Pictures from the road

Illinois :: Wisconsin :: Minnesota :: South Dakota :: Wyoming :: Idaho :: Utah :: Colorado :: Kansas :: Missouri :: Illinois

Badlands National Park :: Mount Rushmore National Monument :: Custer State Park :: Yellowstone National Park :: Grand Tetons National Park :: Arches National Park

46th state: Idaho; 47th state: Kanas

Two weddings: Wyoming and Kansas

May 28 – June 8

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Wedneday – Sunset over Wisconsin, our first of many on this epic road trip across middle America. We couldn’t wait to make it past the flat lands

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Thursday – After straight through driving, we arrived in the sweltering Badlands of South Dakota in the early afternoon

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These colorful banded rocks are reminiscent of Rainbow City in Xinjiang, a reminder that one doesn’t always have to travel halfway across the world to see such wonders

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Friday – Before continuing our drive on to Wyoming, we hit Custer State Park in South Dakota – bisons and burros hog the road (why hog I wonder… were pigs the first to do so?)

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We had a bit of weather as we crossed the state lines into Wyoming from South Dakota

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The plains afforded a breathtaking view of the storms in the distance

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View of Big Horn Mountains as we drive towards Worland, Wyoming

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We made it to K&D’s wedding just outside of Worland on K’s family ranch with minutes to spare. The threatening clouds in the distance moved ever closer as the ceremony progressed, which lent for a dramatic and stunning backdrop, but thoughtfully waited till everyone was safely undercover before unleashing a furious thunderstorm and hail. Happily, the sun peeked out again in 15 minutes or so, and we enjoyed a spectacular sunset outside.

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Saturday – Yellowstone for geysers and wildlife! We spotted a black bear by the side of the road, tipped off by the dozen cars parked haphazardly along the shoulder, their occupants clustered together in a group with their gigantic lenses trained on the same spot in the distance.

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Didn’t see a moose in Yellowstone, but we did see a bull elk jaywalk in front of our car

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The bison in Yellowstone were even larger than in Custer State Park, and we had to be wary driving down the roads, especially at night

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Though we had in fact reserved a campsite, we passed the night in a cabin by Old Faithful, given the bleak weather forecast. That however, allowed us to stroll the two minutes around the corner to watch the geyser erupt in the early dawn hours, before eager hordes descended.

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Sunday – From Yellowstone, we drove a scant 8 miles south to the Tetons, our home for the next couple days, including a big day hiking and climbing in Cascades Canyon

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Tuesday – The “Wildlife Crossing” signs changed to “Game Crossing” signs as soon as we left the confines of the National Parks

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Leaving the Tetons, and enroute to Utah, we crossed over into my 46th state, Idaho. We just had to do the touristy thing and stop over for some famous potatoes.

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Arrived in Salt Lake City Utah at our friend M’s. We crashed at his place the next couple of nights. Didn’t tour the city since our days were pretty much spent climbing in the canyons. But we did catch a glimpse of the Mormon Temple as we drove by on our way to dinner

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On Wednesday, Miles brought Jeff and I to climb Betty’s Altered Elbow, a seriously slabby but fun 5.9+ four pitch route

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Refueled at In n Out. We were so happy to find this west coast chain in Utah that we went over two days in a row for lunch. Yummy!

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Another beautiful sunset, this time over Salt Lake City, after a felicitous outing to look for moose – just as we had given up hope, M managed to spy a young bull moose in the tall grass in the deepening twilight. Check!

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Thursday – after a short 5.6 route, Six Pence, and 2-pitch 5.7 climb, Encore, in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the morning, before we bade M goodbye and headed off for Arches National Park. We camped a.t Sand Flats Recreational Area, in one of the most picturesque camp grounds ever

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Friday – sunrise over Delicate Arch. Gah, the thing about summer is that if one wants to take both pictures of sunrises and sunsets, that doesn’t really leave one with much time for sleep. We zipped ourselves up in our sleeping bags at 11pm, but were up at 4am to break camp in order to hike the Delicate Arch trail at dawn

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After a quick fuel at Jailhouse Cafe in Moab, UT, we started off the drive towards Kansas, crossing over the Colorado mountain range

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Due to both the heavy late season snow fall and the recent warm temperatures, the Colorado River is now dangerously close to flooding

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View of Keystone in the summer time

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We were originally debating stopping over in Denver for lunch with friends who live in the area, but in the interest of time, and in light of the severe storm warnings on the weather forecast, we decided to beat it to Kansas

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Crossed state lines into Kansas, my 47th state. We had been dreading the drive across the famously flat and open prairie lands, but were fortunate to see the most stunning sunset and storm. Double rainbow!

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Saturday – As with the first wedding, we arrived in this one in Kansas with just minutes to spare. Between the ceremony and reception, we had enough time to stop over at Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ to get a taste of Kansas. Mmm. At the dinner, D&J hit upon the novel and fun idea to give out little gifts for their guests, and I got a bottle of Kansas spice rub for unintentionally introducing the happy couple. Hehe

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