Wish We Were There Wednesday: Feathers and Fur

Bighorn Sheep, Badlands National Park

Part of the reason we travel to parks is to see wildlife. We even keep lists of the animals we see on trips because we can’t always get a picture of them – like the badger that ran in front of us on a road in South Dakota. Hey, it was exciting! (Here in West Texas you don’t see too many badgers, although a couple of coyotes ran across the road in front of us near our Walmart one time!) Anyway, all wildlife sightings are a thrill to us. Today we’re sharing some of our faves.

Cute prairie dog at Badlands National Park. Okay, these animals make their homes in nearly every vacant lot where we live – they’re literally everywhere – but we don’t go around taking pictures of them. Besides, this is a South Dakota prairie dog.
We have no idea what kind of bird this is, but it was a beggar. We were at the end of our hike in Rocky Mountain National Park, and as soon as we sat down to have a snack, this guy showed up, like, “Y’all gonna share?”
This is a javelina that we saw in a dry creek bed near Big Bend National Park. We’re sure they serve some purpose, but we don’t know what. Wouldn’t want to snuggle with one.
Petrified Forest raven – not the species, we just took the picture there. Another shameless beggar. He sat right down next to us, and every time we would move over, he would move over too. Pretty sure he was checking out our jewelry. Never trust a raven, they are super sneaky. Trivia: ravens can imitate human voices better than a parrot, and if they like you, they might bring you a gift – probably something they stole out of someone’s purse, but it’s the thought that counts.
We have squirrels in our yard, but these little (Colorado chipmunk) dudes are way cuter… and they don’t eat our fence.
We captured (not literally) this mad mother cactus wren at Big Bend National Park. We’d be mad if we had to live in a cactus, too.
Rocky Mountain National Park bull elk. No lie, this macho man had at least 20 wives and a bunch of kids that he was watching over, but he was so pretty we wanted a shot of him alone.
We didn’t have to go far to find this little hummingbird because he was in our own back yard. Thrilling for us because we only see them if we’re lucky enough to catch them during migration. Trivia: a group of hummingbirds is called a charm.
Here’s a little North Dakota gal that we would like to snuggle.
Boston harbor gull. Undoubtedly, he is waiting for an unsuspecting tourist to walk by with food. These guys aren’t beggars, they’re thieves. Trivia: gulls can smell food up to three miles away, and they can see for up to two miles. A group of gulls is called a colony. PSA: never go near a harbor with a Big Mac.

We’re going to close this post with a bison we saw at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We wouldn’t want to get too close to him, not only because he weighs a ton and could probably kill us with a little head butt, but because we think he would smell terrible – like really terrible. We will keep our distance, thank you.

We hope you enjoyed our post and will come back again for more exciting road trip destinations, a Quick Stop, some tips and tricks, or another Wish We Were There Wednesday. Better yet, come back for all of our posts, and join our family of followers so you never miss one! We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.













Black Hills of South Dakota – Day Five


→Note: this post is the fifth in a series as we cover a week long vacation itinerary. Our trip starts at Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Day Five

Destination: Theodore Roosevelt National Park – South Unit (North Dakota)


Travel tip: Day five will be a long day of driving. We recommend getting an early start. Take along plenty of water, road snacks, and a picnic lunch. Comfortable clothes and walking/hiking shoes are a must.

Take I-90 west from Rapid City to Sturgis. At Sturgis take Highway 79 north to Castle Rock. At Castle Rock take Highway 168 west to US Highway 85 north. Stay on US Highway 85 across the North Dakota state line to I-94. Drive time between Rapid City and Theodore Roosevelt National Park: 4 hours.

IMG_1386This part of the country is beautiful rolling hills and grasslands, with an interesting rock formation or butte every once in a while. We imagine this is where the deer and the antelope play. And speaking of antelope, look for herds of pronghorns along this road. We didn’t see buffalo, or rather bison, until we got to the park, but we thought this road sign was great! Which one is it?

Take I-94 west. At Exit 32, stop at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center for incredible views of the park! Continue west on I-94. Take Exit 27 to Medora, North Dakota and the South Unit Visitor Center. Here you will see Theodore Roosevelt’s cabin (pictured below)  from his Maltese Cross Ranch, which was located near where the park is today.

View from Painted Canyon Visitor Center
Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin

At the South Unit Visitor Center, you will be able to pay for your park pass, pick up your park brochure/map, view the exhibits, and watch a short movie about the park. Enjoy a picnic lunch before you head out to Scenic Loop Drive. The best of the park can be seen on this ninety minute drive. Take some of the short, easy hiking trails to stretch your legs and to get up close and personal with the park. Click the park’s link above for details.

Sweet little doe! Isn’t she pretty?


Adorable little prairie dog!


We we were able to see deer, bison, prairie dogs, and wild horses in the park, all from Scenic Loop Drive. The park is scenic, peaceful, and uncrowded.

The Little Missouri River in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Tranquility and beauty all wrapped up in one!
Interesting Landscape


Take I-94 east to US Highway 85 south to return to Rapid City.

Bonus stop: Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Belle Fourche claims to be the geographic center of the United States. Stop to see the monument, although, the actual marker is located twenty miles north of the town and is (was) virtually unmarked. The Belle Fourche River runs next to the park.

Continue south on US Highway 85 to Spearfish, then take I-90 east to Rapid City.

We’re going to close this post with one final picture, simply because you never know what you’re going to see along the road. (And, you never know what you’re missing, such as this…ah, sculpture? in Bowman, North Dakota!) So get out there! As we like to say, “Just get in the car.”


Come back to our site next week for day six of our Black Hills of South Dakota vacation itinerary. It’s going to be a good one! Until then…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road.

Mike and Kellye


As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.