Epic Six Thousand Mile Family Road Trip of US National Parks - pic and video heavy
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    1. #1
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Epic Six Thousand Mile Family Road Trip of US National Parks - pic and video heavy

      We have just returned from an incredible road trip in our new XC90. Overall, it gave us outstanding performance, comfort and safety.

      Here are some quick figures and then a ton of pictures & videos to show you our 2016 R-Design in some amazing environments.

      • ~11,000 ft - Highest Elevation
      • 6077 - Total Miles
      • 114.25 - Hours driven
      • 25 - Days on the Road
      • 23.9 - MPG Average
      • 16 - Different States
      • 12 - National Parks
      • 6 - Times listened to Freebird
      • 4 - Passengers
      • 3 - Worlds Largest things
      • $2.30 - Lowest price paid for 93 octane
      • 2 - Sensus Reboots
      • 1- Broken Windshield
      • 1 - Cracked Grill

      We started in Atlanta, GA and went to St Louis for the first night (550 miles.) We were almost to the World's Largest Bottle of Catsup when I noticed 113 degrees on the dash! Got a big surprise when we stopped and after we all took a quick picture and got back in the car, the Sensus gave us a double reboot.

      Maybe it was 4 phones that all had Bluetooth turned on and with the heat, it had to reset. Only time I've ever seen it do that.

      Great way to build my confidence on Day 1. After that - we rode with just one phone with Bluetooth on. No other reboot issues came up for the rest of the trip.

      http://www.catsupbottle.com/



      St Louis Arch - The gateway to the west!

      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-17-2016 at 10:00 PM.

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    3. #2
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      From St Louis we went up through Sioux Falls, SD (600 miles in one day) and then over to the Badlands. On the way, we stopped by The Corn Palace. Funny place to visit and it smells great. It's an amphitheater and the whole thing is covered in corn, inside and out. Styx is coming in September!



      The Badlands is like another planet...



      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-17-2016 at 03:38 PM.

    4. #3
      Awesome update and great pictures! Thanks so much

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    6. #4
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Had dinner at Wall Drug after seeing our first bison herd down some dusty roads. The XC90 felt very stable on this first off road experience.



      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-17-2016 at 08:35 AM.

    7. #5
      Junior Member Labrador's Avatar
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      Amazing.

      Next summer I'll be shipping my XC90 from Hawaii to California and then driving to my next duty station. Always wanted to do a cross county road trip
      Sitting at the port 2017 T6 R Design Bursting Blue Bowers & Wilkins sound, Vision & Convenience packages with HUD and Air suspension. Delivery Approx Nov2016

    8. #6
      Junior Member badcyclist's Avatar
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      Yes, thank you. I enjoyed the pictures, and some glimpses of life on the road with your XC90. You obviously ditched your family before St. Louis.

      How was the B&W on your epic journey? Or did everyone have their own individual soundtracks and video games going?

      Oh, and good overall gas mileage, too-- were you careful or did you just drive as your mood suited you?
      Last edited by badcyclist; 07-16-2016 at 07:09 PM.

    9. #7
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by LuminousSands View Post
      Awesome update and great pictures! Thanks so much
      You're welcome! Much more to come!

      Quote Originally Posted by Labrador View Post
      Amazing.

      Next summer I'll be shipping my XC90 from Hawaii to California and then driving to my next duty station. Always wanted to do a cross county road trip
      You have to do it! So many people we talked to on the road were so happy for us and told us about many memories they made on their trips too. Thanks for your service too.

      Quote Originally Posted by badcyclist View Post
      Yes, thank you. I enjoy the pictures, and some glimpses of life on the road with your XC90. You obviously ditched your family before St. Louis.

      How was the B&W on your epic journey? Or did everyone have their own individual soundtracks and video games going?

      Oh, and good overall gas mileage, too-- were you careful or did you just drive as your mood suited you?
      All passengers made it the whole way, although we did have a few moments. The B&W was outstanding. I made a bunch of playlists of roadtrip songs and so many were appropriate in the setting at just the right time. Weird how that happens.

      We had certain "zones" where iPads, phones, games, etc were off limits, mostly in Parks and on scenic routes. "Time to look out the window kids!" Otherwise a portable DVD with dual headphones can help your sanity tremendously.

      For MPG, I tried a few things. One day I would drive in Comfort, then the next in Eco, the next in Dynamic, but for the vast majority of the trip I used the ACC. Between that and the Lane Assist, it made the driving so much easier!

      In the canyons and twists of Montana, Dynamic wins everyday. In Yellowstone, Eco is best.
      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-16-2016 at 07:20 PM.

    10. #8
      Junior Member jtriebe's Avatar
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      I'm looking forward to your posts on the rest of your trip. I've done several 6K round trips, but not in a Volvo (we'll pick ours up next May) and it is a great way to see this beautiful country. We live in Tucson which is an easy days drive to some of the most beautiful places on this planet.

    11. #9
      Junior Member IC0N0CLAST's Avatar
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      well done. beautiful suv and great photos.

    12. #10
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      Awesome pictures. You got to tell the story with the Broken Windshield and Cracked Grill.

    13. #11
      These pictures are pretty awesome.

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      Nicely done. The Badlands are amazing.

    15. #13
      Junior Member tpchristian's Avatar
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      Truly inspiring. You must be a good driver. I think I would have a hard time with that many miles -- even as a passenger.
      -Tom

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    16. #14
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by nimbuss8 View Post
      These pictures are pretty awesome.
      Quote Originally Posted by bigfoot View Post
      Awesome pictures. You got to tell the story with the Broken Windshield and Cracked Grill.
      It's coming...

      Quote Originally Posted by tpchristian View Post
      Truly inspiring. You must be a good driver. I think I would have a hard time with that many miles -- even as a passenger.
      I love driving, and this thing helped that itch.

      Quote Originally Posted by jtriebe View Post
      I'm looking forward to your posts on the rest of your trip. I've done several 6K round trips, but not in a Volvo (we'll pick ours up next May) and it is a great way to see this beautiful country. We live in Tucson which is an easy days drive to some of the most beautiful places on this planet.
      You live in an amazing state.

      Quote Originally Posted by Zaxxon View Post
      Nicely done. The Badlands are amazing.
      Big thanks everyone!

      One great thing was the 80mph speed limit across SD and later in TX. Driving that fast is much more engaging. The signs were usually picked up automatically as I passed them and icon held correct on the dash, but sometimes slipped down to 70 or 75 at times, even though the limit was still 80. It seems harder for the XC90 to read the signs at higher speeds.



      I ran Waze too, and many times a similar limit was on the app. Waze was right most of the time, if it had the limit. Otherwise the sign recognition was 90% spot on.
      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-16-2016 at 08:53 PM.

    17. #15
      Love it...do share many more pictures, especially about the national parks! This is something we'd love to do someday once the kids are a bit older. Right now, my wife won't stand the idea of driving for extended periods of time (besides annual trips to family) with a 2 and 1 year old in tow.

    18. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by IIHS View Post
      Love it...do share many more pictures, especially about the national parks! This is something we'd love to do someday once the kids are a bit older. Right now, my wife won't stand the idea of driving for extended periods of time (besides annual trips to family) with a 2 and 1 year old in tow.
      If you ever drive for extended periods of time, you'll need the comfort of orthopedically-correct Volvo seats. Take it from someone who knows--who has had a bad back injury (I'm 98% recovered). Don't do this in a Toyota.
      Last edited by Tostik; 07-16-2016 at 11:03 PM.
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    19. #17
      Junior Member snow4me's Avatar
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      What a wonderful trip! I'm eager to read the rest of the story and see the accompanying pictures!

      I've got two weeks off work next April...now you've got me thinking if a family road trip could be in store..
      MY2017 XC90 T8 R Design * Bursting Blue * Carbon Fiber * Vision * Convenience * Booster

    20. #18
      Junior Member tpchristian's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by IIHS View Post
      Love it...do share many more pictures, especially about the national parks! This is something we'd love to do someday once the kids are a bit older. Right now, my wife won't stand the idea of driving for extended periods of time (besides annual trips to family) with a 2 and 1 year old in tow.
      Yes, you really need to do this. I think it makes sense to wait a little bit. Some of my fondest memories are our road-trip vacations with the kids. I am sure that there was fighting and bickering between the kids, but I can only really remember the good times.
      -Tom

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    21. #19
      Junior Member tpchristian's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tostik View Post
      If you ever drive for extended periods of time, you'll need the comfort of orthopedically-correct Volvo seats. Take it from someone who knows--who has had a bad back injury (I'm 98% recovered). Don't do this in a Toyota.
      I always hear people rave about Volvo seats. My first reaction was that they didn't seem that padded. Regardless of that, now I feel that these are extremely comfortable. I guess they just are very ergonomic. I have loved them on the short trips I've made, but am curious how my opinion would hold up on longer trips. (I have the Nappa Contour Seats -- I guess the variations my feel different)
      -Tom

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    22. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by tpchristian View Post
      I always hear people rave about Volvo seats. My first reaction was that they didn't seem that padded. Regardless of that, now I feel that these are extremely comfortable. I guess they just are very ergonomic. I have loved them on the short trips I've made, but am curious how my opinion would hold up on longer trips. (I have the Nappa Contour Seats -- I guess the variations my feel different)
      I've read lots of Volvo owner reviews on the various car websites, and many have raved about long drives without any fatigue in their Volvos, because of the wonderful seats. A couple of years ago, I drove from Evergreen, Colorado to Ft Collins Colorado to see my daughter (a 2 hr drive). My back was really hurting at the start of the drive. When I got to Ft Collins, I had to get gas, and much to my surprise, when I got out of my old XC90, my back was no longer hurting. Amazing!!! My chair in my den is not that good.
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    23. #21
      The one thing I like less about the seating situation in the xc90 is where to put your left elbow? The door arm rest is slightly too far away to naturally position it there. So my elbow ends up besides my lap. My right elbow always on the center arm rest.

      One thing no-one has picked up here is that awesome red colour. Looks very good, if it had been an option I might have chosen it over my Magic Blue. But I can't recall ever having the choice? Or is it specific to the r-design?

    24. #22
      Junior Member snow4me's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by LegGodt View Post
      The one thing I like less about the seating situation in the xc90 is where to put your left elbow? The door arm rest is slightly too far away to naturally position it there. So my elbow ends up besides my lap. My right elbow always on the center arm rest.

      One thing no-one has picked up here is that awesome red colour. Looks very good, if it had been an option I might have chosen it over my Magic Blue. But I can't recall ever having the choice? Or is it specific to the r-design?
      If I had one elbow in my lap and the other elbow on the center arm rest I'd have zero hands on the steering wheel! short people problems, I guess
      And yes, the red is specific to the R design. Too bright for my taste, but it certainly looks good and pops in photos.
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    25. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by LegGodt View Post
      One thing no-one has picked up here is that awesome red colour. Looks very good,...
      Yes, and somewhat to my surprise the mudflaps, although black, fit well with the red car.
      Zahra

    26. #24
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by IIHS View Post
      Love it...do share many more pictures, especially about the national parks! This is something we'd love to do someday once the kids are a bit older. Right now, my wife won't stand the idea of driving for extended periods of time (besides annual trips to family) with a 2 and 1 year old in tow.
      The best pics are still to come of the XC90 in the parks. It would be tough to do with kids that young. My girls are 7 and 10.

      Which brings me to another note. Because of the Every Kid in a Park program, my 10 year old got us in all of the parks for free!

      Quote Originally Posted by Tostik View Post
      If you ever drive for extended periods of time, you'll need the comfort of orthopedically-correct Volvo seats. Take it from someone who knows--who has had a bad back injury (I'm 98% recovered). Don't do this in a Toyota.
      THE SEATS ARE FANTASTIC! So much lumbar!

      Quote Originally Posted by snow4me View Post
      What a wonderful trip! I'm eager to read the rest of the story and see the accompanying pictures!

      I've got two weeks off work next April...now you've got me thinking if a family road trip could be in store..
      If you're thinking about Yellowstone, better get planning for accomodations now. I was really surprised to see how quickly they sell out.

      Quote Originally Posted by tpchristian View Post
      Yes, you really need to do this. I think it makes sense to wait a little bit. Some of my fondest memories are our road-trip vacations with the kids. I am sure that there was fighting and bickering between the kids, but I can only really remember the good times.
      We're still singing the songs our kids made up along the way!

      Quote Originally Posted by tpchristian View Post
      I always hear people rave about Volvo seats. My first reaction was that they didn't seem that padded. Regardless of that, now I feel that these are extremely comfortable. I guess they just are very ergonomic. I have loved them on the short trips I've made, but am curious how my opinion would hold up on longer trips. (I have the Nappa Contour Seats -- I guess the variations my feel different)
      Seats x2!

      Quote Originally Posted by Tostik View Post
      I've read lots of Volvo owner reviews on the various car websites, and many have raved about long drives without any fatigue in their Volvos, because of the wonderful seats. A couple of years ago, I drove from Evergreen, Colorado to Ft Collins Colorado to see my daughter (a 2 hr drive). My back was really hurting at the start of the drive. When I got to Ft Collins, I had to get gas, and much to my surprise, when I got out of my old XC90, my back was no longer hurting. Amazing!!! My chair in my den is not that good.
      Seats x3! My back also has issues. I was really worried that I'd notice it on the first 100 miles and then have to deal with it. But no, not on this trip!

      Quote Originally Posted by LegGodt View Post
      The one thing I like less about the seating situation in the xc90 is where to put your left elbow? The door arm rest is slightly too far away to naturally position it there. So my elbow ends up besides my lap. My right elbow always on the center arm rest.

      One thing no-one has picked up here is that awesome red colour. Looks very good, if it had been an option I might have chosen it over my Magic Blue. But I can't recall ever having the choice? Or is it specific to the r-design?
      My left elbow shifted from the arm rest to under the window often. After a couple thousand miles I did start to notice a small divot on the arm rest from repeated placement. Nothing permanent though.

      However, my right knee actually started to get a blister on it from resting it on near the gear shift tunnel. This was mostly due to not using my foot for the gas!

      Quote Originally Posted by snow4me View Post
      If I had one elbow in my lap and the other elbow on the center arm rest I'd have zero hands on the steering wheel! short people problems, I guess
      And yes, the red is specific to the R design. Too bright for my taste, but it certainly looks good and pops in photos.
      I think some people thought I was an emergency vehicle because they just kept getting out of my way!

      Quote Originally Posted by Zahra View Post
      Yes, and somewhat to my surprise the mudflaps, although black, fit well with the red car.
      Zahra
      Thanks!

    27. #25
      Junior Member MacHead's Avatar
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      6K is an impressive family road trip. Doing Chicago to Rapid City and back a few years ago was just about all I could take. Did you get to the Norbeck or Needles highways in SD? Thinking those and Spearfish Canyon might be fun in the XC90. The scenery is spectacular and incredibly diverse between there and the Badlands.
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    28. #26
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by MacHead View Post
      6K is an impressive family road trip. Doing Chicago to Rapid City and back a few years ago was just about all I could take. Did you get to the Norbeck or Needles highways in SD? Thinking those and Spearfish Canyon might be fun in the XC90. The scenery is spectacular and incredibly diverse between there and the Badlands.
      Thanks for the kudos... from the Badlands we went over to Custer, SD. But before that, check out this video of the Badlands to some random YouTube music, which I think sounds better than the road noise.. or you can just mute it.

      So surreal...


    29. #27
      Quote Originally Posted by GeoJoe View Post
      We have just returned from an incredible road trip in our new XC90. Overall, it gave us outstanding performance, comfort and safety.
      This brings back memories of a couple of road trips we took in our first gen XC90.

      The first was a 5400 mile trip from Chicago all the way to San Francisco, and a bunch of national parks on the way back (Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Arches).

      A few years later we went on a 4500 mile trip from Chicago to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Custer, and Badlands.

      The XC90 took us to all these places with incredible ease and comfort. Thanks for sharing!

    30. #28
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by chicagoxc90 View Post
      This brings back memories of a couple of road trips we took in our first gen XC90.

      The first was a 5400 mile trip from Chicago all the way to San Francisco, and a bunch of national parks on the way back (Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Arches).

      A few years later we went on a 4500 mile trip from Chicago to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Custer, and Badlands.

      The XC90 took us to all these places with incredible ease and comfort. Thanks for sharing!
      Wow, you've put in some miles over the years! I was hoping this would spur some other memories.

      Anyone been on the Iron Mountain Road? This is just outside of Custer, SD. It is an incredible drive up to Mt Rushmore. This was the first time I've been there and going though the tunnels to come out with a perfectly designed framed view of Mt Rushmore was really cool.





      Mt Rushmore straight ahead.




      Pigtails are also fun. This is where the road comes out of a tunnel, goes over a bridge and then winds down back under the bridge. Kids loved these!

      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-17-2016 at 08:59 PM.

    31. #29
      Global Moderator GrecianVolvo's Avatar
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      GeoJoe,

      First of all, thank you VERY MUCH, for sharing your beautiful journey in your beautiful XC90; road trips w/ family are simply priceless. Plus, this country is so diverse and unbelievably beautiful.

      In the past 30 days, we drove to the Sequoia National Park, then up in the Sierras and then up the Northern California coast to Mendocino (Redwoods), etc. Three separate trips, over 3,200 miles total. The XC90 made these trips even more enjoyable; I drive a lot, daily, so I am used to miles but the seats are simply amazing and make you forget about how long you have been on the road.

      Loved all the pics, post more if you can!

      Last, I am very impressed at how American people love to travel by car; as you did, it is great meeting all sorts of people in road trips and find out about where they are from, their experiences, exchange ideas, etc. I am European but the Americans' love for road trips (incl. camping trips) is simply unmatched!

      Great posts!

      P.S. You wrote that you would recommend ECO mode while in Yellowstone. Any particular reason (and I concur with Dynamic in mountainous and/or twisty roads, especially if your car is equipped w/ Air Suspension)?
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    32. #30
      We hope to be taking a similar long trip in the future in a XC90. We just returned from Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier and if we never see another busload of Chinese tourists, that will be too soon. Their behavior is appalling.
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    33. #31
      Junior Member volvokhaled's Avatar
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      Beautiful!!

    34. #32
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by GrecianVolvo View Post
      GeoJoe,

      First of all, thank you VERY MUCH, for sharing your beautiful journey in your beautiful XC90; road trips w/ family are simply priceless. Plus, this country is so diverse and unbelievably beautiful.

      In the past 30 days, we drove to the Sequoia National Park, then up in the Sierras and then up the Northern California coast to Mendocino (Redwoods), etc. Three separate trips, over 3,200 miles total. The XC90 made these trips even more enjoyable; I drive a lot, daily, so I am used to miles but the seats are simply amazing and make you forget about how long you have been on the road.

      Loved all the pics, post more if you can!

      Last, I am very impressed at how American people love to travel by car; as you did, it is great meeting all sorts of people in road trips and find out about where they are from, their experiences, exchange ideas, etc. I am European but the Americans' love for road trips (incl. camping trips) is simply unmatched!

      Great posts!

      P.S. You wrote that you would recommend ECO mode while in Yellowstone. Any particular reason (and I concur with Dynamic in mountainous and/or twisty roads, especially if your car is equipped w/ Air Suspension)?

      Sounds like you've made some great trips too.

      This vehicle is made for that kind of travel. Safety and comfort, performance and cargo space, loud tunes and tuned with P* all with some R-Design style makes for a nice road trip. I like to travel abroad as well, but there's so much to see in the USA and I have to make sure my kids see that first. This is a great SUV for the job, and yes I'm riding on air.

      Gas is relatively cheaper right now too, so that made a difference in the decision to hit the road. Average around $2.82 gal for Super.

      Eco in Yellowstone makes for a very smooth ride, especially with the animal jams!



      ...but I'm getting too far ahead of myself!

      Quote Originally Posted by mainsail View Post
      We hope to be taking a similar long trip in the future in a XC90. We just returned from Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier and if we never see another busload of Chinese tourists, that will be too soon. Their behavior is appalling.
      Congrats on your new ride! I only saw one other the whole time, somewhere near Iowa - I think a Blue R-Design.

      We also saw some crowds that had a tough time knowing the flow of human traffic. Some of the Parks were absolutely packed. It's also the 100th anniversary of the National Park System.

      Quote Originally Posted by volvokhaled View Post
      Beautiful!!
      Big thanks...here's a profile shot of our first president with some red, white and blue badges.

      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-17-2016 at 10:28 PM.

    35. #33
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      We saw Mt Rushmor in the morning, then the Crazy Horse Monument that afternoon. Although not a National Park, still a huge part of national pride. (and only private funding here)



      The night we were there they were putting on a "night blast." This was a tribute to the husband and wife team who both dedicated their lives to this project. Now many of their descendants are working on it. Those are three full size tractors on the right side where his finger is pointing.



      Hopi hoop dance presentation... she was really good!



      ...and then the night blast!

      They're not actually blasting rock, but it's symbolic of what they have been working on for over 100 years. Only 100 more to go!


    36. #34
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      Awesome pictures! You own what I believe to be the nicest SUV on the market (R-Design, red). I grew up in the Canadian Badlands and always think it's cool to see someone enjoying the Badlands.

    37. #35
      Junior Member GeoJoe's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by volvohutter View Post
      Awesome pictures! You own what I believe to be the nicest SUV on the market (R-Design, red). I grew up in the Canadian Badlands and always think it's cool to see someone enjoying the Badlands.
      Thanks for the kind words. I really like the red. It's very hot and I think that color actually helps with the safety factor too. Haha.

      Next stop was lunch at Devil's Tower. I've always wanted to visit since seeing it in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Classic movie.

      Notice that I found a DIY spray-off car wash in Custer to bring the bug and dust level down.

      Last edited by GeoJoe; 07-18-2016 at 10:12 AM.

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