and were able to see more in two weeks by driving than if we flew to Canada.
Our trip began with us leaving Austin, Texas to stay in our very first Air BnB in Colorado Springs. We were pretty nervous considering we arrived at some random house at 9pm at night, but once we met our host, we were relieved that we were in for a comfortable nights stay. The next day we were off to Powell, Wyoming for another stay in an Air Bnb, but in a teepee under the open night sky. It was simply amazing, and the host was wonderful.
Our plan changed entirely the night we stayed in Montana. The day before we were going to head out to Glacier National Park, a fire broke out and had already spread to about 1,000 acres. We were concerned that the smoke would take away from our experiences, and the thought that the fire could spread even further made us decide to go straight to Canada the next day. And that was the best decision we have ever made. Our original plan was to stay in Glacier for most of the trip, visit Banff in Alberta for a few days, then head back to Austin in almost the same route we took. But throughout our trip, the fire made it up to 4,000 acres, and we were glad that we decided against visiting Glacier. Because of the fire, we were able to spend an entire week in Canada, and we camped out for five whole days inside Banff National Park. Instead of experiencing two national parks in part, we were able to experience one beautiful Canadian park in just about its entirety.
As we planned our trip back home, we decided to cut more costs and stay with some of Riley's family in both Lincoln, Nebraska & Dallas, Texas. And as a plus, we could also visit Mount Rushmore for the first time. We also discovered Custer State Park, just a few miles away from the National Monument where we could drive through a wildlife sanctuary to watch some buffalo (which I was dying to see.) But, the day before, we had decided to stay overnight in Sturgis, South Dakota, which was a a slight mistake. We did not realize that the 75th Annual Biker Ralley was about to start in Sturgis, and all hotels were about $200, even for the lowest quality stays. So, we slept in our car at a rest stop for the very first time. This was both good and bad as we did not sleep comfortably at all, but we didn't spend any money on a hotel for that night.
So from our trip back from Banff, Alberta we only paid to stay in a hotel once, and we stayed free the other 4 nights. We did so well staying under budget on this trip, and it was our best trip yet! It just gets better every year. In two weeks, we drove through 11 states and 3 Canadian provinces, most of those for the very first time for both of us. I took over 1,000 photos, but that doesn't compare to all of the beautiful new memories and experiences I've made. I miss the beautiful country of Canada more and more everyday and I can't wait to return. And of course, I can't wait until my next great adventure...