I have left the Prairie and Laura Ingalls behind. I am in Montana. Or Wyoming. Or back and forth.
The point is that I am going to Yellowstone. National Park.
Not the Hamm’s Beer Brewery. That music was used in the 1936 film, Yellowstone, a 63 minute epic about murdering conmen looking for buried loot in Yellowstone National Park. The movie starred (had in it anyway) Alan Hale (Not the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island but rather his father who he looked an awful lot like), Jim Thorpe (yeah. THAT Jim Thorpe but in a bit part) and a dude named Paul Harvey who was sadly not the one who provided, “The rest of the story,” for so many years on what I call Old Man Radio which usually has news on the (pick your own number)s. Jeez. Not a single millenial is going to understand any of that rant. crud. I am super old.
But anywho. Back to Yellowstone.
Geyser – now pronounced Geezer (Oh, Dr. Brian Cox why did you let me hear you say that word. Now, I shall never say it another way again and I will be ridiculed.
Grand Prismatic Spring
Mammoth Hot Springs
NERD ALERT!!! I know what all those things are.
The downside? No wine along the trail. BOOO. At the beginning and end of the trail? Much better. They include:
Day three!!! They Holy Grail on Ingalls! The Wilder side of Little House! De Smet, SD is the motherlode of Laura. By the Shores of Silver Lake, Little Town on the Prairie, The Long Winter, These Happy Golden Years and The First Four Years all happen here. Houses that the family lived in are here. Ma, Pa, Carrie, Grace, and Mary are all buried there. Whew. I am not sure where to go first. I am actually hoping to arrive the evening before so I can get my fill. Some of it will be odd. Silver Lake has dried up into a marsh. I think Big Slough is still there but I am not likely to go wandering into it. I learned that from Laura. No death trap dugouts just the ability to freeze to death in a winter with 32 blizzards and dwindling food supplies. And I am guessing no wine. Which would suck. Big time. Especially while you are grind wheat in a coffee grinder and twisting straw into logs until your hands bled. Bah. The town is largely laid out the way it was. The old General Store is still there and later in the summer they host a pageant. Not my thing but great for little girls I am guessing. And there is wine there now. Did I mention that before?
After leaving DeSmet, it is on to Montana to get ready for my bonus trip into Yellowstone. Cross your fingers on that one. At least I have learned from my trips of the past and have made a hotel reservation. Trying to find a room on a summer night in Montana is a bitch. And I really don’t want to roll into Missoula that late again. VOLCANO! Geysers, which I will pronounce like GEEZERS in an homage to Dr. Brian Cox, the James Blunt of Astrophysics on the Science Channel and the BBC (or the Beeb, as it is referred to in my abode)!!! I might start mumbling about ME-thane too. I will think of more stuff, never fear.
Even along this route there WILL be wine. At least nine wineries are located within a few miles of my pathway so this should be fun. The wineries include:
As you may have noticed, I head out on a road trip nearly every year. Last year was the exception but only because my girlies started school the day before WBC12 began. Hm. Miss the last first day of school for daughter #1 after making a consecutive 14 previous? or skip the road trip for the year. Yeah. You know how I went on this one.
But this year, I am off again for adventures. I’ll be heading west to Penticton, BC for WBC13. This is the first Wine Bloggers’ Conference held in Canada and I am looking forward to it. The bummer? I need a passport this time. I know that this need seems self-evident for most of you, but as a gal who used to cross the border for dates in high school it seems a little crazy to me. Strangely enough, it isn’t getting into Canada that is the issue, but rather coming home and I am loathe to risk another lecture from a self-important douanière (long story).
Since I am largely taking the route that I took to Walla Walla for WBC10, I am looking forward to seeing some sights that I missed on my way out there – namely all the Little House on the Prairie historic sites. Knowing me as you do, you can’t be surprised that I want to do something so nerdy. I loved those books and know that I would have to make these stops sans ma famille. Why? Well, the girls would never put up with more than one stop. Heck, I couldn’t get them to even read the books. It breaks a mother’s heart, it does. But luckily I will indeed be on the road without them and am looking forward to stopping where I please. Oh. Did I mention that there is wine nearby at every stop. Yup. It’s true. Because of this, I have dubbed this trip: Little Wine on the Prairie.
Since Laura Ingalls Wilder never made it further west than the eastern portion of South Dakota, I’ve had to put on my thinking cap (bonnet) to come up with other plans. Here are a couple of ideas that I have thrown around:
Sturgis, SD – the location of the big biker rally every year. I believe it is in August. Good lord, I hope it is in August.
Yellowstone National Park – Yeah. I want to see the sites but I don’t want to camp or stay in the cabins and develop Hanta Virus (yeah, I said it). Old Faithful, Grand Prismatic Spring, Mud Volcano and the Mammoth Springs are tops on my list. Oh, and if I could figure out where the caldera edge for the mega volcano is, that would be swell too.
Lake Okanogan, BC – Naturally, I will be seeing the lake as I will be staying on it. But I think an extensive search of the lake to find the Ogopogo, the lake’s native monster. Is it a plesiosaur like the Loch Ness Monster and Champie from Lake Champlain are thought to be or a basilosaurus like other cryptozoologists think? Either way. Or not. With my luck my camera will jam as I am eaten by the thing.
But first? Before I leave, I must survive high school graduation. Not mine, of course, but rather Celia’s. Cross your fingers and hope for the best both before and after graduation.
Yes, I know that I have been to Wyoming before, but this year I will be in the northern part of the state. According to my map there is a winery near my travel location (though the phone number is disconnected, grrr, Thanks a bunch, Wyoming Tourism Board). So what else can I do in Northern Wyoming without going into Yellowstone, or Jackson Hole (which would have regional wine nearby)?
Well, get out the mashed potatoes, but don’t start sculpting yet as I will be driving in the vicinity of Devil’s Tower and you will be wanting updated photos unless you are seeing them in your head, that is…. I plan to avoid the anal probe so I probably won’t be stopping. I will be near Yellowstone, just not while I am in Wyoming.
If you are aware of anyplaces along the road in Wyoming in the north of the state, please, please, let me know. Email me at email@example.com.
AnyWho. Here is the updated map!
(I don’t remember being so timid with color when I prepared this last year!)
This year, I will once again, be driving out the Wine Blogger’s Conference. This year, the event will be held in beautiful Walla Walla, Washington. Naturally, I need to find places to stop along the way. No road trip is complete without a bite of the local color. So the key is to start planning now. I have two potential routes to adventure. I can either take the incredibly convenient to hop onto Interstate 90 which will lead me through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington; OR the equally incredibly convenient to hop onto Interstate 94 which will lead me through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington.
Choices, choices. The common denominator is the ease with which I will be able to hit the road as from Chez Neuman it is a five minute drive to either Interstate. Talk about your Gateway to the West!
Now is the time, for me to figure out as much as I can to make an informed drive. So if you know a cool, geeky spot, I should stop, a nice, but reasonable place to stay for the night, the local fare that should be tried or a great winery along the way? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If I use your suggestion a beautiful Locapour t-shirt could be yours!