Day Trip: Theodore Roosevelt National Park-North Unit


Yesterday we got in the car with another couple and drove from Minot all the way down to Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s North Unit. Not only was it a good time spent with good folks, but the 2 1/2 trip to get there was worth it just for the privilege of driving through. The landscape is so pristine in places it looks like humans haven’t touched it at all.

Once we paid the fee to get in the park, we got onto the road heading in and we’re stopped by two bison just standing in the road. I swear they were messing with us and all of the of the other vehicles parked in front of and behind them. They’d take a few steps and then just look around and stand there.

At some point one of them sauntered off the road, but the other one took his sweet time before following his buddy. It was about 15 minutes waiting until we were able to move forward.

I took so many pictures and videos, but I won’t put them all here. I want you to come to North Dakota and see it for yourself. Just looking at the picture doesn’t give you the actual feel of the grandeur of the place, you certainly can’t smell the sage that grows prolifically there (OMG it smelled so good!), and I just can’t adequately communicate the weight of the history of the place. It just oozes with it. As it turns out, this is the northern end of the Badlands, the beginning of one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Wishing you all safety and relaxation in these uncertain times. Blessings all!

Feeling grateful in the middle of the apocalypse


I haven’t blogged since last Saturday, and in just 7 days the amount of COVID-19 cases jumped from 26 to 94

All at once I feel terrified and grateful in the same space.

I feel terrified for a whole host of reasons, the first of which is that we are just in the beginning of this thing in ND, and it already feels like it will eat us whole.

How could I be grateful in times like these? Easy… so many reasons.

I’ve said as much before, but living in a rural area helps. Folks living in urban areas are struggling the worst, for obvious reasons.

My parents are still healthy as of this writing. As far as I know my whole family, as well as The Flirt and his family, are virus free. I hope it stays that way, but one of us is bound to come down with it.

The weather has been good. Yesterday it was at least 60 degrees in ND, which is definitely shorts and t-shirts weather. We ran a quick errand to the pharmacy and then spent a few hours outside doing chores. It was nice to open all the windows and get fresh air in the house.

A drive in the country does a world of good for folks who have been cooped up at home. We did that a few days ago, and it was fabulous.

I am still at both of my jobs, so I don’t worry that I won’t be able to afford to live for the time being. I just have to be extra careful to make sure to wash my hands at every turn, and don’t touch my face. The Flirt is also still working, so financially we are ok for now.

Our our elected officials, Republicans and Democrats, have finally decided to work together, rather than continue to be at odds with each other. I hope this continues.

Communities are pulling together in ways they didn’t conceive of before. It’s wonderful to see, and I hope that continues as well.

I could go on and on, but you get the point. There’s a lot to be grateful for if you pay attention.

Today I’m sitting in my living room with the morning light streaming in, wrapped up in a prayer shawl that was given to me by a dear friend when I just found out I was getting divorced. I’ve been so grateful for this gift not only because it’s like having a portable hug, but it’s a reminder that it has seen me through a lot of ups and downs, and it will see me through this too.

Here’s hoping that you are all well, Faithful Readers. Blessings, all!

Don’t take simple joys for granted


I was so grateful to check out of work yesterday, I can’t even describe it. It was a long scary week, and the worst thing about that is that it hasn’t even become as scary in ND as it has elsewhere. However, the stuff is hitting the fan here too, and our COVID-19 cases went from 1 to 26 in a few days. I expect that they will at least double by the end of next week.

Measures have been taken to try to staunch the spread of the virus here, but there were some who came back from traveling out of state who were unknowingly infected, and it has started to spread.

My first thought is that I am so grateful to live in a rural state where we aren’t all packed in like sardines. Even here, we are practicing social distancing, and most businesses are closed or just allowing curbside pick up or drive through at this time. Schools are closed, bars are closed, events and weddings are canceled, but it’s better than people getting sick and dying.

It won’t be long before our Governor declares a state of emergency and makes everyone but essential personnel go home for two weeks. It will probably save us, and I have a boatload of home projects I can do to keep busy when the time comes. Still, it will be a long stretch at home.

With that in mind, I’m going grocery shopping today. I have plenty of toilet paper already, because I like to be stocked up on that anyway, but there are some other things we need.

The Flirt went grocery shopping the other day, and picked up enough for the week. I’m going to get some pantry staples today, and some extra meat for the freezer. Pieces and parts, really, that we can put away and use for the time when we are stuck at home.

I want to get some meds too. I read an article talking about how people aren’t stocked up on things like Tylenol, or other basic necessities. That’s also part of the plan today. Just the basics. We’ll see what’s left on the shelves.

I’m currently sitting in the parking lot at the Scandinavian Heritage Park, sipping coffee and thinking about days when I had lunches here with my friend and ran my toes in the soft grass under the picnic table. I miss my friend, and I miss the grass. Simple joys like that are the best things, and something I won’t take for granted again.

Well, time to get on with my shopping, and get going with my day. I hope this note finds all of you safe and well. Blessings all!

Getting out the vote


Today is Primary Day in North Dakota, and there’s a long line outside the polling place after work.

I’m hoping that the line goes quickly, but I don’t think I’m leaving if it doesn’t. Thank goodness it’s an unseasonably warm March day because the line wraps outside and around the corner. It’s a good excuse to get some fresh air and enjoy the beautiful blue sky. It’s a balmy 46 degrees out!!

I just heard someone who came out of the building say it has been this busy all day. He did say that this is the only polling place in Minot, so there’s that. It’s my hope that there are so many they will be forced to open more next time around.

This year’s presidential election is so important that I want to make sure to do my part.

Faithful Readers, I implore you to get out and vote wherever you are, if you haven’t already. We deserve the government we elect. Blessings all!

Girl’s Trip Day 4 – home!


We got up early, threw clothes on, packed up and headed downstairs to check out. I managed to grab some shots if the skyline from our room, and someone said, “hey, there’s a dinosaur!”

Well, I’ll be darned, there sure was! Faithful Readers, can you see it?

Downtown Rapid city from above is kind of clunky looking, unless you take special notice of the art in the alley ways. There’s some interesting art if you look close enough. The street corners are populated with statues, and some of them have scarves or hats on them, just in case somebody might need one to stay warm.

While waiting for the valet to bring the van around, we got coffee. Thank goodness the Alex Johnson Hotel has a Starbucks in it!

Having packed the van up with all of our luggage once more, we headed out to Spearfish to pick up Party Girl’s son, Skater Dude from her younger brother’s house. The weather was crappy, and I have to give big props to The Librarian for keeping her cool and getting us to Spearfish safely. It took a little longer because of the snow and slush, but we made it just fine.

Having arrived, we stopped in to visit, and ate some amazing bacon Party Girl’s younger brother fried up. We all gasped and hollered at him for pouring hot grease down the drain. Holy cow… hopefully he doesn’t do that too often, or they will have a big plumbing disaster sometime down the road.

Hugs all around, we collected Skater Dude and hit the road. The bad weather simmered down, and it was smooth sailing on the way to Dickenson.

Three hours later, we dropped Skater Dude off at his apartment, and we went to eat lunch. We managed to find a restaurant called Players, and the food was so good! If you find yourself in Dickenson, make sure stop there for a meal.

The rest of the trip home was pretty mundane. We chatted, and I crocheted. By the time we reached our old home town, it was almost dark. I drove home and made it home by 8pm.

It’s good to be home but I had a really great time, and I’m so glad to have had the time to spend with this very special group of ladies. It was the trip away from work and home I’ve been needing for years.

Word has it that we might be planning a girl’s trip next year for Vegas. One can only hope!

If you can, take the trip, see the countryside, go somewhere new. Most of all, spend time catching up with people who mean the world to you. Life’s too short not to. Blessings all!

Winter wonderland, and the best answer ever


The run up to Christmas is always so busy, and this year was no different. I am always so grateful when we get to Christmas Day when all that steam finally gets let out of the kettle, and then life slows down again.

This Christmas we ate at a local Chinese restaurant, just like we do every year. The food was great, and it was a relaxing time with The Flirt and what few family members I have left in the area.

Afterward the Flirt and I went for a drive around Lake Audubon, just to check out the ice and see if anyone is catching anything.

The drive down was lovely because fog had left hoar frost on everything, and of course I couldn’t help but take pictures.

I complain a lot about winter, but I can’t imagine not having a beautiful winter landscape this time of year. Christmas without snow would be too strange. This is the right amount of winter. Any more than what you see here is just overkill.

Speaking of ice fishing, the Flirt packed up the truck with all of the gear and went to scout out a local lake this morning. He tried to get me to go along, but as much as I like to ice fishing I just needed to sit in the quiet with a nice cup of tea for awhile. I wanted to read some blogs, and write as well. And, there’s always that pesky housework that needs doing. We will see how much housework gets done, but I definitely had to make time to blog. 😊

Anyway, I’m the way out the door, he was ticking off the few things he needed to pick up on the way to the lake. And he forgot something he definitely would need. When I said, “what’s the one thing you need to take with you?”, I was thinking to remind him to pick up bait but he said, “My girlfriend”. Best. Answer. Ever. ❤️

Well, as much as I loved that he wanted me to go along, I still needed some time alone. New Years Day is a definite yes for fishing.

Here’s wishing you all a very happy holiday season. Blessings all!

Today’s self care moment


I had extra time this morning, so I stopped at one of my favorite local shops, Minot Daily Bread, picked up a scone and a coffee, and took them to Scandinavian Heritage Park.

It’s so quiet here, even with the traffic from Broadway, and the pine trees smell so good. It feels great to sit here and sip my amazing blackberry lavender mocha, and just breathe. This is what self care looks like for me today.

This is a place I used to come to a lot, and I think I’m going to start coming here more often. It’s especially nice on cool mornings like this, and it’s big enough I could come walking here. What a lovely local resource. ❤️

What does self care look like for you today? Here’s hoping you all can take a few minutes for yourself to recharge. Life is too short not to. Blessings all!

Thoughts from the back of a motorcycle


Tonight we went on a motorcycle ride along with some other folks.

My Flirt’s new bike (new to him, 2012 Harley CVO) doesn’t have a radio, so there’s not much to keep your mind busy other than your own thoughts. That’s ok…it’s a nice chance to let things filter through. It’s no wonder he rides for hours when he’s had a bad day, or just needs the space to work things out on this head.

We had a nice trip from Minot to Kramer, and then through Dunseith, down through Rugby, and back to Minot. Several thoughts rolled through my head during this trip:

  1. I love North Dakota. So many people come through here and whine because it’s too flat, not enough of what they want to do, not enough people, blah, blah, blah. It’s beautiful year round, and bursting full of nice people, and there is ALWAYS something to do. It’s a good place to live, and a great place to explore on a motorcycle.
  2. My backside just wasn’t built to ride all day. His either, it turns out. We were both hurting by the time we got back home. I’m not a “ride or die” chick, I’m a short trip gal, and that’s ok.
  3. I really love this time of year. Everything is ripening, and farmers are already starting to get harvest under way. My favorites are blue flax and sunflower fields. Yellow flowered Canola fields are beautiful too, but wow do they stink. Pew!
  4. Something no biker, or rider, likes to see is storm clouds. Riding in rain is no fun. We’ve been caught in heavy rain and hail, and that sucked badly. We kept an eye on the radar, and were able to make it home without getting wet this time. Whew!
  5. The Flirt is always telling me how great it would be if I got a bike too. Could I ride my own? Sure, I could learn how and get a license. Do I want the debt from buying a motorcycle? No. I don’t even have a garage to put one in.
  6. We meet a lot of interesting people while out on a ride. When stopped to take a break in Rugby, we met this elderly guy who told us everything about him but his name. He was quite a storyteller, and I was glad to have crossed paths with him.
  7. I love to take pictures from the back seat. Tonight’s clouds were beautiful. The storms missed us, and the setting sun glowing on the back side of the storm clouds was stunning. My crappy iPhone camera just can’t do it justice.
  8. Pro tip: wear your helmet. Better yet, spend the money on a good one with a visor. The bugs are hard and juicy all at the same time, and you don’t want that on your face. I made the mistake of leaving my visor up, and took a hard bug to the nose. That hurt, but thank goodness I didn’t get it in my eye. Regular bugs are one thing, but bees and dragon flies are a whole other level of pain. Seriously, just wear a helmet. If not to save your face from the bugs, then at least to save your brain if you have an accident.

Here’s hoping you all have the opportunity to go for a drive in the country, whether driving a car, a motorcycle, or bike. It’s peaceful, and relaxing. Blessings all!

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