Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Travel finally!

We've been moving on.  After escaping Utah without accident, we moved on into Idaho and Montana.  This was mostly Interstate driving as we were really trying to get a few miles up the road.  All these states are fixing roads because, after all, doing so in winter isn't much of an option.  In Montana I noticed something kind of funny.  They are working on some bridges and typically close one lane, reduce the speed limit and get to work.  We came over this ridge and saw work going on down in the valley.  They reduce the speed limit to 55 mph; I've always figured that I'd be an idiot to get a speeding ticket while towing 8,000 lb of trailer so I'm pretty sure to be below whatever the limit might be.  Well, this time there were three or four white vehicles and one black one way at the end.  I was doing about 52 mph and guess what, the black vehicle was a police car!  The guys behind me who had been probably cursing were now probably pretty happy.  That was a nice ending.  Then it happened again the next day!  These cops are having just way too much fun. 

Our objective on this trip was to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota.  It was a great place!  We stayed in the town of Medora, North Dakota.  It's pretty much a tourist trap for folks staying at the park.   We stayed at the Red Trails Camp Ground; nice enough place but average.  We had lunch in one place that was great; then we had dinner at a place one of the locals recommended that was worse than awful.  Amazing.

The national park is divided into a North and a South portion.  We only visited the South.  There is a 36 mile drive going around the park; fantastic views all over the place.  There are hiking trails all over the place but we didn't do well with them.  We tried two and each started with a bunch of steps carved out of a hillside.  We flatlanders just didn't want to do that.  They brag about the number of buffalo; we only saw them at a distance until nearly the end of the loop when we rounded a corner and there was a big bull dining on grass in the ditch.  We were so shocked we didn't even get a photo.  They brag about wild horses; didn't see a one.  They 'brag' about having lots of prarrie dogs; well they sure have them!  We also got to visit the Painted Staircase area:  it's got some great overviews of the park.

Here's a buffalo - far away and showing us his ass!

It's a tough place even for a tree.

Here is an overview of what much of the park looks like.  It was taken from the Painted Canyon ranger area.

Anyway, we moved on to Dickenson, ND.  Dickenson is living the oil boom.  Shale oil workers and money are making the town exciting.  There is lots of building; the restaurants and service industry people are doing well.  It all makes us folks who live in the slow growing areas envious.  I guess the oil industry can inject a lot of money in an area. 

From Dickenson we took a quick trip on the Interstate to check out Bismark, ND - the state capital.  It was weird.  First of all, it was Labor Day so everything was closed.  Secondly, the state capital building was strange:  it looks like an office building!  So we ended up having lunch at Pizza Hut just because there wasn't anywhere else but McDonalds.  

We'll be moving south now.  More info later!  Have a good one.

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