Sunday, July 31, 2016

7/29 Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

I arrived here fairly early in the day, so I luckily did the 36 miles drive before checking into my campground for two nights.  This place resembles the Badlands, except it is greener.  It was once home to tens of thousands of bison.  Roosevelt came here once to shoot them, and asked to have a cabin built, shown below.  When he came back a couple of years later, he discovered there were none to hunt.  So he tried raising cattle for a while, but they ended up dying in a storm, so he focused on using this place, and another one he had built nearby for rest and relaxation.  He said that it was here that he gained his love of nature and began his work to save natural areas for the public in national parks. 

This is the start of the drive that takes a couple of hours, or more, depending on how many stops you make.

There are several prairie dog towns, and this is one of them. 

Pretty country, but not easy to build a road or railroad through, so it was saved pretty much as it was, except minus the bison, of course.

I ran into three small herds of bison.  This one had several animals on each side of the road, so occasionally one would stop traffic by going slowly across to the other side. 

Frankly, these big guys can do whatever they want.  If they want to tip over your car, they can.  Might have to just punch holes in my big vehicle, however.

If they got within 30 feet, you were supposed to get into your vehicle or move away. 

Another little "dog."

And more bison.

 After this drive, I got set up in the campground and turned on my generator to keep myself cool.  You are only allowed to run it until 8:00 pm, so it was a little tough waiting for the sun to set and the temps to go down, but at least in the middle of the night it got really nice and cool. 

I was lucky to be able to take this drive today because the next day, I ended up with pains from passing a kidney stone, and drove a miserable 45 miles to the next town where there was an emergency room.  Spent four hours there getting tests and pain relief.  Found an RV park where the owner was kind enough to meet me and help me get backed in after dark.  Was REALLY glad to be settled and have some pain relief.  Just one of the problems with traveling alone and in places a long way from medical care, but I have survived this as just another part of my adventure.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

7/25 Wheat Montana

Wheat Montana is a flour manufacturer and bakery in Three Forks, Montana.  I discovered it a few years ago and can't wait each year to go there again and stock up on yummy things. 

First, I spent a storm night in Lewis and Clark Caverns State park, which is located in a rocky valley with some interesting formations.  Look how tilted the land is here.

Got up the next morning and headed to Wheat Montana for breakfast.  Their cafĂ© and bakery is located next to the flour milling facility, and the whole thing is just off I-90.  It also includes a gas station and large parking lot.  They started out as a farm, growing wheat, then began to mill it themselves and sell it as flour.  Here is their story:


Anyway, they make the best croissants and pastries anywhere.  Very fresh, to say the least.  This is a chocolate pastry.

And the absolutely best almond bear claw anywhere!

I bought six of these--one to eat for lunch later and five to freeze.  It is a croissant with ham and cheese baked into it. They heat up very nicely in the microwave and are wonderful.   Yum.

7/23 John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

This looked like an interesting place in Oregon on my way to Washington and east, so I went out of my way to stop here.   Interesting scenery on the way in because of the varied layers.   

So, who in the heck was John Day?  There is a town named after him, several roads, a couple of parks, and more.  Luckily, there was a sign in the parking lot that I am sure reduces the number of questions the rangers inside have to answer!

This is NOT another dinosaur museum.  In fact, this area contains only early mammal fossils.

I had no idea there were so many mammal quarries and that there were so many ages of mammals, as shown by the timeline at the bottom of this display.  Learned something here. No comments on the following photos as they are pretty self-explanatory.

Headed northeast to Plymouth Park, which is a Corps of Engineering campground near McNary Dam on the Columbia River.  More interesting scenery on the way, and as I get close, it changes to rolling plains.