Monday, June 17, 2013

Westward Ho!

Time to head out for our summer wild-west adventure!  On Friday, June 7th at 10:50 a.m. we left Steamboat and headed north on I-35.  We arrived at the Minneapolis NW KOA in Maple Grove MN at 4:30 p.m. and got set up for a few days.
The next day, Saturday the 8th, we headed downtown to explore the haunts of our early marriage days!  Here’s the apartment building we lived in while John attended Dunwoody Institute and I worked at Insurance Services Office in downtown Minneapolis.  The apartment building and my office building both look just the same!! 


We had lunch downtown and then drove to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden located in Minneapolis’ Theodore Wirth Park.  Wow!  Photographer’s heaven!!  Here are a few of my photos from the oldest public wildflower garden in the U.S (founded in 1907):


Dames Rocket

Wild Geranium


Summer Tanager

On Sunday, June 9th, we spent a delightful day at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.  A zoo is always fun...

Fortunately for me, John always manages to entertain himself while I'm taking pictures...

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory


There was also a small bonsai exhibit that we enjoyed.

At the end of the day, we headed over to the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden – it was very peaceful and beautiful!  Apparently the City of Nagasaki, Japan was the first ever sister city partnership in 1955 and, in 1977, Nagasaki presented the city of St. Paul with plans for a Japanese garden.  It was designed by a Nagasaki 9th generation landscape gardener, Mr. Masami Matsuda, and opened in 1979 with donations from the family of Charlotte Partridge Ordway and others. 

Time to move on…On Monday, June 10th we left Maple Grove MN at 9:15 am and arrived in Jamestown ND at 3:45 p.m. and camped at the Frontier Fort Campground.  We enjoyed a late afternoon stroll around a small historic area, including the Louis L’Amour Writer’s Shack.  Louis L’Amour was born in Jamestown ND in 1908 and lived there with his family until he was 15.  He wrote a total of 118 books, many of which were made into movies.
The buildings here, including this old railway station, were well maintained.
Anyone know exactly what a "ruction" might be??

I was fascinated with the old Lewis and Clark maps.

This one shows present day North Dakota outlined in orange.


This map shows parts of western Washington and Oregon.  You can enlarge this picture by clicking on it and see if you can find locations you are familiar with!
This log cabin was built in 1898!

We left Jamestown on Tuesday, June 11th at 9:50 a.m. and arrived at the Bismarck KOA at 11:45 a.m.  Later in the day we headed over to cousin Linda & Darcy’s place.  So fun to see them after so many years!  Dinner time rolled around and the four of us and several of their grown kids headed over to Red Lobster.  I heard someone at a table behind us mention “Iowa” so I eavesdropped a bit.  Hey!  I know that voice!  There was Charlie from Iowa Falls!!  What a small world it is…

On Wednesday, June 12th, we headed over to the 1,006 acre Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park where Linda gave us a wonderful tour.  This fort is North Dakota’s oldest state park, dating from 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt deeded 75 acres to the State Historical Society.  Many of the buildings were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and the park includes the ruins of “On-A-Slant Indian Village”, occupied by the Mandan Indians from 1575-1781.  The village included approximately 85 earth lodges.

One of several earth lodges.
The displays inside the lodges were very well done.


The military occupation of this area began in 1872 when Ft. McKeen (later renamed) was established.  Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and his wife lived here from 1873-1876 when Gen. Custer died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.  The fort was later abandoned in 1891.

View from the fort's blockhouse.
John at the site of the bake house.

Reading the headstones at the cemetery was fascinating!

My cousin Linda!

General Custer's [last] home.

The bunkhouse.

We enjoyed the guided tour of General Custer's home.
Later we toured the North Dakota Capital and enjoyed an extensive art collection hung along the many corridors.  Afterwards the three of us headed over to Famous Dave’s where one of Darcy & Linda’s sons works.  Good food again!

Thursday, June 13th found us leaving Bismarck at 11:00 a.m. and arriving at the Medora Campground in Medora ND at 12:30 p.m.  We’re now in Mountain Daylight Time.  Wandered around some of the shops this afternoon, but didn’t find anything special…

On Friday, June 14th, we toured the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park along a 36-mile scenic loop road.  Teddy Roosevelt loved this area and owned two large ranches, the Maltese Cross (with partners) and the Elkhorn.  During his presidency he established 18 national monuments, five national parks, 51 federal bird reservations, four national game preserves and 150 national forests, for a total of 230,000,000 acres.

I-94 actually cuts through the southwest portion of the South Unit.

Goatsbeard (a/k/a Yellow Salsify)
We enjoyed the loop road, the prairie dog towns, the wildflowers, bison & wild horses.  We also took several short stops/hikes: Boicourt Overlook, Buck Hill, Badlands Overlook and the short Ridgeline Trail.

Wild Blue Flax


Saturday, June 15th and time to explore the North Unit, about an hour north of Medora.  Did the 14-mile scenic drive: slump formations (including cannonball concretions), more wildflowers, more prairie dogs, and more bison.  We also hiked the Caprock Coulee Trail and the trail to Sperati Point.
It's a little disconcerting to see one of these large critters while out hiking!

An example of a cannonball concretion.

Scarlet Globe Mallow (yeah!  I know it's orange...)
The Little Missouri River

Love the wide open spaces of the West...


We didn’t end up attending the Medora Musical as many visitors do, but sure did enjoy the national park.  Maybe next time…

On Sunday, June 16th, we left Medora at 9:40 a.m. and arrived at the Spearfish KOA in – you guessed it! - Spearfish SD at 1:50 p.m.  And, because we so enjoyed it the last time we were in this area (last year about this time), we went back to Spearfish Canyon to see Roughlock Falls again. 

Lots of wildflowers - such a gorgeous area!

Blue Columbine
Canada Violet
Yellow Lady's Slipper, I think (a wild orchid)

Red Baneberry


Monday, June 17th:  time for our first big national RV rally!  We left Spearfish at 9:05 a.m. and arrived at the Cam-Plex in Gillette WY at approximately 11:00 a.m.  Parking went smoothly with all the volunteers they had and we spent the afternoon wandering around and visiting with the Escapade staff who’d been working on-site for several weeks already.  The FMCA rally will be fun, but we’re pretty sure the Escapade two weeks later will be even better!!

1 comment:

  1. A ruction is a noisy quarrel or fight...hmmm!