In 2009, I have travelled extensively. For 2 1/2 month, I studied Spanish in Spain. During that time, I also visited Morocco. After coming home, we (my parents, brother, I, and our dog) had a big road-trip and visited several western states. Along the way, we visited New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, as Wyoming. Although YellowStone N.P. was quite famous, as for me, the Garden of Gods in Boulder and Vail, Colorado, and the Arch National Park were the top scenic locations. Then, I decided to refresh my French knowledge. Where else to learn a language than physically present in that country. It was October and November, I studied French in Bordeaux and Nice. Right after my course, my parents came to visit France. Together, we rented a car and visited Mont St. Michel and castles in the Loire Valley. Yes, having some rudimentary French really helped us during the travel, e.g. booking hotels, ordering meals in the restaurant, … And, it definitely aided me in understanding the French history and culture.
With Christmas coming soon, I decided to pull my photos together and create a greeting card for my friends. So, here it is. There are 2 versions. One with my western-state trip. And, the one does not.
The trip back home is equally long. All together, we drove over 4,800 miles.
Along the way, we made a stop at the Little Big Horn National Battlefield, where Custer Armstrong died in the battle, and the Sioux, Dakota Indian won the battle and lost the war, and signaling the end of nomadic life style of American Indians.
The most memorable parts of the trip were the Garden of Gods, Vail, and Air Force Academy.
After a late arrival to our lodge in the Yellowstone N.P., we woke up fresh the next morning. Our lodge was at the Canyon Point, which was really near to one of the top scenic locations, the Artist Point. The cliffs have brilliant hues, orange, yellow, and red. This gave the name Yellowstone to the park. The waterfall vista is outstanding. On a sunny day, this would have been a prime location for painting.
Near the north entrance, the Mammoth Hot Spring, we saw many Elks.
The food, which was served by Xanterra was not very good and quite expensive. This is what you get for having government sponsored waste.
Yellowstone has many geysers and hot springs. Because my father and I have previously been to New Zealand, we were not impressed by the showing at YellowStone. Due to time and road construction, we had to skip the Old Faithful.
Although the Yellowstone is the 1st national park in USA, its fame is a bit overblown. It is not as worthwhile like the Smoky Mountains or the Yosemite.
After departing from Salt Lake City in morning, we drove into Idaho and toward the Yellowstone N.P. Along the way, we visited Grand Teton N.P. and pass by Jackson Hole. The Grand Teton is a range of mountains with snow peaks. Again, it is not as magnificent as the Canadian Rockies or the Swiss Alps. The weather was rainy. We can already feel the autumn (50 – 60 degrees), while it was still summer in Texas.
There was some road construction between Grand Teton and Yellowstone N.P. After driving on the dirt road, my Lexus has been completely covered by the mud.
The Great Salt Lake City is the seat of Mormon religion. The state capitol is quite nice. Unable to find a good place to park, we drove by the Mormon Tabernacle and saw it from outside.
The next morning, we went to the Antelope Island State Park. While the great Salt Lake sounded very famous, the lake had a bad odd, reminded me of rotten eggs, which is due to 100+ year of lack management of human waste and pollution flushed into the lake.