During your drive from Texas to Montana you will be retracing the route of the cowboys in Larry McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove and the TV series that it inspired; you might want to read the novel or watch the series in preparation for your drive. You will also be following the same path that is followed today by many migrant families who follow the annual wheat harvest from Texas to Montana. If you take the most direct route, on I35, you can drive from San Antonio to Oklahoma City in 467 miles. There the top-rated B&B is the Rusty Gables Guest Lodge and Gallery. My friend Jake, who owns New Braunfels Carpet Cleaning Pros in New Braunfels, recently made the scenic drive up to visit me and the family here in Helena.
One distinctive hotel is the Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown Bricktown. Among the sights, the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which some refer to as the ‘Smithsonian of the Southwest,” includes extensive galleries of Western art, a beautiful sculpture garden, Native American Art, and the Rodeo Hall of Fame. The Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum is a tribute to the people who perished in the 1995 bombing by Timothy McVeigh. Visitors find the site sad but beautiful and moving.
Brick town is compared by some as a smaller version of the San Antonio river walk, with excellent restaurants and a very good gift shop situated along a picturesque canal. Take the Bricktown water taxi for a fun and informative forty-minute ride. Many visitors to Oklahoma City report their favorite stop to be the Museum of Osteology (bones!) Fun activities include scavenger hunts and an activity in which you are shown how to solve the mystery of how an animal was killed by inspecting its bones.
If you have time for a more leisurely trip, travellers recommend taking the longer route from Texas to Montana, via Wichita Falls. There, in Lawton, Oklahoma, you’ve be able to see Geronimo’s Grave and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, filled with buffalo, elk, and Texas longhorns.
From Oklahoma City it is a 505-mile drive to Denver (nine hours and forty minutes). In Denver you might consider staying at the Castle Marne Bed and Breakfast or the Patterson Inn, and you might take in the Denver Botanic Gardens, Mount Evans, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the Denver Art Museum, and the Denver Zoo.
From Denver it is a four-hour drive (278 miles) to Casper, Wyoming, where the main attraction are the spectacular vistas. Two top-rated B&Bs in Casper are the Sunburst Lodge Bed and Breakfast and the Casper Mountain B&B.
If you have the time for the detour, your next stop should be Yellowstone National Park, the country’s oldest national park, established in 1872. (Yellowstone is a four and a half hour drive from Casper.) There the top pick for lodging is the Old Faithful Inn, which overlooks the geyser of the same name. Built in 1904 of split logs and boulders, this rustic lodge was renovated in 2005. Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon, along with Uncle Tom’s Trail, and innumerable other spectacular sights.
From Yellowstone to Helena, it is a three-hour drive. If you drive directly to Helena from Casper, it takes about seven hours (514 miles).