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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Travel Tuesdays: North Dakota Days 1 & 2

I've started a new feature called Travel Tuesdays. Each week I'll post photos, recommendations, or sample itineraries for trips I've taken or am planning to take. You can see past posts here

A Fargo landmark 
Alex and I went to North Dakota June 5–9 to cross off my 49th state. I've blogged about a few suggested activities during a Friday Five, but I thought I'd share some photos and our loose itinerary.

Day 1: Friday, June 5
We had an early morning flight to Fargo with a breakfast stop in Chicago. Upon arrival, we grabbed our rental car, walked around downtown Fargo, and ate and drank at Wurst Bier Hall (amazing). We ordered the NoDak flight (North Dakota beers) and a Bahn Mi brat. (Spoiler alert: it was so good we went back when we returned to Fargo the following Tuesday).

NoDak flight at  Wurst Bier Hall 
After lunch we started the three hour drive to Bismarck with a stop in Jamestown to see the World's Largest Buffalo. [Pro tip: go to the bathroom in Fargo, otherwise you'll have to wait until Jamestown. There are so many exits marked "No Service" between Fargo and Jamestown.] After we checked into our Bismarck hotel (free chocolate chip cookies in the lobby!) we ate dinner at Oahu Hawaiian BBQ & Sushi Bar. Then it was time for cable TV and sleep.  

Worlds Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND
Day 2: Saturday, June 6
We had breakfast at the hotel, then stopped at the Bismarck Mall. Yep. We needed a fuel canister for the camp stove (not allowed on the plane) and TripAdvisor said the mall is one of the top destinations in Bismarck. It's a sleepy town. By the way, we went to Scheels and it was amazing. After the mall we began the two hour drive to Medora. We stopped to drink a local beer at TR's Tavern, wandered into a gift shop or two, then entered Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

The first Badlands overlook just before entering Medora.
We stopped at the park's visitor center and talked to a helpful ranger before filling out the paperwork for a camping permit. Turns out there'd been a lot of rain and our planned destination was a bit soggy, so we went with her trail suggestion. We loaded up on water, used an indoor bathroom one last time, then started the drive along the scenic loop road. We stopped a few times for photos and mini-hikes.

So many prairie dogs!

Buck Hill Overlook

We eventually parked at the Upper Talkington Trailhead, strapped on our gear, and began to hike. After a few miles we found a great spot to set up camp. By the way, we forgot bug spray and I wasn't wearing long pants, so I got eaten alive.   

Alex at the trailhead - he was trying to keep from burning ha
Hiking to camp.
Our campsite. The dome is the tent. I'm the blue thing.
View from our tent
While we were winding down we noticed three bright lights in the sky. Very high up and they never moved! It was extremely creepy because they didn't look like planets or stars due to their size and proximity. I'm still convinced it was a UFO...  

That's all for Day 1 and 2. Action packed! By this point we were realizing while North Dakota is a calm and quiet state, it has plenty of gorgeous scenery! Plus, the people were extremely friendly. Days 3, 4, and 5 to come... 

Where was your last trip? 
What is your next vacation? 

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