Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 2 of my western adventure

On day two of our western adventure we slept in and then realized that it was pretty sloppy out there because of the rain the previous night. The rain was a good thing. It had been so darn hot and dry out there the earth could use a nice drink. So we went to the restaurant at the ranch and had the breakfast buffet. Again since I was on vacation I could eat whatever I wanted and had a bowl of lucky charms AND a bowl of golden grahams. Hey don’t judge!  I was on vacation!

After breakfast we went into town to do some sightseeing. The town of Medora was founded back in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores and named after his wife Medora. He had plans to process beef in the west and have it sent back east in refrigerated train cars. However he was financially ruined and only 3 years later he moved out of the badlands for good. Apparently grass feed beef wasn’t as popular as corn fed beef…which is funny because now I think people prefer grass fed beef. During the time that The Marquis was in North Dakota a very famous fellow came out West in a fellow by the name of Theodore Roosevelt.  He had first visited the state in 1883 on a buffalo  hunting trip he then invested in the Maltese Cross ranch. Then in 1884 after his wife and mother died ON THE SAME DAY he headed out to North Dakota and built a second ranch. It was in North Dakota that he learned to rope and ride and became a cowboy basically he was toughened up out here. But the severe winter of 1886 wiped out all of his cattle he headed back east and then eventually ran for president. 
remains of the cattle processing plant
In the 60’s Harold Schafer (creator of Mr. Bubble bath bubbles) began to restore and modernize the town. IT is now the #1 tourist destination in North Dakota. Everywhere you go there is something dedicated to the Schafers or Teddy Roosevelt, or the Marquis.  All kinds of little shops and restaurants, but not one single chain or franchise. I believe that everything is run by the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation. Fun story, years ago I was hired by the Theodore Roosevelt foundation to be the assistant manager at the trail riding stable. I was so excited to go but decided to stay home after my boss at the time begged me to stay on as manager at his barn and that he’d give me tons more work to do so I’d be making more money. I did…but I didn’t have much to do. To this day I’m kicking my ass for not going out west. It would have been a dream to live and work out there. Riding horses all summer long. It was my once in a life time chance to drop everything and do something like that. I didn’t have a husband, or pets, or a real job. I could have and should have gone out there. Live and learn I guess!

Anyways we wandered through the many little shops selling typical tourist town things. We tried on cowboy hats and then boots. Next up was a driving tour through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. So beautiful. This trip through the park we encountered much more wildlife than I’d ever seen in the park. And they were closer than ever! Usually you can get up close and personal with the black tailed prairie dogs since there are hundreds of them in many different prairie dog towns. I’ve seen Bison in the park before and I’ve seen a few wild horses.  But this time it was un real how many we spotted. The wild horses are mostly ranch horses that have escaped over the years. They are not true mustangs. There were a couple I’d love to have in my pasture.
I loved this baby.

They weren't too terribly scared of people

This baby in the road wanted to come home with me.

We saw a few herds of Bison. But as we were ending the 36mile loop around the park, a lone bull was coming slowly down the hill, and then was taking his time to walk down the road. So we went to pass him…slowly…He wasn’t thrilled and almost looked like he wanted to fight my pickup. Have you seen that state farm insurance commercial where the car is being smashed by a bison? Yeah it probably would have been similar to that! But we got past him and then headed back into town and grabbed a burger before heading home. The boys then saddled up and rode for a few hours. I took the time to take a really nice long and well deserved nap. It was wonderful. I love naps and never have the time to take them!
coming down the hill

passing in front of us

So then later that evening we went back into town I was well rested, but could have called it a night…sometimes naps make me tired. We went to the local pizza place and ate WAY too much over priced pizza that was pretty good. We had tickets for the musical. The Medora Musical is all about the history of the town and Teddy Roosevelt, and The Schafers who fixed up the town. I usually hate musicals but I always have a good time. We were front row, which was great because I didn’t have my zoom lens with me!

So that about sums up day two in the badlands. I really wish ya’ll could go and visit so you could see first hand what it’s like there. My crappy story telling about it really doesn’t do it much justice! Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

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