We begin our journey today traveling west through Tennessee and Kentucky
before arriving in St. Charles, Missouri, for our frst overnight. St. Charles
was Missouri’s frst state capital between 1821 and 1826, while a permanent
capital city was in the planning and development stages in Jefferson City.
It is the third oldest city west of the Mississippi and is located on the Missouri
River just northwest of St. Louis.
This morning a local guide, in period dress, will take us on a quick drive
through St. Charles. We will see the frst State Capitol Historic Site, Lewis
& Clark Statue and more. The ten-block, 200-year-old Historic Main Street
is Missouri’s frst and largest historic district. It lies closest to the Missouri
River and Saint Charles’ frontier history. The brick paved street leads to
more than 125 one-of-a-kind shops. After lunch in the Columbia area, we
continue to York, Nebraska for our next overnight.
Our journey continues through Nebraska to Paxton for lunch at Ole’s Big
Game Steakhouse, a great experience and a delicious meal. We continue
to Cheyenne, Wyoming, the capital and most populous city of the state of
Wyoming. It was named for the Native American Cheyenne nation, one of
the most famous and prominent Great Plains tribes. A local guide will give a
fully narrated historical tour of Cheyenne including the Old West Museum,
Governor’s Mansion, State Capitol, Botanic Gardens, State Museum and
more. We spend the night in Cheyenne
We continue north through Wyoming to the Black Hills of South Dakota
to Mount Rushmore. We view the faces of four great American Presidents
carved on a 6,000 foot mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Visit
Bear Country USA, a refuge for bears, wolves, bison, and many other
wild animals, and enjoy a leisurely 3-mile drive through this unique North
American Wildlife park nestled on 250 acres of Black Hills Beauty. Visit
the Dances With Wolves flm set at Fort Hays this evening before the dinner
bell rings calling all cowboys and cowgirls to bring their appetites for a delicious
Chuckwagon dinner and show featuring the Fort Hays Wranglers.
Traveling north through South Dakota crossing into North Dakota, we
soon arrive in the historical town of Medora. In the evening we will
enjoy a unique western meal with a magnifcent North Dakota sunset as
a backdrop. The Tjaden Terrace is a beautiful open air shelter and terrace
with a spectacular view of the North Dakota Badlands and the town of
Medora. Here you will enjoy an 11-ounce rib-eye steak cooked “Cowboy
Style” on the end of a pitchfork—a Medora treat you won’t soon forget.
After dinner we will see the greatest show in the west, The Medora Musi- cal. The North Dakota Badlands provide a spectacular backdrop for the
Burning Hills Amphitheatre, home to this world-famous musical.
This morning we will make a photo stop just east of Medora at Painted
Canyon situated in Teddy Roosevelt National Park which is referred to
as “The Badlands of North Dakota”. We continue to Bismarck to visit
the Capitol—a 19-story white limestone and black granite skyscraper
looming above the plains. Memorial Hall, on the ground foor, boasts
40 foot bronze pillars, black marble and yellowstone travertine walls as
well as a marble foor. On the Capitol grounds, the statue of Sakakawea
commemorates the “Bird Woman” of the Shoshone tribe. She was an
invaluable guide and interpreter with the Lewis and Clark expedition
and in obtaining horses from the Shoshone for mountain crossings. After
lunch, we continue to Fargo, North Dakota for the night.
Today, traveling south through North Dakota and back into the state of
South Dakota, we make a stop at The Redlin Art Center in Watertown,
South Dakota. Terry Redlin’s interest in out-of-doors themes can be
traced to his childhood in Watertown. Few artists can rival the standards
of excellence achieved by Master Artist Terry Redlin over the past 25
years. He is truly one of the country’s most widely collected painters of
wildlife and Americana. We continue to Sioux Falls—bordering Iowa
and Minnesota, Sioux Falls is in the “Heart of America” located on the
banks of the Big Sioux River and is South Dakota’s largest city. After
lunch, it is a short drive to Omaha, Nebraska for a two night stay.
Upon arrival in Omaha, we will visit the Old 1857 Florence Bank, now
a museum. After checking into our hotel, we will enjoy an entertaining
Frontier-style dinner as a re-enactor who protrays Mary Cook welcomes
us into her home for dinner. Before dinner, she talks about the life on
the frontier fort and her famous husband, General George Cook, Commander
of Indian Affairs in the Great Plains. The Victorian home is fully
restored to represent the time period of when the Cook family lived in
The Mormon Trails Center is a museum which examines the hardships of
the 1840’s winter quarters for the Mormon pioneers. The state of the art
museum examines the Mormon pioneer encampment in the area during
the harsh winters of 1846 and 1847and concentrates on the topic of the
Mormon Trail. Next, we enjoy a luncheon cruise with Captain William
Clark –re-enactor from the Douglas County Historical Society. Dressed
in full military uniform, Captain Clark will talk about the journey up the
Missouri River. We cross the Missouri River to Council Bluffs and visit
the 1885 Squirrel Cage Jail and Union Pacifc Museum. This 1885 unique
“rotary” jail is one of three remaining examples of the Lazy Susan jails
in the United States. Wedge-shaped cells form a drum, which rotated all
prisoners at once. Next door is the Union Pacifc Railroad Museum with
exhibits from the long history of the Union Pacifc Railroad. We return
to Omaha for dinner included in one of Omaha’s fne restaurants.
We depart Omaha traveling northeast through Iowa, often referred to as the
“American Heartland”. Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the
east; the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west. The southern
border is the Des Moines River.We continue through St. Louis to O’Fallon,
Illinois for our last night.
All good things must come to an end, so this morning we will be on our way
home with our newly found friends and many good memories of our tour.