Challenge Accepted: Road Trip to Yellowstone

A few years ago, my husband and I loaded up our car for a road trip from north Texas to explore Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with our pre-teen daughter. We made several stops along the way. Texas is a big state. After several hours of driving through Texas on our first day our teen questioned “We’re still in Texas?” “Yes.” My husband and I answered.

We were excited when we arrived in Wyoming. Our long hours driving in the car were behind us. What a relief! It was time to explore the area. We were very grateful for the cooler summer mornings in Wyoming and the milder temperatures in the afternoons.

Old Faithful

Before our road trip to Yellowstone I did my research and found that “Old Faithful” erupts at hourly intervals. We timed our visit to arrive several minutes before Old Faithful

was about to erupt. There was plenty of time to find a wooden bench to view the famous geyser erupting at a safe distance. This geyser is known to erupt as high as 185 feet in the air.

This was my second time to experience watching Old Faithful with family members. The first time,  I was a child when I watched the famous geyser erupt with my parents, sister and brother on a camping trip from California. It was a new perspective to experience it again as an adult with my family.

Prismatic Springs

Another natural feast for the eyes in Yellowstone is Prismatic Springs. It’s known for its vibrant rainbow colors. The middle has a round pool of cobalt blue. Then the inner edges fade into turquoise. The outer edges are a blend of yellow and a gold hue. This is the largest spring at Yellowstone National Park. Its 98 yards wide and 164 feet deep.

Prismatic Springs is very beautiful. Some pictures of it are eye-catching. However, it’s best to see these springs in person.

Animals and Nature

Pack your patience while exploring in Yellowstone. It wasn’t uncommon to find yourself stuck in traffic. Sometimes the cars were backed up because a family of Bison were crossing the road.

This wasn’t our first encounter with Bison. While we were driving on the road we carefully passed an older, slow-moving Bison that was in the lane next to us. Some Bison can weigh up to 2K pounds. We were amazed to see one so close.

One night, there was traffic on our drive to dinner that night. In the distance we saw that a bear was crossing the road. The day before we saw antelope grazing on the grass beside the road.

Bison walking on side of road in Yellowstone National Park.


On our last night in Wyoming we had dinner at Bar J Chuckwagon in Wilson. After we parked we got in line to place our food order. Next, we picked up our aluminum trays and followed the crowd to be served our meal at the buffet.

We were being served the traditional meal that cowboys would be eating out on the trail. Everyone was served beans, sourdough biscuits, baked potato, applesauce and spiced cake for dessert. The main entrée was chicken or steak. There was no alcohol served unless you brought your own. Lemonade, coffee or water were your other choices.

Following dinner, it was time to enjoy the Chuckwagon musicians on stage. Family-friendly jokes and stories were sprinkled in between live instrumental music. The musicians didn’t take themselves too seriously. They liked to poke fun at themselves and sometimes at the audience.

My favorite part of the night was listening to the talented banjo and fiddler playing their songs. We left with fuller stomach’s and a lighter mood that night. It was a great way to end our vacation.

A long road trip into nature may not be on your agenda. In a study of 20,000 people led by Matthew White at the University of Exeter found that people who spent two hours in nature reported health benefits. The other benefits were reduced fear, anger and stress.

This was the first time a study had determined how much time it took to achieve these health benefits after being in green spaces. Take advantage of the parks and green spaces in your area. Nature is the antidote to stress.

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