Friday, July 25, 2008

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - July 1 - 6, 2008

It’s time to power down the road & drive into the heat. Reluctantly we leave the Pacific Northwest & head east only to find the dash air isn’t working. I call Cummins Coach Care in Spokane to reserve a place for us. We get hookups for the night & the next morning they find the problem, a connection in the engine compartment which came loose. By noon we’re all fixed up & after taking time for a great lunch at the Northern Quest Casino, we head east, reaching Missoula before nightfall.

I spot a great empty lot next to the city snow removal equipment & we stay the night there. Next day we drive just beyond the I-90 & I-94 split & stay at a wonderful rest stop about 30 miles northeast of Billings on a bluff with a fantastic view on I-94. What is most apparent, however, is the haze. The next day we learn the haze is coming down from Saskatchewan, Canada due to forest fires.

Arriving at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the Ranger asks if we plan to stay in the campground. I inquire as to availability & space & am pleasantly surprised to learn there is plenty of both, which comes as a real surprise over the 4th of July weekend. Our campground is just a short walk to the Little Missouri River.

Our idea of a nice big camping spot!

Honey by the Little Missouri River

The first “hosts” to greet us are the Prairie Dogs, millions of them! The ranger’s explain they are the primary food source for coyotes & birds of prey.

Greeted by a Prairie Dog
The park also is home to the American Bison & wild horses. These photos were taken as we drove along the loop road around the southern end of the park.

The picture of the Bison was a real plus. He was standing right beside the road. I didn’t dare get out of the car. Bob rolled down the window & I took two quick pictures. .

Seeing the horses was a real plus. The park is home to about 135 wild horses, & given the size of both the upper & lower parks, we were fortunate to see them.

Wild horses as seen on the loop drive

Important discussion

Note the badlands. Badlands National Park is located in South Dakota, & perhaps a little more dramatic. But in fact, these badlands exist in many places. Imagine coming west in a covered wagon & being confronted with this terrain. There was no way through. You simply had to go around them.

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