WEST 2001

Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado

Click on any image to enlarge.

From August 21 to September 8, 2001 we took a vacation to some western states, camped in our van, and saw fantastic scenery. Some of the scenic drives that we took were:

  • In Wyoming, US 20 through Wind River Canyon and US14 through Shell Canyon.
  • In Montana, US 212 the Beartooth Highway.
  • In Idaho, US 12, Us 21, and US 71 to Hells Canyon.
It was a good trip that we enjoyed very much. Here are a few pictures of our trip.

A part of the Oregon Trail has been preserved at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska. It is hard to imagine traveling across country in one of these covered wagons. The early settlers signed their names on their way west at signature rock.

Oregon Trail ruts
Covered Wagon

Signature Rock

Wyoming has beautiful scenery. Wind River Canyon near Thermopolis impressed us as well as massive Shell Canyon in Bighorn Canyon National Forest. A little farther north is Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area where we camped for free with our Golden Age passport. The campground host informed us about the wild horses that live here and we did see two beautiful brown and black ones. She also told us that the Crow Indians own the middle of the park and won't allow a road to go through their property so to see the other side of the Recreation Area you have to enter it in Montana. We didn't do that but would like to make this same trip again with some variations.

Shell Canyon

Shell Falls

Devil's Canyon Overlook

From here we went to Red Lodge, Montana where we got on the famous Beartooth Highway going to Yellowstone National Park. We had read that the Beartooth Highway is the most beautiful road in the United States and it did live up to its reputation. It switchbacks up to the 10,947 foot Beartooth Summit where you feel you are on top of the world.

Beartooth Mountains

The Switchbacks
10,947 ft. Summit

Old Faithful
Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park didn't disappoint us. It erupted right on schedule. We took an interesting tour of historic Old Faithful Inn built in 1904. In 1974 Ralph and I were able to get a room at Old Faithful Inn without a reservation because at that time the bathrooms were down the hall from your room. Most people wanted to stay at the newer motels. I don't know if that has been changed but we didn't mind the inconvenience at all because Old Faithful was visible right outside our window. Millie
Yellowstone Falls
The Opal Mine Store
The next leg of our journey was to Idaho and since we were near Spencer we visited Betty's friends, Susie and Bob Thompson, who own an opal mine there. Tiny Spencer, Idaho, population 38, has one of the largest opal deposits in the United States and is home to rare star opals and blue, pink,or red gems as well as the common white ones. Opal was discovered in 1948 and now the town is dominated by four commercial opal companies. Bob excavates the opal from their mine and Suzie makes the jewelry. They had some beautiful opal jewelry in their little store so we bought Sara a necklace.
Craters of the Moon Monument
Lava rivers once flooded this area in Idaho leaving vast lava fields covered by cinder cones with large central vents that appeared to resemble moon craters, thus the name. Scientists think this will erupt again someday with more lava flow.
Happy 75th Birthday
It was a treat to be able to celebrate my birthday by driving the scenic Sawtooth Highway.

Hells Canyon
The name and remoteness of Hells Canyon on the Idaho/Oregon border made us curious so we checked it out. The Snake River flows through this pretty area and you can drive beside it for only a short distance, otherwise it's inaccessible except by boat.

The Wild River Byway
Through Idaho to Missoula, Montana this was a scenic drive following the river with views of thousands of tall beautiful evergreens.
Rich's parents,Rich,Debbie,Daniel,Millie
Visit with the Macurs
We called Cindy's sister, Debbie, from Butte, Montana and she invited us for lunch and a very enjoyable visit.

The Teton Mountains
On the way to Rocky Mountain National Park we stopped and enjoyed the magnificent Teton Mountains in Wyoming.

We drove through Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. This, too, is a beautiful rugged place. A sign here is in memory of 66 people killed in a 1955 airplane crash. Wyoming is a sparsely settled state with the Rocky Mountains slicing through it making a varied topography that has beautiful mountains but also desolate high plains with an altitude of 8000 feet. Sometimes we drove for many boring miles of nothingness and then came to some beautiful area to explore the next day.

Memorial to 66 people

Medicine Bow Mountains

Our friends, Kay and Lyle, were camped in Rocky Mountain National Park so we spent three fun days with them taking about five mile hikes each day. We love these mountains.

Rocky Mountains
Hiking the Mountains