Theodore Roosevelt National Park -Watford City, N.D.

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 We arrived at Theodore Roosevelt National Park- North on Thursday, Aug 18th.Traveling north on Hwy 85 from 94 we had 61 miles of 2 lane highway and not a town to be seen.When we got to the park we weren’t charged the entry fee because the 14 mile loop going through the park was closed at mile 6 because of a mudslide.It was disappointing that we couldn’t drive the loop. The campground was at mile 5 in the park so we decided to take our bicycles and see how much of the loop we could cover.We neglected to think about what we were doing.This loop was going up to a summit that overlooked the park.

Needless to say we didn’t make it very far on our bikes.We would walk a little, ride a little.We maybe made it 2 miles passed the road closure.It was fun coming back – all downhill.We did bike by a bull buffalo sitting about 50 yards off the road.It was a little scary riding passed him.

The campground was nice but most sites were close together and small. We were trying to maneuver our 5th wheel into a site and decided to stop and walk around first.Through this taking just a little more time we found a beautiful spot that was overlooking the grasslands with the North Dakota Black Hills as a backdrop.It was so peaceful and quiet.Weather was perfect and we had a wonderful surprise the morning we were leaving.As we were packing up a large herd of buffalo decided to visit us.

Joe was just walking out the door and yelled look at this.We had buffalo surrounding our RV. I think we could have reached out and touch some.There is a sign when you enter the park that says the buffalo are dangerous so no reaching out.We stayed safely in the RV and snapped pictures and watched. They are magnificent animals. They didn’t hang around very long but just as we were going to hook-up the 5th wheel a second herd came through.It was a perfect ending for such a beautiful setting.

Watford City – During our first night at the park one of our dogs had a mishap which caused us to find a laundromat the next day. Watford City was the closest town 14 miles north.Were we in for an eye-opener.It was slow going to the town because of the roads and one semi after another.Then as we approached the town we came across little groups of campers parked together in fields and then there were more and more of these groups getting larger and larger.As we came to the outskirts of the town there were cities of campers and construction trailers.We stopped at the visitor’s center to find the location of the laundromat and asked what was going on.It was one of North Dakota’s largest oil booming towns.We really got an education from the person in the tourist building.The town went from about 1500 people to between 3500 and 4000 people with no place for the workers to live and not enough workers to hire. She said these “man” villages pop up with men coming from all over the country.Some men brought their families which cause a strain on the school system.Traffic was terrible in town and everything was so expensive.There is no land to purchase, no apartments to rent and we saw no houses for sale.But the biggest things we noticed were the terrible oil smell in the air and everything was so dirty.After spending a couple of hours there neither Joe nor I could get the terrible oil taste out of our mouths.We were happy to get back to the park and again thanked God for blessing us.

Wyoming here we come!