Monday, September 3, 2012

Heading to Medora, North Dakota

To paraphrase the old saw "It's a long way to Tipperary" It SEEMS like a long way to Medora, a charming town in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Spearfish Canyon - the light was wrong too. Photo by Judy Wells.
We took a detour to see Spearfish Canyon which we had been told was spectacular. Normally it would be but in this year of drought there was very little water to race down the mountains. Also, having loved the vistas in Custer State Park, we were spoiled so we cut short the detour and headed north again.

Belle Fourche, center of the United States. Photo by Debi Lander.
Then we came to the geographic center of the 50 states and a hidden gem, the Tri-State Museum, in the Belle Fourche Visitor Center.

Debi stands on and at the center. Photo by Judy Wells.
Buckskin Johnny's cabin. Photo by Judy Wells.
Most visitors take photos standing in that center spot and look inside the 1876 "Buckskin" Johnny Spaulding log cabin and perhaps go as far as the restrooms in the visitor center.

Big mistake.

Do a little old time styling. Photo by Debi Lander.
Both of us are museum enthusiasts and agree this is one of the nicest ones we've seen.

Curly hair, anyone? Photo by Judy Wells.

Take a "ride." Photo by Judy Wells.

Kids will like the hands-on, mount-up saddles, as Judy did.
That's a rodeo queen wave. Photo by Debi Lander.
Unfortunately, you can look at but not borrow the appropriate riding attire.  Photo by Judy Wells.
Excellent artifacts handsomely displayed and identified tempted us to linger much longer than anticipated.

They were on the trail, too. Photo by Debi Lander.
A good thing we lingered as it turned out, because we caught the annual Medora to Deadwood wagon train, a parade of riders and buckboards, as they passed through. Great fun to watch.

Photo by Debi Lander.
Belle Fourche used to be pronounced the French way but locals have turned it into Bell-Foosh.

The prairies rolled and the road stretched. Photo by Debi Lander.
This is ranching country and spaces between inhabited houses are vast.

We drove, they grazed. Photo by Judy Wells.
Hay rounds, Steers and cow/calf combos were our roadside companions.

No food here. Photo by Judy Wells.
Come lunchtime, there wasn't a diner, cafe or even mini-mart in sight.

Buffalo bar/cafe. Photo by Debi Lander.
An hour later we encountered a bar/cafe in Buffalo, population 309, where the dust was as thick as the burgers. It hadn't killed the locals so we downed a burger and headed on to the town made by a marquis and named after his marquise.

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