Home Away From Home, North Dakota

On to North Dakota

Twenty-one days and almost three weeks on the road. Wow! Things started out a little auspiciously this morning. I slept until after 7:00 which put us later preparing to leave. Jerry went out to move the car to the back of the coach because we could easily hook up right at our site. Then I tried to put the jacks up. Dang it, the battery was dead AGAIN despite have started the coach twice yesterday. Guess we’ll be using the battery disconnect at each stop which means we put down the front shade and it stays down for the duration of the stay. Kind of feels like a tomb inside because it’s so dark. Jerry moved the car back to the front of the coach and we jumped it again. Then I moved the car to the back to hook it up. The car was on a slight downward slope and Jerry couldn’t get it close enough to the coach to hook it up so I had to go in and back the RV up “just a little bit”. That’s scary. We finally got it attached, came in prayed and checked our Departure list and then Jerry looked at the dashboard only to see the check engine light on. The gauges were all reading fine so he decided to soldier on and keep a lookout on the gauges. About an hour into the 250-mile trip the tire pressure monitoring system began to beep. What now? We stopped in Belle Fourche for gas and Jerry checked the air pressure. It was perfect so he thinks possibly a bad battery in the sensor caused the alarm to go off. Guess we need to carry spare batteries for the TPMS.

When we finally entered North Dakota, our 31st RV state, the land just went on and on. We saw gently sloping hills, vast grasslands, hayfields, occasional oil rigs (think that was South Dakota as well as North Dakota) and open land as far as the eye could see. Obviously, the land was farmed but we saw few structures. Sixteen miles per hour winds buffeted us some but otherwise, it was an easy drive. Although our four-lane ended in Belle Fourche, the two-lane was an easily traveled road, wide enough with no drop-offs. And then we ran into road construction. Of course, but it was just a brief section.

As we neared Theodore Roosevelt State Park, we could see that we were entering the end of the Badlands. Two weeks ago we were in Interior in the Badlands and today in Medora, ND in the Badlands. As we were driving along just seven miles from our destination someone flagged us down and told us to pull over. Uh o – what? One of our locked bins had come open. That’s the first time that has ever happened. I was afraid something was wrong with the car. I am very leery when putting the car into towed capability and always doubt that I have done it correctly. You would think that after four years of towing flat down I would be an old pro but not so. I have an instruction list and I “try” to follow it line by line every time. This morning I couldn’t get it to work because I had skipped a step and you can’t do that.

We safely arrived at Medora Campground, a city-owned park and as I was checking in a guy from Georgia was checking in also. As I was walking out of the door, I commented that I was from North Carolina. The fellow checking him in said he lived in North Carolina for a couple of years, in Greenville which is about 30 miles from our home. He had been to Kinston several times. Again, small world. As I was checking in Jerry was outside chatting with the fellow who had flagged us down when he saw the bin opened!

We got set up and decided to take a quick ride over to the Teddy Roosevelt National Park which was only a mile away. We went to the Visitor’s Center, walked through a very interesting museum and talked with a ranger who gave us some ideas of what to do tomorrow.

Just laying around not paying us any attention
We took the Scenic Highway and were absolutely amazed at the breathtaking beauty around us. As I said earlier every park is unique. Every park is special and this one is no different. Just before we got to Wind Canyon where she had suggested we hike we saw a large herd of bison, probably a couple of hundred. The ranger had advised us about getting to close as it is rutting season and the bison are a bit, rowdy. Despite that there a man out of his car walking around taking pictures. Unbelievable! We rode on to Wind Canyon but decided that since I had on sandals we would forego the hike today and come back tomorrow. As we were leaving the park Jerry spotted a coyote near the wild horses and scads of prairie dogs.

We made a hasty decision to go to the Walmart in Dickinson which was 30 miles away. We were in need of the basics like milk and bread so off we went. The highway to Dickinson was mile after mile of land, hayfields sprinkled in between oil wells and grazing cattle and sheep. Thought we were told it was 30 minutes away it actually took us longer plus when we got in line to pay, we were behind a couple with a problem so we were over 20 minutes in line. Knowing we had tickets for the Medora Musical at 7:30 we sped back to Medora hurrying into the coach to put away the groceries and grab something warm to wear. No dinner tonight.

The Medora Musical is absolutely fantastic and a must-see for anyone in the area. It’s held in an amphitheater that is accessed by riding an outdoor escalator. The show revolves around the history of Medora and Teddy Roosevelt. Despite the misting rain, the performers did an excellent job. The weather forecast was calling for a thunderstorm around 9:30 so they shortened the show some so everyone could get out before the storm. Side note – it never stormed despite the weather predictions!

On another note, we have done our part for North Dakota extermination of bugs program. Jerry cleaned the windshield of the motor home yesterday so it was clean when we pulled out this morning. He commented just before we got to Medora that if we didn’t get somewhere soon he wouldn’t be able to see where he was going. The windshield was that dirty! When we went to Dickinson in the Jeep we had the same problem. In fact, I thought at one point it was raining as it sounded just sound big fat raindrops hitting the windshield.

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