Great Westward Trek Part 2

DAY FOUR- Break from the Road (sort of)

Today was our built-in rest stop.  We wanted to see the historic town of Deadwood and Mount Rushmore.  We ended up driving a while because Rushmore was 90 minutes south but it was an amazing drive through a National Forest.  Lots more random things to see today . . .

Random miner in Deadwood

We went to the Broken Boot Gold mine- pretty amazing history of mining from a real mine.  I can't imagine the stamina and determination it took to work in places like this.

Oh look, a random statue of Honest Abe.

Again, a "random" wood carving shop near Rushmore.  Some pretty amazing creations.

And then this- the amazing Rushmore.  I was truly impressed- it's high up in the mountains, which adds to the awe-inspiring spot.  I was glad we came here!

Whoops, one more statue- Big Foot!

We are all pretty tired but pushing through.  Spent a lot of time re-organizing the van and cleaning it out.  Getting tired of being in a van!  


Took us through the rest of South Dakota, into Eastern Wyoming.  One of my favorite spots- very high elevation on these wide open, massive hills, with amazing snow-covered peaks (edges of Yellowstone) in the distance.  After several hours of this, we headed down out of the mountains and into flat Montana.  Not my favorite part.  Once we cleared Billings, we began to see snow mountain sights to the south for much of the day.  Beautiful mountains in the distance made up for rain and the strongest winds of the trip so far.  Car-shaking winds roaring through the valleys.  We landed in Missoula, MT for the night, exhausted but excited that the next day would be shorter and the LAST DAY.

Huge expanses of nothing!

More nothing . . . just storms on the horizon

Jeremiah needed a bathroom break and while he was in, I hopped out to pick the world's largest "dandelion looking seed pod."  I looked over at a picnic table and there was this painted rock!  It was marked on the back and when we posted, it had been left by someone from Western Washington State, that morning!  

How to survive five days of stinky toots in the car?  Apparently passed by "no one."  Essential oil (spearmint this day) in a fun little diffuser.

Snow covered peaks in the distance!

Not often you see random helicopter bodies at a rest stop!

The last day!!!  We woke up so excited today, knowing that when we "landed," it would be home.  Because it was supposed to be just a six hour drive, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and visited the Skyjumper Headquarters (fire fighters).  Of course the day took way longer than it was supposed to- we hit traffic and construction all over the place.  

Happy happy smiles today!!  (Shannon said she was trying to look "suspicious.")

Smokejumper training center.

He sure loves seeing his name everywhere out here!

This looks like a teeny little hill but was the side of a massive cliff.

Best stop of the day- Idaho where they had the most friendly ground squirrels ever!

The sign we had been waiting for all day!!!!!!  Just FOUR hours to go . . . I'll be honest, 3 1/2 of those hours were so boring. High, yellow, hay covered desert.  Nothing to see for miles and miles and miles.  We knew that Western Washington was green and where we would be was green, but where was it?  

No green here but we were so high at this overlook of the Columbia river and the wind was roaring- it was amazing and so beautiful!

Before long we finally arrived!  Didn't take many pictures that evening because things were crazy, but here are a couple of home.  

Heidi checking out the backyard of our house.

The amazing living room/kitchen of our new house!  Before all our stuff arrived.

This!  Isn't it amazing how big it is?

Thanks for hanging with me through this long post, for encouraging us on our trip and for sharing our excitement.  Stay tuned for an update on how things have been going the last two weeks.


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