Road Trip - Day 5 & 6, Mammoth Hot Springs to Aberdeen, South Dakota

'Articles in this series - 
Day 1 - On The Road Vancouver to Yakima
Days 2-3 - Miles and Miles OF Miles and Miles (Yakima to Butte to Yellowstone)
Tips for visiting Yellowstone
Day 4 - Full Day in Yellowstone

Days 5- 6 - Mammoth Hot Spring to Aberdeen South Dakota
Days 7-10 - Food, Family, Farm & 4th of July Fireworks in Aberdeen, South Dakota
Day 11-12 - Five States In A Day, A Fake Palm Tree, An Exploding Tire, Traffic and Kingston Arrival!
Days 13-16 - Exploring Kingston and a Cottage Visit
Day 17 - Toronto - ROM's Chihuly and Tattoo Exhibits & Fab Dinner At El Catrin
Day 18-20 - Express Ferry, Crazy Water Tap, Weird Signs, Bugs and a Rattlesnake Warning Sign!
Days 21-23 - Long Days on the Road, a Respite in Missoula and Coming Home

Day 5 - 

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel - 

We left our visit to the Mammoth Hot Springs area for our last morning as it was on the North Side where our was hotel was and only about 15 minutes into the park.  This area holds fond memories for us as when we traveled back from South Dakota with the kids we stayed at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. It was - and still is - a beautiful old hotel. At the time it still had no TV's in the room and a big common area with board games for entertainment. Outside male and female elk came into town and lounged on grassy area. The kids were entranced.

Obviously the hotel has upgraded over the years.  The outside has stayed the same except for normal maintenance and fresh paint. The great common room is now set up for talks more and I am sure the amenities in the rooms are now more modern. We were amused to see the three built in old fashion phone booths still there with one offering a real pay phone.  I also found some truly unique items in the gift shop here that were not to be found in the standard tourist stores.

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces -

Right next to the hotel area is Mammoth Hot Springs.  It covers a large hillside area with parking lots at the bottom and at the top.  There are wooden walkways and stairs covering the entire area.  If you're used to hiking you can park at one spot and take in the whole site. If you're not - explore the lower part from the bottom and then drive to the upper lot.

Wanted to give you 2 views on the right from the top of the same area so you could see the difference.
The bottom view is definitely more spectacular.

 Most of this area is old with not a lot of current activity. The most interesting and truly beautiful to me was right along the lower roadway. The colours and textures of this very active section held me entranced for quite a while. We walked up to the top edge and all you see is pools. So if time is short, just check out the bottom.

Onward to Miles City - 

Stock Images
From here we hit the road to Miles City. Glen had originally meant to spend another hour fishing outside Gardiner before we began, but changed his mind.  The plan was to arrive in Miles City early and drop a line in the river there. While we did arrive by 3 p.m., the weather was too windy to effectively cast, so instead we curled up and had a quiet afternoon/evening in the hotel. I did love the horse statues scattered around the city sign. At first glance from a distance, I thought it was a real
herd. Then as you get close, you appreciate that they are really unique pieces of artwork.

Day 6 -

Although we drove through three states today (Montana, a corner of North Dakota and then into South Dakota), this was going to be a short driving day and we didn't want to arrive in Aberdeen until around 4:30. So we took our time with breaks for walks, coffee and bites to eat. One stop we had to make was one I have been at many times - once with my parents when I was young and twice as we traveled with out kids.  No it's not a fabulous attraction - in fact it's unbelievably cheesy - but that's part of the charm.

As you zip along the small two lane highway across South Dakota, there are tons of really tiny towns and a few try to catch you attention with unusual attractions. One such town is called Lemon. They advertise something called the Petrified Forest.  Now the assumption would be a group of petrified trees that are still standing.  Not so. They have taken tons of petrified wood pieces and assembled the into tall cones, castles, fountains and more scattered around the central park.  It makes me smile every time.

There is a hidden highlight though. One of those castles holds a very old fashion museum full of antiques - many donated - and old pictures going back 100 years. We spend over an hour in there every visit, .totally intrigued. So a big chuckle outside and then a wonderful  walk back in time. If I remember right, there was an active dinosaur dig and an accompanying exhibit on a side street in the past. Don't know if it is stil there or not. After that it was a short stop at a park alongside the Missouri River for lunch and then into Aberdeen.

Today I leave you with tons pictures of some of the wonderful treasures from long ago we saw at the museum in Lemon.