Rushmore/Devil’s Tower/Grand Tetons

CruzeAmerica wants to give a big thanks to my great aunt Sandy for being an awesome host in Deadwood. She was a great tour guide and an awesome lady!

I can’t think of a better place to be on the Fourth of July than Mount Rushmore. The mountain that idolizes the pioneers of freedom. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. These four men fought valiantly to preserve the great country they helped shape.

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After Mount Rushmore we spent one more night in Deadwood and then continued on to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming.

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From Devil’s Tower we continued our drive straight to Grand Teton National Park. We arrived around midnight and unsuccessfully searched for an open campsite. We drove to Jackson and slept in the car. In the morning we drove back to Jenny Lake and we discovered there was an open site! We claimed it and continued driving around the park.

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The rest of the day has been filled with rain and a massive amount of thunder and lightning. It even ruined our disc golf game in Jackson Hole!

Tomorrow we will hike around the Grand Tetons some more and then on Monday we move to Yellowstone National Park.

Wisconsin/Minnesota/South Dakota

The morning we left Chicago we drove to Wheaton College where J.R.R. Tolkein’s and C.S. Lewis’s desks are housed. We saw the original wardrobe that inspired The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. We also saw some of the letters they wrote to each other and the pen that Tolkein used.

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In Chicago, the brother of Collin’s friend gave us each a Frisbee golf disc with the promise that we would all play. And we have. We stopped in La Crosse, Wisconsin and played a round of Frisbee golf. The course was right on the Mississippi River.

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We then stayed the night in Whitewater State Park in Minnesota. The next day we drove to Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota. Here the Native Americans would mine out pipestone for their pipes. It was a very religious place for them. We then found another disc golf course!

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That night we drove to Fort Pierre National Grasslands and on our way there we ran into a very peculiar building.

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I still don’t quite understand what it is for. But once we got to Fort Pierre National Grasslands it was literally us and miles of grass.

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After leaving Fort Pierre we made it about 10 minutes down the freeway until someone came up beside and and was frantically pointing at our roof. We quickly realized that our cargo box must not have been shut! We pulled over and sure enough it was wide open but nothing was lost! We continued on to Badlands National Park. A extra terrestrial landscape in the middle of rolling hills.

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After the Badlands we drove to Wall Drug and had some ice cream.

We then finished our goal and made it to Deadwood where my Uncle Shawn’s mother lives and very graciously got us a hotel room and has been an amazing guide for the city. Yesterday she took us to dinner and gave us the history low down of Deadwood, Wild Bill Hikock and Calamity Jane’s old hangout.

Today we are going to Mount Rushmore and more pictures will be coming soon!

Carlsbad Caverns

Our journey from Flagstaff to Carlsbad began with a great amount of driving. Our plan was to drive to Three Rivers Petroglyph National Monument and sleep there but on our way we realized that it wasn’t a realistic goal. So we pulled off in Albuquerque, NM when we saw a $40 room at a Motel 6. Before we pulled off we checked out the downtown and found a bar that had free pool and ping pong with only $2.75 drinks!

The next morning we began our drive to Carlsbad Caverns. Upon arrival we were all very anxious to see what lied below us and we were not disappointed.

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The cave system is massive and we spent a good few hours hundreds of feet below the earth.

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Unfortunately the pictures from down there rarely turned out to be good. After the cave we drove to our campsite which was down the highway a bit on a service road.

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We drove back to Carlsbad Caverns that night to watch the bats fly out of the cave. We saw one. Huge bummer. We also saw a massive thunderstorm moving in and had no choice but to abandon our current camping plans and keep driving to Texas.

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Here at this super new and fancy we rest stop we slept on a bench.

Grand Canyon and Flagstaff

Our drive from Bryce Canyon to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was long but well worth it. We were rewarded with a great view of the canyon. The North Rim is 1000 feet higher than the South Rim giving it much more vegetation and a cooler temperature.

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We found a nice rock ledge to go sit and soak up the amazing view.

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After the North Rim we began our drive down to Flagstaff to stay with a family friend of mines. Lucinda treated us so well we can’t thank her enough. She fed us twice and let us use her shower and washing machine. CruzeAmerica thanks you Lucinda!

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Bryce Canyon

We drove to Bryce last night after a ranger caught us in Zion about to set up camp just off the road. We ended up sleeping in the Dixie National Forest a few miles outside of Bryce Canyon National Park.

After exploring the upper rim of the park we took a break in the lodge, and headed back out for another round of hiking around this amazing national park.

Round 2 of exploring took us into the depths of the Bryce amphitheater where we hiked along the self proclaimed “worlds greatest 3 mile hike”.

We’ll get a good nights sleep tonight then head out for Flagstaff AZ in the morning with a stop at the monstrous Grand Canyon.

Zion National Park

From the never sleeping Sin City to the quiet hot desert of Zion we traveled yesterday. With temperatures over 100 degrees the Chevy Cruze powered through to our destination. Upon arrival we experienced these amazing views.

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We spent the night off the road and under the stars like I’ve never seen them before. The next morning we woke up before dawn and drove to the shuttle that took us to the Angel’s Landing trailhead. The trail up was no joke. No more than a couple feet separated us from safety and a 1500 foot drop.

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Once we got to the top we were presented an amazing view of the Zion valley. This picture was taken by our friends we met on the trail, Alex and Louse.

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After Angel’s Landing we made lunch and then headed out to The Narrows. A 6 mile hike through a river with nothing but hundreds of feet of sandstone on either side.
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Tonight we sleep in Zion and tomorrow morning we head out for Bryce Canyon!