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Trip Report Westward, who?

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For a long time now, I've wanted to visit the American West: mountains, bison, the big sky...but I don't drive and I'm not too keen on the whole big bus thing. Finally, after 26 years of wandering the rest of the world, I got further West than Pittsburgh in the US: a trip to Salt Lake City, a bit of Idaho, Yellowstone and other parts of Wyoming, and the big guys and Badlands in South Dakota.

The trip was with Travel Dream West (www.traveldreamwest.com) and there were five of us tourists (three German, two American) in the comfortable van superbly driven by the husband half of our guide team--also German, as was the wife, our official guide. America's National Parks seem to be a bit of a German travel obsession, in fact; there are three forums at least in German just for US parks travel.

I'll do a day-by-day with some hotel mentions and such, but I wanted to start with a bit of an overall review and (most likely) some superfluous meanderings; don't say I didn't warn you. Although the trip wasn't exactly what I would have done on my own, I had a great time and would definitely recommend it to any people with my particular "handicap" when it comes to exploring that part of the world: I don't drive. To be honest, I'm not all that keen on riding, either, but even though some days had rather long times spent in the van, there was a fair amount of stopping, picnicking, and hiking to avoid saddle sores--and of course the view from the windows was often magnificent. (Although a bit repetitive as we got further east...)

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