27 June 2011 We thought we would spend a few more days at the TR National Park but because we have wheels and know that we’ve got to keep some type of schedule towards the east coast, we moved on. Now after having said that, we didn’t get too far. We only moved 30 miles. Originally we pulled into Dickinson so that we could re-stock our refrigerator but then we saw the “Information and Travel Center” and found ourselves finding interest in seeing some “ART”. First we unhooked the car and headed east on I-94. About 8 miles later we came upon our exit, the “Enchanted Highway”. Sitting high above this intersection sat a sculpture called “Geese In Flight”.
Over the next 30 miles we saw 6 more OVER-SIZED art pieces.
Just to give you an idea as to how large these sculptures are, Geese in Flight stands 110 feet tall and weighs over 75 tons. The largest goose has a 30 foot wing span and is 19 feet long…now these are big !!! All of this was built from used oil well pipe and oil tanks and it’s great to know that junk can be made to look so good alongside the roadways of America. All of these sculptures were made but for one reason...to get travelers to travel too and enjoy his little town of Regent, North Dakota. Ya’ll come now…
_Well we are heading east…as I write this journal we are sitting in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Dickinson, North Dakota. We started out a week ago from Coeur d’Alene. So far, the weather has been sunny skies with a little wind while we’re on the road driving,
_but we have had a couple of nights when rain has fallen and thunder and lightning have given us a loud and bright show. We haven’t seen too much of the flooding that has hit the news but a three nights ago we were parked in a campground in Medora, ND and they had just started to allow campers back into the park. The flood waters did some pretty good damage to the infrastructure of the campground and left behind a lot of very fine silt that we all had to park on top of, walk within, and bring back into the coach after we stepped out…we only spent one night there !!! Fuel prices are a big facture for us on this trip. We have our favorite web site that gives us up to date diesel prices that we’ll be able to use as we cross the country. Just before leaving Coeur d’Alene we went online and found that our best diesel priced fuel was at a little town about have way to Missoula.
_It was priced at $3.45 and that has been by far the best we’ve seen since. It’s been averaging just under $3.90 otherwise. You can’t believe just how green everything is. In areas that we’ve journeyed across before we found everything brown and very dry but this has been some year for the long wet Spring. We had overnight stays in Missoula, Butte, Sheridan, Rapid City, Medora, and two nights at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park located just outside of Medora. This park is North Dakota’s “Bad Lands”.
_God did another great job of creating a spectacular landscape and a place for all of us to enjoy such beauty. He even threw in some bison (“Buffalo”), prairie dogs (they have “villages” throughout the park),
_wild horses, mule deer, elk, pronghorn and numerous birds.
_Somebody told me that they don’t have bears in North or South Dakota but I swear I found a bear track in the wet sand as I walked along the river bank…if it wasn’t bear I sure wish someone would tell me what it was. Cottonwood (bet you can’t guess how it got its name…) campground in the national park was very nice but with a small caveat…spaces were just a little small for our motor home to jockey around in. Our first mission after getting parked was to drive and hike (about 1 mile of hills) the 36 mile round trip through the park to see the amazing hills, valleys, and animals that make their home there. We also took a tour of Theodore Roosevelt's "Maltese Cross Cabin. This young man (Theodore Roosevelt) first arrived in 1883 to hunt buffalo. Unfortunately by the time he arrived most of the buffalo were already wiped from the face of this earth. Unfased, he decided that this was a place that he wanted to return as time allowed, so he built this three room cabin called "The Maltese Cross".
_The main room still has his personal desk and rocking chair.
_One of the first animal groups we saw where a herd of “wild horses”. I found it amazing that the “stallion” set himself aside from the rest of the herd and watched over the distant hills and canyons as a guard.
_I stopped the car many times for some great still photo op’s of the hills and sand sculptures.
_OK, OK, I’ve fallen and I had a heck of a time getting back up…(to write the blog of course). Our drive out of Mexico was un-eventful with but one exception… a few miles north of Santa Anna, I got a little sleepy so I decided to find a spot just outside of a small village to pull over and grab a quick nap. Our location was directly in front of a gated hotel and with the large pull off they had, I felt it was just perfect. I had been back on the bed about 15-20 minutes and I heard Louise talking with someone and telling them that I was just back taking a short nap…well hearing that, and already having had my shut-eye, I got up. What I found as I walked to the front of the couch was one of the most unbelievable sights I could have imagined…we were being “guarded” by a large group of “Federal Police”. I’m not sure why, but I sure didn’t mind one bit. As we pulled away and continued heading towards the border, we both waved at our regiment but they just kept their eyes and emotions to themselves. After we had our “vehicle import” stickers taken off and crossed the border, we stopped for the night at the Oregon Pipe Cactus National Monument. That is one great and beautiful spot to enjoy a night or a couple of weeks stay. Yuma was our next stop for a couple of weeks and then another week in Pahrump.
_While in Pahrump we decided to head toward Death Valley and another visit to the China Ranch Date Farm. I had a need for a date shake...
_Unfortunately we had to make an appointment with Cummins motors in Las Vegas. I say “unfortunately”, but we had a problem and they fixed it, so all was good. It was so good that we decided to stay in Las Vegas 3 more nights to enjoy the “Fremont St” area AND take a drive out to the Valley of Fire.
_From that point we finally decided as to which way we were going to travel to Spokane…I-15 to Butte and then I-90 to Spokane. Bbbuuuttt…., not so fast !!! This route also took us into some areas of Utah that we haven’t been in before. Provo, Salt Lake City, and I must say so much more. Our drive north was great. We celebrated Louise’s mother’s memorial in Spokane, drove to Seattle in our car to see our doctors (for our “annual check-ups), visited great friends in Mt. Vernon,
_family in Manson, and then back a month and 2 days later to pick up the coach and move to Coeur d’Alene. If we plan our trips to Coeur d'Alene right, we find ourselves there in time to enjoy the annual "CAR d'Alene. They always have a great weekend for this and this year was no different. Outstanding cars from all over the Northwest come into town to drive the circuit and show while sitting in the "show and shine" area.
_In the meantime, I ordered a new bicycle that was delivered to me when we arrived in CDA and now we’re ready to finally head east.