Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Road Trip: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Day one on the road.  Sioux City, Iowa to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP)

   Date      Stop  Odometer    Location                                          Time

6/6/20130206638Coralville, IA12:30 PM
6/6/20131206707Flying J Waterloo, IA1:55 PM
6/6/20132206784Webster City, IA3:27 PM
6/6/20133206849Early, IA4:45 PM
6/6/20134206900Lawton, IA
6/6/20135206913Sioux City, IA6:30 PM

Follow the jump for the day's journal entry and lots of photos!

From Cory's trip journal (revised)

8:26AM- Went for a run this morning.  Just on the road now, hoping to make it to TRNP tonight, we'll see.  Sure feels good not to have a guitar sitting on my face!

8:38AM- Used our massive Hy-Vee Gas discount to fill up, sweet!

11:27AM- Stopped at Hidewood Rest Area in SD.  Read a plaque at a scenic lookout that described Sioux Rebels hiding in patches of trees here.  The last line said something like, "Nothing of singular historical impact happened here, it is just a piece of the overall historical picture of this area."  Nice.

Cory poses with Frog at a rest stop in South Dakota.  A teepee frame is in the background

The view stretches for miles on the plains in North Dakota

1:00PM- Lunch time!  The map let us down a little bit.  We saw a picnic table on the map just before the ND border.  All day, we planned to have a run and lunch at that spot.  There was a rest stop there, too.  When we hit it, the rest stop was only on the Southbound lane of the interstate and we crossed into ND.  Not wanting to skip the first 'run in every state' stop, we turned around and went back to the rest area to run and eat.  Peanut butter sandwiches.  

Just after lunch, we stopped at the ND tourist info center to get a photo with Frog before continuing to Fargo.  I am noticing a lot of different spellings of the word, "Dakota" here. Much more Native American presence in this part of the country.

Frog at the welcome sign at Lake Agassiz in North Dakota

A sign points to Salem Sue, the worlds largest cow statue

Cory and Frog pose with New Salem Sue, The Worlds Largest Holstein Cow in New Salem, North Dakota

Frog poses with New Salem Sue in New Salem, North Dakota

Later- We made it to the National Park.  We were in a hurry to get there after stopping to see the Worlds Largest Holstein Cow, New Salem Sue by name.  At the park, it started reining as soon as we arrived (of course).  We skipped stopping at the Painted Canyon on the way into  the part, we just saw it from the road.  At the ranger station they had a weather report on a sign board: "70% chance of severe thunderstorms tonight."  Great...

A bison near our camp at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

The bison names Keith near our campsite at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

On the way to the campground, we passed beautiful buttes and a prairie dog town.  Pulling into the campsite, we saw a lone bison, who we named Keith, grazing right next to the tent area. Pretty cool stuff.  We wanted to wait until we got a better weather report before committing to camping in severe storms, so we decided to make dinner and call some family members to check the forecast.  We cooked spaghetti on my charcoal chimney stove in the falling rain and got news that it would be rainy, but not dangerous storms that evening.

Cory cooks spaghetti on the charcoal chimney burner while the rain falls at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Spaghetti ready to be eaten while the rain still falls at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

After dinner, we set up the tent just as the sun was going down and the rain continued to fall.  We were tired from a long day of driving, so we made some s'mores and decaf coffee and turned in to a soggy bed.

At about 3:30AM, it started to rain.  In the tent, it sounded like a torrent, but it was just a hard, steady rain.  It woke us up for about an hour, but lulled us back to sleep when we didn't see much lightning, thunder, or wind.  In the morning, there was a lot of standing water and puddles around the campsite.  This would of course be expected when camping in the rain, but it was a little bit demoralizing to have everything wet and muddy on our first night of the trip.  We made coffee and breakfast, took down camp in the rain (yes, still raining.) and went to see some of the park before heading to Montana.  The prairie dogs were all hiding from the wind and rain, and we didn't see any more bison, but we did get some nice shots of the badlands and buttes of the park before heading West.  

The interstate winds through the bottom of the butte valley at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Layers of rock are seen in the butte walls at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

The mist partially obscures the far butte at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Butte tops of various heights are seen at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Frog poses with a picture of Theodore Roosevelt at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

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