Road Trip! - Wyoming Adventure

How did this happen, you ask? My husband, Bo, was a firefighter in Wyoming for several years and this area is very special to him.  His love for the land and its history is contagious and I have fallen in love with it as well.  He learned of this residency and encouraged me to apply.  When I received my acceptance letter we began to plan this 2,000-mile road trip.  The idea of a nomadic lifestyle where we could "work from anywhere" is something we have been talking about.  This would be our first opportunity to try it out.   

We departed from Knoxville, Tennessee, and headed north from Nashville.  The landscape gently changed as we traveled through Kentucky, Missouri, and stopped in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We would have two more stops in Custer, South Dakota, and Sheridan, Wyoming before arriving in Dayton.

We left the lush, green Smoky Mountains and traveled through big cities, over many rivers, and through massive farms and fields of crops as far as your eyes could see.  There is nothing like the vastness of the big sky in the Midwest and the beauty of the rolling plains and prairies.  I tried to capture some of the funny things we passed on the road (in slow motion) with my phone. What a tourist!  Follow me on Instagram to see the videos.    

We made a point to tour The Badlands National Park in South Dakota on our way to Custer.  It looks like something on the moon with rocky spires with layers of soft color and the prairie dogs are such a stinking cute bonus in this magnificent park.  We spent three days in Custer, South Dakota with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally happening about 30 miles away and there were motorcycles of all kinds everywhere!  All the little western towns we passed through were thriving with tourism and welcoming bikers. 

We visited the Black Hills National Forrest and Custer State Park which are two of our favorite places.  It was a delight to see buffalo in great herds roaming the landscape and the wild donkeys in the park are always a joy to experience.  These tame little donkeys roam the park freely and visitors enjoy offering tasty treats by hand or from the car window.   We took our time on Needles Highway meandering through magnificent spires, pigtail bridges, and narrow one-lane tunnels to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorials.   Wind Cave National Park is a beautiful preservation of prairie grasses above a massive network of caves discovered in the early 1800's by a 16 year old boy with a candle and a ball of string.  We took the tour into Wind Cave descending about 210 feet into the cave where we learned about "boxwork" made from thin layers of calcite that is there to protect the ceiling of the cave.  It is called "boxwork" because it resembles the corrugation of cardboard.  It was fascinating! We stayed at the Dakota Dream Bed and Breakfast in Custer and highly recommend it if you are in the area. 

We took the long way to Wyoming by traveling through beautiful Spearfish Canyon and through the gold mining towns of Deadwood and Lead, South Dakota, and were treated to a viewing of a mountain goat near Bridal Veil Falls.  It was fascinating to explore the towns that sprung up in the heart of the gold rush. They still have that old west feel with the beautiful sandstone buildings and old western-style architecture that has been charmingly preserved.

We are now in Sheridan, Wyoming where I will tour Kendrick Arboretum and learn about native Wyoming plants that I am about to use in my work.  We will tour the Brinton Museum and stop at some art galleries in town.  All this is in preparation for my two-week exploration at Tongue River Artist Residency in Dayton, Wyoming which starts on Tuesday, August 16, 2022.   I am beyond thankful and excited to begin this adventure and welcome you to come along with me. 

Happy Trails!