Monday, July 29, 2019

July 29 – To Teddy Roosevelt National Park and Painted Canyon

It took another 2 and a half days, after leaving Kamiah to get to Theodore Roosevelt National Park near Medora North Dakota.

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We took Highway 12 the rest of the way across Idaho. It was a pretty drive but with no shoulders and oh so many turns it required a lot of attention. 



Highway 12 ends near Missoula. It was rather jarring to go from a beautiful riverside drive to having 4 casinos, one on each corner of the intersection and then immediately entering a fast food strip.

There is not much to say about the rest of the drive on Interstate 90 and 94. Wide open spaces with not much to look at.

We did learn a new lesson at our Walmart stops for the night. Do not park next to the big expensive motorhomes. They are most likely not well equipped to handle having no hookups and will run their generators all night. The one beside us last night had 5 air conditioners on its roof and a very loud, and I imagine huge capacity, generator. Ear plugs helped but we will try not to do that again.

We spent the nights in Butte, Montana and Miles City, Montana. Both were long, at least 6 hour drive days.

Today’s drive was only 2 hours and we started to get into more interesting country with some badlands off in the distance.


Every night I would wash all the bugs of the windshield but next morning we would soon be covered again. It meant most of the pictures looked pretty speckled.

Before cleanup.




We are staying at Sully Creek State Park just a few miles south of Medora, North Dakota. The road south includes a short 8% climb and then a 9% descent. Longs climbs or descents might be a problem but when they were this short the RV had no trouble.


This state park is a bit different. It has a large section just for people with horses. Each site has a corral. Another section in the trees is mainly for tents and small RVs. Then there is a huge open field for the big guys. There is a road round the edge of the field that has about 5 sites and then a road through the middle with 4 sites. Needless to say we have a lot of space.

A sign at the entrance said they are full but there are only 3 RVs and 3 tent sites occupied. We look a bit lonely.


It is a no hookup campground ($12 a night). Today the weather was quite pleasant with a high in the mid 20s and a nice cool breeze. We broke out he Reflectix insulating foil on all the sun facing windows anyway. With some fans running the RV stayed relatively cool inside. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park has two section. We are near the south unit.

Since we got here early I thought that we would go and check the small Painted Canyon section in the southeast of the south unit.

South-Unit-Map (2)


This is is right next to the highway and is marked as a rest area as well. It was very busy.

This is the view from the lookout by the visitors center.





The photosphere.

The most interesting and colourful hills.


Looking at the map I thought we would have the energy to do the short 1 mile Painted Canyon Nature Trail. What the map doesn’t show is that you drop down several hundred feet in elevation to walk into the canyon. There were lots of very steep steps to get down and back up. There was also not much wind so it seemed much hotter. The umbrella helped.


Notice Jennie down in the corner.






The photosphere.

There was a nice cool section in the trees, although if we had done the loop in the other direction it would have been nicer to be climbing in the shade.


So many interesting shapes.








The visitor’s center is on the cliff in the background.



The trail could have used some trimming.


There was a short side trail to a lookout. Jennie stayed below.



The photosphere.

Back up we go.


A last look back down at the trail.


You can see the bench at the lookout where I took Jennie’s picture below me. It is just left of center below.


Then back to the RV. This evening the sun cast some nice shadows on the hills behind us.


We are here for 4 nights.

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