Theodore Roosevelt Delivers

Teddy Roosevelt National Park

After awhile we began to lose hope. Mile after mile, hour after hour, we drove past boringly similar landscapes: more hay bales here, another farm there – hey look, a cow! We started to believe the stunning western vistas we’ve seen photographed so frequently were nothing more than a hoax. We traveled clear across North Dakota, nearly to Montana, and . . . “Holy Shit!”

It happened just that fast. One moment we were considering the virtues of yet another grassy hill, the next we’re catching a flash of the rough and rugged landscape of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our first glimpse of Painted Canyon elicited that exact exclamation from both of us.

One of the things that surprised us most is how green the park was. We had expected brown, arid plains but instead found brilliant shades of moss and sage that reminded us, if only slightly, of the Emerald Isle. Once again, we count ourselves fortunate. Rainfall at the park was four times above average. This lush foliage isn’t typical. It seems as if Teddy Roosevelt dressed up special for our arrival. We’re deeply honored.

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11 Comments on “Theodore Roosevelt Delivers”

  1. wyominglife October 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    I like the blog, I’ll be checking back!

    I know the long drives with seemingly monotonous scenery can be a bit mind numbing, but driving through the prairie and experiencing the prairie are very different things. If you ever get the chance, take a few days and spend them camping in those very wide open spaces. There is something unique about simply being out in such space. It takes a few days to sink in. The quiet.

    Most people don’t think about camping out on the prairie where the sound of wind and birds may be the only thing you hear for days. There are very few places left where that is the case.

    As one pioneer said, “It’s all earth and sky.”


    • Brian October 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, and the perspective. I imagine you’re right. I’ve generally found most things to be richer than first impressions suggest once immersed in them. We’ll definitely put this to the test by scheduling some quality time with the prairie.


  2. Atari October 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    I know from experience how incredibly boring the road can be (check out my post today, The Great American Road Trip), but your post really reinforces the whole thrill of discovery that attracts people like us to the open road. Gorgeous photo, by the way! I look forward to more adventures!

    May the road rise to meet your feet….


    • Brian October 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

      We’ve traveled through a lot of what we call “Everywhere USA” – the kind of unremarkable place that could be in any state in the union. The amazing thing, though, is how often we find incredible places right around the corner from “everywhere.” It is indeed what makes this kind of exploration worthwhile.

      Nice video, btw. I kept waiting to see if you’d lose your hat to the wind.


  3. lara dunston October 15, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    I rarely read Nomadic Matt’s site as I’m no longer a backpacker, but I saw his post on apartment rentals and was intrigued, as slow travel, and staying in apartments over hotels is a focus of what we do on Grantourismo. I’m so glad I did as I saw your comment about apartments and clicked through to your site – I just love these photos of yours, guys, and having spent years travelling around Australia in a caravan with my family, I’m a huge fan of road trips. You’re also covering destinations I’ve never been, so I’m going to enjoy combing through your site now. Love the bison pic too!


    • Brian October 15, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Hi Lara, thanks for stopping by. I’m so glad you like the site. We’re big fans of Grantourismo, btw.

      Covering the U.S. indepth is one thing I think a lot of RTW travelers tend to miss. We often don’t think of our own country as a sexy or exotic travel destination, which is too bad. There is so much here to see. And as you know, developed destinations like the U.S. are also pricier than the traditional backpacker haunts so they get skipped. Apartment rentals, peer-to-peer hotels, couch surfing, and of course, RVing, can all be inexpensive ways to canvas places like the US. We’re having a blast with it.

      Thanks for following along,


  4. Andra Watkins October 16, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to see this park, with TR being my favorite President. Your blog is NOT helping me!! 🙂


    • Brian October 17, 2011 at 8:18 am #

      If this blog is about one thing, it’s about getting out and doing stuff. Make a plan to go see Teddy. Why wait?


  5. Julie McNamee October 19, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    We recently did our first road trip in the US and now I’m hooked. There is so much to see in this world and just not enough opportunity to do it. I’ve loving reading your blog and the landscapes and features you’re seeing are just remarkable. Many thanks and can I come with you? ;o)


    • Brian October 19, 2011 at 8:43 am #

      The world is absolutely huge. We could do this for the rest of our lives and never get everywhere.

      And yes, you can come with. We’re encouraging everyone to get on board. Get an inexpensive pop-up trailer and hit the road. No excuses!



  1. Badlands National Park, SD | Everywhere Once - November 4, 2011

    […] we found the scenery of Theodore Roosevelt National Park stunning, and we did, it was just a warm-up for what we encountered in South Dakota’s […]


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