ the Whitney Western Art Museum in Cody Wyominf, this a Remington!

I personally liked the Whitney Western Art Museum , where as my husband enjoyed the Firearms Museum. It worked out well being indoors on this portion of our trip, because it was still raining!!

Granny's Family dining in Cody Wyoming

I found Granny’s Family Dining while doing my research prior to our trip, and we weren’t disappointed. I didn’t take any photos of our wonderful meals, plural, we ate here on three occasions. This was the type of Mom&Pop diner ‘where everybody knows your name’ and I didn’t feel like I should be breaking out the Kodak. Our waitress Sue was wonderful (thanks Sue), she reminded me very much of my mother. I have to say that our favorite meal here at Granny’s was breakfast. Their biscuits and gravy, oh my!

We needed to get more picnic supplies and LOOK! There’s a Walmart, let’s go!

Oh my gravy all over my two scoops rice (that’s OMG! in my world) I found Aloha Brand soy sauce and some of my other favorite goodies from Hawaii… IN CODY WYOMING!! Did you know that Wyoming is the LEAST populated state in America, and yet the Walmart has Shoyu!? 😀

After dinner one night at the restaurant in our hotel, which will remain nameless (we didn’t care for their food at all), we went looking for dessert and found Bubba’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant (that’s right, the same as Bubba’s in Jackson Wyoming).

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie @ Bubba's Bar-B-Que Restaurant in Cody Wyoming

I had THE BEST pie I’ve ever had! Chocolate Buttermilk Pie. I have to learn how to make this, for sure.

Ice Cream Sundae @ Bubba's Bar-B-Que in Cody Wyoming

My dearest husband wanted Ice Cream. Would you look at that Ice Cream Sundae? MAN!

This was a delicious stop in our journey, but it’s time to mosey on down the trail.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #10 ~ Keep On Movin’

The drive from Whitefish to Billing Montana was very much a reverse route of our previous ride, SO BEAUTIFUL! I encourage anyone who was not gone into Montana, do so, it’s well worth your time. You will decompress from your hectic day-to-day.

We had just a little trouble finding our hotel in Billings, and it was a very long drive. We found a grocery store, replenished our picnic-making supplies and decided on just a simple mixed veggie salad in our room.

I have always road tripped with my dollar store knife, flexible plastic cutting mat, disposable sea salt and black pepper grinders and garlic powder for just such an affair. Sometimes we will stay in and make a salad of whatever vegetables we can find, either in stores or farmer’s markets.

We aren’t stayin’ long here, so let’s get to it!

We knew that it was going to be another long day, so it was a fast breakfast in our hotel and then off to Pompey’s Pillar National Monument. What, you’ve never heard of that either, well time for another American History lesson.

Remember the Lewis & Clark expedition? This is the only physical evidence of their journey. Captain William Clark inscribed his name into this sandstone formation along the Yellowstone River. He named this tower, as he called it, after the son of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau and Sacagawea, whom he nicknamed Pompy.

We clambered to the top, as we were being attacked by mosquitoes the size of B52 boomers! Thank goodness I had a can of bug repellent with me at all times on this trip, we had use it on more than one occasion.

On to our next history lesson, Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument. I wasn’t expecting to be so taken aback, but to see all of these markers where men and horses too had fallen. We spent a good amount of time at the Visitor Center, watching the video and then the Ranger’s talk about the battle, fascinating. We drove the self guided loop road, stopping at the different placards.

Mushroom Pizza @ Ciao Mambo in Billings Montana

That was another long day, so what’s for dinner?

I found Ciao Mambo again, here in Billings too, and not terribly far from our hotel. We shared another Caesar salad with those huge anchovies and a mushroom Pizza. We didn’t have too much luck with pizza on this trip. It was okay, but that’s all.

Tomorrow is another town though.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #9 ~ Our Next Stop Is …

Whitefish Montana. Yeah, I know, I had never heard of this place before now either, but I have heard of Glacier National Park, it has been on my bucket list for a good long time. My gosh, the drive from Helena to Whitefish was just beautiful, mountainous country side; yet again, not on the interstates. Not a whole lot of places to stop and grab a bite, so if you go, bring water and a picnic. Oh, but don’t drink too much water, there are no rest stops!

I didn’t get a picture, but we saw loads of hay stacks, for real stacks, not baled in those familiar round or rectangular shapes you see, but the old school way.

This was the backbone of America.

After finding our hotel, we looked for some dinner. But wait, it’s Monday Night Football night, dear! Egads Man! So… my lengthy research pointed me towards the Buffalo Café, as well the very helpful front desk staff at our hotel. It was less than a mile from our hotel, well pretty much everything was about a mile from our hotel, not a huge town.

I gave a call and made a takeout order of the Flat iron steak and Beef Stroganoff. YUM! This was more than enough food for the two of us.

The next morning we took off for Glacier National Park. We figured it would be a long day, so it was a quick breakfast in the hotel of yogurt and fruit and we were off!

Going-to-the-Sun road. Oh My Goodness! I don’t think that I’ve said WOW so many times in one day. The drive is a little tricky, steep, very narrow to the point that they do not allow certain vehicles to take the drive. We could have gone on the Red Bus tour in old style jammer buses, but we like to stop when and where we want to. Once again, bring your water and a picnic, but I knew this going into the Park. It was absolutely spectacular sitting there having a picnic lunch in Glacier National Park, such a beautiful setting.

What a day! Well, time to look for something for dinner. Ciao Mambo, fantastic! Though very small and they only take reservations for parties of 6 or more, so go early. DH and I shared an Antipasti plate and he had a Caesar salad with anchovies. Would ya’ look at the size of those buggers? Our entrées were spaghetti and meatballs and cheese raviolis, and their bread…very good and tons of food!

We were so tired the next morning, we decided that we’d take a day off from touring and chill for a while. We started our day off back over at the Buffalo Café for a nice big breakfast or was it brunch? We had the day’s chalkboard special of ham steak, egg, hash browns and toast; that rye toast was good and I don’t really care for that. The other choice for the table was Kansas City Pie, oh baby baby!  Start with a base of hash browns, then slap on a couple of slabs of Kansas City bacon which is smoked pork shoulder and some smoked cheddar cheese. Top all of that with a poached egg that was cooked perfectly; add some toast of your choice (I went for the whole grains, yum!) and that was only a HALF order! MAN!

We have been seeing so many different RV’s on this trip, and don’t ya’ know, I’ve been trying to sell my dearest husband on the fact that would be an easier way for us to travel… so we went to a dealership in the next town over to take a lookey-loo.

Our days not done yet! The weekly Farmer’s Market is this evening from 5 til about 7 or so. I had been told by several of the locals to look for Flathead cherries. I finally found some, not much, but they were well worth the hunt. And those summer squashes are the biggest I have ever seen, I wish I had a kitchen!!!

Dinner. Buffalo Café. Salad. Delicious!

Steak salad with very yummy fried onion rings on top and a salmon Caesar, both with the dressing on the side in a great cruet. Yeah, we’ll be back.

Roadside Attraction outside of Whitefish Montana

It’s time to motor on to our next stop and yet more interesting sights along the way, I’m sure.

Our Great Western Adventure ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #8 ~ Let’s Go Visiting

A few months back, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with an old friend from Hawaii, who I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. It just so happened that DH and I were planning this month long odyssey and guess where she lives now? Montana! So we added Helena Montana into our itinerary and I’m so glad that we did.

So load ‘em up and let’s go visiting.

I’ve realized that here in the Plains-States there are very few Interstate Highways and most of our journey was on much smaller, more picturesque roadways. Several times we got to see ranchers and their cowboys, that’s right real cowboys, moving their livestock for the upcoming winter.

Also, in many cases, we traversed unimproved roads, just dirt.

But, if you want to get to an out-of-the-way locale, that’s what you have to do sometimes, like to get to my friends house!

So we got there in one piece and spent an evening with my long time friend and her adoring husband who made supper for all of us on the grill.

Now, it happens that DF’s husband hunts, so dinner was from his most recent outing. Elk burgers. Super delicious! I had never had any kind of game before, and I really liked it.

We brought to the party a pie from a local bakery and a couple of bottles of wine. So the gals sat and chatted while the guys watched football and did guy stuff.

I hope that we can do this again soon!