Thursday, May 24, 2007
May 24 -- Billings to Bismarck
Today we managed to add another state to the number of states we have visited--North Dakota. So far we have covered the Western half and we were surprisingly impressed. Our first stop was at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park. (Yup, that senior pass got us in versus pay the $10 admission fee.) Starting at the Visitor's Center and being told the 'loop" was 36 miles and would take at least 90 minutes, we decided to see the museum, watch the film, visit Teddy's log cabin, and then drive just a little ways into the Park. The first wild life we spotted were the prairie dogs. Then the wild horses. Then the buffalo. Then the mule deer. Then many, many more prairie dogs and buffalo. (Can you find the prairie dog in the fifth picture?) When two of the buffalo bulls starting butting heads right next to our car, we decided it was time to move on. The Park is several thousand acres and includes Teddy's original ranch that he purchased in 1883. It covers lots of the North Dakota Badlands and had some great vistas. 36 miles and 2 hours later, we were leaving the Park. Around every turn was a new experience and we just kept going. Leaving the Badlands we encountered emerald green rolling hills void of trees, but with lots of rocks doting the landscape. It looked like pictures we have seen of Ireland, but they didn't have the rock fences. The skies were blue and the temps in the 50's and 60's. It was a great day for traveling. We are spending the night in Bismarck with its art deco style capitol building and emphasis on Lewis and Clark. At the Missouri River water front they have a park dedicated to Lewis and Clark. It has a replica of the barge the explorers would have used on the River.