The following is a continuation of our Featured Guest post from Kay King. To read the earlier post click here.
Buffalo Bill and Billings. It was 30 degrees and snowing as we departed Yellowstone National Park for a stimulating drive of hairpin curves in a blizzard. Sylvan Pass is only open in the summer. We had not sighted many animals yet, so Insight Vacations gave each of us a box of “wild” animal cookies.
We visited the outstanding Buffalo Bill Historical Center (and superb gift shop), built in honor of one of America’s great Western legends. Bill claims to have killed 4280 Buffalo to feed railroad construction crews, hence his nickname. The Native American collections and displays were spectacular, especially the child’s dress embellished with enough elk’s teeth to trade for a fine horse.
On our way to the old cattle town of Billings, Montana (where we learned the meaning of big Montana skies) our guide gave each of us a Buffalo “meatball.” After everyone had eaten theirs, she told us we had just eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters. Everyone loved the story she told us about a man who was gathering his courage to order this delicacy in a restaurant next to a bullfight ring. For several nights he carefully observed other customers’ filled plates. The next night he ordered. When he saw his plate, he complained to the waiter that his “oysters” were so much smaller than those on the previous nights. The waiter responded, “Sometimes the bull wins!”
Deadwood, Custer State Park, Black Hills of South Dakota. We relived Custer’s Last Stand, learned all about Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and the history of the Indian Wars at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Ranger Steve Adelson dramatically related every bloody detail. We finally saw pronghorn antelope as we crossed the great high plains into the Black Hills of South Dakota. With a local expert, we heard about the days of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, who made this town famous during the gold rush of the 1870’s.
Finally we reached the magnificent Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where the gigantic heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt dominate the Black Hills. We were able to walk to the base with a park ranger.
The “Haunted” Stanley Hotel at Estes Park. We left South Dakota to travel across the grasslands and high plains of Wyoming. This area witnessed the sweeping saga of America’s western expansion during the 19th Century. Once over the Colorado border we headed for this historic hotel in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Boasting spectacular views in every direction, our neoclassical heritage hotel is most famous for being the inspiration for the fictional ‘Overlook Hotel’ in Stephen King’s novel The Shining. The film played non-stop in our rooms. On our final evening, we experienced a delicious Celebration Dinner at this awesome hotel.
The Rocky Mountains National Park – Denver. We travelled south climbing high into the breathtaking Rocky Mountain National Park, across the Continental Divide and over Trail Ridge Road where the snow banks were 8 to 10 feet high. Our tour ended on arrival in Denver, where we transferred to Denver International Airport for our afternoon flight home.
The following is a sample of Kay King’s Photo Story originally posted on the FHPW website. To read the full article click here.
For more information about the Federation of Houston Professional Women, visit www.fhpw.org.
To view details about the Insight Vacation American Parks Trail itinerary click here.