Road Trip Part 2, Theodore Roosevelt National Park: September 8-12, 2020
After a very long, wet drive to North Dakota we arrived hungry at Medora. Medora is the town just outside the south entrance gate of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Looking forward to a good inside dining meal, we checked Trip Advisor and found Theodore's Restaurant. That desire was further cemented when we saw a Theodore's Restaurant billboard with a photo of a scrumptious beef entree. Also, there weren't many other dining choices in Medora.
While we have enjoyed all of the magical sites so far, our food choices have been few and memorable only for how bad they were. For comparison, our best meal so far was our lunch at Chipotle in Winnemucca, Nevada, the day we left California. In Yellowstone there is outside eating only. Everything is packaged in cardboard or plastic. Utensils are plastic. For wine, you must buy a bottle, open it yourself, and drink from 16-ounce plastic cups that don't stand up in the afternoon breeze. I miss fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. So, knowing that there was socially-distant, inside dining in North Dakota we were really looking forward to a normal, fabulous meal. Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed due to a labor shortage. We were directed us across the street to Badlands Pizza where we had a salad and pizza all eaten inside on plastic plates with plastic utensils. All the customers were wearing masks but it appeared optional for the staff. Sometimes staff had them on and sometimes not. The Wyndham Hotel desk clerk also was not wearing a mask. Masks aren't part of North Dakota's "Smart Restart" plan.
Our first morning in Medora we moved slowly because there was wide-spread frost outside and it was about 28℉ and icy. We hiked along the South Paddock Trail which because it had been raining for 2 days before our arrival, was muddy in quite a few parts before becoming so wet that the trail, for us, was impassable causing us to turn back. Along the way we saw lots of Prairie Dogs in their vast villages, a soaring Peregrine Falcon, possibly a soaring bald eagle, a rafter of turkeys, lots of elk/bison/horse/deer tracks, and swallows' nests.
I could have spent hours photographing chubby prairie dogs. They live in underground communities. Some prairie dogs were assigned to be watchful while others ate. When one of the guards detected danger, he/she Dean Screamed (a little higher pitched) and threw its arms up in stadium "wave" fashion. If we didn't move to quickly, they studiously ignored us.
|Evening Traffic Jam|
Sixty million years ago, this land looked similar to today's Florida Everglades. Abundant water and warmer climate promoted the growth of large trees. Giant petrified stumps and logs are the remnants of this ancient wetland forest. Instead of decomposing, the bases of the trees turned to rock. For millions of years they lay covered in sediment beneath the Great Plains. Now exposed by erosion, these tree fossils are visible.
|One of our detours|
|Bison, a trailhead barricade|