Grand Northern 2014 – Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Keystone, Deadwood and Cody

Friday, June 6th-

Today was a very long bus day. There was a short trip to our first stop, Mitchell, South Dakota to the Corn Palace.

A very country vibe and quite a cool place indeed 🙂

The whole building was covered in corn and the pictures and designs we made from, you guessed it, CORN! So cool!

 

I loved visiting this place! We shopped and took some silly photos. It was such a unique place and a very quirky American icon, not to be missed 🙂

From there it was another couple of hours on the bus playing celebrity heads and eating lots and lots of candy.

When we reached Badlands Naitonal Park, it was like we were free children in a playground. We were able to get out doors and breath in some fresh country air!

We drove through the park listening to ‘The Lion King’ music and admiring the amazing scenery.

186279

It is hard to explain the beauty of nature in a place like this. Even though the day was overcast and dark, the colours on the rock were like nothing else in this world. We even stopped in for a little picnic in the park 🙂

10299932_10152292119734842_6203070420531257174_n

That afternoon, we stopped in at the cute little town of Wall Drug to pick up supplies for the rodeo in Cody and took some fun photos around in the unique town.

10402532_10152292762899842_4341068855523903979_n

10423793_10152292763914842_6016233383048039050_n

10362636_10152292765359842_1055833404301566005_n

Finally the day was drawing to an end as we headed to our final destination for the day; Keystone, to tourist one stop town for anyone visiting Mt. Rushmore. Our contiki accomodation that night was the Washington Inn and Suites.

That evening our dinner was buffet style at the Keystone House Restaurant next door. I won’t beat around the bush, it wasn’t the best meal I’d had on tour. It was included though so nothing to complain about. I stocked up on the fruit and snacks for the bus trips.

I managed to sneak in some ‘in-the-sink- laundry and hang up some spare clothes before calling it a night.

Saturday, June 7th

This was one of the most exciting days that I had really been looking forward to out of the whole trip. I am sure that most of you reading could agree; visiting Mt. Rushmore is way up there on the bucket list when visiting the USA!

The morning started off cold and gloomy in Keystone and we were worried if we would even be able to see anything by the time we reached the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. However our luck rolled in as the clouds rolled away and we squeezed in some great typical tourist shots.

10365888_10152292773539842_160340705233176978_n

 

10450532_10152292770794842_389419635073605223_n

CONTIKI!!!

 

 

We unfortunately did’t have the same luck when we headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial. The whole moutain was covered and we could barely see maybe 5 metres in front of us.

There was a lot to learn though. The Crazy Horse Memorial has an incredible story. It is not as well heard of because it is still a work in progress and it is tributed to the Native American’s. Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, work began on the statue after Mt. Rushmore had been completed and to this stay is still privately funded. If it is to ever be completed, it would be one of the world’s largest statues.

It was great that Contiki included this in the tour, as most tourist’s I guess would not know about it otherwise, and I loved exploring through the museum.

 

The afternoon was spent in the historic town of Deadwood. Have you ever heard of Calamity Jane? Well her travels through this town was a huge part of her story. We had found the Wild West! A small group of us found the No. 10 Saloon to watch the reenacment of of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok and enjoy a cold beverage after all of our running around. Yes, what do you expect, we were drinking every day on Contiki!

The evening came to an end exploring back in Keystone in a local’s secret pub, Halley’s 1880 Store. This one is difficult to explain unless you’ve been there! They had only a few select beers and mixers, but not only was this place a bar, but a mixture of that and a thrift shop/ Vinnies. But cooler! As I was sipping on my lolly water drink, I ventured down to the basement where spare car parts, jars and chest of drawers. The basement kind of gave me to creeps, so I went up to the attic, where I swear I saw a ghost! But noy only that (ghosts and spirits don’t bother me too much) but household items galore. Bicycles, crockery, books, clothes, board games…

10390224_10152314762009842_6267067240555351812_n

This place is a hoarders heaven! They had everything

10492587_10152314793904842_3145638423292710514_n

Some say it was the lighting, others say its a ghost, the owner says her name is Lucy!

 

It wasn’t until about 2am and after going through old business journals and ledgers, launghing over the adventures that had already been, that we all decided it was time to call it a night. Tomorrow, we had rodeo!

Sunday, June 8th

Well today I decided to sit up the front of the bus, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. This one is for all of the Aussie’s that have never seen snow before.

Remember, it is June in the USA and we are all in thongs and shorts and what ever is comfy for our bus trip. As the contiki bus climbed into the mountains of Wyoming, little by little on the side of the road, specs of white began appearing in the shrubs. All of the Aussie’s that were awake including myself begged Marv, our driver to pull over for just 5 minutes. 80% of the Australians on the bus had never seen snow before!

 

10450975_10152314799434842_5499369680990255012_n

Yep, I’m standing in the snow in thongs!

snow

We were simply blessed to see snow. Real snow! Not something seen where most of us were from in the land down under. Just awesome.

Our contiki accomodation for that evening was at Buffalo Bill’s Antler Inn. We continued the contiki ritual of drinking and quickly getting ready with the 15 minutes we had left before heading out for yet another night in a new town.

Our contiki group had a very warm welcome at the local Cody Rodeo. Yeehaw!

10422469_10152314817024842_4873672205345275727_n

Such a cheesy group photo!

I even managed a beer and a gross American hotdog at the rodeo. When then ended the night at the Silver Dollar Bar where we all probably drank way too much (surprise surprise) and requested all of the classic travel songs from the old jukebox in the corner.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s