We flew from Curacao to Bismarck on Wednesday, May 25, and retrieved our camper on Saturday, May 28.
Zona’s daughter Susie and her family visited over the weekend from Minneapolis. On the 29th we all gathered at Zona’s for a big feed. Neighbors Jerry & Jeanne also joined in. Maddie spent a lot of time riding horses with Jerry.
On June 2, we joined the Dockter family in an expedition to Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Dockters took their camper and we took ours, and Zona and Cathy each drove a car. We all camped in the Medora Campground, where we were joined by Dawne & Jerry Renner in their luxurious diesel pusher. The official excuse to spend some more time in the area was to attend the Medora Run/Walk on Saturday. Barb and I walked, and discovered that, all of our exercising in Bonaire not withstanding, our arthritic joints and stopping to take photos along the way had us coming into the finish in almost dead last place (as walkers!). After the main race there was a kiddy race in which Katie participated.
On Sunday morning Barb and I got up super early and motored up to the Cottonwood Campground in the Park to participate in a Park-hosted bird watch. On the way up we came up over a hill and encountered a lone bison walking right up the center line of the road. We pulled off to the side and let him pass. The bird watch was very well attended. The large crowd was broken up into three subgroups. We chose the “open land” group, and ended up climbing a steep hill. Our guide was very knowledgeable about bird songs and identified many birds by sound that I didn’t even see, let alone photograph. At the conclusion of the watch we were all treated to a complementary breakfast of juice and pancakes and sausages, after which there was a raffle in which I won a Teddy Roosevelt T-shirt.
On our way back to Bismarck from Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Barb, Mom and I took a detour off Interstate 94 and traversed the “Enchanted Highway” southward down to the little town of Regent. Local artist Gary Greff conceived of the project, taught himself how to weld, built it beginning in 1989, maintains it and plans more sculptures. From the “Official North Dakota Travel & Tourism Guide”: The Enchanted Highway begins at Exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and terminates 30 miles down the road in the small town of Regent. Beginning with “Geese in Flight” at Exit 72, large metal sculptures are placed along the county highway, each with a parking area and kiosk. Sculptures include “World’s Largest Tin Family,” “Teddy Rides Again,” “Pheasants on the Prairie,” “Grasshoppers in the Field,” “Deer Crossing” and “Fisherman’s Dream.” The gift shop in Regent has miniatures of each statue and the Enchanted Castle motel and restaurant offer hot meals and a soft bed.
The project is the work of a single man who decided to do something to save his town of Regent from extinction. He cajoled local farmers along the highway into donating land for the sculptures. Alas, not all farmers have been interested in helping; he has the materials assembled for another planned sculpture (Spider Webs) but has not succeeded in getting the land!
We met Gary at his Enchanted Castle when we stopped in to pay for our night of camping ($20) at the Regent Enchanted Campground. Very congenial guy — he gave us an extended tour of the Castle that combines a bar, a restaurant and a hotel, all featuring a medieval theme complete with swords, battle axes, metal suits of armor, etc.
I didn’t get a picture of the “Geese in Flight” sculpture, but here are the others:
(The size of these sculptures is only apparent when the pictures are expanded and the Shipleys within are revealed.)
On Thursday, June 9, Barb and I took the camper (and dinghy) up to Lake Sakakawea, where we camped in the Lake Sakakawea State Park Campground over a long weekend. We had originally planned on only two days, but extended our stay just in time before the place got essentially fully-booked. We had a number of nice walks along the grassy and occasionally wooded shoreline, just north of Garrison Dam, which we also toured.