The Route

**Due to a recent change in circumstances, all of this on hold - I will get back into it, I will make it happen, but right now I have bigger priorities than me getting out and enjoying myself**

Thought I'd share the basic route/routes with you all so you get an idea of where I want to go (I'm not including the hotels as a start and end (I may be asking strangers for help but I'm not daft enough to let those strangers know where we will be staying - you can never be too careful). I also won't be sharing when we are going (notice I said "when" and not "if"? I truly believe it will happen). 

I'll start with the general route, then break it down into daily routes - these are just ideas for getting from one place to the next; they are not really set in stone as we may see a road we like the look of and detour to see if there's anything we want to stop at while there. 

Next to each route section I'll add a link named Directions! Clicking on this will bring up the written route for those of you who might want to follow in our footsteps but who are not very au fait with reading maps. Remember though these will take you between the centre of towns, not to exact hotels. 

The eagle eyed among you may notice some road closures - that's because I'm doing my searches in November when a lot of the roads are closed due to snow (although right now they are currently having the hottest fall on record). I plan on going during either the late spring or early fall so there may be snow but it won't affect the roads and whether they are open or not. 

It might not look that appetising when you see it's mainly all off I90 but there is so much to explore in between and off those roads. There will be wildlife - bears, wolves, bison, elk, deer, coyotes, moose and prairie dogs to name a few. I'd love to see ALL of them (from a very safe distance of course) but the wolves and moose are top of the list having already been blessed with the others. To hear a wolf howling in it's natural habitat would just about be the icing on the cake. I have dreamed of such a moment.

Please note clicking on all the words in black will link you through to the places/venues/attractions should you wish to check them out. I know, I am too kind to do the groundwork for you :)

Day 1 

Our flight our from Heathrow departs at 14.40 so we'll leave home about 9 and head on off to the airport - possibly taking a National Express coach rather than driving ourselves.  Arriving in Denver at 17.30 we'll make our way to our motel for an overnight stop and some shut eye.

Day 2

A fairly leisurely day; we'll fly out of Denver at 11am, arriving in Jackson Hole just after 1pm when we'll pick up our hire car, head to our motel, unpack and have a mooch around the town before we begin the road tripping tomorrow.

Day 3

There aren't really a need for directions today as we will be exploring the town itself or out on the Snake River float from which our departure point will be within a 10 minute walk of our hotel. However if we choose to go out and take a trip on the aerial tram we will need to drive, so those are the directions I've included. We may however, find ourselves riding the tram on Day 4 when we are already out in the Tetons as an easy day after all our travels the previous day will probably suit us best. 

Day 4

Jackson Hole, WY - Grand TetonsWY - Jenny Lake, WY and surrounding areas:- Directions!

I think we could just about manage this route and all the driving it will involve :) Jenny Lake is within the same area so I didn't add it to the map.  When I visited before while everyone used their half an hour (yes, that's all we were allowed when we stopped) to explore the visitors centre I took a stroll by myself down to the river in the hope I may have spotted a moose having a sneaky drink; no such luck but I did have a couple of canoeist's wave at me as they rowed on by - not quite the same but brought a smile to my face :) 

Day 5

I like the idea of this route as it takes us across states into Idaho (home of the potato I believe?). We'll be leaving our hotel about 10am and I guess we'll check into our next about 6-7pm. With a 2.5 hour journey that gives us 5.5/6.5 hours to stop and find other places worthy of exploration, or just a photo stop on the way. I am sure there will be no shortage of things for us to snap off a shot or 2 of :) 

Day 6

Yellowstone, MT/WY - Part 1 :- Directions!

I've broken down the Yellowstone bits into 2 sections. The first we will do on our first day there, which will take in Biscuit Basin, Old Faithful, Fountain Pot, Grand Prismatic spring, Mud Volcano, Dragons Mouth Spring and other bits in between. We'll need to leave by 8 for this day as the route itself takes 3.5 hours to complete and with the amount of photo stops we'll be doing it could take us all day to visit just half of the places. 

Day 7

Now, depending on where you're staying (we've chosen one of the many hotels in this area) you really shouldn't need to be driving to the centre. There are plenty of hotels to choose from within a 2 mile radius - again I have put in just West Yellowstone as the start point so it's very generic.

Day 8

Yellowstone, MT/WY - Part 2 :- Directions!

This day will see us visiting the parts we didn't get to see on Day 6, including Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls, Artist Point and anything else that takes our fancy en route.

Day 9

We could go the long way, up north and down dale, but will head back through the park itself, that way if we didn't get to see all we wanted to during our visit, we can stop off on the way to Cody, WY. The route will take about 3.5 hours from start to finish which means if we've seen all we wanted we can take a nice leisurely drive between the 2 points and head off out a bit later than the previous morning.

Day 10

Cody, WY - Old Town Trail :- Directions!

This time you'll see I've listed the hotel from whence we shall commence our route - that's because I've been lucky enough to stay there before and would dearly love to go back and stay again. When it comes to booking I may find it's a lot dearer than I am willing to spend, but for now it's the one we shall be booking and as you can see we can walk to the Old Town from it - that means a nice lazy day, which will be much needed after our long days in Yellowstone. I am sure we shall pop into town as well at some point for there are many places to explore while there also.

Day 11

Cody, WY - Sheridan, WY :- Directions!

Today we'll take a slow drive from Cody, WY to Sheridan, WY passing through the Bighorn National Forest on our way. It also gives us chance to explore more of Cody before we leave if we don't get to see it all on Day 9.

Day 12

Little Bighorn Battlefield, MT :- Directions!

Today we'll do an up one side of the road to our destination and back down the other for today is all about the Battle of Little Bighorn. There will be no stops or detours on the way, no long car journeys to get there. I actually added in an extra day to make sure we don't have to drive for longer than just over an hour to get there. This means we'll leave the hotel at 8.30 and arrive at the battlefield just before they open, giving me all day to wander, explore and absorb as much as I possibly can. I'll never get the chance to go there again so I want to make sure I get to see/learn as much as I can. I'm also sure that by now my travel companion and I will be needing a break from each other - this is the best place for us to do such a thing. He can wander off in one direction, I can wander in another. I can absorb, he can learn.

Day 13

Sheridan, WY - Deadwood, SD via Devils Tower, WY :- Directions!

A slow amble today will take us from Sheridan into Deadwood, via Devils Tower - we may even stop for some lunch in Sundance.  We were told when we drove by Sundance on the trip I did before that the mayor doesn't like people to stop off and would hate for the place to be turned into a tourist trap but if we're passing by the door I think we just as well stop off. It is after all a place with a name that has a place in the USA history books.

Day 14

Deadwood, SD - Tatanka :- Directions!

Another easy day today giving us chance to explore the historic town of Deadwood. We will take a trip up to Tatanka (The home of the bison museum) IF it's open when we visit. There are also several museums in town we'll have a nose around if we get the time. I'm sure with streets steeped in history we won't run out of things to do.  Also we have the option again of splitting up today if we so wish. I can take myself to Tatanka while he does his own thing.

Day 15

Deadwood, SD - Kyle, SD - via Mount Rushmore and the Scenic Highway, SD :- Directions!

When I first began planning this trip I chose Cedar Pass Lodge in the Badlands as the place to stay, however upon finding they book very quickly and are only open at certain times of the year I realised I needed to look elsewhere. That's when I came upon the Lakota Prairie Ranch (yes, I am sharing another place I plan to stay with you). I've seen good and bad reports on the place but as long as the door locks, the beds are comfy (ish) and the sheets are clean it will be perfect for our needs. Being located on Pine Ridge just gets me that little bit closer to the history and culture of the area.

Day 16

Kyle, SD - Badlands Loop, SD :- Directions!

Today we're heading off to the Badlands with landscapes that look as though they could belong to any moon out in our (or any other) solar system. The plan is to do the whole loop round, stopping at every opportunity to take full advantage of the area. We're not going in the most conventional of directions but I'm trying hard to make sure we don't drive the same roads twice so I've taken us through Scenic rather than Interior.

Day 17

Kyle, SD - Fort Laramie WY :- Directions!

We'll head out early this morning and make our way to Fort Laramie where we'll have plenty of time to explore the buildings, enter the visitor centre and learn a little about life at the Fort as well as the Treaty signed (and broken by the government) by Red Cloud on behalf of all Sioux nations.

Day 18

Fort Laramie WY - Home Via Cheyenne WY and Denver CO :- Directions!

The flight out this evening leaves at 7pm; we'll need to arrive at the airport for 4pm (dropping the car back when we arrive). This would mean we could leave at 12 noon and still arrive in time but I'd like us to leave by 10am so we could stop off at the Cheyenne Depot Museum for the simple fact the giant cowboy boots make for a great photo opportunity that I think the kids would happily entertain. As it's not putting us out of our way - it's enroute - it makes sense to have one last experience :)

As it currently stands I will most likely be using Expedia to book the flights (somehow they are cheaper than going direct with the airlines) and Alamo for the car rental. As I've explained above I'm not willing to share which hotels I will be staying in, just in case some crazy works out when we are traveling and fancies joining us - you can never be too careful these days. All maps have been generated via Bing and Google Maps - how dd we ever manage without them? 

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