My Trip Out West


Morgan Turpin

The Rocky Mountains

Morgan Turpin, Staff Writer

Over the summer, I went on a pretty fun trip. A trip out west! It was amazing, and I got to see so many sights, including the Jolly Green Giant, Dignity Statue, Yellowstone National Park, The Rocky Mountains, and more! The craziest part was that we traveled to all of these places in the car. We drove over 5,000 miles and were gone for 3 weeks. One week of travel and two weeks to our main destination, Montana. Here are some of the fun and amazing things I got to do. 


It was really crowded in the car. We had to pack everything we needed for the hotel with an additional bag for Montana. We packed for 3 weeks’ worth of travel. Along with pillows, blankets, and bags, we also brought food and snacks for 4 people. This may sound like torture, but it was actually really fun. Being in the car for me is just part of the trip.

We started in Kentucky, and then went to Indiana. Then Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and finally Montana.

The Dignity Statue: 

This was one of the most emotional stops we made. The statue was beautiful. It’s an Indigenous woman that seems to be wearing a colorful quilt around her body, including different shades of blue. She is standing in a tall position in front of a view of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota. She represents the courage, perseverance, and wisdom of the Lakota and Dakota culture in South Dakota. She was so pretty, it took our breath away. But what really got me was the view of the river. It was simply stunning. I wanted to just stare at it all day long, and I believe I would have if we hadn’t didn’t have to eventually leave. It also had a beautiful log tee-pee and framed the river and sun. Overall, this was one of my favorite stops we made the whole trip.

Mount Rushmore: 

I learned all about the history of it and found it really interesting. Did you know that they actually didn’t finish Mount Rushmore? Well, it’s true! While we were there, we got to just stare at the huge faces carved on the side of the hill. My family and I also noticed that Roosevelt has glasses carved in the rock. They have a trail you can walk down that highlights each face and have signs that tell you about the person it’s highlighting. It’s truly so awesome just to walk up to it and see Mount Rushmore in person. We also went to the presidential wax museum that taught us about much more than just the presidents. We learned about historical events, and the wax people were so lifelike, it felt like they were truly there with us. 


Montana is one of our favorite states to travel to. It’s so pretty, and the Rocky Mountains are huge. Montana has so much to see, and the sights are endless. My grandparents live there, so we visit every few years. However, no matter how many times I’ve been, this beautiful state never gets old. 

My grandparents own a farm, so we get to see the gorgeous farmland and rocky mountains. Another one of my favorite things about Montana is this small restaurant called the “Pink Flamingo.” I remember eating there when I was younger, and the food is amazing.

When people call Montana the “Big Sky State,” they really mean it. Montana seems to have the biggest sky in the whole US. 

Gates of the Rocky Mountains Experience: 

In Montana, there is a boat tour that you can do that will teach you the history behind the gates of the mountains. My cousin actually owns the boat tour and campsite. We saw bald eagles in their natural habitat, and some of them had little eaglets. We also saw mountain goats.

The history in the mountains is amazing. It’s actually one of the many paths Lewis and Clark took. There were also authentic Native American markings and drawings on the sides of the rock.

I thought the history of each place was so amazing. It’s especially cool to see the gates of the mountains so close. Part of the mountains is shaped similar to a gate, and the more you go forward, the more they close. When Lewis and Clark first saw them, they thought it was a dead end, until they kept going forward. They entered the gates and discovered the exact thing I got to see: The Gates of the Rockies.

Experience in Yellowstone:

It was amazing and took us hours to get through. We saw so much natural wildlife, including coyotes, a whole herd of buffalo, a grizzly bear, elk, and more. We saw huge geysers and geyser basins. We also saw the popular Yellowstone Geyser. 

Overall, my trip was so much fun, and I can’t wait to go again! I hope this encourages you to travel out west. There is so much to do. The history behind everything is really interesting. I didn’t expect to learn so much during my trip. I’m so blessed to have gone on this trip, and I hope you can too someday.