Taking the Bad with the GoodWestward Ho, Day 14: Dickinson, ND, to Miles City, MT
Ten years ago when we took our first cross-country trip after retirement, we were following the trail of Lewis and Clark. Along the way, we drove most of the same stretch of highway we traveled today. At that time, we didn't find anything especially notable about the scenery, but then again, we drove through this uninhabited area at night, in total darkness with only our headlights to illuminate a small patch of road in front of the car. At the time, we didn't even realize we had driven right through the middle of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), let alone what we missed seeing. Today we found out.
|I-94 through Theodore Roosevelt National Park|
Eager to catch a glimpse of some members of the park's buffalo herd or a feral horse or two, we went on our way. Our first stop was at the Ridgeline Trail. With prairie rattlesnakes inhabiting the area and the trail lined with poison ivy in summer, we were very happy to be there on a cold November day. The views from the top were spectacular.
|Ken approaching the top of the Ridgeline Trail|
As we wound around the loop drive, we finally saw one lone bison, about 100 yards off the road. We pulled over and sat there watching him with the binoculars for about ten minutes, thinking he might be the only buffalo we saw in the park. As soon as we rounded the next curve, we learned differently as we encountered the first of three groups of bison we would see before leaving the park.
|Close encounters of the bison kind|
|Black tail prairie dogs|
Before we began making plans for this trip, neither of us ever remember hearing much, if anything, about Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We're so glad we stumbled upon it and included it on our agenda. We found the scenery breathtaking and the wildlife encounters engaging and entertaining.
Leaving TR and North Dakota behind, we drove into Montana, spending tonight in Miles City. Tomorrow we'll drive down to Wyoming for an overnighter in Sheridan to give us time to do a little letterboxing there before returning to Montana for a few days.
- Miles driven: 217
- Letterboxes: F 1, P 1
- Weather: Light rain to cloudy to sunny, 28° to 50°
- States: 2 (ND, MT)
- Bison: 153
- Mustangs: 27
- Prairie dogs: 406
- Badgers: 1
- Coyote: 1
- Miles: 3,565
- Gallons of gas: 152
- Letterboxes: F 33, P 7
- States: 12 (GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, IL, MO, KS, NE, SD, ND, MT)
- Coldest temp: 25°, Topeka,KS (Oct. 27) & Bismarck, ND (Nov. 2)
- Hottest temp: 80°, Gaffney, SC (Oct. 22)
- Gas price extremes: $3.30 in Topeka to $3.95 in Lincolnton, NC
- National parks: 1
- National battlefields: 3
- National historic sites: 3
- State capitols: 3
- State parks & historic sites: 6