NORTH DAKOTA ~ May 2004
69,000 sq. mi, 660,000 people, 69,000,000 ducks and 2 Bogers from NY (and four friends)

Click link for full text version: ND2004 Text Page
ND2004-map.jpg (179607 bytes)

Our Route - looks a bit like a hummingbird facing east with a bent beak, don't it? Ok, have a few beers and look again.

20040514-WatersofDancingSky.jpg (40609 bytes)

Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway - Karlstadt MN. We assume "dancing skies" refers to the Northern Lights, but for us, the skies were dancing with birds!

20040515-WindRows.jpg (54793 bytes)

Windblown windbreaks, NE ND. The WIND is the essence of the prairie, but it is sooo hard to capture on film, and even harder to avoid. 

20040516-CarburyReservoir&OldHouse.jpg (44711 bytes)

Southern end of Carbury Reservoir with abandoned house in background - somebody's dream turned nightmare, maybe a relict of the Dust Bowl Days. 

20040516-NDPanorama.jpg (49928 bytes)

ND panorama from ND-14 between Carbury and Salyer NWR. The wide-open spaces are sooo hard to capture on film.

20040517-CarburyReservoir&Pelicans.jpg (33255 bytes)

Carbury Reservoir on the morning of the second day - pelicans lolling in the middle of the reservoir, Bogers lolling around in RVan.

20040517-PelicansUpperSouris.jpg (88188 bytes)

Pelicans on Upper Souris NWR reservoir - they don't nest here, they just come to 'loaf'.

20040517-WesternGrebeUpperSouris.jpg (39307 bytes)

Western Grebes (Upper Souris NWR) are the Fred Astaires of the bird world. We only saw them dance briefly. Unlike Ginger Rogers, female grebes don't have to do everything Fred does, only backwards and in high heels, they make all the same moves as the male, at least until the 'dancing' is over and nesting begins.

20040518-CoteauLostWoodNWR.jpg (162028 bytes)

Panorama from the base of the fire tower at Lostwood NWR

20040518-BikingLostWoodNWR.jpg (50772 bytes)

Janie biking down the side road in Lostwood  NWR, near the spot where we saw the "dancing sparrows".

20040518-JanieLostWoodNWR.jpg (68322 bytes)

Janie, biker chick, in the afternoon sun at our late lunch stop

20040519-RVanTiogaDam.jpg (67273 bytes)

RVan off the road at Tioga Dam Recreational Area - just a little two hour/$50 side adventure ;-) Thank you, Amber from AAA, for finding a dealer who would come and pull us out. The first guy said the last time he tried to pull someone out of this mud, he got stuck himself. When we asked our "hero" with the 4x4 truck how much it was worth to him, he said, "A case of beer". Wonder what a case of beer costs in North Dakota?

20040519-BeaverTree.jpg (129342 bytes)

Teddy Roosevelt NP North Unit - the largest beaver-felled tree we ever saw, it had to be at least two feet in diameter. Maybe it was a giant Pleistocene Beaver!

20040520-BuffaloTRNPN.jpg (81229 bytes)

Two of our biking companions along the road in TRNP-North

20040520-LittleMoTRNPN.jpg (73476 bytes)

The Little Missouri, TRNP-North

20040521-GeorgeDown.jpg (111514 bytes)

"George" guarding the entrance to the nature trail

20040521-George2.jpg (109468 bytes)

Two views of "George" - note the worn horn. Hope it wasn't worn down from goring innocent bystanders like us.

20040521-Coyote.jpg (133858 bytes)

Coyote working the prairie dog town. It should have been easy hunting for them, but they seem to have already had breakfast that day.

20040521-Horses.jpg (63690 bytes)

Wild horses on the range in TRNP-South

20040521-TRNPSouth.jpg (85549 bytes)

TRNP-S vista. Do you see Karen & AJ coming down the road yet?

AJ-open_range.jpg (79539 bytes)

Nope, AJ & Karen are not in sight yet, they are still driving through 'Open Range' country!

20040522-AJKarenJavaJanie.jpg (99390 bytes)

AJ, Karen, Java, Janie, RVan, & AJ's truck with the Flip-Top camper unit. We overheard our ~8-year-old neighbor child telling her parents, "I saw the most interesting thing on the loop today: a truck with a tent on top of it". Poor Java had to be leashed to avoid the wrath of the Storm Trooper Rangers. Buffaloes and dogs may not get along too well.

AJ-mastadon1.jpg (42579 bytes)

Java couldn't be with us on the trail, but AJ was like a dog - meandering off the trail uphill and down valley. On one of his side trips, he found evidence of a Buffalo who wandered too far from the beaten path. Or maybe he encountered a vicious feral dog?

20040523-Owls.jpg (62393 bytes)

Eagle-eyed AJ spotted the 'welcome mat' of droppings below this Great Horned Owl nest.  A pair of young owlets peers out at us while mom or dad lurks in the background. Janie saw the parent feeding the young from what looked like a prairie dog carcass. It seems odd that GHOs should be so active during the day, but they have young to raise, eh? A parent's job is never done.

20040527-BlackTerns.jpg (87487 bytes)

These black terns don't seem to be too active at the moment, but when they take off, man, watch out.

20040527-ShortEaredOwl.jpg (102434 bytes)

The Short-eared owl looked backward and forward and side to side looking at us looking at it. Sometimes we wish we could swivel our heads nearly 360 degrees like owls do.

20040527-RestArea.jpg (179386 bytes)

All that bird-watching tired us out, so we were glad to find Dan Hager's Rest Area! Just after we took the pictures, Dan himself drove up and flagged us down. Last year, someone took the REST AREA sign, but brought it back this spring - biggest crime the Harvey, ND area has experienced in years!

20040528-CandoCampSunset.jpg (38948 bytes)

Sunset over Cando ND ... RVan is in the right foreground. We had a choice of staying in a Walmart parking lot, or driving another hour. Ah, sometimes we Can Do the right thing! Full hookup, heated bath house with showers, and a chance to chat with campground caretaker, Dale Conklin; all for only $13!

20040528-CandoCampSunsetClose.jpg (27539 bytes)

Close up of Cando, ND sunset. Get any better than this? No Can Do!

20040529-Gulls&TernsAgassizNWR.jpg (66300 bytes)

Dancing skies over Agassiz NWR, MN. We told you to watch out when the black terns take off, or just watch!

20040529-RearViewJanie.jpg (43715 bytes)

Bog watching Janie watching the Dancing Skies over Agassiz NWR. Since we can't swivel our heads like owls, we use the wide-angle mirror.

20040530-RiceLakeNWR.jpg (40267 bytes)

Rice Lake NWR, MN on a rainy, windy day. That's rice as in wild rice; which is a grass. The only wild rice we could find for sale was from New Jersey! They must save the Minnesota wild rice for the birds.

20040531-CrexMeadowsBirds&Bloom.jpg (225783 bytes)

Bird & Blooms of Crex Meadows, WI: Common Loon, Prairie Violets, Hoary Puccoon, Lupine

20040531-CrexMeadowsClouds.jpg (52699 bytes)

Rain clouds moving in over Crex Meadows, but the rain held off until we finished our 20 mile bike ride!

20040531-PinePointCampsite.jpg (84637 bytes)

Pine Point County Campground - the view from our front window. The view from the back window was about the same, but no sunset. Ain't nature grand?

20040601-BobJanieBogCharBob.jpg (89178 bytes)

Bob, Janie, Bog, Char, Bob - New York meets Alaska in Wisconsin - ain't symmetry grand? Ain't friendships grand?

20040601-CharBobJanieBogCharBob.jpg (104545 bytes)

Char, Bob, Janie, Bog, Char, Bob - Apparently Bog didn't get the memo that everyone must wear something blue.

20040602-MonroeCoCourtHouse.jpg (64152 bytes)

The Romanesque-style Courthouse in Monroe, WI wears a sky of blue. The Downtown Square wears banners of blue. The Bogers and Wilkinsons were definitely not blue; the bluebirds of happiness were smiling on them.

20040602-CampSwissAire.jpg (134473 bytes)

Boger's Bier Stube in back of the Swiss Aire Motel, New Glarus, WI serves beer and cheese and cheese and beer and beer and cheese and beer.

20040604-MorningStop.jpg (67265 bytes)

A delightful roadside rest in Wisconsin - a turkey strolled along the foreground beach, a deer along the background beach, a goose floated behind the island and ...

20040604-MorningStopCranes.jpg (57377 bytes)

A Sandhill Crane nested on the island while its mate scouted out food sources on the other shore.

20040604-CranesLeighYawkeyWoodsonMuseum.jpg (102872 bytes)

Sandhill Cranes portrayed in bronze at the Leigh Hawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI. These weren't the last cranes we saw on our trip, but they were the last ones who stood still long enough to photograph!