After our tour (Day 2) we finished the drive across North Dakota, ending up on the western border at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We drove a little over 500 miles, and with another time-change we still got to our campsite by 4:30. Our campsite was short and fat, with not much room for Tom to maneuver. Luckily the neighbors across the street were gone, and Tom used their parking spot for a good backing angle to work into the campsite.
Our campsite is beautiful, along the river with what appeared to be a wild-life trail (with different types of poop and hoof prints!) leading down to the water. Time will tell what uses the trail! There are no hook-ups, but nice bathroom facilities throughout the campground. We went for a short drive after setting up – came back to the camper and cooked supper (brats, grilled onions, potatoes, strawberries, baked beans) and then went for an evening drive to look for wildlife. We didn’t see any – but got a good view of the variety of topography that makes up the park.
Back at the campground I worked inside the trailer and Tom took Charlie for a walk. 5 minutes, Tom called me on the phone to tell me to look out the window – a bison was making his way up the game path from the river into our campsite. His destination was our picnic table, and his goal was to use the corners of it for a good scratching – head, belly, and butt. I stood in the doorway and got pictures and a video of him. He took his time.
Here is a video of the big boy taken as I stood inside the Airstream!
Day 3, June 3rd
We slept late (7:30!) and had our first go at brewing old-fashioned, stove-top, percolated coffee. It was good and strong, and as my mother used to say (and HER father): “If you add one more grain . . . . you could make another barrel.”
From our Cottonwood campground we turned right onto the Scenic Loop trail that dodges and dives for 36 miles around the park’s broken topography and magnificent panoramas. Passing places like Scoria Point Overlook, Badlands Overlook, and Boicourt Overlook we stopped for pictures of the striking scenery. We also drove back on a few dirt roads to some trailheads – but pets are not allowed on the trails!
A highlight of the morning drive was a side-road to the top of Buck Hill. Halfway down the dirt road a herd of buffalo (40 adults and 5 calves) and three wild horses were lazing around in no particular hurry -- blocking the road!
We made it back to the trailer for lunch . . . and a tick-check! Yes, we have found some ticks on all three of us, and plan to do regular tick-search during rest stops . . . drop the pants, Tom! (Look away, this may not be pretty.) There was a sign at the campground check-in site that said “tick check” – I don’t know if they do free checks there, but we decided to do our own.
After lunch we left Charlie in the Silvermine and headed down to look over the Park Visitor Center, and then another 6 miles down the road to the Painted Canyon Visitor Center. Mid-afternoon we rested a bit, and then geared up for another drive into the town of Medora. Many shops allowed “well-behaved” dogs, and we enjoyed a walk around the town. The only purchase was three different types of nuts from “The Peanut House.”
The big question for the evening is if our big bison buddy would be back for another scratch on the picnic table. Our evening plans included full showers (in the Airstream) for both of us, and a good vacuum of the floors – our campsite is mostly a fine powdery dust that gets dragged inside as we go in and out.
After showers and clean-up, we sat at the dinette and looked out across the river at four bison on the move! At first they appeared to pass us by but eventually, they crossed the river and followed the path up into our campsite. We will without a doubt remember our short stay at Theodore Roosevelt National Park for a long time!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown