Activity note: Late afternoon activity: Board the motorcoach for downtown Rapid City where you will walk approximately six or seven blocks to view some of the presidential statues and two sections of the Berlin Wall before returning to the hotel.
Dinner: Enjoy a catered dinner at the hotel.
Evening: Orientation: After dinner, the Group Leader will review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have concerning the program. Indicated times are approximate, program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during free time to accompany informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. On the final day of the program, contact the hotel front desk personnel to make your reservation back to the airport. The cost of the hotel shuttle to the airport is included. Driver tip is NOT included.
Activity note: Today's itinerary requires multiple times of getting on and off the coach and walking to and from the different location sites including museums, meals, and the hotel. Walking up to two miles today just on sidewalks, even ground and some with sight incline; boardwalks; and over 170 steps on the 1/2 mile Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore (walking the trail is optional).
Breakfast: Breakfast is at the hotel hospitality room. Self-serve style: Oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, breakfast cereals, breakfast meat, eggs, toast, pastries, waffles (make your own), juice, hot tea, and coffee. Additional beverages for purchase are not available.
Morning: Mount Rushmore National Memorial: The majestic 60-foot faces of four U.S. presidents gaze out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. Recognized worldwide, they stand as a symbol of American democracy. This national treasure tells the story of the United States’ rich history, rugged determination and lasting achievement. From the Grandview Terrace, the views are spectacular of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Walk the half-mile Presidential Trail that loops along the base of the mountain. Discover why the four presidents were selected, see how the mountain was carved and learn about sculptor Gutzon Borglum and the workers who brought Mount Rushmore to life. Crazy Horse Memorial: A fifth granite face has emerged in the Black Hills. The colossal Crazy Horse mountain carving is now in progress. Crazy Horse is the largest sculptural undertaking ever – on a scale with the Egyptian pyramids. When completed, it will tower 563 feet high, 641 feet long and be carved in the round. Watch history in the making as drilling and blasting continue on the rest of the sculpture. In 1939, Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve an Indian memorial in the Black Hills. Though Korczak died in 1982, the sculptor’s family continues the non-profit project.
Lunch: Enjoy a soup and sandwich lunch with dessert, ice tea and coffee at a local Hot Springs restaurant, Woolly's. Additional beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: After lunch, walk two blocks or ride in the coach, to The Mammoth Site. Discover the Mammoths and experience America’s greatest Ice Age Treasure at the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, SD. The Mammoth site, with a 36,000 square foot visitor center, is an in-situ (bones left as found) Ice Age museum containing the largest concentration of Columbian and Woolly Mammoths found in their primary context in the world. Imagine walking the edges of a 26,000-year-old sinkhole where mammoths, bears, loins, and wolves once walked. The Muller Exhibit Hall features fascinating exhibits: a full-sized Columbian mammoth replica, a walk-in bone shelter, and skeletons of now-extinct carnivores; the giant short-faced bear and the American lion. Get a glimpse of the scientific work conducted downstairs in the state of the art lab. The Mammoth Site has been featured on Discovery Channel, CBS and NBC Evening News, Today Show, BBC Television programs, and in many magazines, including National Geographic. The site has co-hosted international symposiums and conferences, as well as published scientific Quaternary research books. Depart The Mammoth Site for a scenic drive through a portion of Custer State Park which covers 71,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in the nation. Watch for bison, one of the largest publicly owned bison herds in the country numbering between 1,000 to 1,200, pronghorn antelope, mule and whitetail deer, burros, coyotes, wild turkeys, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and golden eagles.
Dinner: Tonight's a catered dinner at the hotel.
Evening: Free time to enjoy the pool or hot tub or just relax and get ready for tomorrow's trip to Wyoming.
Activity note: Motorcoach travel today with multiple times of getting on and off the coach with limited amount of walking. Morning drive approximately four and one-half hours to lunch, with stops, and approximately four hours following lunch, with stops.
Breakfast: Self-serve breakfast is at the hotel hospitality room. Oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, breakfast cereals, breakfast meat, eggs, toast, pastries, waffles (make your own), juice, hot tea and coffee. Additional beverages for purchase not available.
Morning: Depart Rapid City in early morning. Travel through the wide open spaces of Wyoming to Sheridan for a lunch break. On-board subjects include the history of the state, economic topics including the oil and coal industry of Wyoming, animals, and the people that live in the wide-open lands.
Lunch: Box lunch in Sheridan, WY. Enjoy a sandwich, chips, a cookie, and bottled water. May purchase soda and coffee at the rest area visitor's center.
Afternoon: Cross the Big Horn Mountains and wind our way through the beautiful canyon and Shell Falls before arriving in Cody, Wyoming. The Bighorn Mountains and the Bighorn National Forest in north-central Wyoming have been explored by some of Americas most famous pioneers, including Jim Bridger and Buffalo Bill Cody. It is land held sacred by the Cheyenne, Crow, Sioux, Arapaho, and Eastern Cheyenne Indians--a land of spilled blood on which Native Americans fought some of their most desperate battles against the U.S. Military. Enjoy the beautiful scenic drive through Shell Canyon where Shell Creek forces its way between the 3 billion year-old granite walls in a noisy, 120-foot plunge to another, lower level of the canyon floor. Arrive in Cody, Wyoming in late afternoon.
Dinner: Dinner this evening is at the historic Irma Hotel and you will receive a special menu with wide variety of menu choices.
Evening: Evening At leisure. Optional evening activities and times will be discussed in detail before arrival in Cody. You may want to attend the Cody Nightly Rodeo at your own cost (June through Labor Day weekend) 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.; watch the free Wild West Shoot-out in front of the Irma Hotel 6:00-6:45 p.m.; or just experience Main Street's sights and sounds of the real West.
Activity note: Morning: Walking, self-paced, in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum and at the Buffalo Bill Dam (flat sidewalks approximately four blocks). Motorcoach travel into Yellowstone National Park approximately one and one-half hours with numerous times of getting on and off the coach throughout the day with walking distances from two blocks up to a mile on even surface boardwalks (some with gentle incline or some with up to 30 steps). Arrive West Yellowstone early evening.
Breakfast: Extensive buffet breakfast at the Irma Hotel Dining Room. This is a working "Cowboy" style breakfast. Several choices of eggs, breakfast meats of sausage and carved ham, potatoes, pastries, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, a special sauce for on top of your bread pudding, juice and coffee. Additional beverages available for purchase.
Morning: Visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The museum was founded in 1917 to preserve the legacy and vision of Col. William F. Cody. The BBHC is the oldest and most comprehensive museum of the West. The BBHC has extensive artifact collections housed in a world-class facility. The Center has grown from a log cabin in 1927 or a seven-acre building valued at $143 million today. The collections contain over 34,977 artifacts, 20,000 books, and 260,000 photo archives. The Center has five separate museums and a research library. The Whitney Gallery of Western art - established in 1958 and dedicated in 1959; the Buffalo bill Museum - established in 1927, dedicated in 1969; the Plains Indian Museum, 1969; Cody firearms Museum-dedicated in 1976 as Winchester Museum; the Draper Museum of Natural History - dedicated in 2002; and the Harold McCracken Research Library, dedicated in 1980. Short stop at the Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor's Center before traveling the scenic route through Wapiti Valley into Yellowstone National Park via the East entrance. The Buffalo Bill Dam was originally called the Shoshone Dam. Drilling to find bedrock for the foundation began in the spring of 1904. Over 82,900 cubic yards of concrete were used to build the dam. Seven men were killed during construction. Daniel Webster Cole was the engineer. The final cost of the dam was $929,658. Buffalo Bill Dam was the tallest dam in the world when completed in 1910. The dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been documented by the Bureau of Reclamation, and included in the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Survey. Enter Yellowstone National Park via East gate traveling to Fishing Bridge and Yellowstone Lake area.
Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch along the way. Locally made sandwiches, chips, fruit, homemade brownie, and bottled water. Additional beverages for purchase are not available.
Afternoon: Our continuing adventure takes us along the Yellowstone River to Hayden Valley a favorite place to watch for animals including bison, elk, deer, once-in-a-while bear and birds such as osprey, eagles, Canada Geese, and pelicans. View the thermal features: Mud Pots and Dragon Springs. See the colors of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with it's spectacular Upper and Lower waterfalls. Continue on to Canyon Visitor's Center where you will learn about the geology, history and culture of the park through many displays, time lines, maps and educational movies. Yellowstone National Park is known for the most geysers in the world. About 2 million years ago, then 1.2 million years ago and again 640,000 years ago, huge volcanic eruptions occurred here. The park’s present central portion collapsed, forming a 30-by-45 mile caldera, or basin. The magmatic heat powering those eruptions still today powers the park’s geysers, hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. The waterfalls at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone highlight the boundaries of lava flows and thermal areas. As our Journey continues from Canyon area to West Yellowstone, watch for animals such as bison, elk, deer, once-in-a-while bear and birds such as osprey, eagles, Canada Geese, and pelicans.
Dinner: Dinner is not included tonight to allow individual time and choices for numerous dining options and exploring West Yellowstone.
Evening: Arrive hotel approximately 7:00 p.m. Enjoy the rest of your evening strolling West Yellowstone or just relaxing at the hotel.
Activity note: All day motorcoach travel from West Yellowstone area to Old Faithful with numerous times of getting on and off the coach throughout the day with short (1 block distance) to longer amount of walking (1/4 to 1 mile on boardwalks, some slight incline) and additional walking on sidewalks to visitor's centers, museums, and dining areas.
Breakfast: Enjoy your buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room(use coupon). Choices include: Breakfast meat, eggs, fruit, pastries, breads, juice, coffee and tea. Additional beverages available for purchase.
Morning: Enjoy the morning drive from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful area following along the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers to the Fountain Paint pots. Here you will follow the boardwalk that takes you to several types of thermal features (mud pots, hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, steam vents, and bacteria mats) all within a 1/2 mile walk. Arrive Old Faithful area mid-morning. Old Faithful Geyser is the world’s best-known geyser. Its eruption intervals have varied from 40 to 126 minutes. There are many boardwalks for you explore the geyser basin around Old Faithful. Old Faithful Visitor Education Center features exhibits on hydrothermal features, life in extreme environments, and the Greater Yellowstone region's volcanic geology. The bookstore offers a variety of educational materials as well as Park related merchandise. Information and maps regarding any Ranger programs, ranger led walks and talks are available at the information desk of the visitor center.
Lunch: Scatter lunch at Old Faithful area (own cost). Choice of eating at the cafeteria, dining room, bar and grille, deli and ice cream shop. Additional beverages are available for purchase.
Afternoon: Continue your exploration of the Old Faithful area. Take time to walk through the Historic Old Faithful Inn on your own or join hotel expert for tour of Old Faithful Inn (time tbd). Built during the winter of 1903-04, the Old Faithful Inn was designed by Robert Reamer. It is a masterpiece of rustic architecture reflecting the chaos of nature. The building is a rustic log and wood-frame structure with gigantic proportions. The lobby features a 65-foot ceiling, a massive rhyolite fireplace, and railings made of contorted Lodgepole pine. The Inn is a designated National Historic Landmark. Depart Old Faithful for Grand Teton National Park mid to late afternoon. Travel from Yellowstone National Park through the south gate to Teton National Park. Located at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Rockefeller Parkway connects Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The late conservationist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. made significant contributions to several national parks including Grand Teton, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, and Virgin Islands.
Dinner: Dine in classic 1950’s-style tonight. The Pioneer Grill, at Jackson Lake Lodge, is one of the oldest and rumored to be the longest continual counters at 244ft. One counter snakes through the room, creating a friendly atmosphere where guests interact with travelers and employees from around the world. Check out the authentic pioneer artifacts on display-and be sure to ask the staff for historical fun facts. A true retro dining experience.
Evening: Take a walk, swim in the outdoor pool (June, July and August), watch for wildlife, or just relax in the Grand Lobby of the Lodge. Check the lobby information board for special evening presentations or activities.
Activity note: Optional morning field trip: Limited walking from one to two blocks at picture stops, flat-paved parking areas to one-half to one mile on mostly flat sidewalks in town of Jackson. Overnight location: Walking on sidewalks from cottages to dining area and activities varies from two blocks to six blocks.
Breakfast: Breakfast is at your own cost this morning. Pioneer Grill, Mural Dining Room, or coffee kiosk in the Grand Lobby.
Morning: Three choices are yours today. 1. Spend the entire day at Jackson Lake Lodge. Wake up when you want to, eat at leisure , read a favorite book, swim in the outdoor pool, take a walk, or just relax and watch the ever-changing view of the Tetons from the Great Lobby of the Lodge. Meals are not included today. 2. Field trip via our motorcoach with your group leaders. Depart Jackson Lake Cottages at 8:30 a.m., return by 1:00 p.m. Travel along the scenic loop road of the Tetons. Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the mountains at several picture stops and Jenny Lake overlook before arriving at Craig Thomas Visitor Discovery Center for an overview of the history, culture and geology of the Tetons. Continue on for a short stop in the town of Jackson-scatter lunch. Meals are not included today. 3. Choose and schedule your own activities (own cost); you must make your own individual reservations for any activities directly with Jackson Lake Lodge activities desk personnel. Activity choices may include: horseback riding, Snake River scenic float trips (with or without meals), scenic boat trips on Jackson Lake (with or without meals) and guided lake fishing. Call early to book your activity since spaces fill up quickly. Contact www.gtlc.com/activities or call 307-543-3100 or 307-543-2811. Meals are not included with your program today.
Lunch: Lunch in not included this day.
Afternoon: For those choosing to go with the group leaders on the morning field trip, you will arrive back at the Lodge by 1:00 p.m. The rest of the day is yours to relax at the Lodge; take a walk; watch for animals and birds; or take in the majestic view of the Teton Mountains. Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming, the park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year. "Jackson Hole" as it's often called, refers to the whole area which is a 50 miles long valley surrounded by the majestic Teton mountains and "Jackson" refers to the town which is the county seat of Teton County, Wyoming and the only incorporated municipality in the county. Jackson is a popular tourism destination because of its proximity to Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, its unmatched scenic beauty, the world-class skiing, and its western character.
Dinner: Dinner is not included tonight to allow individual time and choices for evening activities at Jackson Lake Lodge. Meal choices at the Lodge include: The Mural Room (fine dining & reservations are required call 307-543-3082); Pioneer Grill; Blue Heron Bar & Lounge; Pool BBQ including live music (only June and July program); or inquire about a Dinner/Scenic Float Trip on the Snake River or a dinner/scenic boat trip.
Evening: Evening free to take a walk, swim in the outdoor pool (June, July and August), watch for wildlife, or just relax in the Grand Lobby of the Lodge. Check the lobby information board for special evening presentations or activities.
Activity note: Morning: Motorcoach travel, approximately three hours with stop, across the mountains and the Wind River Indian Reservation to Riverton, lunch stop. Mid-afternoon arrival at Fort Caspar. You determine the walking distances varying from two blocks to 1/2 mile. Walking in the museum, the Fort site and on to the Platte River is on sidewalks, crushed rock and dirt paths.
Breakfast: Elegant Breakfast Buffet served in the Mural Dining Room beginning at 7:00 a.m. Fresh fruits, oatmeal, yogurt, pastries, breakfast meats, eggs, potatoes, made to order waffles, cereals, toast, juice and coffee. Additional beverages are available for purchase.
Morning: This morning finds us crossing the Shoshone National Forest and continue on through the Wind River Range that stretches more than 100 miles in western Wyoming and contains 35 named peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation. Gannett Peak, Wyoming's highest is in the Wind River Range. Seven of the largest glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are located in the Wind River Range The Wind River Indian Reservation spans 2.2 million acres and is home to 2,500 Eastern Shoshone and more than 5,000 Northern Arapaho Indians. Although the two tribes own and govern the reservation jointly, most of the Shoshone live in the western half around Fort Washakie, while the Arapahos are centered on the East. Travel across the reservation before reaching our lunch stop in Riverton, Wyoming.
Lunch: Today's lunch stop is in Riverton, WY.
Afternoon: Learn about the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails while continuing on to Casper, Wyoming, a two hour drive. At Fort Caspar and the museum, you will discover the importance of the emigrants crossing the North Platte River along with the history of the Mormon Ferry (1847) and the Guinard Bridge. The first permanent occupation, now the Museum, was in 1859 when Louis Guinard built a bridge and trading post which became an Overland Stage Company stage stop (1859-1862) and a Pony Express relay station in 1860-1861 along with a Pacific Telegraph Company office. In July 26 1865, Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho gathered to attack Platte Bridge Station. Lieutenant Caspar Collins led a small detachment from Platte Bridge Station to escort an army supply train traveling from Sweetwater Station. Less than a mile from the bridge, Collins’ men were ambushed. Five soldiers including Collins were killed. A new fort, 20 buildings for 400-500 men, was built in 1865. By Special Order 49 dated November 21, 1865, Major General John Pope changed the name of Platte Bridge Station to Fort Caspar, misspelling the fallen lieutenant’s name. Pope chose the lieutenant's first name because there already was a Fort Collins in Colorado named for his father. The construction of the Union Pacific Railroad and the telegraph line led to the decline of Fort Caspar and spelled the end of organized migration along the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail corridor. Orders were issued to abandon Fort Caspar on October 19, 1867, troops and “all useful materials,” including buildings, were transferred to Fort Fetterman. Homesteaders and ranchers came to Casper by the late 1870s, and the grounds of Fort Caspar became part of the CY Ranch. In 1936, Casper citizens and the Works Progress Administration reconstructed Platte Bridge Station using sketches made by Caspar Collins and others. Reconstructions of the Mormon ferry and a section of the Guinard Bridge are part of the site.
Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Evening: At leisure: Free time to enjoy the indoor pool and hot tub, work out in the exercise room, take a walk, join others for a game of cards in the breakfast room or just relax and get ready for another busy but wonderful day.
Activity note: Morning: Travel across Wyoming's ranch country and alongside of oil and gas fields, approximately two hours to first rest stop. Limited amount of walking at stops. Continue to Devils Tower, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Optional walk at Devils Tower is a paved path with medium to steep incline first 1/8 of a mile then is a combination of flat and gentle inclines the rest of the 1.3 mile paved trail. Lunch at Tower picnic area. Travel approximately two hours back to Rapid City, South Dakota.
Breakfast: Breakfast is at the hotel hospitality room. Self-serve style: Oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, breakfast cereals, breakfast meat, eggs, toast, pastries, waffles (make your own), juice, hot tea, and coffee. Additional beverages are not available for purchase.
Morning: Your journey from Casper, Wyoming back to Rapid City, South Dakota will take you through oil and gas fields, coal mines and ranch country. The coal industry of Wyoming reached recent production of over 496 million ton with providing more than 400 coal-related jobs. The Salt Creek Oil Field north of Casper was at one time the largest light crude oil field in the world and historically one of the most important petroleum deposits in Wyoming. Learn how the present day operations have extended the life of the field. What did the “Teapot Dome” scandal have to do with this part of Wyoming? Hear about the scandal during the 1920s involving the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, governmental lands, contracts, kickbacks, the investigation and the outcome. Mid-morning: Continue traveling to Devils Tower. Optional walk around the base of Devils Tower is a paved path with medium to steep incline first 1/8 of a mile then is a combination of flat and gentle inclines the rest of the 1.3 mile paved trail. The National Park Information best describes Devils Tower this way: “In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument under the new Antiquities Act. About 60 million years ago molten magma was forced into sedimentary rocks above it and cooled underground. As it cooled it contracted and fractured into columns. An earlier flow formed Little Missouri Buttes. Over millions of years, erosion of the sedimentary rock exposed Devils Tower and accentuated Little Missouri Buttes. The Tower rises 867 feet from the base and stands 1,267 feet above the river and 5, 112 feet above sea level. The area of its tear-drop shaped top is 1.5 acres and the diameter of its base is 1,000 feet.” Seeing the Tower up close, you may be reminded of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 science fiction movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and Devils Tower.
Lunch: Enjoy your sack lunch at the picnic shelter after the walk around Devils Tower.
Afternoon: Sit back and relax as we travel back to Rapid City, South Dakota (approximately two hours). Watch for various kinds of animals while traveling across the wide-open spaces. How many jackrabbits, deer, pronghorn and coyotes can you spot amongst the miles of Artemisia Tridentata Nutt or commonly called Wyoming Big Sagebrush? You will be able to relate to the song, Lonesome Cowboy, and what it means to the cowboy rancher to tend their sheep and cattle in this part of the state and also have their nearest neighbor be up to twenty miles away. Don't forget to make arrangements with the hotel front desk staff for the shuttle to the airport. Be sure to have the name of the airline, exact flight time and flight number before contacting them.
Dinner: Enjoy your farewell catered dinner at the hotel meeting room with all your new Road Scholar Friends. This is the time for you to bring your poems, songs, skits, readings or whatever you want to share with the group. A farewell fun night!
Activity note: Independent departures from hotel. Breakfast at hotel included.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel begins at 6:00 AM. Self-serve items include: Cold/hot cereal, hard boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, assorted breads and pastries, waffles (make your own), juice, coffee, and hot tea. Additional beverages not available for purchase. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy all your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. We encourage you to join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!