Jared E. Bendis

Summer in the USA

Having done all of these grand Castle adventures you can imagine how often people ask me: “Where are you going to next?”

But here is the problem – I am sitting on at least 2 documentaries worth of footage (that I am editing) so when it comes to travel I have two options:

  1. Go somewhere and don’t film
  2. Go somewhere not worth filming

Both of these scare the crap out of me.

And then it came to me – a trip I would want to take where I would take pictures but not video: The American West.

Now you should know that I am crazy and when I plan a trip – I PLAN a trip. (Alas life being what it is – I am NOT doing this trip this summer – but the plan was just to good not to share.)

So here is the idea:

  1. Fly into Bozeman, Montana – rent a care and drive…
  2. Yellowstone National Park
  3. Devil’s Tower
  4. Badlands National Park
  5. Mount Rushmore
  6. Fort Collins, Colorado
  7. Tent Rocks National Monument
  8. Roswell, New Mexico
  9. Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  10. White Sands National Monument
  11. Petrified Forest National Park
  12. Monument Valley
  13. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
  14. The Grand Canyon
  15. Meteor Crater
  16. Montezuma Castle National Monument
  17. Hoover Dam
  18. Las Vegas, Nevada – gamble a bit – drop off car – fly home.

If you are more visual – this is what it looks like:


Google says it is 3,884 miles and 70 hours of driving.

Now there are some complications.

First – most car rental companies don’t let you drive one-way across state lines – in fact only Budget Rental Car appears to allow you to go from Bozeman to Vegas (and not the other way around – I checked).

Second – this is the American west – there aren’t hotels – let alone even cities everywhere.  So I went back and mapped out cities which had hotels such as Spearfish, SD and Tuba City, AZ.

All in all – a glorious 22 days of driving and shooting.

Budget Items:

  • Car Rental ~ $2600
  • Gas ~ $800
  • Admit Fees ~$300
  • Hotel ~$3,000
  • Flight to Bozeman, From from Vegas ~ $750
  • Food & Souvenirs!

I know some of you are thinking this would be cheaper and more fun in a camper but I am not that kinda guy – I need a hotel at night.

So there it is my grand tour of the American West – not this year but hopefully soon!