May 28, 2007 - Medora and Updating

We moved to Red Trails Campground in Medora for one night. The campground has full hookups and a laundry (that time again!). Plus free Wi-Fi!! So for those of you reading I have updated from May 24-28, 2007. I also added a search for this site as well as the web - it is located at the bottom of this page. You will also notice less postings on the main page - it should be easier to load. Previous posts are located on the right side.

We had dinner tonight at the Cowboy Cafe - really cute place and they served buffalo. For anyone who knows us, we use to buy buffalo all the time. In fact, every time our contact butchered, he would call us. We took a stroll around the town and stopped for a drink at the Missouri Saloon. Just like a local bar at home - :-)))

Tomorrow we will be heading into Montana. We hope to do scenic Route 2 - but will decide tomorrow!!

May 27, 2007 – Blue skies, Puffy clouds, and Prairie Dogs

Our entertainment today was the Prairie Dogs. We just love watching them and listening to them (at least I do). I promise this will be the last of the pictures of them… (And they really do squeak like toys!!)

And the babies!!!
We did get to spend some time talking with our campground hosts, Gary and Diane. They have been full timing for 5 years and are originally from PA – Philadelphia and Norristown area. (Small world isn’t it!). We learned some more tips on workcamping and full timing.

The rest of the day was chill and relax time. We will be moving tomorrow to Medora for full hook ups (including Wi-Fi - ) and laundry, etc.

This is another area that we would like to return and spend more time.

May 26, 2007 – A beautiful day in Teddy Roosevelt National Park

After all the rain and wind during the night, the morning brought sunshine and blue skies (and the temperature reached 70!).

One of the main features of the park is the 36 mile scenic drive that takes visitors through the Badlands.

Spectacular views:

Strange formations:

Traffic Jams:

A smorgasbord of wildlife:
Mule Deer:

Wild Horses, even:

Isn’t he cute!!!

And the prairie dogs – I just love them.

We took the Ridgeline Nature Trail hike. One of the views from the top (notice the path):

The ride actually took us a couple hours. We would stop and just enjoy the scenery and the wild animals. Awesome!!

And another great night at the campfire. Here is a picture of our site:

May 25, 2007 – A Day of Rest and Reflection

We woke to 38 degrees and 20 mph winds – Brrr! The day stayed cold (high 49 degrees), cloudy and windy. We decided to explore Medora, ND (nearby historic town) and the Ted Roosevelt NP Visitor Center and Museum. (It was too windy to drive on the narrow roads to tour.)

This National Park is in the North Dakota Badlands and was dedicated to honor Teddy Roosevelt and his efforts in establishing conservation not only for the Badlands but for all of America as well. During his presidency, he established 18 national monuments, 5 national parks, 51 wildlife refuges and 150 national forests. When reflecting on the influences that affected him throughout his life, he remarked: “I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”

No pictures today – too cold and windy!!

Our reflections on being on the road for 27 days (today):

We are in awe every day of our surroundings. Every area has its unique personality and beauty. We feel so blessed that we have been able to experience this country.

The MH has become our home. Not every day is sightseeing. There are the weekly/daily things that need to be done, just like in a stick house.

Mechanical failures do happen – slight to this point – but normal in everyday life.

The cat has also made the MH his home. He is hiding less when we travel.

We are learning to conserve, especially for those times when we need to be self-contained over a couple days.

Weather can change suddenly. We rely heavily on our weather radio.

Filling up at the pump is a shock so we try to fill at ½ tank so it lessens the pain. Gas has gone up $0.60 per gallon since we left home 27 days ago. (Yikes, when will it stop???)

What do we miss?

The daily contacts with our friends and family. Andy and I are so very blessed to have many good friends and family and we do miss them and we miss what is happening in their lives. (Hint! Hint!)

The daily news since we are information junkies….. (Yes, that does include the daily internet for me!)

What surprises me is that I am doing this blog daily! Feel free to leave me a comment (it will be public) or a private email at gardenhavens@hotmail.com.

Hopefully tomorrow will be warmer.

May 24, 2007 – Travel To North Dakota

Another incredible day!! Every day has mouth dropping scenery and all we keep saying is – WOW. And every day, we feel so blessed to be able to see the sights.

As we left the Black Hills, the landscape changed to the rolling hills and grasslands.

Yes, the road goes on and on. That hill is actually 15 miles away from where we took the picture.

This is America’s range where the cattle and other animals roam free. We saw deer, mule deer, antelope, cattle, sheep, buffalo and lots of them (and their babies, too).

I think this is where they wrote the song: “Home on the Range”.

When we pulled onto I-94 in North Dakota, they were moving a church:

Traffic moved very slowly and then stopped until they took down the power lines.

Now I-94 is not like I-80 or 81. There is not a lot of traffic here. Towns are far and few and when you get off the interstate, you are more likely to go onto a dirt road. In fact, most county roads are dirt or gravel. What an adventure this is!!!

We arrived at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit) and we are camped by the Little Missouri River.

As we took a stroll around the campground, we had a visitor with us:

Yes, he was close and we were careful.

The evening ended with another wonderful campfire surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Thank you, God!!!

Miles Traveled: 304
Routes Traveled:
South Dakota:
SR-16A, US-385, US-16, I-90, US-85
North Dakota
US-85, I-94


May 23, 2007 – Cold Day in the Hills

We woke to 34 degrees and very windy. Today’s high reached 50 and we had snow flurries. Brrrrr!!!

We went back to Mount Rushmore via the Needles Highway.

The Needles

The Eye of the Needle – very tight fit!!

Mount Rushmore
Since it was so cold and windy and snowy and rainy, we went to Custer to find a place with Wi-Fi and to get caught up on news.

Tomorrow we are heading to North Dakota and hope we can get a place for Memorial Day Weekend. Also hoping that the weather is warmer.

So for those of you following along, I have updated from 5/20-23/07. And life is still an adventure - :-)))

May 22, 2007 – Mount Rushmore

Today started by driving to Rapid City and back to pick up the right part for the MH. On the drive back, we could see another front moving into our area. It is both scary and awesome at the same time to see some of these storms.

After the MH was fixed, we took the Iron Mountain Highway to Mount Rushmore. Did you ever see the pictures of Mount Rushmore through a tunnel? Well, I did and I have been here twice and could never find the road. Today we found that road. Here is a shot through one of the tunnels (there are actually three of these tunnels on the road):

This is at the monument itself. There is a hall of flags that lead to the viewing area.

We took the presidential trail that leads to the base of the monument.

We spent the rest of the day in the museum, learning about the history of the monument. This is one monument that embodies the American spirit. I often wondered why those four presidents were chosen. Here is why: Washington represents the BIRTH of our country since he was the first president. Jefferson symbolizes EXPANSION, since he was largely responsible for the Louisiana Purchase in 1903. Lincoln embodies the PRESERVATION of the union of states in confronting the challenges of the Civil War. Theodore Roosevelt represents the DEVELOPMENT of our country with the construction of the Panama Canal. Interesting!

More creatures on the way home:

No storms tonight but it was getting very cold – low 40’s and raining.

May 21, 2007 – South Dakota and Wall Drug

Wall Drug is one place in this part of the country that just should not be missed. I know it is a tourist site but the place just fascinates us.

The story of Wall Drugs is that in 1931, Dorothy and Ted Hustead bought the only drugstore in town. By the summer of 1936, the business had not grown much. They had given the business five years trial time, but were still seeing a lot of cars going by without stopping. So on a hot July Sunday in 1936, Dorothy came up with a startling idea. Realizing that all the cars going by through the hot, dusty prairie would have thirsty folks inside, she proposed that they put signs on the highway telling people to come in for free ice water. And the idea worked. By the time, Ted got back to the store, it was overflowing with people.

They still give free ice water and the signs are all along I-90, just like those from the old Burma Shave billboards.

Free ice water!!!

I just had to ride the Jackalope!!!

Coming back, we stumbled upon more creatures:

Yesterday, we ran under a tree that took out our refrigerator vent on the roof of the MH. We picked up another vent but it did not fit so tomorrow we will be traveling again to return it. We also had another bad storm in the area that produced hail and snow. – WOW! I am so glad I am not in a tent. The advisory also told people driving on I-90 to get off and seek shelter. The winds were terrific. Thank God it did not last long.

May 20, 2007 – Travel to South Dakota

What an interesting day for us!

We left the high plains of Nebraska and traveled to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The landscape just kept changing. In the northern part of Nebraska, there is Pine Ridge. This ridge just appears (looks like a tidal wave) and it is covered in ponderosa pine trees. What a change from no trees. After the ridge, the landscape became rolling hills covered with grass. Miles and miles of grassland!!! – Amazing.

We were able to see the Black Hills from about 50 miles away and they are also covered in ponderosa pine trees. Absolutely breath-taking!

We arrived in Custer State Park and there was mass confusion. We first stopped at the gates and they told us to just go to the campground. Once there, we found a ranger (???) who told us we could pick a site for tonight only. When we asked about staying 2 nights, he told us we had to call the 800 number. When I explained that there is no cell phone service here nor is there a public phone, he sent us back to the gate. We parked the MH in a site and took the Tracker. They told us to go to the campground again and try to find someone..??? (By this time, we are getting more than confused.) So about 4 miles down the road was the visitor center and that is where we headed next. The two people there explained to us that they just got a new reservation system and that the only way we could stay was by calling the number (??? – we are not in PA anymore!!!) . Also since there was no campground host at the campground, someone would be around to talk to us and collect the money. We decided that we would take a drive around and check out the other campgrounds in the area when we passed the Bismark Lake Campground in the Black Hills National Forest. We drove in, talked to the campground host, went back for our MH, and are now in a beautiful site overlooking the lake and surrounded by ponderosa pines. Custer State Park is beautiful but their system needs a lot of work!!!

Once we set up and relaxed, we decided to take the Wildlife Loop Road in the Park. Oh My – what incredible views! And the animals – another Oh My! The first area we went to was the Coolidge Fire Tower. We were able to see over 100 miles in all directions. (To get to the top, we took a one lane dirt road for a mile with some hairpin turns and no guardrails – not for the faint of heart!)

The meadows were just as breathtaking.

And the animals:

We saw deer

And antelope
And prairie dogs and their babies!

Now I have to tell you what the prairie dog field looked like. Did you ever see the arcade game when the prairie dogs peek out of their holes and you are to hit them? Well, this field had all these prairie dogs coming in and out of their holes. And, yes, they do squeak just like a toy. We had such fun just watching them.

And wild burros. (We did not stay long around them because they were trying to get into all the cars that stopped!)

And the main reason I came here – Buffalo and their babies...

They are such majestic creatures!!!!

Our day ended with an incredible thunderstorm that included pea size hail. I do need to say a couple things about the storms since we have been in the middle of the country. Because we can see for miles, we can see the storms for a long way also. In Nebraska, we saw some very ominous clouds that produced some bad storms in one of the counties next to where we were staying. And it is the same here. We do have a weather alert radio that gives us an alarm when a warning or watch is issued by National Weather Service and it does work. In fact, it has gone off the past three days.

Every day is just such an adventure!!

Miles Traveled: 185Routes Traveled: Nebraska: US-385
South Dakota:
US-385, SR-79, SR-36, SR-16A