Packed up camp and we were off to the Park! A unique park, dedicated to the “badlands” of North Dakota where Teddy Roosevelt matured into the statesman and champion of conservation he ultimately became, it felt like a drive-through zoo with so much wildlife visible from the road. Up first, wild horses.
Our plan was to just drive the park’s “Loop Road” and see what there was to see. Lots of different landscapes, that’s for sure!
Also, much to our delight, we finally saw bison!
The Bison bison (scientific name for the American Buffalo) even seemed to be out for a morning stroll.
The drive continued, revealing new views and more Prairie Dog “towns.”
As we headed towards the exit, we were lucky enough to see one more bison — sauntering along the edge of the road. These animals are just so, so massive; they’re incredible to see so close. It’s easy to understand the majesty they inspire.
After that morning exploration, we hopped on I-94 and drove east — seemingly forever. A quick stop at Walmart to restock and we were finally into Minnesota (new state!). We got off the interstate and meandered northeast through the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” until we found a suitable spot for lunch. A lake overlook, of course.
Back in the car, we cruised through the final 2-hour leg to Littlefork, MN.
We had called ahead regarding a town park (“Lofgren Memorial Park”) and arrived to see something akin to Osborn Field (or even the Res) — a community park with tennis courts, softball fields, and…a completely empty campground.
As we setup camp, Patrick was reminded of how lovely San Diego was with its bug-less environment — the mosquitos here are like B-52 bombers! Not only are they huge, but they come in swarms. So, so many.
After a bath of DEET (and some extra layers of clothing — Brrr!), we poured ourselves some wine, prepared a snack of cheese and crackers, and relaxed under the stars. As you might imagine, the sky is so vibrant up at these latitudes. And, with no real civilization nearby, no light pollution to speak of.
Once the bottle of wine was gone, it was time for bed. The park is only a half-hour away, so tomorrow we explore!
Medora, ND to Littlefork, MN – 550 miles (8.5 hours)
-Ally and Patrick