Tag Archives: Medora

Before the Storm — May 25-June 18, 2016

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.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park — Medora, North Dakota – August 28-31, 2015

When we learned that sister Zona and mother Mom (Evelyn) were going to be in Minneapolis for the weekend attending the Minnesota State Fair, we decided to delay our arrival in Bismarck, ND, and spend a long weekend in the extreme western end of the state at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  There is a nice campground within the Park, but we opted for the commercial facility with more accommodations:  sewer, water and electricity, located just outside the Park and a stone-throw away from the little tourist-saturated village of Medora.

As is our common practice, our first stop was at the Visitor Center where we took in the orientation movie and then joined a ranger for an informative and entertaining tour of Teddy’s Maltese Ranch cabin.  Next day, we took our little Geo Tracker out for a tour of the Park.  Gorgeous scenery, as befits a place called “badlands”, but not so bleak and not so dramatic as the parks in Utah.  We saw pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, a western meadowlark and bison.  We returned to Medora to take advantage of the famous pitchfork fondue steak supper, and then rushed back to the Park to join a ranger at Wind Canyon for a scheduled full moon walk.  Fortunately, we were confused about the appointed time and arrived an hour too early.   “Fortunately”, because the early hour meant there was still light in the early evening and on the drive we saw a coyote, wild turkeys and a flock of grouse.

On Sunday we drove up to the Petrified Forest Wilderness Area, part of the National Park but accessed by a separate gravel road that runs northward to the west of the main park.  Pleasant walk from the parking area to the petrified area.

Monday morning we broke camp  and drove the 133 miles east to Bismarck, where we were greeted by my ever-young 96 year-old mother and my just-turned 69 year-old baby sister.  But more about that visit in the next edition of our blog.



North Dakota Badlands — July 23-24, 2014

On July 23 we joined Chuck’s niece Cathy, her husband Jon and their children Cole & Katie on an expedition to the western Dakotas.  Some rode with Jon in his truck that pulled their new massive fifth wheel camper and the rest rode with Cathy in her automobile.  We camped for one night at the Medora campground. After securing the camper the Dockters took Mom, Zona, Barb and me up to the site of the Medora Musical where we enjoyed a steak fondue supper.  Then Barb & I took advantage of tickets that Cathy had previously won and attended the musical.   Great fun.

Next day, Cathy, Barb and the kids headed out to do some horseback riding in the Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park only to discover that Katie was about an inch too short to be allowed on the horses.  We all spent the morning exploring the park before heading south to the Black Hills of South Dakota. See our next blog entry for our coverage of that visit.