Eureka! We Found Gold!

We wrapped up our time in South Dakota with a trip to the Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood. A gold panning instructor showed us the proper technique and we managed to find a few flakes!!

Hello early retirement!!!

The forecasted storms for the day started to roll in as we made our way towards Devils Tower in Wyoming. We took our time eating lunch in Spearfish, South Dakota, hoping the rain would have cleared out.

The timing couldn’t have worked out better.

This was our first glimpse of Devils Tower.

By the time we arrived, the sun was trying its best to break through the clouds.

We weren’t sure if we’d still be able to do any hiking near the tower because of all the rain, but were pleasantly surprised that the entire 1.3 mile loop trail around the tower was paved.

It was an enjoyable trek around the tower. The trail was well maintained and there were SO many photo opportunities! We were glad we decided to go for it!

As we were leaving the area, another storm was rolling in. We felt very fortunate to have dodged the rain!

Google maps thought it would be fun to take us on some gravel roads on the way to our hotel for the night. Over 30 miles of them to be exact. We were definitely on the road less traveled as we only saw one other car the entire time. Haha!

Here’s a quick side note – One thing our family always enjoys on these long trips is looking for license plates. For this trip, we decided to take it one week at a time. Here’s how we did for the first week.

As you can see, we saw 45 of the 50 states!! We were pretty pleased with that. We were only missing Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Alaska and Hawaii. It also has one for Washington DC, but that’s not a state.

We’re hoping to beat that total this coming week.

Everett found an Alaska plate at Devils Tower today, so we’re off to a good start. Here’s all the ones we found today.

The following day was all about Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. We were excited because we knew this park had a similar vibe to Badlands National Park.

It was a two and half hour drive from our hotel to Theodore Roosevelt NP. Our roadside attraction for the day was the Enchanted Highway. It’s a stretch of road that has very random and very large steel statues.

We were about 10 miles from the park and the landscape was still very flat. It seemed almost impossible for a national park to be just ahead.

As we were driving, it felt like we were instantaneously transported to a completely different place. It happened so quickly!

At the visitor center, we learned that part of the scenic loop road had recently collapsed and was obviously closed. That would make for a longer drive through the park, but we were still excited!

We were all smiles at the first overlook!

After seeing the rock formations, we decided they had some similarities to Badlands NP but still had their own unique features as well. They were beautiful!!

You could see for miles at some of the overlooks and it gave the boys (and us) a chance to work on their binocular skills!

We didn’t really know what to expect as far as seeing wildlife at this park. We were fortunate to have several up-close experiences with bison, wild horses and prairie dogs.

We would all get excited when seeing a car stopped up ahead. The boys would ask, “I wonder what they found?” It was even more exciting to be the first ones to spot an animal hiding in the bushes.

We even experienced our first ever bison jam! Well, it was just one bison, but it still counts!

We were hoping to see some elk or bighorn sheep, but weren’t lucky enough this time, I guess.

It was an incredible park and one we would definitely recommend if you’re in the area!!!

Tomorrow is a long driving day to Great Falls, Montana and then we get a few days at Glacier National Park!!!

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