Contiki 2014 – Grand Northern USA

For a while, I’ve wanted to write about my contiki in 2014.

I hadn’t started my blog yet when I traveled then but I definitely want to do a review on the tour. So I what I think I’ll do, is an over all overview of the contiki, then another blog of each of the place we stopped in at!

The tour started on a rainy morning in downtown New York at the Doubltree By Hilton, Chelsea. The night before, most of us met in the lobby for a quick meet and greet and exchange paperwork of insurance and passports with our contiki manager Craig, a typical American with a very strong southern accent, which threw me at first. Christ, what am I doing? Why on earth did I book this trip, everyone is terrifying me!

My anxiety of new people went into overdrive and I was stuck in the middle of a tiny cramped lobby with 30 or so other people introducing themselves to everyone while I managed to back my way out of the group after I had given my copies of the paper work and nudged towards the elevator and back to my room to try to get a good nights sleep after an extensive day of trying to get over my jet lag and the fact that I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life by coming overseas.

I missed home, my family and my friends already and I had only been out of the country for no more than 48 hours and I still had 30 something days to go!

Mel, pull yourself together, you are going to enjoy this trip no matter what!

The next day we all jumped in the bus and spent the next few hours playing ‘get to know you’ games before reaching our first destination, Boston. We did the touristy stuff in Boston for a couple of days then headed up on the bus to Canada!

We explored in Quebec City, Montreal and of course Toronto where we hit up way too many bars and drank way too much vodka to have our last trip in Canada at the beautiful Niagara Falls.

Before we crossed the border back into the States, we stopped in at the duty free store to stock up for the rest of the trip with more alcoholic goodies.

Next stop, Cleveland Ohio! We only spent one afternoon/night here. We ventured through the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame then spent the night ten pin bowling.

Over the coming days we stopped in at Chicago Illinois, Madison Wisconsin, Sioux Falls South Dakota, the incredible Badlands’ National Park, the tiny historic town of Walldrug and Mt. Rushmore. I got to go to my first baseball game and check in at the Spam Factory (needless to say, like most days we were hung over and the spam tastings were an interesting experience to say the least).

One place I remember fondly is Keystone, a town next to Mt. Rushmore that   I loved the little old town and I was caught it wanderlust of it all. A few of us spent an evening in the most amazing bar I have ever seen.

It was a cross between an old wooden small town bar, and a thrift shop. Yeah I’m serious, and I’ll go into more detail about it in my other blog and review about each town.

The next day would have been my favorite part of the bus trip by far!

We drove from Keystone through to the Wyoming Mountain Ranges, where for the first time ever, I saw snow. The forty or so of us proceeded to have a snow ball fight then return to the bus with blue frozen fingers and toes. It was totally worth it though 🙂


That afternoon we arrived to the small rodeo town of Cody, Wyoming. We all brought out our cowboy boots and hats and headed off the to rodeo for the evening!

The following days were spent in numerous national parks and time for some fresh air! We visited Yellowstone National Park, went on a horse ride through a local ranch, hiked through Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and finally, the one and only Grand Canyon!


We finished off our trip by spending three amazing days in Las Vegas where, like usual, we drank too much, spent too much and partied too much. It was the final hoorah for the contiki trip so we made the most of Las Vegas before everyone parting ways in Los Angeles, not without several tears and hugs and exchanges of phone numbers.

Contiki’s are infamous for that, creating bonds and friendships like no other. Not only are you travelling to incredible places for the first, and potentially one and only time, but you are sharing that experience and wanderlust with 49 other travellers.

People who are inspired by the world and want to achieve so much. Some already have achieved so much which inspires everyone else even more.

Thank you contiki for creating life long lasting memories and friendships for me with like minded travelers and world seekers.

 

 

 

Day 28 Sunday 6th September – “Birthday Celebrations”

 

 

Good Morning Ya’ll :)So yeah… As you can guess, today is MY BIRTHDAY!

And today, we are off to Las Vegas, the original sin city 🙂

This morning we left and on the way to Las Vegas, we stopped in at a little town on Route 66.


It was a hot town in the middle of the desert full of quirky signs and attractions.


  
The bus journey was a fun one with party music and games for an amazing day ahead.

We played plenty of Calvin Harris, because tonight, myself and the girls are heading to Hakassan at the MGM Grande to see him live in Las Vegas!

When we arrived at Las Vegas mid afternoon, we unpacked all of our luggage and headed up to the rooms.

Some went shopping while others began pre drinking.

I headed down to the salon at the hotel to get my hair done for my birthday 🙂

After getting all dolled up for the night, I returned back to the room to find a beautiful surprise waiting for me…


And there was so much more confetti throughout that what is in that picture!

My contiki girls are amazing and I love you all for making my birthday such a special night 😀

We had dinner at the Planet Hollywood at Caesars Palace Forum Shops.

After we finished our meals, I was given a birthday ice cream with a sparkler and everyone sang happy birthday.

It was beautiful 😊


We left Planet Hollywood and hopped on the bus to do a Las Vegas city tour and stop at the infamous sign at the end of the strip!


We spent an amazing night visiting an Elvis chapel and visiting the lights on Freemont Street and partying on the bus along the way.

Finally, we ended up at MGM Grande where we continued to party it up and see the one and only Calvin Harris 😍

xx

Day 27 Saturday 5th September – “Not I, not anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself” Walt Whitman

The Grand Canyon is one of the marvels of the world that, only when you see it in the flesh, do you appreciate its enormity.

People can go places and see things, and when you get home, you tell your friends and family and you show them photos.

But there are some things, that no matter in how much detail, or how many pixels your camera is, somethings just need to be seen for themselves.

The Grand Canyon is one of these things.

“Not I, not anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel is for yourself” said Walt Whitman.


This morning started off with doing laundry which was desperately overdue!

Others had helicopter rides over the grand canyon which I decided not to do, as I had done it last year and decided to keep my money for other optionals.

When everyone got back from the helicopters, Monique and myself went to the village shopping centre to get supplies for the sunset picnic we had planned this evening with the group.

Once the shopping was complete, Leigh and myself took a walk to the Bright Angel Trailhead at the canyon to explore the amazing view and get some cool touristy snaps 🙂

  
  

After an afternoon of exploring, we headed back to the cabins to get our things together and head to Mohave Point for the sunset picnic 🙂

When we arrived, we took a few sneaky photos at the point!


  

Unfortunately, it turned very cold and very windy quite quickly, so we all headed back to the cabins and gathered up for a couple of room gatherings before our big journey tomorrow to the one and only, Viva Las Vegas 😉

Day 26 Friday 4th September – “You’ve got to put the past behind you, before you can move on” Forrest Gump

I’ve been traveling so far for 25 days now, and a full on ride since the beginning with no doubt. There has been many ups, really great days, moments and experiences with people. But what comes with travelling, there has also been downs, being home sick, missing my friends and family at home, tired, run down and exhausted from travelling.

But thanks to the amazing people that you travel with along the way, they will always pick you back up.

You have to remember that, although you are allowed to miss your friends and family, you are in an incredible place that you may only ever get one chance to experience, to just keep moving forward.

As Forrert Gump would say “My Mumma always said, you’ve got to put the past behind you, before you can move on”

This morning was cold, wet and drizzly morning in Durango.

I made my way to breakfast early to beat the rush. My bags were all ready to go along with my travel pillow and bus blanket for a sleepy day on the bus.

As we left Durango, we knew it was going to be quite a drive today along the way to the Grand Canyon, through Monument Valley along the way!


After a couple of hours on the road, we reached our first destination, the road on Monument Valley.

We all stopped for amazing photos and to admire the scenery.

This is the road that we all know so well, that was made more famous than it already was in the movie Forrest Gump.

The scene where Forrest is doing his running scene, and at the end of his run after over 2 years of running through the country, he turns around to the crowd behind him and says “I’m pretty tired, think I’ll go home now”

We decided while on at the side of the road, to reanact a famous Forrest Gump scene.

One of the girls had a Bubba Gump hat and poncho so she was put at the front while everyone else ‘ran’ behind 🙂

After our stop on the road, we headed to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, the visitors centre that is on Indian land.

A really great place for more incredible photo moments.



  
  
It was also extremely windy so getting a good photo with the flag was a challenge haha.

Once we finished having photos, we headed through the rest of the valley, and on our way to the Grand Canyon!


It was still early in the afternoon when we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park!!

Even though I’ve been to the Grand Canyon before, it was just as impressive as it was before. Last time I had been in the North Rim on my previous contiki.

This time, we were on the South Rim and even lucky enough to have two nights in the Grand Canyon 🙂


  
Haha I even attempted the almighty contiki jump!

That night, we had an included dinner at the cafeteria at the Maswik Lodges we were staying at.

A few people were having ‘room drinks’ but myself and my room mate decided to have a night in watching The Lion King on my laptop!

A good quiet night in 🙂

xx

Day 25 Thursday 3rd September – “Not all who wander are lost” J. R. R. Tolkien

“Not all who wander are lost”

I love this quote because I feel it is about exploring and not limiting to what you can explore and discover.

One in not lost, nor are they exploring to find anything in particular, but exploring to see what can be found.

While on contiki, there are many ‘optionals’ that can be chosen while you are in your travels. They are local experiences that we can get at a discounted group rate through contiki.

This morning, the optional that I have been looking most forward to was hot air ballooning over Albuquerque!


  
  
  
  
I can not describe how spectacular the view of the Albuquerque sunrise from the air was.

A few of us in our basket even face timed our families from the air.

It was a pretty special morning!

We watched the balloon set up before getting into the air. While we were up, we watched the view of the mountains while below us, the town was waking up and getting ready for work or the day. We even managedtoe flow enough at some points to say hi and wave at the neighborhoods below as people waved up at us!

Once we had been up in the air for our lovely ride, we landed in a small suburban street where we had more pictures taken, locals coming out of their houses to watch the balloon get let down and we had our champagne breakfast with a pop up table while the guys from the ballooning company packed the basket, ropes, ties and the ballon into their trailer.

The company is called Rainbow Riders. You can find them at rainbowriders.com and I would highly rate and recommend them 🙂

When we got back to the hotel, we received a cute personal certificate from Rainbow Riders.

Once we pulled all our bags out of our rooms, we packed up the bus again and once again, we had another bus morning on the way Durango, Colorado!

When we arrived Durango not long after lunch time, some of the group went to go horse riding while others when white water rafting.

Some didn’t choose either including myself and a few other lovely ladies I’ve become good friends with.

We decided to explore around the town, which isn’t overly large, but very cute, country but contemporary at the same time 🙂

We started at one end of the Main Street, going into gift stores, candy stores, a mountain chocolate shop 🙂

There were second hand books stores, coffee shops, cards readers and cafes.

We had an afternoon of wandering around the town and discovering the culture. It’s a cute place for sure!

When the others had finished with their optionals, we all met back at the bus to go and check into our hotel in Durango.

We checked in and began to get ready for the night ahead.

It wasn’t a night to get overly dressed up but we still had an included dinner at a place called Carver’s Brewing Company.


I had what I assumed was a ‘taco’ but all of the ingredients of the taco were on a hard base, sort of like a pizza base. Not the greatest meal I’d had on contiki. I ate it but probably would not have it again if I had the opportunity.

We all finished our odd dinners before heading across the road to Moe’s Tavern 🙂

It was a quirky small bar that had a dark staged area out the back for small bands or stand up comedy and inside was a ping pong table and booths across from the main part of the bar.

We all only just fit in.

It was an interesting place and we didn’t stay for overly long before heading back to the hotel.

xx

Day 24 Wednesday 2nd September – “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And, I was really… I was alive” Walter White, Breaking Bad.

Travel has always inspired me. Seeing beautiful landscapes, meeting amazing people, experiencing once in a lifetime opportunities.

Knowing that there is so much in this world to discover and knowing more than anything, that I have to do it all, and that I can.

What makes you feel more alive than amazing people and and a picturesque world?

This morning, before we left for Albuquerque, we made a special stop at the Cadillac Ranch just outside of Amarillo.

The amazing contiki tour manager bought spray paint for us to leave our mark at Cadillac Ranch (which yes it is legal to do) 🙂

The day was beautiful and bright and the most perfect was to start the day.

I could tell that our special little group was forming a unique bond that can never be broken 💜

I could see that the individuals at the beginning of the tour that had originally been the shy and quiet ones, had opened up and shared their lives and their true personalities with everyone in the group.

A sense of freedom and self expression at Cadillac Ranch today was one of the happiest moments on contiki so far. Not just myself but the whole group 🙂



  

We had to get back on the bus and after a couple of hours, we had a lunch stop in Santa Fe where we explored around and had some yummy Mexican food for lunch.


Finally we made it to Albuquerque that evening.

I was exhausted and wanted just a night in. There was an included dinner at the hotels buffet style followed by karaoke in the small bar.

I stayed to watch a couple of people sing but myself and my room mate had an early night, watching a little bit of Family Guy on to before turning in for a big day tomorrow!!

xx

Day 23 Tuesday 1st September – “Brace your backbone and forget your wishbone”

Hi everyone!!

Wow, what a blast contiki has been so far.

It’s sad because I know before long now, it will all come to an end!

And it’s my birthday soon which really will be the end of contiki when we are finishing up in Las Vegas.

For those who have previously traveled on a contiki or a group tour that travels so closely together for an extended period of time will understand just how easily and quickly you can create a connection with some of the most amazing people you will ever meet.

People who you know are like you, who think like you, who look at life the same way that you do.

I know just how much I am going to miss this wonderfully group of people.

So a notification to anyone who is going on a contiki or group tour, prepare yourself to fall even more in love with life and with people.

Let yourself be inspired and motivated. Let people push you outside of your boundaries. Let people bring out the best in you and encourage others that they can do more and be more.

Anyway, enough of the soppy stories for now. Because there is still much more to be updated from today and still another whole week to go on contiki!

This morning we left for Amarillo, Texas at the Big Texan Inn. It wasnt an overly long bus day but out tour manager had us play contiki olympics on the bus with games to keep us busy and occupied 🙂


  

Around mid afternoon, we arrived! It was a hot steamy day so a lot of us went for a swim in the Texas shaped swimming pool!


We had plenty of time to relax in the pool before getting ready for dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Four people from the contiki  group were participating in the infamous steak challenge.


This place is incredible! So much fun.

So the steak challenge involves eating 4.5 pounds of steak, baked potato, shrimp cocktail, salad and a bread roll. The contenders have an hour to complete the challenge by themselves and if the meal is completed within the hour, the $72 meal is free.

For more information, check it out here-

http://www.bigtexan.com

That night we also had our contiki cowboy/ cowgirl party at the Big Texan I mentioned in a previous post.

We dressed up in our cowboy and cowgirl gear, did our hair and out on our hats and bandanas!


Once the steak challenge was complete, which unfortunately no one was able to finish, we headed into the bar and put on numerous requests into the dukebox and played the shooting games in the bar.

They had special Texas cocktails at the bar and we danced late into the night boot scooting, nutbushing and even the Cupid shuffle 🙂


  

It was a really great fun and carefree night and we could stay as late as we wanted because our hotel was right next door at the Big Texan Inn!

Slowly one by one we headed home to our funky hotel rooms and get ready for another day on the bus tomorrow.

xx

Grand Northern 2014 – Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Kanab and The Grand Canyon

Wednesday 11th June/ Thursday 12th June/ Friday 13th June

This morning most of the group joined the optional extra of White Water Rafting (Sorry, I don’t know the name of the company) I didn’t choose it, I scored a sleep in instead.

Today our tour saw us travel south through Wyoming and into Idaho. Our stop was at the beautiful area of Bear Lake.

The scenery was amazing. It looked like the kind of place that people had their summer holiday homes in the movies.

Grand homes stood by the fresh water blue lake. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake in Utah, after Utah Lake. A fresh sunny area to stop for lunch and a stretch before a movie afternoon back on the bus and on to Salt Lake City.

We arrived in the late afternoon to our motel, the Comfort Inn Salt Lake City We had time for a quick freshen up before a walking tour to Temple Square. This is the Mormon Temple and Salt Lake City’s most visited attraction. This luxurious church took 40 years to build and contains open gardens, historic art, visitors centres and assembly halls.

I’m not personally a religious person, but this visit was quite breathtaking.

 

 

That evening we had reservations for dinner at the Red Rock Brewing Co. Most of us were eager for food after a long bus day. We ended up walking several blocks in the wrong direction to the Red Rock Brewing Co. Beer Store – the actual brewery! That’s when we all found out that this was our tour guide’s first Grand Northern trip.

Finally when we reached our destination, we found a seat ate. The food was hardy and filling. Really great meals, almost pub like comparison to here in Australia and to die for wood fired pizzas. You won’t be disappointed!

After dinner, a large group of us contikians went for a drink at the Beerhive Pub. Being a Wednesday night and Salt Lake City not being known as a party town, one drink was all we enjoyed before turning in for the evening.

The following day, we departed Salt Lake City for Kanab. Along the way, we stopped in at Bryce Canyon for a hike and some fresh air. Trust me its needed when you sit on a coach for hours day in day out. Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southern Utah and consists of dry red rock formations known as hoodoos. There are several different hiking trails, with different distances and difficulties, all the trails connecting.

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That afternoon, we checked into our accommodation at The 4 Seasons Motel Kanab. I was sad to find out that since the contiki, it has since closed down. While it was a little run down and tired looking, the rooms were a great size. Perfect for the ‘not-room-party’ party 😉 If you ever go on a contiki, or top deck etc, they will tell you ‘no room party’s’-  that’s a load of crap, everyone has them! Just don’t make a mess of the room or damage anything and you’ll be fine. But more of that to come later.

We had an included dinner across the road at the Chuckwagon Cookout located inside the Little Hollywood Museum. The food was just as good as the home cooked meal from the cookout at Teton Trail. Some much love and warmth put into their food. Can not recommend enough. Yum!

So back to the room party part. After we explored the little hollywood museum following dinner, we all headed back to the motel. The night was still young for us partiers, and with no night life in the town- the guys in a corner room (which was huge!) hosted a room party. I think most of the group managed to fit themselves in and we played never have I ever and drinking games for hours.

The evening may have ended in a nudie run or two through the carpark on behalf of a small group of gentleman. It was a night to never forget and full of many laughs and contiki bonding moments.

On Friday June 13th, the day finally came for one I had been waiting the whole trip for- the Grand Canyon! I was so excited, this was something that had been on my bucket list for probably the longest out of everything.

We arrived at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon early in the morning and began the day with breakfast before going for a hike through North Kaibab Trail. It was some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. The photos that I took will never do it justice, and the real images I’ve saved in my memories I’ll never forget. You can talk about it and show people pictures, but it really is something to be seen for yourself to truly understand the magnitude of the park and the beauty of nature.

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We spent all morning on the trail until it was time to return and have lunch at the Grand Canyon Lodge Dining Room. It wasn’t an included lunch and was a little pricey, but you expect that in a high tourist traffic destination. I chose the buffet and great food with a lot to choose from, and fresh too.

I took a few more photos out on the deck, then it was time to pack up and leave to go back to Kanab for one more night.

Most of us had a quiet night of laundry catch up and chinese for dinner from Fusion House. If your looking for an affordable, fresh and filling meal, I would highly recommend this place. Great options for sharing too.

An early night that evening was in order. After all, the three biggest days we were about to have on contiki were almost upon us. Viva Las Vegas, here we come!

Grand Northern 2014 – Yellowstone and Jackson Hole

Monday 9th June/ Tuesday 10th June

Yesterday was such an incredible day! I got to see snow for the first time and and my first rodeo. What an amazing experience! #contiki 🙂

The morning began with us packing up in Cody and leave to go to Yellowstone National Park. It was such a beautiful place!

On the bus along the way, we saw buffalos and wilderness that went on for what seemed forever.

The wildlife here in Yellowstone is amazing.

People might find it weird to be facinated about animals, but when you are from a country where you’ve never once seen a buffalo before, it is pretty spectacular to be so close so such a creature.

 

Nature is truly amazing.

We spent the whole day in the wunderlust of Yellowstone National Park. The scenes were breathtaking and the pictures could never do a place like it justice.

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I was pretty proud of my nerdy moose beanie. Future contikians, take note. Take as many photos as you can!

Yellowstone National Park took up most of the day and before checking into our accomodation for one night, the Brandin’ Iron Inn. It was such a cute little place and right down the road from the shooting range, Big Gun Fun, where most of us contikians spent the evening. There were plenty of fun zombie targets to choose from and after practicing with a rookie gun, I stepped it up with one that had a little more power. Turns out I’m not a bad shot either!

The next morning, the whole team seemed to have a new lease on life. Maybe for once, I quiet night had been called for, and for a short time, our bodies were detoxing of excesive contiki alcohol.

Our day began with a visit to the ‘Old Faithful Geyser‘. This geyser is well known for erupting on average every hour to two hours, and is also known for the fact that it is located in Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park which was declared in 1872.

 

After our early morning visit to the geyser and Yellowstone National Park, it was yet again time to hop back on the bus as we travelled through the countryside and farm land of Wyoming. Next destination – Jackson Hole.

We arrived into the picture postcard town mid afternoon and checked into our motel, the Super 8 by Wyndham. Oh Em Gee, this place is so damn cute! All around us, mountain ranges as far as the eye could see. Jackson Hole is a very popular place during the winter time for skiing and winter sports.

The evenings plan included a visit to the Teton Village for a Trail Ride and home cooked meal by the Madson family at Teton Village Trail Rides.

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The food was AMAZING!!! Probably the best food I’d had so far on the trip. There’s nothing quite like a good home cooked meal topped off with toasted smores over the fire 🙂

By this point of the trip, I was certainly beginning to feel the fatigue of so much activity and frequent partying nights out. With some exciting locations yet to come, myself and most of the group opted for a night in to catch up on laundry and rest.

Next stop! Grand Northern 2014 – Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon, Kanab and The Grand Canyon

xx

 

Grand Northern 2014 – Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Keystone, Deadwood and Cody

Friday 6th June/ Saturday 7th June/ Sunday 8th June

Today was a very long bus day. There was a short trip to our first stop, Mitchell, South Dakota to the Corn Palace.

A very country vibe and quite a cool place indeed 🙂

The whole building was covered in corn and the pictures and designs we made from, you guessed it, CORN! So cool!

 

I loved visiting this place! We shopped and took some silly photos. It was such a unique place and a very quirky American icon, not to be missed 🙂

From there it was another couple of hours on the bus playing celebrity heads and eating lots and lots of candy.

When we reached Badlands Naitonal Park, it was like we were free children in a playground. We were able to get out doors and breath in some fresh country air!

We drove through the park listening to ‘The Lion King’ music and admiring the amazing scenery.

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It is hard to explain the beauty of nature in a place like this. Even though the day was overcast and dark, the colours on the rock were like nothing else in this world. We even stopped in for a little picnic in the park 🙂

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That afternoon, we stopped in at the cute little town of Wall Drug to pick up supplies for the rodeo in Cody and took some fun photos around in the unique town.

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Finally the day was drawing to an end as we headed to our final destination for the day; Keystone, to tourist one stop town for anyone visiting Mt. Rushmore. Our contiki accomodation that night was the Washington Inn and Suites.

That evening our dinner was buffet style at the Keystone House Restaurant next door. I won’t beat around the bush, it wasn’t the best meal I’d had on tour. It was included though so nothing to complain about. I stocked up on the fruit and snacks for the bus trips.

I managed to sneak in some ‘in-the-sink- laundry and hang up some spare clothes before calling it a night.

Saturday, June 7th

This was one of the most exciting days that I had really been looking forward to out of the whole trip. I am sure that most of you reading could agree; visiting Mt. Rushmore is way up there on the bucket list when visiting the USA!

The morning started off cold and gloomy in Keystone and we were worried if we would even be able to see anything by the time we reached the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. However our luck rolled in as the clouds rolled away and we squeezed in some great typical tourist shots.

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CONTIKI!!!

 

 

We unfortunately did’t have the same luck when we headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial. The whole moutain was covered and we could barely see maybe 5 metres in front of us.

There was a lot to learn though. The Crazy Horse Memorial has an incredible story. It is not as well heard of because it is still a work in progress and it is tributed to the Native American’s. Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s, work began on the statue after Mt. Rushmore had been completed and to this stay is still privately funded. If it is to ever be completed, it would be one of the world’s largest statues.

It was great that Contiki included this in the tour, as most tourist’s I guess would not know about it otherwise, and I loved exploring through the museum.

 

The afternoon was spent in the historic town of Deadwood. Have you ever heard of Calamity Jane? Well her travels through this town was a huge part of her story. We had found the Wild West! A small group of us found the No. 10 Saloon to watch the reenacment of of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok and enjoy a cold beverage after all of our running around. Yes, what do you expect, we were drinking every day on Contiki!

The evening came to an end exploring back in Keystone in a local’s secret pub, Halley’s 1880 Store. This one is difficult to explain unless you’ve been there! They had only a few select beers and mixers, but not only was this place a bar, but a mixture of that and a thrift shop/ Vinnies. But cooler! As I was sipping on my lolly water drink, I ventured down to the basement where spare car parts, jars and chest of drawers. The basement kind of gave me to creeps, so I went up to the attic, where I swear I saw a ghost! But noy only that (ghosts and spirits don’t bother me too much) but household items galore. Bicycles, crockery, books, clothes, board games…

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This place is a hoarders heaven! They had everything

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Some say it was the lighting, others say its a ghost, the owner says her name is Lucy!

 

It wasn’t until about 2am and after going through old business journals and ledgers, launghing over the adventures that had already been, that we all decided it was time to call it a night. Tomorrow, we had rodeo!

Sunday, June 8th

Well today I decided to sit up the front of the bus, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. This one is for all of the Aussie’s that have never seen snow before.

Remember, it is June in the USA and we are all in thongs and shorts and what ever is comfy for our bus trip. As the contiki bus climbed into the mountains of Wyoming, little by little on the side of the road, specs of white began appearing in the shrubs. All of the Aussie’s that were awake including myself begged Marv, our driver to pull over for just 5 minutes. 80% of the Australians on the bus had never seen snow before!

 

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Yep, I’m standing in the snow in thongs!

snow

We were simply blessed to see snow. Real snow! Not something seen where most of us were from in the land down under. Just awesome.

Our contiki accomodation for that evening was at Buffalo Bill’s Antler Inn. We continued the contiki ritual of drinking and quickly getting ready with the 15 minutes we had left before heading out for yet another night in a new town.

Our contiki group had a very warm welcome at the local Cody Rodeo. Yeehaw!

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Such a cheesy group photo!

I even managed a beer and a gross American hotdog at the rodeo. When then ended the night at the Silver Dollar Bar where we all probably drank way too much (surprise surprise) and requested all of the classic travel songs from the old jukebox in the corner.

Need to know more? Next we headed to Grand Northern 2014 – Yellowstone and Jackson Hole

xx