The Great Northern Plains

As we began our trek across the Northern Plains, we were delayed a day in Minneapolis as we waited for some extremely severe weather to pass through central North Dakota.  The first part of our journey took us to JAMESTOWN, ND.   It was there that we saw and admired the World’s Largest Buffalo.

60 ton cement sculpture
60 ton cement sculpture.  Adjacent to the Buffalo, there is a short street with frontier era buildings and shops.  It was a short walk through Jamestown of 1870.

We left Jamestown and made our way across the high plains and made an overnight stop in MEDORA, ND.  It is in Medora, that Theodore Roosevelt spent a lot of his time.  Medora is the gateway to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  While in the National Park we enjoyed watching the antics of the prairie dogs.  The prairie dogs are everywhere!  During our stay in Medora we attended a Cowboy Steak Fondue:  An open air, cowboy barbecue up on a ridge where the food is a rib eye off the grill, barbecue beans, corn on the cob, and baked potato.  All served up outside overlooking Theodore Roosevelt NP and the town of the Medora.

Overlooking the TRNP
This is the view from the Cowboy Cookout.  Overlooking the Theodore Roosevelt NP.

While in Medora we also attended the “Medora Musical”, which is a musical tribute to Theodore Roosevelt.  The theatre is an outdoor amphitheatre.  The view from the amphitheatre is fantastic.  It overlooks a canyon.  During the show, I spotted a buck making his way up the side of a rocky cliff.

DSC_0070

this is the buck I caught on camera trying to scale the cliff side wall.

Set on the side of a mountain
Set on the side of a mountain

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Medora and want to come back and spend more time in North Dakota.

We left Medora and headed for BILLINGS, MT  Our stop in Billings was a short overnight stop.  However, we did stay at the original KOA which was founded in 1962. The current KOA is one of the best ones we have stayed.  Every site has a patio and patio set.  The grass throughout the park is a lush green.  We highly recommend this rv park/campground for any RVers.  It’s a bit pricey but a great venue.

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After a quick stop in Billings, we headed to Yellowstone National Park.  It was our original plan to go to Glacier National Park, but the campground we were planning to stay, closed due to the wildfires.  So, we had to  adjust.  We were extremely lucky that the KOA in West Yellowstone, MT had one available space.  We took it.  The West Yellowstone KOA became our base camp for 3 nights.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK is a great American park.  We toured the geyser field, Yellowstone Lake, and the Upper Canyon.  Buffalo roamed freely as did the deer.  Sadly, on this adventure who saw ZERO bears.

While visiting Yellowstone, we stayed at the West Yellowstone KOA.  It was convenient to the Park.  Our neighbors at this RV park were some very outspoken cows.  They were quite domesticated and would come to the fence adjoining our RV site and serenade us each morning with their bleating  (they did not moo…just sayin’).

Our neighbor cows.
Our neighbor cows.

We visited the Bear Rescue Center in West Yellowstone.  It is a home for Bears and other wildlife who are unable to survive in the wild.  This is a great place to bring your kids.  Every couple of hours the attendants remove all the bears from their enclosure.  Then they request the children to walk into the enclosure and hide food under the rocks and the bushes in the enclosure.  The kids then vacate the enclosure and the bears are brought back in.  It is great fun, watching the bears look for the food that the children had hidden.  The bears were aggressively turning rocks and rifling through the bushes looking for the afternoon bounty.  Great fun watching the kids watch the bears.  IMG_5996

Finally, in West Yellowstone, we noticed several painted Buffalo Statuettes.  One of the locals told me that the painted buffaloes were part of West Yellowstone’s personality.

A painted buffalo.
A painted buffalo.
Another painted Buffalo
Another painted Buffalo

After leaving Yellowstone, we headed to BOZEMAN, MT.  We had fairly low expectations of Bozeman.  We stopped here to visit a family friend, who we had known since she was 12.  She is now in her mid-30’s. We are extremely happy that we made this stop.  Bozeman is a lovely town and filled with lovely people.  We were only here for 36 hours; but we packed that 36 hours with a lot of activities.  We hiked to Paradise Falls, which is well worth every step of the hike up the mountain; and we hiked down a hill into the city.

When we began our trek across the Great Northern Plains,  a couple of folks in Minnesota told us that we shouldn’t waste our time by going across I-90.  They couldn’t have been more wrong!  We really enjoyed all the I-90 East-West Freeway.  There was plenty to see and to do.  The views are spectacular.  The great wide open spaces makes it very easy to imagine the Pioneers making the trek across the rugged terrain.  After crossing the Great Northern Plains, I am in total awe of all those folks who made the journey 150 years ago.

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