Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So a day after the last post, the rope was replaced at the Medora weather station. Keep in mind that this has been missing for a few weeks. Coincidence? I think not. Just doing our public service for Medora!

(today was fair with a little wind)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Medora, Medora, by the heavens blest?

Medora has been our home for the last three months, and we've come to discover that tourist towns are meant to be visited, not lived in. As employees, we live in the same dorm, eat at the same three places, work together and generally occupy the 4x6 grid of blocks that make up this town. We all know each other just a little too well, nothing goes unnoticed. Not even our blogs are a secret connection to the outside world, they are googleable and plenty of people in town read them (hey guys!).

This town does have it's charm though, it's charm and it's quirks and it's weird little moments that may or not be noticed by the visitor just passing through. Abby and I needed to be reminded of the good, share the bad, and embrace the weird, so here are a few random things about this town:

1. There has been a thief in town for quite some time.

2. Did you know that there is an oil boom in North Dakota right now? Well there is, and all the hotels are filled with oil workers. If you plan on driving through North Dakota on your way to somewhere else, or you plan to vacation here, you better call way ahead and make reservations, or you will not find a hotel with open rooms. Weird? yes.

3. We have 3 hotels in town, the Rough Riders (which is very very nice) the Badlands, which is your average motel. And then there is the Bunkhouse. It looks like a bunch of portable class rooms split up into 8 rooms each. They were built for the last oil boom, and well...

4. Medora has a queen. her name is Shelia. Whenever she comes to the Musical they announce that the queen of Medora is there and stands and does a cute little wave.

5. Our mayor wears knee high boots, a white button up shirt, and a trench coat for everyday life. Also his hair is epic. This photo is from the 4th of july parade, but it's not too far off from regular life.

6. Motorcyclists love Medora. Mostly really old ones with trike things.

7. There is a train that drives around the streets of Medora and gives tours. It's called "lil smokey" and quite fittingly, it smokes terribly the majority of the time. It quite popular too. But really, a train in the middle of the street? It doesn't help with the tourists inability to drive.

8. If you see the police pulled over talking to someone, there is no way of discerning if they are just chatting or if there is something going down. There are 3 cops in town and everyone knows all of them.

9. The boys dorm used to be a stable, and most of them don't have windows in their tiny rooms.

10. During the day, the town is a bustling hub of activity. Around 8:00, everything shuts down, most people go up to the musical and it becomes somewhat akin to a ghost town.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On the street: Motorcycle Mutt

What does one do when one wants to take their dog with them on vacation but they also want to drive their motorcycle?

This man knows the answer!

It's a little difficult to see in the photo, but there a motorcycle pulling a trailer with a dog seat/enclosure made of plywood screwed to the top. It appears to a chocolate lab, and it's just sitting in it's little compartment, enjoying the breeze!

close up:

Gotta love Medora. In all its weird glory.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

birthday extravaganza!

July 11th was my 21st birthday, and we celebrated Medora style.

Abby, Sarah, Mary and I all had off of work, although Sarah still had to be in the magic show, since she is the lovely assistant after all. Abby, Mary and I went to watch her at the Comedy Corner, since none of us had ever been. It was quite the experience. Sarah was only in one illusion for the show we went to, but she did a fantastic job climbing out of that magic box! We'll have to do a post about Comedy corner on NDICA because it would take too long to explain the joy that comedy corner is in this post.

While waiting for Sarah to finish her second magic show of the day, we shopped around town, got some ice cream and set up an appointment for Todd's Old Time Photo's. It was my 21st, so, naturally, we had to be saloon girls. It was hilarious, Todd is crazy.

At one point during the musical every night, Buffalo Dale announces birthdays and tour groups and like who are in the audience. We thought that would be an entertaining moment, and we have connections with Marilyn, the piano player and leader of the Coal Diggers and her husband, who happens to be Theodore Roosevelt, so kindly asked Dale to announce my birthday. It was a very full show that night, but they very rarely sell the front row, so we sat there. Marilyn came out before the show started to get set up, and when she saw that were sitting right by the band, she handed me a gift from on stage, which was pretty awesome. We waited for the announcements, but as Marilyn later told me, they claimed it wasn't a milestone so they wouldn't announce it. Since when is 21 not a milestone? Lame. We stayed though intermission, and it's always fun to watch the show from the front row, so even though they wouldn't announce my birthday, it was still pretty great. However, I later learned that David, aka Teddy Roosevelt, didn't know we left at intermission, and during the bows at the end when they introduced him he shouted "Happy Birthday Emily!" I'm so sad I wasn't there the hear it, but thanks anyway David! It made my day when i found out.

After intermission we drove to the Applebee's in Dickenson because there is no where in town that is open that late that people under 21 can go to. Then we watched some episodes of 21 Jumpstreet because who doesn't love 21 Jumpstreet?

The next day Abby, Sarah, and I all had off and we decided to make the 2 hour drive to Bismarck to do some shopping at get out of Medora for a while. We went to Goodwill and TJ Maxx. Living it up! We also got Qdoba, which may be the first time we've had food that isn't deep fried all summer.

That didn't last long though, because Mary, Abby, Zach and I decided to use our one free Pitchfork Fondue ticket that night. It's literally steak on a pitchfork deep fried in a 55 gallon drum full of oil. And fruit, vegetables, cole slaw, potatoes, garlic bread and beans. It started raining, but we got a sweet rainbow out of the deal. More on that experience later, it too deserves it's own post.

yup. so pretty much the best birthday ever.

Friday, July 9, 2010

the badlands, the blue skies.

Just a reminder, this is where we live.

horses run wild,

bison control the road,

the views are epic.
and we love it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th fireworks

Medora knows how to do the Fourth of July. It's a weekend full of festivities, parades, shootouts, and of course, the musical. The most impressive of these of these was the fireworks. I've seen quite a few firework shows in my life, and these take the cake by far.

The fireworks start around 11:15, after everyone has had a chance to get down from the amphitheater hill after the musical, and they are shot off from behind the main office, which backs up to the buttes on the edge of town. Sheila Schafer's (the queen of Medora) house is directly across the street from the office, and all the employees watch the show from her front lawn. They were directly above us and you could feel them through your body reverberating off the cliffs.

you can see the main office and the butte in the background, they were so close!

Sheila also handed out free ice cream bars, which makes it just that much better. After the fireworks ended and every one had cheered for them, the crowd began shouting "Thank you Shelia" in unison. What a nice bonding moment for the TRMF employees and friends!

grand finale!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the little missouri: an adventure

Well, friends, we are slowly but surely beginning to experience the things you do when you live in North Dakota.

Apparently one of them is go swimming in the Little Missouri river. This is the last thing you would think of doing when you see the little missouri, as it is probably one of the muddiest rivers on record. And then our friends told us they were going to take us to the spot with the best mud pits. how fun!

It is truly beautiful, however, and it was a perfect day with blue skies and sunshine, inspiring a round or two of "the badlands, the blue skies, the shining west" which we learned in our excessive Medora Musical viewings.

We drove to the swimming location first on a paved road out past the Bully Pulpit Golf Course, then on a gravel road which then turned into a 2 track with 2 foot tall weeds ending up in a field in the middle of nowhere.

The river was quite flooded from all the rainstorms we've been getting lately, so much so that the mud pits were covered. Oh darn. It's a rocky river, full of excellent skipping stones and shale as well as an object which was probably a half rotted bone of some wild animal. Good times in the badlands!