Home Trekin' To Dillon, MT Dillon, MT Livingston, MT On to Medora, ND Medora, ND Medora Musical Around Medora & Park On to Mandan, ND Mandan The STORM Travel Diary 2015
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Lane’s  Roadhouse Medora, ND
June 11- Thursday  As we pulled into Medora, North Dakota, we have the windshield wipers on.  While we followed the directions to the campground, we passed through the small town with its backdrop of the mountains of Theodore Roosevelt National Park looming immediately behind the town.  Red Trail Campground is tree covered with generous, level sites and is rather messy with downed leaves, small branches, etc., leftover from the winter.  The recent snow runoff and spring rains make things a bit untidy and difficult to clean up.  It stopped raining.  We settle in, inquire about a market and are told the most complete market in town is at the campground. (Not complete, but helpful)  Nearest market is about 15 miles up the freeway.  I had anticipated this and was well-prepared.  However, fresh fruits & vegetables only last so long & we’re here for 7 nights.  We took off in the truck to explore town (took about 3 minutes) and stopped to pick up our tickets for the Medora Musical & the Pitchfork Steak Fondue dinner.  We are getting excited as our daughter, Sue, and grandgirl, Heyden, will be flying in on Friday.  We slept well in this quiet campground and did some more exploring Thursday.  We discovered this town has between 95 & 112 residents year-round.  In the summer there is what seems to be hundreds of summer employees, mostly college age & seniors, who serve the legion of visitors.  Without exception, these folks are kind, helpful and want you to have a good time.  The town of Medora is based on a French aristocrat who married the love of his life, a New York socialite named Medora.  He was an insatiable adventurer.  He came to the tiny town, which already had a name, bought an incredible amount of land, named the town Medora, built a state-of-the-art meat packing plant, put cattle on all that land and figured, with the railroad already there, he would make a fortune on shipping the processed beef to Chicago.  He also saw to the creation of shops. He built a summer home for his wife and children and waited for the profits.  Apparently he wasn’t much of a businessman as the project was bankrupt in 3 years.  They left Medora never to return.  So this town infamy is based on a 3 year time line.  Meanwhile, Theodore Roosevelt visited the area many times and had a cabin built for his visits to his cattle ranch.  He was not President at the time.  He had fallen in love with this area and, once President, set out to preserve the land for the American people.  Google ‘Theodore Roosevelt’ to find out more.  What a man and what a life he led.
Because of overlap in our exploring and repeating some of that with Sue & Heyden, we are putting up the pictures by subject rather than time line.
Pretty streetlights to light your way in the evening.
A carriage ride through town also gives you a tour guide’s perspective.
Inside stairs took us upstairs for a pretty good meal.
You can bring your own horses or rent from the local stables for a ride with friends/family on a glorious day.  We’re not doing that today.
Below are just a few of the shops around town.  Had some good retail time here.  Difficult to get nice shots as the streets are packed with visitors and the cars kinda get in the way.
June 12 - Friday We pick up Sue & Heyden at the new-looking Bismarck airport.  Their plane was delayed for a couple of hours due to weather.  A small international airport, it didn’t take long to get to know it while we waited.  They had some comfortable seating that we took advantage of.  Their flight started in Ontario CA.  Then to Salt Lake City to Minneapolis & back to Bismarck.  Long day.  In spite of it all, they were anxious to get a look at North Dakota.  We drove back to Medora on I94 for a distance of 140 miles.  Along the way, the prairie showed off its tall green grasses, its new oil wells and, of course, the huge, well-tended farms.  The sky is reminiscent of Montana with its large vistas of blue sky with small clouds breezing by.  Nature is huge here.  We settled them in their motel next to our campground.  We all slept well.
Bismarck Terminal.  We had quite a wait here as Sue & Heyden’s plane was delayed.  A very nice place to wait, but we were sure glad when they arrived.
THEY’RE HERE!  So glad to see their smiling faces.  Heyden shared her ‘crown’ with me.  I was honored.
Between Bismarck & Medora there is a town called Dickinson.  Nearby, in fields of grain, are some of the many oil wells that have changed the face of North Dakota.  Towns are bursting with new businesses and people.  New airports are serving what were towns of a few hundred residents spread out over many, many miles.  Lots of new vehicles on the freeway near these towns.  Probably some ranchers have struck it rich.  But at what price?
Prairie art rises from the grasses.  This is a HUGE piece, depicting the flight of Canadian geese during migration through the area, is visible from the freeway. The Enchanted Highway, exit 72 from I94, extends 32 miles ending at the town of Regent.  There are six other HUGE sculptures done by a single local artist along the Enchanted Highways.  They have titles such as:  Teddy (Roosevelt) Rides Again, Pheasants on the Prairie, etc.  We were unable to visit this highway due to bad weather & time constraints.  We gotta go back!
The weathered ranch has cattle relaxing in front of it.  The newer ranch work buildings have no critters relaxing.  They’re probably in the fields eating their heads off.
Grain storage tanks are everywhere.  Lots of the nation’s food & feed is grown here.
Medora, ND