Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Does Anyone live in ND??
Don really wanted to rack up his state count. He insisted, as we made our original plan, that we hit North Dakota, Montana and Idaho, since he had never been there. This would leave only Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon off his list. But as we made our plan, we could not find anything to do in ND without heading pretty far north. In the end, we decided on a little town in the south west corner of the state called Bowman, with a natural history museum that featured family dino digs. Unfortunately, we managed to miss the dig date, and so we just admired the museum, which was quite well-done.
We camped at a state camp ground. After the boy scouts left (they were from Denver), we were alone, except for the cat. The cat was sweet, but Don is not fond of cats, so he kept shooing it away, and when Paul attempted to name it...well, Don made it clear that we were not keeping a campground cat.
That particular area of ND is very dry. When we emptied our cooler of excess water, the cat ran over for a drink, and the second night, when what sounded like a ferocious storm enveloped us overnight, we awoke to find that ground barely wet. The wind, we heard later, was gusting at about 40mph! It sounded like quite a storm!
We drove around a bit, and attended Mass in Bowman. The fun thing about Mass in a small town is that everyone realizes that you're "not from around these parts." The folks in Bowman were delightful. The church was fairly simple, made from materials found in the area, including the wall behind the altar, which was made from pieces of petrified wood. It was truly beautiful.
Using Bowman as a base camp, we headed to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Pictures do not do this park justice. The terrain is beautiful. We were able to admire buttes and valleys, dry river beds, small ponds, salt flats, and more. The boys, anxious to get out and climb on the buttes, asked us to pull over at one point, so we did, and they ran down the embankment and over to the nearest hill. They got a good workout before getting back into the car.
We are glad that we visited ND. It is beautiful! And in the end, the emptiness made it seem more appealing, I think, than had it been crowded. After two nights in the loneliest campground in the world, we drove back to South Dakota, into the black hills, and the town of Deadwood...