Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Painted Canyon

During our trip to the Walmart in Dickinson, we took the time to stop and visit the rest area called the Painted Canyon.  It's far more than just a rest stop as it's part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  The day we were there was overcast and really brought out the rich colors.

On the return visit I was able to snag some nice shots of the landscape as we sped by.

I like to call this one little house on the prairie, and it is since it's located in the National Grasslands.

There's a stark beauty to these skylines and fences with all that big sky.  It gives a person the sense of solitude and well being.

Long Live the Queen of Quiet  (not to be confused with the Quiet Queen....which would just be silly)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Medora Musical

We started yesterday evening with the Pitchfork Fondue, where they cook the rib-eye steaks on pitchforks in large tubs of tallow.  Oooh..I can hear an artery shutting down as we speak. The rest of the meal was buffet style and they obviously have this down pat as it proceeded smoothly.

Music was played while we dined on our steak dinner
Then we worked our way down to the Burning Hills Amphitheater to take our seats for the show.

This is the view from where we had supper

From up above, the stage setting looks like a tiny village and the buildings are on tracks allowing them to move the entire town in and out.  Since we live in a moving house, this concept appealed to me a great deal.

This talented bunch of singers and dancers come from all over, the furthest being from Maryland and North Carolina.  There's just something special to me about watching a performance in an outdoor venue.

This year is the 50th Edition of the Medora Musical and they performed songs from the past to present.

The featured act was the Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team.  It was hard to get good photos due to lack of light and the speed of their movements, this was the best I could do.  But I did add a You Tube video to give you an idea of what they were like.

He not only flew over this group of men, but did a flip mid air as well.

They were worried about the weather and we learned that in August they generally get .6 inches of rain, but last Friday they had 6 inches in one day.  Thunderstorms are predicted for Saturday so we are keeping one eye on our pile of mud (aka the hillside) behind our RV.

Today we took a drive into Dickinson (37 miles one way) to visit the Walmart since the cat food is approaching a critical low.  There's only a couple of flavors they will eat and we don't know what we might find between here and Glacier Park, so figured it was prudent to stock up.

While in town we had lunch at the Pizza Ranch...mainly because it was across the street from Walmart and we hate to shop hungry.

The pizza was okay, but nothing special.  They had a salad bar, soup and a chicken buffet area.  The chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy were the best I've had in a long time....totally unexpected.  But I did restrain myself to one helping and skipped the dessert as I begin my goal of losing some weight.  I figure what better time for weight loss than traveling and photographing the journey.

It is apparent that with the oil boon going on right now things have hit the local area hard.  The shelves are not well stocked and there is a severe shortage of workers.

The campers were lining up at the office when we returned home, so the weekend is underway.  I may spend my weekend inside and sewing since the weather is supposed to be nasty and we hate fighting crowds.

Long Live the Queen of Medora

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Photos chosen for the KX News Weather program

We watch the news and weather each night, and with Mountain Time we don't have to wait so late in the day to see it.  I could get used to this!

They always show photos of the area weather, so I decided to send in some of mine.  I just found out today that all four I submitted were accepted. 

I can't wait to see the news tonight and see if they show one at a time or all at once.

It was a lazy day today with the heat soaring into the low 90's, so the AC is on and I did four loads of laundry.  It was much more pleasant to bring them back here for folding.  At least that nasty job is done.

They are predicting severe thunderstorms this weekend and it makes us a bit uneasy with this hillside behind us.  We'll have to keep an eye on any potential slides.

Long Live the Queen of Weather

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

These looked like camel humps to me - just had to use it for hump day.
Picture this question in the voice of the camel in the current ads "Guess what day it is?"   That's right, it's Hump Day and time to explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Behind the center is the cabin Theodore Roosevelt lived in when he came to visit this area that he loved.  We weren't able to get inside, but perhaps I'll return for one of the tours later, since we're only six blocks away.

Our campground is near the South Unit of the park, which covers 70,416 acres of North Dakota, so we set out on the 36 mile scenic drive.

The first park denizens spotted were the prairie dogs.  These little creatures never fail to amuse me as they scamper and play, ducking in and out of their holes.

Stop it...I want to lead for a while.  I get tired of dancing backwards all day long.
This looked like an exhausted mother as the two little ones on either side of her argue about the other sibling.
The scenery was stunning with the multitude of rock formations and coloration of the rocks.

We kept searching for any signs of wildlife ....well, those larger than a prairie dog anyway.  The literature claims this is home to feral horses, bison, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and deer.  We did see lots of evidence that they exist as there is bison poop everywhere on the sidewalks and roads.  

Perhaps this is just bison humor and they come out at night to decorate the road and then sit back up on the buttes watching us with their binoculars and laughing their butts off.
We saw this hoodoo on our walk through Wind Canyon

Meanwhile the scenery continued to be lovely and we took advantage of the trails marked to explore more closely.

The terrain is very reminiscent of the Badlands in South Dakota.

Aha!  There!  High up on the hill are some buffalo.

I wish we could get closer to them.  There are signs everywhere warning people not to approach them as they can be very dangerous, but come on...I want to be closer than this.

Be careful what you ask for!  Right around the next corner there was a bison blockade, and the big guy at the toll gate looked ornery.

Perhaps this was his wife and new young one.  You know how it is when a new baby in the don't get a lot of sleep at night.  It was very nice of them to pose near the car so I felt safe when shooting.

Maybe it's because we are parked next to this RV that made me think of Roger Miller and his silly songs.  

It did get me thinking about the truth in the song "You can't roller-skate in a buffalo herd".  

The terrain is just all wrong for skating.

Long Live the Queen of the Bison

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Medora ND

We're settled in for a one week stay, which is great since it will carry us past Labor Day weekend.  It can be a nightmare trying to find a place to land over holidays.

Today we had lunch at the Cowboy Cafe and then went to the convenience store for groceries.  I suppose my first clue as to the lack of shopping might have been that our campground was listed as one of the three places to get groceries.  The other two were the Medora Campground and this convenience store.  Let's just say it was slim pickings unless you wanted typical camping food.  But we wanted chili for the cold weather.  We actually turned the furnace on this morning and got to enjoy the company of two cats seeking laps.

Note that the mens room is outside - women get to stay inside
Our next step was to get tickets for the Medora Musical and Pitchfork Fondue dinner on Thursday night.  Yup.  They cook the steaks on pitchforks over an open fire here.  On the way back this we saw a mule deer and her young one.

Since the nearest town with more to offer was only about 20 miles away, we headed west...almost to the Montana border.
On the way there we passed a town named Home on the Range.  Nope...didn't see any deer or antelope.  Perhaps they are sitting inside playing video games today.

Beach is an interesting name for a town in North Dakota.  There was no beach that I noticed, but they did have a cool water tower for my collection.

I also liked the humor of the Mexican restaurant.  La Playa translated from Spanish into English means beach.

There was also a little quilt shop in Beach also so I had to go there as well.  Not much I wanted, but I did pick up a pattern and some special paper for making quilt squares that looked like fun.  I don't think it's legal to leave a quilt store without a purchase.

The grocery store was tiny but it did have all the ingredients needed for our supper tonight.  There was this cool old building right behind it.  I don't know why, but I love old structures like this.

When we got back it was much warmer, so George and Gracie got to go out in the tunnel to play while I cleaned our sidewalk and Left Brain touched up the front of the RV.  With all the mud here it's hard to keep from tracking it in the house, one of those hazards of living on the road I guess.

After going on a cleaning rampage and organizing things we enjoyed a quiet afternoon and I finally made my chili for supper this evening.  

Long Live the Queen of Wide Open Spaces

Monday, August 25, 2014

On the road again...finally!

We had a very nice experience with Camping World in Rogers MN.  The technician pronounced our awning motor to be dead and we decided to wait until later down the road to fix it...we just wanted to get going already.

So on Saturday we went over to the kids to watch some more Downton Abbey and take showers before hitting the road.  I had used the bathtub before and really liked the shampoo I used that day, so went to retrieve this for my shower.  Hmmm.  Puppy Shampoo.  I guess I didn't read the label real well before using, it's no wonder I want to scratch my ears with my feet now.

We had a pleasant evening with the family over supper and a couple of rousing games of cribbage.

Sunday morning we got everything hooked up in preparation to leave and when Joel and Anne arrived with their big dog, Obie I gave her a quick tour of the remodeling we'd done and then we hit the road.  I had Joel take the co-pilot seat to enjoy the scenery and chat with Left Brain about guy stuff while I sat in the recliner and played games on my Kindle and did some knitting.  No, the recliners are not anchored down and there's no seat belt.  If we hit something I'm pretty much a projectile, but I try not to think of such things.

We arrived at the Subaru place in Mandan ND where his car had been left for repairs and got settled in.  We noticed a pizza place about a block away and Joel drove me over in his car to give it a test drive and waited with me for it to be ready.  Left Brain was too tired from the long day driving to want to join us.

We've dry camped many places before, but this had to be the worst.  The area is surrounded by bright lights and there was a train track right behind the Subaru Dealer where they unhitched and re-hitched.  The noise was like a thunderstorm and you could feel the vibrations inside the RV.

I had been worried about him being too hot while sleeping on our air bed, which was not a concern.  It got downright cold that night.  At least our bed was comfortable.  It seems that Joel got the airbed with the slow leak and we had to turn the generator on twice in the night to refill it for him.  He definitely did not have a good nights sleep, but is a pleasant fellow and never complained.

Monday morning had us up about 6:00 to get ready and do the take down so we would be out before 7:00 am as agreed.  We've never hit the road so early before.

That's our crazed house guest in the front window.

We backtracked a few miles to join him for breakfast at Cracker Barrel before parting ways.  We look for these on our travel days as they have parking for buses and RV's, something not always easily found.

On the way to Medora we found a Walmart and I bought a stash of cat food to get us to the next destination.  It was only 130 miles to arrive and when I asked about staying for a week I was told they could only accommodate us until Friday, as they were booked solid for Labor Day weekend.  But then the wife arrived at the desk and said they had a spot they could put us for the whole week.

I had my normal seat back in the front, so here are some images from the road.

This is the world's largest Holstein cow - it was such a thrill to see her

Lots of wind power out here and many crops of sunflowers

I love old machinery, actually any old rusty stuff

Those sunflower fields absolutely glow in the distance

The farmers are allowed to bale hay in the right of way, it looks odd to me to see them so close to the road.

This was a metal sculpture along the way.  You can see by the hay bales how huge it is.

When we went out to be guided to the site the car wouldn't start.  Oh great.  But luckily the owner of the campground had a small portable jumper thing and took care of that problem in short order.

Good privacy and quiet in our little spot....we're just hoping it doesn't rain.

Left Brain's foot prints in the mud as he unloaded hoses and cords from the bay

So, we are currently at the base of a steep slope and the back portion of our site is full of wet mud, making set up for Left Brain a bit of a mess.  We should be okay unless there is a heavy rain....thing things might get ugly.  So think sunny thoughts for the next week for us.

Long Live the Queen of Mud