Rested and North

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Cottonwood Campground

Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We had an extremely relaxing start to the day by lying around in bed, taking advantage of the hot water and showers (Tim & Jess), and not packing up Odie and checking out of the hotel until after 9am. We filled the chilly bins with ice from the hotel machine, grabbed some free hot coffee (Tim), and then wandered a quarter mile down the road to a local diner. Eli had an enormous chocolate chip pancake, Lily a belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream, Jess an omelette and Tim a big breakfast of sausage, eggs, hash browns and toast. This did not happen until around 10am, and as it turned out, was the only meal we ate today until dinner of sausages and rice pilaf.  After our leisurely breakfast, we continued the theme of slow-moving action and drove one mile down the road to Target and spent over an hour there, wandering the aisles, staring at Lego (the kids) and buying a couple of grocery items to top us up for the next couple of days. As if this was still not enough leisure time, the final stop before leaving Rapid City was the local Cabelas store, which is a huge hunting, fishing, camping, outdoor clothes, shoes, and anything remotely connected to the bush, store. By the time we left there and prepared to hit the road, it was nearly noon and we were all completely chilled out. It was less than a four hour drive due north to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and due to the extreme heat of the last couple of days, we were in no rush and had no desire to get there during the heat of the afternoon.
Four hours later, we pulled into the park and drove at least three laps around the campground before we found the precise campsite we wanted. We finally realized why it had taken us so long to choose a spot; we had too many choices!!! As well, and the kids want me to ensure this goes into the blog, we had our first car accident of the trip. Poor Jess had taken over driving and so was in charge as we circled the campground, time and time again. At one point we thought we had found our spot and then asked Jess to back up and check out the previous one, this backing maneuver was completed successfully, and we ruled out yet another spot. However, she forgot to put the shifter back into drive and when she took her foot off the brake, we rolled (albeit quite slowly, thankfully) backwards another three feet until "BUMP" the car stopped, a thud was heard and we all looked at each other. Dear, sweet Jess had backed Odie into a wooden post in the ground and left the tiniest of scratches and dents on the back bumper, and a wee scraping of paint was gifted to Teddy Roosevelt and the park named in his honor. This was probably appropriate as we wanted to thank the Father of the National Park Service for his good work in setting the precedent for protecting so many beautiful spaces in the USA and a wee scraping of Odie paint was the perfect recognition. After a wee chuckle, we circled twice more and then pitched our tent in the shade of some trees and enjoyed the evening's breeze. 
While at camp and before dinner, we treated ourselves to our little skillet of Jiffy Pop; popcorn that is designed to be made on the cookstove and causes the foil packet to expand dramatically as the kernels pop. We all had a good snack and the kids watched in amazement as it was cooked. After dinner and cleaning up we decided to take a 'night drive' and see what we could find out and about in the park. As we were leaving the campground, we saw one of the wild horses in this park trotting down the camp road in search of some lovely green grass to eat. It was a good omen and precedent for our drive. I will write more tomorrow about this park and what it looks like, but on tonight's drive we saw two more wild horses, a small flock of wild turkeys and several mule deer along the road. It was a great end to the day and it sure seems like night drives are always rewarding. As I write this, the crickets are chirping, the air is cooling, the kids are asleep and the temperature and breeze seem perfect for a good night's sleep. 
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