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
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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.

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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!

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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. 

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Panorama from the base of the fire tower at Lostwood NWR

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

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

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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?

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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!

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

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The Little Missouri, TRNP-North

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"George" guarding the entrance to the nature trail

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

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

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Wild horses on the range in TRNP-South

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

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

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

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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!