Sunday, July 12, 2020

7/11 Madora & Theodore Roosevelt Natl Park, ND

I have been to this national park before, but I had only enough time for a quick drive around the park the day I got there.  The next day, I had horrible kidney stone pain and ended up driving 45 miles east to the nearest hospital with an emergency room!  I spent that night in the town of Dickinson and continued my drive east, but said I would like to come back some time and walk around the nearby town of Madora.  So, it is three years later, and here I was!

The National Park was founded to honor President Teddy Roosevelt, who came to this area in 1883 and fell in love with it.  He had bought a ranch here, and he returned the next year after both his wife and his mother died within a few days of each other.  He hired someone to run his ranch, but returned often during his life.  The area became a National Park in 1947.

The drive here from Hazelton on I-94 was pleasant for two reasons: the lack of traffic on the freeway and the beautiful scenery which was looking more plains-like as I drove west. 

I almost missed this sculpture.  I found out it is called Geese in Flight.  This websites tells about the sculptor and his other works:  To me it looks like the geese are on a Native-American dream catcher.

The town of Madora has grown up next to the National Park entrance.  I enjoyed walking around the many gift shops.

It's not a big town, but a very pretty place to live. 

On the edge of town is the national park entrance. 

Normally this part of North Dakota is very dry, but they have had a lot of rain in the past few days, so the "badlands" are green.

The prairie dog colony, however, has eaten almost everything green in sight, so their areas are brown and dirt.

This one looks like he/she is on guard duty.

The "hills" are flat on top because they are flat plains.  Rain across eons has caused the soft rocks and dried mud to produce bluffs and shallow canyons. Note the colorful layers in the distance.

This very big guy was laying alongside the roadway.  It seemed a strange place for a rest, but obviously this bison can rest anywhere he pleases.  The photo does not do justice to his immense size, by the way.

I drove up a ways and then turned around.  Coming back, I noticed he was standing up.

A buddy was crossing the road just ahead.

I only caught the second bison, but both animals laid down and rolled around in the dirt. Apparently, these two bits of sandy dirt was just the place for a dust bath.   

These are prairie coneflowers.

Near the exit of the park, there is a pullout where you can look down over the freeway and into the distance.

I did not spend much time here, but it was a very pleasant drive and I got to see prairie dogs and a couple of really big bison!!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

7/9 Hazelton COE Campground

No photos or posting on the last two campgrounds because I found little interesting about them.  I have been making slow, but steady, progress west, and found myself in this Corps of Engineering campground yesterday.  I  really like COE campgrounds because I have never really found a bad one, and they are well taken care of.  They almost always have at least some sites with electricity and are always near a dammed-up lake.  When they build and manage a dam, they also build recreation areas that include campgrounds.

I arrived fairly early in the afternoon, but I was still surprised to find no one else camped here.  This is the non-hookup side of the park.

There is a lake in the distance, but it is several hundred feet away.

And this is the hookup area.  In this case, that means electric only.  I had to fill my water tanks at the entrance. No dump station, but it is not too far to my next stop.

I should not have any problems with quiet hours.

All set up in my site.  No pavement, but the gravel was in good condition and my site was level.  

Kind of a view of the lake. 

This is the Great Plains, and it looks like this old tree has seen a lot of history. 

They have planted quiet a few trees, but I noticed that each one has a drip irrigation tube attached to it.  

Nice to have some peace and quiet, at least.  There isn't even any road noise, but a big plus is excellent Verizon service, so I have very good internet.  Have a lot of work to catch up on, so that is very good.  Also, because of lack of trees, I have good satellite service.

Found this extra water fill station at the far end of the campground.  

Company arrived on the second day!  I am leaving tomorrow, however, when the place will be full of families.  

These little critters are very shy and tend to hide in the grass.  They are thirteen-lined ground squirrels.  They look like chipmunks, but do not have the lines on the sides of their faces that chipmunks have.  They also are a little smaller than chipmunks and are also not as cheeky--they hide in the grass or run away instead of begging for food. They also don't make a lot of noise.  They and chipmunks, squirrels, marmots, and prairie dogs are all part of the squirrel family.  See

You can see the stripes on this one.  

Definitely a squirrel-like face, but they eat plants and insects more than nuts and acorns.

This one is chewing on some clover. 

On to Theodore Roosevelt National Park tomorrow.  I was there in 2016, but had to cut my visit short then because of a kidney stone attack.  The national park is open to drive through, but they cancelled my two days in the park campground, so I am staying just one night in a commercial campground in nearby Medora, ND.  That will be enough time to walk around the town and drive through the park to see the buffalo again. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

7/1 Walk to Duluth Lift Bridge & Lunch at Grandma's

The first group of photos is from July 1st when I was able to see three ships come or go.  The second group were taken on July 2 when I walked the three blocks to the bridge and the shopping area.  July 1st was foggy and cool, but two lake freighters came in and one left.

You can tell when one is coming, by the way, because the bridge operator blows a very loud horn one long and two short blasts to welcome the ship to harbor.  The ship then returns the pattern as a thanks. 

The bridge is closing.

Aha!  This is the Mesabi Miner, which has come to load cement.

When they hear the horns, lots of people come out of their RVs and head for the end of the marina, where you can walk out on the break wall.  I was camped in a prime spot, very close to the end, so had a better view than most and could get out there fast.

You can tell by the sky that this was taken later on, when the fog had lifted.  Here comes another freighter.

It is the Michipicoten.  According to a couple of web sites, this one mainly hauls iron pellets, or taconite, around the Great Lakes.  It is Canadian owned. 

And just as we were all getting ready to head back, we noticed that the Federal Biscay, which had been loading wheat across the harbor was being pulled out.  She is taking wheat from the Midwest to Italy!!

The next day, the sky was blue and clear, and it was getting HOT, so I headed down the road to the bridge to walk around the shops and have some lunch.  On the way, there were several little homes on the opposite side of the road, and one woman was supervising her neighbor burn the weed seeds next to the roadway so they would not sprout.  She said he gets carried away, so when he starts using the thing that looked like a flame-thrower, she gets out and follows him so he does not burn the plants!

She and one other neighbor have taken a piece of gravel and rock-filled land across from their homes and made it into a lovely garden!  The marina is just on the other side of the pier in the distance.

Very, very pretty and keeps people from illegally parking there. They have no water source on the other side of the road, so have to spray with a hose and hope a car does not come or haul water in buckets. 

I imagine this will be even prettier later in the summer. 

I walked out onto the east pier first.  The bridge is halfway up.  It does this every half hour so the smaller boats and sailboats can pass through.  They will not lift it for every small boat, so you have to time your trips in and out.

The pier/breakwall on the other side.  Downtown Duluth is in the distance.

I know from the online sources that this is the Juno.  It is waiting to pick up grain also.

Looking down the sand spit at the beach and some homes.  There is a park at the very end, but I did not feel like driving down there, and it was much too far to walk.

The bridge is down so if I hurry I can get across before it lifts again.

The shops and restaurants just on the other side.  Grandma's in on the right.  Here is a little history:

It has two levels and a couple of different outside dining areas, but I felt a little awkward taking too many photos inside.  Good food, by the way.