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Sunday, May 13, 2012


Please say HELLO to an American Buffalo.

This big fellow stood 50 feet from me, along with five of his friends last evening...quite a thrill to commiserate with these beasts up close and personal.

Please say HELLO to an American Elk. On display in the town of Belfield, North Dakota.

I have successfully hunted this big fellow - together with my Brother, Jim...a long time ago; now, I hunt only with my camera.

Please say HELLO to an American Antelope.

Walking over the Rocky Mountains two years ago, I encountered dozens of this clan in the state of Wyoming.

This is the North Dakota BANDLANDS; an isolated geographic wonder carved from the unending Great Plains by wind, rain, and the Little Missouri River.

* * * * *

We had no blog update yesterday because we had no VERIZON signal. This update covers the past two days.

From the village of South Heart, where we over nighted two nights ago, we drove early yesterday morning to the village of Belfield, North Dakota, where I enjoyed an excellent breakfast. Did not stay there, however, because I had previously walked many miles beyond Belfield; instead, we drove the 15 or so miles to the Tourist Attraction town of Medora, North Dakota...the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt National Park which encompasses the North Dakota BADLANDS.

A music / food festival was happening in Medora, so I opted to NOT walk...instead, I took in the town of Medora, the festival, and spent the night parked in the BADLANDS Campground, 5 miles inside the National Park. Drew, my new bicyclist friend - on his way to Glacier National Park where he has a Summer job -, was also in Medora. We spent a good deal of time strolling together, getting better acquainted, and ended by sharing SPIA's Campground parking spot.
Drew joined me for dinner, set up his tent on a grassy knoll for the night near SPIA, and again joined me for breakfast this morning before our going our separate ways...hopefully to meet again in Little Glacier Hotel - where Drew will be the Front Desk Reception Clerk - in Glacier National Park in early June.

These images were taken from an observation point along I-94 BEFORE I reached Medora.

Please click click to enlarge for easier reading.

The next few pics are of Medora before and during the festival yesterday.

To be sure I found my way into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I visited the Information Center at the entrance, which is a few hundred feet from down town Medora.

This is the entrance booth, manned yesterday by Courtney, whom I failed to photograph...sorry Courtney, but thank you for your kind guidance.

I did, however, obtain this photograph.

Please say HELLO to Laura and Jesse, National Park Rangers manning the Information Center. Jesse cranked up their new documentary of the history - mostly about Theodore R. - of the park and together with Laura, spent a good deal of time with me about details of the park.

Returning to down town Medora, the festival was in full swing...a number of bands were rotating stages set up around town.

A "Cook Off" was being held by nine different Companies, offering samples of BBQ Ribs. The samples cost $1.00 - $3.00 per sample, with the opportunity to vote on your favorite.

I sampled 5 different booths...and have no comment.

Ribs happen to be one of my favorite foods...I was not overly impressed by the offerings.

This is Chimney Park...with the remains of a one-time Slaughter House.

Little Missouri River runs through the South Badlands (there is also a "North" Badlands about 100 miles North), which is responsible for - over the centuries - forming the canyons and spectacular formations found in the National Park.

The Little Missouri River is said to be always muddy, carrying the soil of the soft porous hills cut from under the original Great Plains which still run to all points of the compass...only the North and South Badlands exist as massive canyons where the Great Plains once stood flat...all else for hundreds of miles is still flat.

A local historic home - a French Chateau - about 1/2 mile from down town Medora.

Fabled Cotton Wood be found lining the Little Missouri River as it winds its way through the Park's canyons.

This is known and a PRAIRIE SCHOONER, the common mode of transportation - usually pulled by a pair of Oxen (Cows) - by Settlers heading West on the various trails crossing the Old West.

The iron hoops are normally covered with a canvass, tied off at both ends, and served as the Settler's home while crossing America.

Historical Note: My Mother's family had a number of members reach the State of Washington in similar Prairie Schooners using the Old Oregon Trail...which I walked two years ago...Current US 30 Highway follows the Oregon Trail all the way to Astoria, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River...also the location of the Lewis & Clark Winter Home back in 1802/1803...which is the subject of my prior blog updates.

SPIA in her parking space at the Camping Ground 5 miles deep into the Theodore Roosevelt National Park; i.e., the BADLANDS.

Cottonwood Tree.

This fellow - repeated at the first image of this update, is one of six Buffalo grazing within 50 feet or so of our camping spots...they had NO fear and NO aggression towards a number of us over nighters who strolled the paved roadway within the Campground.

Drew, my bicycle friend headed for Glacier National Park, moments after I roused him from his cozy tent...then I fed him a huge bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, chased with hot chocolate.

We said goodbye about 6:30 am...he biking out of the driving SPIA...hoping to meet once again in Glacier National Park in early June.

The western edge of the Badlands as I walked this morning for 6.5 hours toward the Montana Border.

BNSF Railroad (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad) train roaring by not more than 20 feet from the edge of the roadway...I received two Toot Toots.

From Medora, we drove to the border town of Beach, North Dakota, where SPIA is parked at a Truck Stop for the night.

After parking, I walked West on I-94 for another 5.5 hours, walking 42 miles for the day.

Please say HELLO to Linda and Dave Cook, residents of the village of Beach.

We met in the Truck Stop SUBWAY restaurant, where we all three purchased and consumed delicious sandwiches for din din.

Linda drives buses for handicap folks. Dave is a truck driver, currently hauling cattle, using his high-powered pickup truck. They live in the village of Beach, N.D., which is about one mile from the Montana border.

We shared a LONG discussion about a number of topics...some quite personal...others of a historic nature, shared by Dave and I from separate parts of the world.

Dave was in the US Navy, working on Nuclear Submarines out of Rota, Spain, as a service technician working from floating drydocks which serviced the subs. So happens, in 1968, I also had a hand in helping build one of the drydock ships Dave lived and worked on - servicing the subs -... a ship which I had a hand in SINKING during sea trials in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.

The details of the sinking of the 650 foot long ship has not been made public. I can attest, as Contract Manager of the two level luffing gantry wing-wall cranes aboard the ship, that during "flotation" tests (where the floating drydock ship tanks filled with water, allowing it to "sink" into the water, open its stern (rear) doors so the submarine could enter the partially sunken ship, the read doors closed and the water pumped out, leaving the submarine "inside" the ship drydock area where it could be worked on...all the while the ship was still at sea.

The sinking occurred during "sinking" trials in Charleston Harbor. Our Field Engineer was not informed of the pending tests and had disconnected the brakes to our two cranes which ran on tracks along the wing-walls. As the ship tanks took on "ballast water", it did not lower into the bay equally, but tipped slightly to the stern (back of the ship). Our cranes - with no brakes - began to roll down the tracks, hit to stops at the stern, and stayed on board.

The extra weight on the stern was too much for the water tanks to compensate, and the entire ship sank to the bottom of the bay, sitting on the bottom with only the superstructure and our two cranes sticking out of the water.

Dave, today, confirmed that this event actually, you have heard it first here.

The ship was eventually refloated, cleaned up, and ended up in Rota, Spain, where Dave used it as his floating home while servicing his nuclear submarines.

Tomorrow morning, we move SPIA to the town of Wibaux, Montana, where I will resume walking toward the town of Glendive, Montana.

It is now 10:30 pm...having walked over 40 miles, and worked on this update the last 3 hours, am a bit pooped.

Time to listen to my pillow(s).

1 comment:

Aimee @ Just Kidding Around Atlanta said...

Thank you for taking us along on your journey! These pictures are amazing. I live in GA ~ it's hilly, but nothing like a "real" mountain in my part of the world (except for Stone Mountain, near Atlanta). To see the Badlands is! I want to visit there now - what a beautiful place. Thank you again!!