Thursday, August 31, 2006

On the Prairie

One of the worst things about traveling alone is getting sick.

I’m typically a hale sort, and I’ve gotten sick only a few times on my solo travels.

The first was in Vietnam, a dozen years ago. Whether it was flu or food poisoning I never knew, but I canceled my onward flight and called my future husband. If I died, I wanted somebody to tell my mother where they’d buried my body.

The next time was in Las Vegas, and despite the party atmosphere, I can promise you this really was food poisoning. The drive to the Grand Canyon the next day wasn't much fun, but at least my stomach settled before I had saddled up for the all-day mule ride.

Today’s bout I’m blaming on TMB – too much barbecue – and TMD – too much driving. At times like this, you've just got to crash, and I spent a goodly bit of today in bed. Thankfully, it was in a cozy B&B, Cottage House, in the friendly town of Council Grove, Kansas, once a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. I can’t think of a better place to hole up for a day.

I did make it out to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, but that story will need to wait for a day or two. It’s back to bed for me. Meanwhile, here are a few photos:


Sarah Eaton said...

Hello Jane,
I'm so sorry to hear that you're not feeling well. Getting sick on the road always seems so much worse than being sick at home.

I can't wait to hear about Tallgrass Prairie. Kansas was one of the states I missed on my trip, and I know that there are many amazing things to see.

Since you're on your way to South Dakota, and then to Glacier National Park (by the way, the pop-up to vote for your activities in the park has "Glacier" misspelled), I though I'd offer a few suggestions.

No matter how the vote turns out for South Dakota, you will likely go to Wall Drug Store anyway. After you pass what seems to be several thousand signs advertising the place, you feel that you simply must stop. It's ok, and makes for a good break, but Badlands National Park is a must see if you're in teh area, and an easy drive through from the interstate.

I love that the vote includes a hike in the park. When you're driving so much, a hike in a national park, whether it's Badlands or Glacier, is a perfect diversion, and a way to truly experience what the park has to offer.

In the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore is the centerpiece. However, if you can take a drive in Custer State Park, there are two incredible scenic byways that I would recommend - Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway. Both are winding and narrow, but gorgeous. If you are headed toward Mount Rushmore on Iron Mountain Road, you will see in the distance the heads of the presidents framed in the tunnels that you pass through.

Leaving the Black Hills, you may want to consder heading direclty west into Wyoming, passing Devils Tower National Monument (I missed seeing it and would love to know if I should make a trip there), and then toward Sheridan. Route 14 to Cody follows the Bighorn Scenic Byway and includes a descent into Shell Canyon. Cody is the home of the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, a collection of five world-class museums. Cody is also the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

If you reach the Yellowstone area before September 7, I'd love to show you around (I'm living in Big Sky, Montana, which is only an hour or so away).

Feel better and get prepared for the incredible scenery that is awaiting you.

debbie kowalsky said...

I was wondering when you'd get a day to rest. You can truly get "cabin fever" in a car and your body probably feels like it's been walking to Seattle with all the sightseeing you've been doing. I always schedule a vacation (a few days in bed) after a road-trip. Take care!

Curryshores1 said...

Feel better!

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