The Road to Yellowstone: Sunrise Tours Trip 2016

by Debbie Monterrey dcmonterrey@cbs.com

It’s always hard to get back in the swing of things after a vacation, but especially difficult after spending more than a week in some of the most beautiful places in the United States! Places that tend to have zero cell phone service or wi-fi.

My daughter and husband exploring Badlands National Park, South Dakota (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

My daughter and husband exploring Badlands National Park, South Dakota (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

My Yellowstone Adventure with a busload of KMOX listeners left St. Louis on July 31st heading for the American West! What I really love about Sunrise Tours is how they pack a ton of things into the agenda but I don’t have to sweat any of the details. I just sit back, relax and take in the amazing scenery.

Our tour guide, Christine, was so organized and enthusiastic, keeping us energized and on schedule. Our driver, Nick, did a great job. Wonderful attiude everyday loading our luggage on and off the bus, driving, driving, driving, AND keeping a cool head when our coach developed a mechanical problem. In the middle of nowhere Wyoming. On a Sunday morning!

Somewhere along the Wyoming/Idaho border. Taken from the bus window (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

Somewhere along the Wyoming/Idaho border. Taken from the bus window (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

If pressed to name the most fabulous part of the trip, I don’t think I could pick just one. Although my son decided the “Party Bus” was his favorite. He turned 7 on the trip and was worried no one would remember. I secretly brought banners and balloons and decorated the bus early in the morning and made sure he was the last one on so everyone could yell, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

Heading down the Snake River, Grand Tetons in the background (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

Heading down the Snake River, Grand Tetons in the background (Photo by Debbie Monterrey)

Driving through South Dakota, we stopped at all the must-see places.

Mitchell Corn Palace:

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Wall Drug. Crazy Horse Memorial. Mount Rushmore.

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

We took a Jeep tour at Custer State Park to search for bison. For a few miles, everyone was wondering, “Gee, will we see any buffalo?” And then, BAM! They were everywhere. Huge, with no concerns about sidling up to our Jeep or blocking our way. Amazing to think at one point, there were fewer than 300 of them left in the whole country! I think we saw more than 300 just that morning in the Park.

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Of course, the main event was Yellowstone. And it did not disappoint. We spent two days exploring this amazing American gem, where it goes from forests to mountains to prairies to lakes and in some places, it looks like another planet!

On Mars? No! It's Yellowstone National Park! (Photo by Caeli Millett)

On Mars? No! It’s Yellowstone National Park! (Photo by Caeli Millett)

Also, a shout out to my travel pals, Michael Walter and Bonnie and Keith Hargrove. These three traveled with us last year to Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks in California. We’ve started our own unofficial travel club through Sunrise! Not sure yet where we’re going next year!

Photo by Bob Eisen

Photo by Bob Eisen

And one more fantastic shot I got from the raft as we were going down the Snake River. We saw several bald eagles.

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Photo by Debbie Monterrey

Thanks, Sunrise Tours, for another fantastic adventure!

 

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