Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wyoming Vacation - Day 1

Well, as usual, I'm a little slow at getting my vacation recap up. Ryan and I went to Wyoming for a much needed, week-long vacation after "busy season" ended at work. The trip was so much fun! We ended up touring the majority of the state. Since we took so many pictures and travelled all over, I'm going to split the recap up into several posts.

Our trip began bright and early on a Saturday morning. With a 12 hour drive ahead of us, we decided to hit the road around 6 a.m. The first part of the drive went really fast, and before we knew it, we were in South Dakota. We didn't take many pictures along the drive there because there really weren't many photo ops! Once we reached Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it was time to start heading West. Once in South Dakota, we started seeing signs for Wall Drug. At first there were just a few signs here and there, but as we continued West, the signs became more frequent. So when we started getting hungry, we decided we'd stop off in this overly publicized area. 
We saw thousands of these signs driving across South Dakota!
Source: Google Images

Well, once we actually arrived in Wall Drug, I was pretty disappointed. It was like a ghost town. I am assuming it was so deserted because the summer season had not yet begun. Either way, we walked around for a little while, grabbed some food, and then we were on our way again.

The next part of our drive was so.dang.boring! The Badlands of South Dakota carried on for what seemed like days. There was nowhere to stop along the way either. The drive was long, boring, and windy! Western Kansas has NOTHING on the Badlands. From Wall to Sturgis, our turnoff, was about 80 miles of nothingness. Don't get me wrong, the Badlands do look cool. But after about 3 miles, I was over it. It may have been cool to drive through the actual Badlands National Park, but this is 10 hours into our drive for the day and we just wanted to get to our destination!

Finally we reached the Sturgis exit and headed South to Deadwood. 
Not the best quality picture - thanks IPhone!

Since Deadwood was so close to the town our hotel was in, Spearfish, we decided to hang out for awhile and explore the tiny town. We tried our hand at gambling and grabbed a few drinks and some dinner. The weather was so great!

We didn't win any money, but we had a lot of fun trying! Ryan is much more of a gambler than I am though, so I only tried my luck with about $5. We ate dinner at the Buffalo Steakhouse Saloon. It was just so-so, but I don't think they were going for "fine dining experience".

After walking around for a couple hours and buying some souvenirs, we hit the road to Spearfish. We stayed at a Holiday Inn that we "Pricelined" and got an amazing deal. One thing that I suggest everyone go do immediately is sign up for hotel reward points or programs. Most of these are free and you end up getting free stuff. Upon our check-in we received a "Welcome" gift since I was in the Holiday Inn Rewards Club. Included in the package was a coupon for the hotel bar, some chocolate, and a couple bottles of water. After settling in, we went down to the bar and redeemed our 2 FREE beers, munched on some free popcorn and watched the live band. By this point, we were both exhausted, and decided to call it a night. We had to get up early for another long day of driving and sight-seeing. Overall, Day One was an awesome start to our vacation!

Stay tuned for Day 2

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