2,300 Miles Behind Us


Note: This post was written 08.19.20

Greetings from Montana!  We have covered a lot of ground in the last week (1,300 miles to be exact!).  Last Thursday after Rob completed his work day, we left the comfort of my dad’s cousin’s house in Kansas City and headed to Sioux Falls, SD for the night.  We enjoyed a picnic at Falls Park by the falls, then spent about 8 hours at a hotel to sleep and hit the road again!  
We wanted to leave super early the next day to get to Badlands (which was 4 hours away) before the crowds – particularly the biker crowds from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally  – but as you can see, we were not successful!

It wasn’t as bad as we had feared though.  We arrived to our first stop in the park about 9AM and it wasn’t very crowded yet.  We were able to do a little hike without passing many people.  

We also were able to get into the Visitors Center pretty quickly after standing in a line to ensure that people inside could socially distance.  The junior programs are not currently operating which is disappointing but expected.  They did have rangers set up outside of the Visitors Center for National Park Passport stamps and for kids to talk to a Park Ranger and get an activity book about the park.   I was happy that the NPS requires masks!

After taking it all in, we went back to our hotel, loaded our bags, and headed 6.5 hours to Red Lodge, MT where we stayed the night in preparation for our drive the next day along The Beartooth Highway aka U.S. Highway 212 aka ‘The Most Scenic Drive in America’.  This route took us as high as 10,947 at Beartooth Pass.  I can’t say the boys appreciated the ride at the top as the thought of falling off the mountain was very real in their little minds.  They did forget about the height briefly as they fed chipmunks at the Rock Creek Vista Point.

The Beartooth Highway took us to the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  Most people just do the two big loops in Yellowstone, so this route allowed us to see a different part of the park.  We will do the big loops this weekend, but enjoyed counting buffalo as we rode along this section of the park.

We were driving towards the North entrance to Yellowstone where we exited the park and headed towards Bozeman, MT – our home away from home for Rob’s work week and the start of school.  We could have gotten to Bozeman much quicker by removing the trip to Red Lodge, The Beartooth Highway, & Northeast section of Yellowstone – but what is the fun in that?  We are here to explore!  Aside from not liking the heights during our extra day of driving, the boys seemed genuinely interested in what we were seeing and enjoyed listening to podcasts with the family instead of plugging into their iPad.  Our favorite kids podcast so far is Story Pirates.

Bozeman is a great town with lots of bike trails and parks.  We’ve spent the last two days riding bikes to the parks in the area after school and work.  Today, I am taking the boys for an epic science lesson at The Museum of the Rockies where they have one of the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world!  There is also an added bonus of a reptile exhibit right now with 19 live reptiles.  These boys are going to love it.  This is our first time going indoors for an activity since COVID halted our lives in March.  After reading the museum’s protocols, I feel comfortable taking them there.  When Rob gets off of work, we will head to downtown Bozeman and a local brewery for dinner.  Tomorrow, we head to Old Faithful to stay the night.  Please join us on social media to follow our journey!  Here are the links Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve spent the last two weeks talking about the places we traveled to in Turkey where the terrain was so unique.  Then, Rob (who had not read the last two newsletters, shame on him!) commented about how similar Badlands was to some of the terrain we had seen in Turkey.  It really was (although I have to admit Turkey was a little more impressive).  
On our first morning in Bozeman, we saw hot air balloons from our balcony which of course reminded me of the amazing views of hot air balloons over Cappadocia we witnessed in Turkey 9 years ago.  So, you are getting another wanderlust inspiration photo from Turkey!