Medora

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So we took a trip to Medora, North Dakota this summer with Dykemas. I have not been there in quite some time and Dykemas wanted to do a little something with us this summer so we decided to meet there and take in the Musical seeing as how they were celebrating 50 Years of the Medora Musical.

Medora sits just on the outside of Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s south entrance. Heather and I have never gone since we’ve been together so we decided to go a little earlier so we can look around the park a bit before we meet up with the rest of the group. Roosevelt happened to come upon this land as he was traveling west and fell in love with it. He even constructed a vacation home here that he would frequent and would eventually make it a National Park.

Being a National Park you have to pay a $20 entry fee into the park and is good for 24 hours. You drive in a little ways, past a camp ground and you start to wind your way up the side of a canyon and come out to this view….

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At this stop we went to take a little stroll through the beaten path. Everyone was afraid we would see rattlesnakes. While there are some here I have never come upon any in my lifetime. But we did have to keep an eye out and we were wearing flip flops so we also had to watch our step
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But the view (and the experience) is always worth it…
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We continued on and found plenty of prairie dogs
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and wild horses.
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These are some of the last of the known wild horses in the world. There is a family from my hometown that is constantly trying to preserve them but I get the feeling that they cannot find the funding they need to continue doing this.

Moving on we continued to stop along the way and found numerous beautiful stops.
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and we continued to try to go on short little hikes in our flip flops.
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Our friends were coming soon so now we had to make a decision. Do we continue through the rest of the park or do we turn around. It felt like we didn’t go very far in the time we had so far but I’ve never been through the whole park before. I say through the whole park because the road does like a 30 mile loop through the southern portion of the park. The park is much bigger but there are no paved roads through the remainder of the south end. The north end of the park is actually way up by Williston so it is an overall fairly sizable state park. Looking at the map of our road, it appears that it straightens out and that we would be able to go much faster than we have so we decided to just continue the loop. We picked up the speed quite a bit and went zipping around curves as it typically is not very busy and we came upon a herd of bison. Or are they buffalo? What’s the difference?
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These were the closest to us. There were many more the opposite direction off in the distance.

So we met up with our friends back in Medora and just looked around the town a bit.
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We went to a pizza shop and ordered pizza to be picked up at a certain time. Dykemas went to check into their hotel and we finished touring a few shops and allowed them to get settled a bit. Then we let the kids swim in the hotel, picked up our pizza, and ate quick. Then it was time to go to the musical already.

You can also show up for a Pitchfork Fondue where they make steak, potatoes, coleslaw and other foods for you to eat before the show.  I have heard mixed reviews on it as I have never done it myself because I have never heard anyone ever say I HAVE to do this once.

So it’s time for the show and you go up this steep hill that thankfully, is now paved.  When I was little it seemed much steeper and it wasn’t paved so you wondered if your car would make it up the hill without spinning gravel and going backwards.

You reach the top and once again the view beautiful.
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and here is a layout of the “Town”
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There is always elk at the top of this hill before the show. They obviously have a feeder up there and the elk know to look for it. Before the show starts, someone on a horse rides up and chases them away.
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And then the show starts
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They called up all the kids onto the stage to take a photo and they were going to put it in their time capsule that they were going to bury and dig it up again in 50 years. The guy trying to take the picture struggled so I question whether all the kids actually made it on the picture.
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I actually sort of know this girl. She is on a board that I am on.
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Then they open up the “back” of the stage and you can see the hill behind and they do some sort of production that involves actors riding on the hill.
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And the short, fireworks finale.
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Here is multi-talented Misti Koop and my girls.
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By the time we left it was after 11pm (Mountain Time) and we had to drive back to Bismarck yet so crossed a time zone again along the way back into Central Time. It was after 1am by the time we got to my mom’s house.

It was a good time and I would suggest that anyone who wants to come to visit North Dakota stop out west to Medora. Years ago on a flight into Bismarck a couple sitting behind me said this is their 50th and final state they are visiting. They were there just for 24 hours and asked what they should do. I told them to rent a car and drive out west that they would be surprised. I also like to tell the story of driving down the interstate and a car with California plates suddenly pulled off the side of the road to take pictures of the Painted Canyon. I don’t think they expected to see such a beautiful landscape in North Dakota.

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