Troy and I had to pick up Grant in California to get him back to school.  We debated all summer how to get him back.  We finally decided to just do it and leave for 6 days to drive to California and back.  We had coverage for the resort with Jake and Steve, packed up the car and off we went.  We never vacation in the summer and had a lot of places that we have not visited.  First stop was South Dakota and a great time at the 1880 town you see advertised along the way.  We had been to the badlands so we swapped out a stop here for the Badlands drive so we could stretch our legs.  We loved it


Had to stop at the saloon


This was our favorite building


All the buildings have authentic furnishings.  This one was awesome. Loved the old stage


And of course the red rooms up stairs.

IMG_6844 (1)

They also have all the movie props from Dances With Wolves on display. It was a wonderful stop that took us back in time


I forgot to put the Corn Palace as our first spot we stopped before 1880 town.  We also loved it very interesting art work.  A local told me they call it the bird feeder because all the birds in the area take a snack out of it


I had no idea it was also a basketball venue outside of the summer months


Every morning over the 5 days out to California we tried to find a diner to have breakfast at.  Seeing old guys at the counter was our sign of a good diner


Next stop was Devils Tower.  I had not been here since I was a kid.  We had light rain coming down but again a great stop


It was 51 degrees and we were cold but happy to be out of the car


Our first mule deer we saw.  Not pictured were all the prong horn, 2 loose cows on the highway in Wyoming and a lone porcupine in Wyoming who looked very out of place

IMG_6890 (1)

Off to Utah for of course a stop at the Great Salt Lake


We prefer Lake Superior but it was nice to see although a bit stinky


We picked up a tumble weed in Nevada that joined us for about 2,000 miles getting smaller and smaller until we finally lost it on our return trip somewhere with the cows in Wyoming

IMG_6900 (1)

Finally made it to Western  California  to the Sierras where we had to be careful to pick a route that was not on fire.  Our original Hwy 50 by Lake Tahoe was being bulldozed as a fire break between the Dixie and Calder fires.  We came in on Hwy 20 and could see the smoke.  It was like being in the middle of campfire smoke.  It was scary but we were pretty sure the route was fire free


We wound our way through Napa Valley to arrive at Santa Rosa to meet up with Grant and Bex.  They took us up one of their favorite trails to see the  redwoods.  We only had 20 hours to be there before we had to turn around for home but we throughly enjoyed the hike


Napa Valley in back of us.  The end of the line for us

IMG_6920 (1)

While we were hiking our motel room was broken in to.  It was time to go home.  I look calm in this picture but 10 min before was not

IMG_6924 (1)

The sierras were even worse on the way home down Hwy 80 this was just east of Reno

IMG_6929 (1)

Penny slots in Nevada


We loved the trip but are thankful for our small quiet area of the world and happy to be home