Bonding with Teddy Roosevelt

CAMPGROUND: Cottonwood Campground inside Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Unit. Typical national park – no services, but full of natural beauty. Ours is a pull-through, level site. Nice grill and picnic table. Bathrooms are good, but no shower. Water available at registration. No dump station. $7/night with Senior Pass. What a deal! 4 stars out of 5
LOCATION: Southwest North Dakota. Nearest town is Medora
WEATHER: Beautiful. Sunny. High 75

We didn’t sleep very well at the Harvest Host brewery as long, noisy trains passed by throughout the night, only feet from the AirStream. Also, there were some refrigerated trucks in the parking lot and their compressors came on periodically during the night. Not a big deal.

As we passed in to North Dakota, the landscape changed almost immediately. Still a lot of badlands, but in addition to the endless wheat and hay fields of Montana, huge fields of happy sunflowers basking in the sun filled the landscape.

We didn’t have campground reservations, so just hoped that we could grab a walk-in site. Since we arrived at about 10:00, several campers were leaving, and we were able to get into one fairly easily.

After getting set up, we went in to the town of Medora. The town is quite touristy, but still has retained its cowboy Western feel.

This is where Teddy Roosevelt fell in love with North Dakota and started the concept of conservation by creating national parks. He said that being in North Dakota is what made him want to be President. I just had to give him a hug…..

We drove the 36-mile scenic drive loop around the park, stopping in many of the scenic viewpoints.

On the drive, we saw a wild horse galloping in a field, then several bison, and thousands of prairie dogs.

Back at the campsite, we enjoyed a quiet afternoon, then started a campfire. Our neighbors just happen to be AirStreamers, too, and they joined us for happy hour.

KARMEN’S KITCHEN TIPS: With limited cupboard space, I only have 3 pans for cooking. One skillet is old and on its last legs. I use it when we cook outdoors. A saucepan is used inside and outside – for soups, pasta, etc. It will probably need to be delegated just to outdoor cooking soon. Here they are, on the campfire tonight….

Note the skillet mitt – hand-made by our friend Jenny. The third pan is a non-stick saute pan that I only use indoors.

DINNER: I just couldn’t face another meal of lake trout, so I switched it up. Needing to use some frozen, cooked Italian sausage, I made a pasta dish: macaroni with a meat/veg/tomato sauce. Once it was all cooked over the campfire, I topped it with cheese and cooked it some more in the oven.

There is no artificial lighting here, and the sky is huge and pitch-black. At about 9:30, George left to attend an astronomy program where he looked through a telescope at different planets and stars.

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