Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back in Or-eh-gone.


View Impressions from the Road in a larger map

I made it home, yes I did! Actually, I got back a little over a week ago. My last "real" stop was in Idaho Falls, where I prepped for the long drive home. 11 hours of driving, 5 energy drinks and about 50 CD changes later, I made it back to Portland. The trip ended up being about 6,000 miles long, which took me through twelve states, not including Oregon.
It was great to see how others throughout the country live since Portland really is unique in its own. You don't need to travel abroad (although I do have that desire) to find diverse cultures. Someday, perhaps after graduate school, I also want to make a trip throughout the Northernmost states with Niagra Falls being the destination. I'd like to feel safe enough to camp along the way, though, so perhaps I won't do it solo. Although, this time, traveling alone was, indeed, the right thing for me.
Already, I miss the feeling of waking up and simply asking myself "mmm, where should I go today?" Still, being home has its perks.

Highlights:

Idaho Falls, ID. The Idaho Mormon Temple is the white building pictured in the background. In all honesty, I was not the greatest fan of Idaho. This was a relaxing location, but man-made, so the relaxing feeling of visiting say, Silver Falls or Multnomah was not there.

I used to have an obsession with Sweedish Fish candy and having been in a lot of gas station food marts, I was able to discover the new Aquafish, which are amazing. I stocked up before my drive home.

Also stocked up on energy drinks. I felt as though my heart were going to explode after drinking these and one other.

OREGON. The first visible setting upon entering Oregon. B-E-A-T-I-F-U-L!

And, of course, I had a wonderful welcome home :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Animals galore.

I am currently experiencing a sensory overload (of the positive sort). Here are the culprits of my state:

Hell's Half Acre, Wyoming. An amazing underrated canyon. If you have ever watched the movie Starship Troopers, then you might recognize the location.
My favorite part of the day and the reason I had to add the picture of myself, though, would be an elder man at a nearby gas station saying to me: "What kind of outfit is that? A dress and jeans together?" I, of course though he was joking and so I responded saying: "An awesome one!" He then said "if you say so..." and walked away. Wow, rude!

Wind River Canyon, Wyoming. Here, I wished so badly that I had a boat so that I could join in on the fun that the numerous boaters looked to be having.

I took a 9-mile detour off of highway 20 onto this gravel road in hopes of seeing Legend Rock, the location of petroglyphs created 2,000 years ago. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the location, I found a locked gate and a sign saying that the rock was only allowed to be viewed with an appointment with a park ranger. I did find these calves, though.

Shoshone National Forest, Wyoming. I traveled throught the forest, hoping to make my way to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The eastern entrance; however, was closed, so, I headed north to Montana so that I could use an alternative entrance the next day.
Bighorn sheep, pronghorn and bison made the detour bearable.

Buffalo Bill Lake. The sun was setting and the lake, looking oh so beautiful!

Sunset on my way to Montana. If it was only for this, the detour still would have been worth it.

Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs. Picture crazy, yes. The trails throughout the area allowed for, hands down, one of the top three experiences of my trip. The colorful areas are a result of the life of microorganisms.




The Golden Gate, Yellowstone National Park. The roadway was originally created by the Army Corps of Engineers and was the first through Yellowstone.
Yellowstone. Various places I found during my trip through.


Gibbon River, Yellowstone.

Grand Prismatic Spring area, Yellowstone. Here, the steam from the fumaroles actually travels accross the paths of the trails. HOT, HOT, HOT place, but nonetheless, amazing.

What I think is bison poop. It is everywhere throughout the park and I like it.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone. I recorded the eruption! Apparently is not the largest geyser of the park, but so popular because of its consistency of erupting (every 70 minutes).
video
While I was waiting for Old Faithful, a bear chased 3 bison across the park. This is a clip of the bison returning to where they had come from. Only on their return, they ran through a nearby parking lot. The incident became the talk of the town and rangers began roaming the area with their crackling guns in case the bear remained in the area. Pretty neat thing to see, if I do say.
video
Sunset at Yellowstone.

The oddest thing happened to me a few days ago. I was diving along and, all of a sudden, heard screaming coming from the back of my car. It didn't take me long to realize that it was the little voice of Strawberry Shortcake AKA SSCake. She has been traveling with me, but has been stuffed in my trunk for quite some time now. She wanted me to bring her out for some fresh air and so I did.
Isn't she cute?
I'm now in Idaho. My arrival was after dark, so I haven't the slightest idea what the place looks like. That will be discovered tomorrow!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great faces. Great places.

It took every ounce of willpower to get me out of South Dakota. I would have never expected the state to be so absolutely amazing. I originally went up from Nebraska as a detour simply to view Mount Rushmore, but found so many other special sites bunched up in the many state and national parks in existence throughout the area.

My trip is nearing an end and during the day, I am bummed about this, but at night, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Being alone in new locations where I don’t know a single person is liberating during the day. It feels amazing to know that everyone thought, decision and action is that only of my own. Then, at night, I simply want to be curled up in my bed in the comfort of my own home. Sure, I have a ghost (Ghostie) living there, but Shannon and I are pretty good fending it off. I will see everyone in just a few days. Until then, Wyoming and Idaho, here I come!

Highlights:


O'Neill, Nebraska, the "Irish capital of Nebraska." Tiny city in which I stayed the night. The place is decked out in green and is apparently home to the largest Shamrock, although I was unable to find it. The Blarney stone on the right, though, grants the gift of eloquence to anybody that
kisses it.

Valentine, Nebraska, "Americas Heart City." On the left is the largest brick mural of Nebraska. Then, in the middle, notice the hearts on the street signs. They are on every street sign of the city. Here, I also encountered rain, which has been following me ever since.

South Dakota grassland

Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. These bison, as well as prairie dogs, deer and elk roam freely all over the park. Talk about a sight to see!

Crazy Horse Museum, Black Hills, South Dakota. Sculpter Korczak Ziolkowski, who had helped in the creation of Mt. Rushmore, began, in 1948, the creation of a monument depicting Crazy Horse pointing to his sacred land. To the left is the a model of the monument that Ziolkowski created. In the center, tools used in the creation of the monument and on the right, a wooded sculpture of Crazy Horse, also sculpted by Ziolkowski.

When Ziolkowski began the creation of the monument, he built a log cabin on the land for his wife and him and eventually his ten kids, to live in. Here is a picture of it on display at the memorial.

Ziolkowski is no longer alive, but his wife and some of his children head a team that is still at work on the monument. Seriously, it is huge! 563 feet tall (Mt. Rushmore is 60 feet tall). It's completion is taking a long time as it is funded completely by donation. Ziolokowski feared that accepting federal funds would risk the loss of its cultural meaning.
Much of the work done on the mountain is with the use of explosives. The monument and these explosions can be viewed on the memorials live webcam. http://crazyhorsememorial.org/webcam/

Ziolkowski and his wife had a total of 10 children. They drew various pictures of animals and their dad traced them onto sheets of metal and cut them out to create the fence outside of the memorial. Really neat idea. Of course, there are plenty of dinosaurs!

Presidential Trail, Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota. The fog on the day I visited the area was extemely thick, so thick that I couldn't see Mt. Rushmore. Luckily the trail and museum are quite the experience, so the visit was not a waste.


Mt. Rushmore Museum. Plaster models of the presidents. In the museum there is also a simulation center where visitors can ignite pseudo-explosives to view the video footage of real-live explosions on the mountain.

Ouside the Mt. Rushmore memorial. The third picture is a sculpture of Gutzon Borglum, the creator of the monument.

Horse Shoe Lake, Black Hills National Park, South Dakota.

Wind Cave, South Dakota. I go picture crazy in caves. This one was georgious! It is called the Wind Cave because winds near its entrance often reach 70mph. Yikes! It is also the 4th longest cave in the world. The longest cave in the world, Jewell, is located in the same region, but unfortunately, South Dakota has too many caves for the small amount of time I had, so I did not visit.



More from highway 22. I am now in love with cows.