Rainer Jenss and his family are currently in their third week of their year-long around-the-world journey. They're blogging about their trip for Traveler, and you can read about their stops so far here.
It may sound strange, but when putting together an itinerary for a twelve-month trip around the world, you want to factor in a little vacation time. That’s right, to paraphrase the Encarta World English Dictionary definition, we’ve planned some time throughout the year devoted to rest and recreation; a scheduled period during which regular activities are suspended. I told people before we left that I don’t consider what we are doing a yearlong holiday. After all, there’s home-schooling to be done, blogs to post, plenty of logistics to work through and lots of time in planes, trains, and automobiles. So as we completed only our third week on the road, we found ourselves in Wyoming, where we met up with our first group of friends who are joining us along the way - Carol’s college roommate and her family – for our big "summer vacation".
Our ultimate destination was the 7D Ranch in the Sunlight Basin, an hour’s drive or so northwest of the “Gateway to Yellowstone,” Cody, Wyoming. This dude ranch, which technically means a ranch that takes on (paying) visitors, probably provided us with as close of an authentic western experience as we could find for a family. Besides the horseback riding for both the adults and kids, it offered top-notch fly-fishing, skeet shooting, scenic hikes, and other various outdoor pursuits. It even included a "Wicki-Up" that simulates the Native American sweat lodge experience. Basically, guests had the choice of going into a small igloo-shaped enclosure filled with burning rocks which brings the temperature well into the mid-100 degree range. For the Indians, sitting inside it (for hours) represented a cleansing of the body and mind. For vacationers, it was a kind of test to see how long one could stand to be in an extremely hot and cramped sauna with several other dripping guests and staff members to boot. Still, there was something about this rather atypical "resort" activity that I found appropriate. It wasn’t contrived or set up solely to amuse tourists, rather it was an attempt to connect visitors with a sense of tradition unique to this part of the country.