Theodore Roosevelt Park – the final day

That cool front that moved in Saturday evening made for great sleeping weather.  It was a clear, beautiful night.  I woke up early Sunday morning while everyone else was still sleeping and headed to the bathroom,when about halfway there, I was struck with awe over how majestic the scenery was.  I actually took a picture and may have even sent it to some people.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice.  The air was that clear, clean morning air and the sky was so blue and even though I couldn’t get a visual, I heard bison nearby.  I returned to from the bathroom and everyone was still sleeping so I decided to take myself for a drive around the park.

It was amazing.  There were very few people but since it wasn’t that far past dawn, there were plenty of animals to be seen. I saw more horses, prairie dogs, a mule deer and even a bison I took a sweet – but safe – selfie with.

During my ride, I realized, that even though I had so much fun with this group, I like traveling alone and am pretty sure there will be another “big” trip in my not so distant future.  I will say this, there is nothing like having a co-pilot to provide you with a constant flow of drinks….

So morning was pretty short because we were coming home in a one trip and it was about 825 miles.  We packed up all the gear, stopped at the gift shop and were on our way.  The ride home was long, but the weather was good and there were no major traffic snafus so we couldn’t have been any luckier there.  After dropping Jen and Nat off in Portage, I made it back to my house about 2:30 am.  I was exhausted to say the least, but it was the good kind.  The look what I just did kind. The kind that reminds you nothing is out of reach.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – part two

We arrived to the park and headed out on the 5 mile drive to the campground.  About 3 minutes in, we had our first wildlife sighting, a beautiful herd of wild horses.  I don’t know why, I’m not a “horse person” but for some reason, I’m drawn to wild ones.  They were just happily grazing along the road.  We stopped the car and took pictures from a safe distance, in the safety of the car.  Other people were not that smart.  We eventually moved on and then like 2 bends later, we were right in the middle of a ginormous prairie dog town.  If you know me at all, you can probably my high pitched squeals of delight mixing in the with high pitch squeals of the prairie dogs.

After all this excitement, we made it to our camp site which was amazing.  There were trees, it was huge, we had a direct path to the bathroom and their was an amazing view.  We made camp, simple dinner of bagel sandwiches and then took a drive at dusk to look for animals.  We were rewarded with a huge herd of bison, more prairie dogs and a single deer.  As darkness rolled in, we returned to camp and with a slight concern of being gored by bison while we slept, we all settled in for the night and were fast asleep.

Saturday morning brought a beautiful clear blue sky and some warmth.  The forecast was for weather near 100 degrees.  We broke out the back pack burner and made breakfast. There was coffee, toasted bagels and even ramen for one camper.  No roughing it here!

Because of the heat, we decided to do some sight seeing via the air-conditioned vehicles and man did we see the sites and the wildlife.  There was petrified wood ( and I even know what that is now), a hot metal slide, a trip to Montana, amazing landscapes and wildlife I only dreamed of seeing.  It’s amazing how much more you see when you get off the beaten path.  We sent about 4 hours on gravel roads and saw the most wonderful things including bison, antelope, prairie dogs, grazing cows and 3 big horned sheep.

All the years I traveled with Steve, anytime we went near a mountain, I was on the look out for a big horned sheep.  That’s all I ever wanted to see.  And then we come around this bend and there is he is- perched on top of a ledge like he was waiting for us.  (A big horned sheep, not Steve)  He even just decided to lay down and stay there.  It was really one of the moments that are kind of hard to describe.  I know what you’re thinking – it’s just a sheep.  But the thing is, I was looking for it the whole time I was with Steve and could never find it and here I am on my own ( ok – with my friends) and I find what I have been looking for all those years.  The irony was not lost on me.  So after taking like 47 pictures, we go further down the road and when heading back, we find 2 more and the original still on his post.

By now, it’s late afternoon so we headed into down for ice cream and things you buy in a tourist town and while we were there, the wind picked up and with it, came a welcomed cold front.  Within an hour or so, the weather went from hot and icky to wonderful.  We went back to camp, had more ramen and sandwiches for dinner -even though we had planned a better dinner, we were all spent and went the easy route.  After an evening of relaxing, we all headed for bed about dark ( which was like 10pm there) and pretty sure we weren’t going to be gored by a bison, slept soundly in the cool night.

 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – aka Whirlwind camping trip

So I know that you all were expecting this much sooner, but , well, I just didn’t feel like it!  I would like to say though, that if there ever was a weekend in my life where I wish I would have been followed by a camera crew, this was it.  Between threatening to ration how many cigarettes the kids each got, to being told to be quiet so someone could hear what the bison were “saying”, the amount of awesome phases I hope were overheard out of context, is quite long and includes the following:

  • Why doesn’t the head’s up display also offer song lyrics, karaoke style?
  • You did kind of lick it, I saw- this was in reference to a root beer barrel I needed help opening while driving.
  • This car is tits.
  • Man, these bitches know how to treat a kid right! ( obviously, referring to ourselves)
  • 9,980 more lakes to pass in Minnesota ( sung to the tune of 99 bottles of beer)
  • Sorry, I have to Google with my right arm.
  • I’d rather live a perfect life than have Instagram views.  Mom, I need to charge my phone.
  • How do we know this isn’t some kind of zoo set up?
  • You grabbed it in the wrong spot, you’re on your own.  Now just use your teeth to scrape it off the cardboard.
  • Where my back seaters at?  ( This is extra hilarious after midnight, on the way home, over caffeinated, listening to sweet 90’s style rap)

Our trip was quite eventful.  We pulled out Thursday about 1 pm and made it the twin cities without incident.  It was there that the navigation system, in an attempt to avoid a backup, routed us off the interstate and onto surface street.  It was also at the time that a pretty awesome thunderstorm rolled through.  Having, some nervous riders, we had to pull over and let the rain pass and to be honest, it’s always a good idea to be able to see when you are driving.  We got moving again and were rewarded for our surface street detour with the appearance of a White Castle.  We had sit down dinner and then got serious about getting to Fargo.  We made it to the hotel in Fargo without incident and there was even time for the kids to do some swimming  in the fancy pool with the slide before bed.

It would probably not to surprise you to know that we slept later than planned Friday morning.  We got everyone together and were those people who went to breakfast in the pajamas.  We also used this as an opportunity to teach the kids to stock up on condiments for the rest of day.  They were not amused at this nor the fast the grown ups had the giggles and started laughing so hard, we couldn’t even breathe.  It was a great way to start the day.

We headed out for Theodore Roosevelt National Park and everyone was excited.  I knew that the park had peaks about 3,000 feet above sea level and you could tell as we were getting into the higher elevation ( we live at about 860 feet above sea level) because there was a lot of ear popping going on, so I suggested to my co-pilot that she could get an app on her phone to check our current  altitude.  Let’s just say she really took her duties as the human altimeter seriously.  It was amazing.  We finally made it to park about 4 pm and little did we know, the things we would see.

The fanciest White Castle I have ever been in
A picturesque sunset after the rain cleared
Contemplating how to get the grown ups to stop laughing about cigarettes at breakfast
What is a trip without considering a new lover? The sweet ginger might just be the ticket.
1800 feet and climbing
Painted Canyon Visitors Center

 

English is a weird language

So because I do not have the complete understanding of WordPress I should, I don’t have the spam filters for the comments set up correctly on blog.  This means on any given post I get to delete about 50 spam comments to find the one precious good one.  They have got to be coming from bots and if not bots, at least foreigners.

What happens with these comments, is that I will get the same spam comment many different times – some actually look legit – looking for RSS feed ( don’t know how to do that) – saying there is great info -I should monetize etc but there is a new one that has been appearing lately from posters whose name appears to be some grouping of, what like to me, to be Asian language symbols.  I do not enough to know if it’s Chinese, or Japan, but definitely looks the symbols people get tattooed.

I know that English is a fickle language and there are many things that don’t translate well to other languages – like for example – I still remember learning in high school Spanish that the translation for “it’s a small world” technically says “the world is a handkerchief” or something along those lines.  Many of us have received emails from call centers in India at work asking us to “do the needful thing”.  So I’ve been racking my brain to try to figure out what the actual message is in the latest spam posts – brace yourselves for this one- “Don’t wear seat belts lest you drown in you own urine?”  Your guess is as good as mine trying to figure out what the original idea was in that sentence.  The funny thing is, this has just started in the last week or so, so who even knows what will be the next popular spam comment.

I’ve kind of been skirting the deep soul bearing stuff lately because I feel like early summer might have been the eye of the storm.  The quiet time where everything seems to have settled down and be ok – you can go out, access the damage and maybe brace a little harder for the next wave.

More times that I like to admit, I’ve been reminding myself that somethings you don’t get over, you just get through because as soon as you are foolish enough to think you are over it, you realize you are not.

People have been asking me for the last year why I was sad and not angry.  The truth is sad is comfortable and familiar for me.  I know how it feels, I know how to ride the wave of it, I know how to deal with it.  But now, as if from nowhere, this anger has emerged.  Definitely what Holly Golightly referred to as the mean reds.  I don’t know what to do with it.  It is not a familiar and comfortable emotion for me and I don’t know how to get past it and just “let it go”.   I’m hopeful that if just sit here long enough with it, the small, still voice that tells you to try again tomorrow, will get me to the other side of the storm.

On a completely different note – going camping in North Dakota this weekend at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Cross your fingers we see bison, but not in our campsite holding us hostage so we can’t get to the bathroom.

There should be pictures early next week.

 

Thoughts from the last 24 hours

In no random order, some actual thoughts based on the events from the last 24 hours of my life:

A car that smokes when you are alone will not repeat it’s behavior in front of the person who can fix it.

It takes a really long time to sharpen a brand new pencil to a sharp tip in an electric pencil sharpener.

What in the world could cause Target to be out of rubbing alcohol on the fourth of July?  Is everyone making glitter ice packs for their joints today?

When your printer doesn’t print, think ink, not re-install drivers and changing settings for two days.

When did binders get so expensive?

Sunburn is itchiest when you are home alone.

If you pay for something with Paypal and then it is immediately refunded, don’t assume Paypal is smart enough to handle that for you – no, you still have to wait like 3-5 days for the refund even though the two transactions happened literally 37 minutes apart and then transfer the money back to your bank account to offset the money they already took out.

Turkey burgers are surprisingly delicious.

Once you break down and turn your AC on, you will never want to turn it off again.