Escape Pod Log 6 – Medora, ND

We took a side trip to Medora, ND on our 2nd day in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

We were just going to go do a couple of Geocaches and maybe walk around and look at a few of the shops in town.  We found 2 Geocaches right outside of town and then went into town and started walking around. Hit a few of the shops and browsed the goods when we came upon the historical societies museum which is housed in the old court house. I decided to step inside and inquire about the museum, come to find out kids were free and it was only $3 for me to look around. So I decided that it was worth $3 for a look around the place. While I was paying the lady behind the counter asked me if the kids had the Medora Activity book yet to get stamped.  I told her we didn’t and what did she mean?  Come to find out that this year downtown Medora has put together a fun little book for the kids and on the back if they visit at least 3 of the participating museums and/or centers in Medora and get stamps that they can then go to the local ice cream shop (choice of two places) and get free ice cream.  Once the boys heard this there was no stopping them from getting that ice cream. We spent the next 4 hours visiting several of the area museums and I have to say it was a lot of fun.

I am very glad we ran into that deal and each place we visited was well worth the stop.  Several of the places are free of charge even. The ice cream ended up being pretty wonderful.  I would recommend a visit to Medora for sure if anyone finds themselves going through the area or visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Escape Pod Log 5 – Bemidji, MN to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND.

Day five of our vacation trip through Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Tonight I am writing from Theodore Roosevelt National Park on the western side of North Dakota. This is our second day at TRNP and we have loved every moment of our visit.   In the words of Theodore Roosevelt himself “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” which is a quote I live by, if I didn’t I would not be laying here right now writing this blog because I would have never did what I could with what I have,  meaning I would have never taken this trip because I don’t have a lot of money to take big fancy vacations. But I found a way to be able to take amazing trips and have wonderful adventures without having to have it cost an amazing amount of money.  Tomorrow morning we are packing up and heading south into South Dakota on our way to Custer State Park.
We left Bemidji, MN on Friday morning the 15th of June with plans to drive about 7 hours or so to a 2000 acre Bureau of Land Management preserve called the Schnell Recreation Area with a 6 spot campground on it which cost $5 a night to stay at. The price was right and though it doesn’t offer any type of electric hookup it did have outhouses and water stations. I was a little worried that we would maybe not be able to get a spot there due to its small size and great price but when we finally arrived I found that there were only 2 other campers there. The camping spaces were so spread out that the spot I picked we couldn’t even see the other campers. I couldn’t have been more pleased. The kids started out complaining that this seemed like a pretty boring place to camp, no playground, no other kids, nothing to do but regardless I kicked them out the door and told them to go find something to do while I set up the camper and started getting dinner ready. Not even an hour later my oldest boy was back carrying a cactus he had found. He couldn’t believe he had found cactus. This just got my youngest excited about finding something unique too so off they went again. I was pretty sure they weren’t bored anymore. The signs posted around the campground invite you to go and explore. They say “Public Land, Welcome”.  There are several nature trails to use but due to a thunderstorm that quickly rolled in we didn’t get the chance to check them out.

The next morning when we got up, had breakfast, and got the camper all ready to roll out we went for a walk around one of the short trails and found it to be very beautiful and had a great time looking for animals and plants. We were on the road to Theodore Roosevelt National Park by 9am.

Our trip to TRNP was uneventful, we made a few side trips to do a little Geocaching on the way and finally made it to the Painted Canyon Visitors Center around 12pm. I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful the view from the visitors center was. I was amazed that I had no idea this place even existed until just under a year ago when I started to plan this trip. The boys were busy trying to find buffalo as soon as they got out of the Jeep and a Park Ranger stopped to talk to them and explained to them a little bit about the area and about the “buffalo” which the Ranger said are actually Bison but started to be called buffalo in the 1800’s. Buffalo are actually a species found overseas whereas bison are what are native to the United States. So now the boys have been very careful to refer to the “buffalo” as bison.

Our stay at Theodore Roosevelt National Park was wonderful and very very beautiful. The size of the park is breathtaking all itself let alone the scenery and the wildlife. Cottonwood campground where we stayed was really nice, great location along the Little Missouri river. I had read online on other blogs that people have woken up in the mornings and found bison right next to their campers. I woke up early each morning in hopes that this would happen but I never did. I was a bit disappointed about that but I didn’t figure the chances were that great that it would actually happen.

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“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything”. Theodore Roosevelt

 

Escape Pod Log 4 – Day 1 of our Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Adventure

Well day 1 has come and gone and we made it to Bemidji, MN without any big problems or even any little problems. I am snug as a bug in a rug in my sleeping bag right now typing this out on my phone as there is no internet here at the Baltrami County fairgrounds.

We made this our first stop on our almost 3 week adventure so we could attend “Eggs at the Fairgrounds” which is a gathering of fiberglass travel trailers and their owners.  There is close to 20 campers here and more to come tomorrow. It is really a neat experience to see all of these campers in the same spot at the same time. Lots of Scamps here, a Casita, and a Surfside and of course the Escape Pod which is a Cloud.
We got the camper all set up when we got here and then wandered over to the community tent where people were gathered around chatting and enjoying some home grown popcorn popped by the very guy who grew it.  It may have been the best popcorn I have ever had. After signing up for a bog walk at a nearby state park and also a fire tower climb and tour which we will be doing tomorrow weather permitting we heading back to the pod for dinner.  I didn’t feel like getting fancy so we had ramen noodles with some canned chicken mixed in which to my surprise the boys ate up ever last bite.
I am glad to finally be on vacation and using my camper as it was intended to be used. Looking forward to the days ahead.

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Escape Pod Log 3

This is my first attempt at posting a photo on here and I think maybe posting them full size is not the best way to go. I will try to send smaller sized pictures later today.

These pictures are of my new screen door I just got for my camper. Custom made for me by a lady who lives not far from me and who also did my cushions and my curtains (I will post pictures of those in another post). The screen I got at Wal-Mart or Target, and she cut it to size, added velcro along the edges, and took a zipper off of an old sleeping bag and sewed into it. I can leave it in place and use the zipper to come and go as I please but I can also roll the screen up and out of the way when it is not needed.  I used it last night for the first time and left my door open the entire night and it was wonderful.

 

 

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Escape Pod Log 2 – Weekend Test Run

Well today we had an interesting day to say the least. I am finally laying down at our destination after taking 5 hours to make a trip that should only take two. Left from home and drove about a half an hour when I noticed the Jeep was overheating.  So we stopped at the side of the road and waited for a half hour until it cooled down and continued on our way.  Twenty minutes down the road I was having the same problem so we made the decision to turn around and limp home, trade out vehicles, and start over.  Once I got the vehicles switched over we were on the road and made the rest of the trip without incident.  Sitting at our destination in the Pod now writing this. Time for bed.

Escape Pod Log – Entry #1 – Welcome to my Adventures

Here I sit on my couch on a Thursday morning after reading several of my favorite blogs many that have to do with camping, boondocking, solar power, and travel.

I had thoughts of starting a blog in the past but never took the time to actually sit down and do it. I figured now is as good a time as any to finally get one started. Why now? Well about 10 months ago I stumbled upon by pure luck something that I have dreamed about owning since I was a teenager (maybe even younger)..a small fiberglass camper.

I had been looking for a small fiberglass camper after my big camper which we have dubbed “The Mother Ship” was injured by a large tree after a tornado visited our campground last July 3rd. I was able to salvage her but I had her insured as well so I had a little insurance settlement money left over after doing the repairs I needed to do to make her livable again. So because I had a little extra money left I decided to save it and start looking for a small camper finally, something I could tow around with me and help me explore the world.

I finally found it one day at work a coworker mentioned, after hearing me talk about what I was looking for that he had a camper like what I had described sitting on his farm out in the woods. He never mentioned it before because he had no idea I was looking for something so small. I told him I would buy it without even seeing it. Four days later I was at his place and after a little work I had my new (to me) camper. I will leave that first days experience to another blog as explaining what came out of that woods being pulled behind my coworkers tractor is a story in itself.

So now 10 months later here I sit…eagerly awaiting next week. Next week I finally hook up my little camper that my boys and I have lovingly named “The Escape Pod”.  Why Escape Pod? Well because she reminds me of just that..an escape pod from any number of space movies I have watched throughout my life.  The kind that the crew gets into and gets jettisoned out the side of the main ship right before she explodes into a fiery inferno. This escape in turn saving the lives of those on board but more importantly the escape in the pod usually leads to all sorts of new adventures.  There you have it..my “Escape Pod” is born and I hope that she leads us to all sorts of fun and exciting adventures.  I digress…

Why am I eagerly awaiting next week? I am awaiting next week because next week my two boys and I leave for a 3 week adventure into Northern Minnesota, across North Dakota, and then down to South Dakota (with a possible side trip into Wyoming). We are all very excited and have been counting the days for about 6 months now.   This trip is why I have decided to start this blog.  I thought it would be nice to document what adventures we go on and give our friends and family a fun way to keep posted on what we are doing or have done.