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Visits to Yellowstone park, and the great American West
1978 Photographs
1990 Photographs
2001 Photographs
2002 Photographs
About the Park
Yellowstone Links
My favorite places out west
In approximate order of visitation, en-route from Milwaukee
These are in no way meant to be a tour of the park, but are only a journal of sorts, of my various trips from Milwaukee. I hope to put together a real guide to the park when I get some time. For guides, see some of my links.

An Introduction
    Crossing the Mississippi takes the traveler to what has traditionally been known to generations of Americans as "The West". First come the fields and the prairies, then the sparse scrub of the high plains. Finally there are the mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and scenic views of The Rockies. Throughout this wide geography are scattered jewels. Jewels like The Badlands, Wind Cave, The Black Hills, and Devil's tower, as well as the crown jewel of them all, Yellowstone Park. Also along the way are the man made attractions, places like Wall Drugs, Mount Rushmore, and the countless tourist traps, "museums", and other roadside attractions. The highway system itself, and the services and infrastructure that support it are a marvel.
    Traveling by road takes you through slowly enough so that you can see the transition, both geographically, and culturally. This is the area known as "Fly Over Country" to those who consider the eastern seaboard, and the west coast to be the only important parts of the nation. To this mindset, the West, and to a lesser extent, the Midwest, are only important to the degree that they connect, and serve the needs of the two coasts. What a pity, and what a tragic loss. People who see the middle portion of America as mere connective tissue between the vital organs, are denying themselves the experience of the true heart of this country. These are the buffered zones, the places were the food is raised, and the Earth is mined or drilled. Oil wells, and cattle crossings dot the countryside. Slower to change, and slower to be swayed by trend, fashion, and novelty, this is the distilled culture of the last 150 years of America. People are in relatively short supply here, and thus valued more highly than in the populous coasts. Individuality is easier in these places, and is less admired because it is more common. Self sufficiency, diligence, responsibility, and honor are not goals here, but are expectations.
    This is the land of the cowboy, the explorer and discoverer, the trailblazer, and the pioneer. History is alive here, and exerts a strong influence. There are also motorcycle rallies, old hippie communes, indian reservations, and artists colonies. There is room out here for every sort of eccentricity, and life style. There is even room for the old virtues, and culture, once common everywhere, that made this country what it is today. The major industry of most of the west, is tourism. This is one of the favorite destinations of those wish to "get away from it all." People who come here from other parts of the country, seek to discover something basic about their nation, their culture, and themselves. Those who are open to the experience, and are able to adapt their plans, and their expectations, will find what they seek. The others, will never understand, and will continue to see this as fly over country.

A solitary trip via my trusty Honda 750.
A two week jaunt through the veins of the country, and into it's heart. I left with four changes of clothing, a tent, a sleeping bag, a couple of cameras, and lenses, and less than $200. Poorly planned, and poorly financed, it is one of my great memories. I returned tired, broke, wind burned, and happy. Coming back into town with less than $10 in my pocket, I spent it on the first good meal I had eaten in days. In retrospect, I would not change a single detail.
My Photos Comments
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Minnesota & Dakota
The Mid West merges into the West.
Wall Drugs & the Badlands Bumper stickers, and road signs, all over the world, point to this famous spot in the middle of nowhere. The most famous drug store in the world, along with some of the richest fossil beds, and the most rugged, and alien terrain.
Yellowstone The first, largest, and perhaps best of all the national parks. 
The photos are not as vivid as some of my latter efforts. This is due, in part, to the cloudy conditions which prevailed through most of my first trip, and also due to the photos having sat in albums for 20+ years, before being scanned in.

Brought my brother along this time, and the two of us made the trip in a fair degree of comfort in a conversion van. There were changes, of course, but the essence remained.
A couple of weeks relaxing and showing off "My West" to my little brother. More money, more comfort, and some companionship this time.
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LaCrosse Wisconsin
The gateway to the West, or so it seemed to me upon my arrival. Bluffs, eagles, and the mighty Mississippi.  LaCrosse
Wall Drugs A little bit of Las Vegas out in the middle of nowhere. No gambling, but an obvious tourist trap. A place to stop in the midst of fly over country. This is also the middle of "cowboy country" the old west.  Wall Drug
The Badlands Desolate, mysterious, and fascinating. Beautiful too, though it is a subtle beauty. Open expanses, and wonderful skies at night The Badlands
The Black Hills Paradise. The indians (pardon me, I mean native Americans) believed this area to be sacred. I can easily understand why. The Black Hills
Mount Rushmore The only major political figures you will ever see, who won't want your money. Mount Rushmore
Devil's Tower A great plug of scaled volcanic rock.  Devil's Tower
Yellowstone national Park What is there to be said about this amazing place. Geysers, mountains, rivers, and lakes, buffalo, bear, and elk. All gathered a mile or two above sea level. Amazing. Yellowstone

My Friend Megen and I wander around the west.
We left at the end of July, for a couple of weeks in the mountains and prairies. This time it was in a station wagon. This is a very proper vehicle for a couple of middle aged adventurers. We did considerably less camping, and made a bit more use of motels, and other lodgings, than I usually do. The sense of adventure is not gone, it has just come to appreciate a bit of comfort. I have tried, on this my third journey, to correct some errors, and be a bit more precise about places, and names.
My Photos Comments
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Familiar Teritory/the River
Crossing the great river always makes me feel like some sort of pioneer. Though there will be many miles of dull flatlands ahead of me, I know that the mountains of the West beckon.
.Minnesota Heading out of the flatlands, and into the edge of the West.
.Adrian,and environs A little country town, formerly typical in the U.S., but getting to be a rare, and welcome sight these days.
Pipestone Sit down, relax, light up. 
Eastern South Dakota, and Sioux Falls Nice city, great park, pleasant decent people. There are worse places to spend your time. 
The Western river, and environs Rivers, hill, range, and snakes. Everything you would expect out at the Missouri River. (No jackalopes though)
Wall, and the Badlands Uh oh, this place again. Too much time, and too many pictures taken, in the heat of the July Prarie.
The Black Hills This is an amazing area, seeming somewhat out of place among the high prarie. Hills, forests, rivers, and great little towns.
Rushmore Another visit to America's favorite rock stars. The Presidents again, but this time in completely new surroundings. The entire place has been remodeled and enlarged since my last visit. 
Crazy Horse Monument in the making. This huge structure was started decades ago, and is slowly grinding (and blasting) along.
Devils tower, and the range Close encounters, and solitude.
Mountains, canyons, and passes. Tensleep canyon, and the Powder River Pass.
Cody One of the treasures of the Western mountains.
Yellowstone Lake, and the West Thumb Been there, Done that, but somehow it is always just a bit different.
Old faithfull, and the Upper Basin
The Stereotypical view of the park
The Lower Geyser Basin
More geysers
The Norris Geyser Basin
The strangest of  the geyser basins
Lewis Falls, and the Southern areas
Very pretty area
The Hot Cascades
The Firehole River boils.
Mammoth and Gardiner
A huge mountain of calcite
The Canyon
Yellowstone's Own version of the Grand Canyon
Unidentified Stuff
Your geuss is as good as (or perhaps better than) mine.
The Woods
Despite tourists, and the NPS, this is still a great wilderness.

Just a little side trip.
In the summer of 2003, I took my first trip ever to the Grand Canyon. On the way out, I took trusty (and legendary) Route 66, but on the way back, I swung north through Utah. we passed briefly through Yellowstone Park, spending two days there. There were few changes, but it did give me a chance to try out my new digital camera, and to show the park off to my mother, and brother. This was a surprise for all of us. I had not planned on returning here for at least five to ten years.
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The Tetons
Approachng Yellowstone from the South this time. 
Yellowstone. Return to an old friend. This is getting to be familiar territory by now. Geysers, cabins, wildlife, and other icons of the park.
Bears, and other appealing roadside hazards. My first bear, and a grizzly at that.
Cody Wyoming. The wonderful little city of Cody, and our stay at a guest house.
Wall/Home Again Trapped in Wall Drugs for 16 hours. Too much fun.
Flying across the prarie, and blowing a tire. It's nice to be back home.