Day 1 – Madison, Wisconsin – This morning we begin our great westward adventure with a northern drive into the state of Wisconsin. Overnight in Madison.
Day 2 – House on the Rock – Dells Boat Ride – Wisconsin Dells – After an included breakfast, we continue north to Spring Green, Wisconsin, where we stop to tour the magnificent House on the Rock. This unique masterpiece was built as a winter retreat by the architectural genius, Alex Jordan, but it became a showpiece as the curious came to see. This extraordinary home stands atop a chimney-like rock, 450 feet above the valley floor. You will have time to enjoy the views, unique furnishings, and unbelievable collections of this architectural wonder. Next, we have scheduled an exciting cruise through the magnificent channel cut by the Wisconsin River known as the Wisconsin Dells. We overnight in Wisconsin Dells.
Day 3 – Mall of America – Bloomington, Minnesota – After an included breakfast, we make our way to the Mall of America, the nation’s largest retail complex with over 520 stores, dozens of restaurants, an aquarium, indoor theme park, and other attractions. You will have the day free to enjoy all the attractions and shops in this enormous shoppers’ paradise. We overnight in Bloomington.
Day 4 – Charles Lindbergh House and Museum – Bismark, North Dakota – After an included breakfast, we travel through Minnesota, making a stop at the Charles Lindbergh House and Museum. We overnight in Bismarck.
Day 5 – Chateau de Mores – Billings, Montana – After an included breakfast, we enjoy a beautiful day of scenic driving as we pass through “Big Sky Country” on our way to our accommodations in Billings, Montana. En route we will stop to tour the Chateau de Mores, the Gilded Age summer home of French aristocrat Marquis de Mores. The historic house museum contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family. Overnight in Billings.
Day 6 – Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Old Trail Town – Cody Nite Rodeo – This morning we stop at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. Here, we will see his memorabilia and personal belongings and other historical artifacts from the early West. After an included lunch, we visit Old Trail Town. Walk through 27 historic frontier buildings from the 1890’s laid out on the original town site of Cody, Wyoming, named for William Cody “Buffalo Bill.” Tonight, we experience the spirit and tradition of the West as we attend the Cody Nite Rodeo. We’ll see cowboys showing off their skills roping and riding in an action packed authentic western experience. We spend the next two nights in Cody.
Day 7 – Yellowstone National Park – Today, we enjoy a day of sightseeing in spectacular Yellowstone National Park. There will be many opportunities for taking pictures as we walk the paths to thundering waterfalls, thermal steam vents, bubbling mud pots, and steaming pools. We will visit the Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone Canyon, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful Geyser, which flings its steamy plume against the blue sky on a consistent schedule. Overnight same hotel.
Day 8 – Devils Tower National Monument – Rapid City, South Dakota – Today we travel through the Big Horn Mountains, making a stop at Devils Tower National Monument, which was seen in the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” We spend the next two nights in Rapid City.
Day 9 – Bear Country USA – Mt. Rushmore – Crazy Horse Memorial – Chuckwagon Dinner – After an included breakfast, we take a leisurely drive through Bear Country USA Wildlife Park, where we will be able to view black bears, wolves, buffalo, elk, and other animal species. This afternoon, we visit Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. This shrine of democracy is one of our country’s most beloved monuments located in the heart of the Black Hills. It displays the faces of four presidents whose accomplishments best exhibit the zeal and spirit of Americans – George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Next, get your cameras ready as we drive to see the Crazy Horse Memorial, a metaphoric tribute to the spirit of Crazy Horse and the Native Americans. This evening, we have included a hearty Chuckwagon dinner with cowboy songs and comedy. Overnight same hotel.
Day 10 – Badlands National Park – Wall Drug Store – Corn Palace – Sioux Falls, South Dakota – After an included breakfast, we visit Badlands National Park, so called because of the eroded, eerie looking bad land. The spectacular colors, ridges, and ravines are unbelievable! Next, we visit the famous Wall Drug Store. Reported to be the world’s largest drug store, it is a fascinating place in which to both eat and shop. Don’t forget to get a glass of free ice water and maybe a buffalo burger for lunch. We overnight in Sioux Falls.
Day 11 – Patee House Museum & Jesse James Home – Kansas City, Missouri – After an included breakfast, we enjoy a relaxing day of scenic driving as we depart South Dakota and drive to Kansas City, Missouri. This afternoon we stop in historic St. Joseph, Missouri to visit the Patee House Museum. Once a headquarters for the Pony Express, this museum features western memorabilia, vintage trains, stagecoaches, automobiles from the 1800’s, and items that belonged to Jesse James. We’ll also tour the nearby home of Jesse James in St. Joseph, where he was living and was assassinated on April 3, 1882, by Robert Ford. We overnight in Kansas City.
Day 12 – Home – We travel east continuing through to St. Louis, where we see the Gateway Arch as we cross the Mississippi River and arrive back home.
Meals: 8B, 1L, 1D