June 12, 2018 — Rest day
We’ve already ridden more than 375 miles on our bikes, but now it’s time to stretch our legs in a different way.
We had our breakfast at the Farmhouse Café with the same Macedonian waiter who waited on us for lunch the day before. Like all help around the United States’ national parks, it’s fun to spot the nametags of where all the serving staff, desk clerks, housekeeping and store clerks are from. We had a wonderful spinner of tales from a Southern state at the Ferris Store. We had a very attentive young woman from South Africa for our server that night at the Theodore Restaurant in the Rough Rider Hotel (celebrating Kathy’s birthday).
It’s this hotel and the nearby Ferris Store that got this place up and running. That’s when Harold Schafer – the man who brought us Mr. Bubbles — bought these two places in 1962 and started putting together the village that helps support the national park, bringing the good times out to the Badlands, aways from much else.
Now we are four, with Don flown in from Cincinnati. We drove the truck on the 36-mile loop that goes through the southern portion of park. Saw bison, wild horse and many, many prairie dogs.
We stopped at Jones Creek trail head and had a nice picnic out of the back of the truck before our three-mile hike. We were warned by a trekker coming off the trail to watch out for ticks, which he was shredding from his back. We made it through with no bloodsuckers that needed to be glad to get out of our skins.
We didn’t go to the “rootin, shootin” Medora Western Musical, see an impersonator tell Theodore Roosevelt’s story here or eat at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue restaurant. We didn’t stop at some of the old cabins and other structures that were here when TR made this his way of growing up and then putting it back together after his wife and mother died on the same day.
It’s the kind of remote (where did this landscape come from?) setting that makes a human admit he needs to make it on the land by himself without too much help from the dry, uneven earth around him.
But it is beautiful, and I hope the faux TRs don’t give it away.
From the mission statement of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation:
“PRESENT opportunities for our guests to be educated and inspired through interpretive programs, museums and attractions that focus on the Old West, our patriotic heritage and the life of Theodore Roosevelt in the Badlands.”