Turning East from Yellowstone was a symbolic move. All of a sudden we feel as if we are on the clock. We are back to the Interstates, trying to make time so we can get back by the end of September. This makes for longer days and little of the meandering that has made the last four weeks such fun. Nonetheless we did take a small diversion yesterday to visit the Little Big Horn Battlefield- where we remember that George Armstrong Custer was carried away with white man’s hubris and got his troop massacred by the Lokota Sioux, led by Chief Sitting Bull.
This is the cemetery at the Little Big Horn. It was raining, cold and entirely in keeping with the unfortunate heritage of Custer.
Much more fun was discovering a wonderful small town just across the Montana border in the North Dakota Badlands, Medora. Medora, all of 103 persons, has a special place in our history as the spot where a young Theodore Roosevelt spent the better part of four years experiencing the last days of the “Wild West”. TR said later that these were the most memorable days of his life. He gained an appreciation of the American West and the importance of maintaining something of the unspoiled heritage.
We stayed at the Rough Rider Hotel, a surprisingly well-appointed and delightful place. The Hotel, in keeping with TR’s insatiable intellectual as well as physical curiosity, has a sizable library with his works and several other volumes about TR’s life and career. Medora is also the home of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park- covering the area TR ranched in this period. This is his original “ranch”.
Amid clearing skies today we checked out the Bully Pulpit Golf Course. listed as one of the top 100 public courses in America- who would ever find it? Then we were back on I-94 heading east through Bismarck, Jamestown ( childhood home of good friend Bart Holaday, who, in an amazing coincidence was flying in as we passed through), and on to Fargo, just at the Minnesota border.
Once out of the Badlands, North Dakota is vast plain with seemingly endless wheat and soy bean fields, just now in full harvest mode. We saw little of the extraordinary oil field development in northwest North Dakota. However, we saw all manner of new, powerful pickup trucks on the road( passing us) and testament to the new wealth that is sweeping the state.