Howdy, buckeroos! Old Scamp Yanoff is back in town and back in the saddle, too. By the way, do you remember that great western song? It goes something like this….. “I’m back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend. Where the longhorn cattle feed, on the lowly jimsyn weed, I’m back in the saddle again.” In case you’re curious, the song was written by the great Gene Autry way back in 1939. Ah, but why am I leading off today’s blog with an old western tune? I’m glad you asked…..
Well, mainly because I recently returned from a long trip out west, an amazing tour of South Dakota and Wyoming! (Two of the most BEAUTIFUL states in our wonderful country.) I spent most of my time in Yellowstone Park and Grand Teton National Park, and all I can say is WOW! Talk about scenic, these incredible parks were simply beyond belief.
We began our grand tour in Rapid City, South Dakota, which is a clean, charming, and fascinating city in the western part of the state. From there we headed west, toward Custer State Park, where we were engulfed by a herd of buffalo. (See attached photos!) Incidentally, do you know what a mama buffalo says to her calf each morning? Bye son. (Bison) You may think that’s a lot of bull, but you should see a real buffalo!
After Custer State Park, we drove to the Crazy Horse memorial, which is slowly being carved on top of a majestic mountain peak. The Crazy Man (as he is locally known) will not be completed this century, but it’s still an impressive site to visit. The great Sioux chief is a “chip off the old block,” and responsible for planning and leading the charge against the 7th Calvary at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Right around the corner is Mt. Rushmore, which was also quite impressive, and bears the likeness of four American Presidents. (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Hillary Clinton. Just kidding, Theodore Roosevelt is the fourth.)
On day three, or maybe four, I lost track, we drove up and over the Bighorn Mountains, which seem to be a few inches below heaven. Yikes, talk about getting up in the world! The Bighorn National Forest is one of those places that don’t seem real. So magnificent and huge, loaded with all sorts of game. (Deer, elk, moose, and Monopoly.) Our final destination that day was Cody, Wyoming, which was truly one of the coolest stops we made. (We toured the Buffalo Bill Museum, ate some more bison burgers, and then attended an evening rodeo.) I told the local cowboys that I never met a horse that could throw me. (After all, they don’t have hands, only hooves.) However, I have been known to throw a little bull now and then!
When I was finished busting broncs, we drove into Yellowstone Park (8,000 feet above sea level) and then down to Grand Teton National Park. (7,000 feet above sea level.) Both places were beyond stunning, and I will elaborate further next Sunday. (Once my nose stops bleeding!)
Our ten-day adventure ended in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is also one of those “must-see” venues. What a pretty town. A little expensive, but quite charming. Jackson Hole is surrounded by the National Elk Preserve, which offers sleigh rides during the winter, and provides the local restaurants with some interesting cuts of meat. We, of course, have been to an Elks Club, but never to an actual preserve. Very enlightening. (I’ll skip my jokes about being “horny!”)
As fate would have it, my nephew is soon to be married, and he’s taking the plunge (bad word choice!) atop a mountain in Aspen, Colorado. Sooooo, it’s back to Denver next week. I’m thinking about becoming a park ranger, but I only want to work during July and August. (Warm-weather months) I think I’d be a good ranger. I loved most of the animals we saw, especially the moose herds. (And chocolate moose is one of my favorite desserts) I wonder how much a ranger makes?
By the way, I realize that I have yet to finish the last 3 chapters of my last adventure book, PIRATES OF PERCHANCE. In the weeks ahead, I shall present amusing tales of our shenanigans on the “saintly” islands of St. Kitts, St. Martin, and St. Thomas. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the attached photos of South Dakota and Wyoming. Nice to be home!
Love to all,