Sunday, October 27, 2019

Little Missouri Saloon and Dining Room - Medora, ND

As we traveled in North Dakota and saw bison in both the North and South Units of Theodore Roosevelt NP, we started thinking about eating bison, something we love. Judy went on-line and looked up the best places to eat bison in North Dakota. Onlyinyourstate gave the seven best places to eat bison in North Dakota, one of which included Pirogue Grille in Bismarck where we'd already eaten and Little Missouri Saloon and Dining Room in Medora which was near Theodore's Dining Room in Medora where we'd also eaten. Trip Advisor gave mixed reviews, including very slow service, but we decided to try it. 
It was quite crowded and it took awhile to get a waiter's attention and a menu. The atmosphere is very old west saloon, including bordello red wallpaper, and money and cowboy hats hanging from the rafters and posts. Also, tv screens with sports going, not so old west, but definitely bar atmosphere. 

I got a couple of appetizers. One was fried pickles and the other was fried jalapenos. Both were very heavily breaded. Neither were great, but the jalapenos were better than the pickles. 
Fried pickles - way too much coating.
Fried jalapenos.
We both ordered bison ribeyes, medium rare. I got onion rings with my ribeye instead of fries and the onion rings were very large and very breaded with a thick coating, much like the two appetizers. 
I thought my ribeye was pretty good, but Judy was much less enthusiastic. Mine was more rare than hers, which I think made a difference. 

Afterwards, I think we both wish we'd gone down the road to Theodore's Dining Room and tried the bison there. The setting is nicer and the food we tried there was of a higher quality. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Theodore's Dining Room - Medora, ND

Medora, North Dakota was founded in 1883 by the Marquis de Mores and named after his wife, Medora von Hoffman. The Marquis built a meat packing plant there and established the town next to the transcontinental railway line so that he could ship refrigerated meat to Chicago. Theodore Roosevelt, age 24, arrived that same year and fell in love with the area. He invested in two ranches, the Maltese Cross, located seven miles south of Medora, and the Elkhorn, 35 miles north of Medora. Later, as president, Theodore Roosevelt visited Medora by train on April 7, 1903 as part of a presidential tour of the west and a short time later the Metropolitan Hotel in town changed its name to the Rough Riders Hotel, to honor President Roosevelt and the local cowboys who served under him during the Spanish-American War. Since 1986, the Rougher Riders Hotel has been owned and operated by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and Medora is now the gateway to the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. 
Theodore's Dining Room was added to the Rough Riders Hotel in 2010. It is the no. 1 restaurant in Medora on Trip Advisor, which is what got us there, and Onlyinyourstate calls the dining room one of the most elegant and fancy in all of North Dakota with a reputation for "top notch food." 
One of the most popular dishes is slow roasted prime rib which is served on weekends. I ordered it and it was the best prime rib I've had in years. It was nicely textured (unlike some of the limp prime rib you seem to get in most restaurants), nicely flavored and a true medium rare (like I ordered). It had decent au jus and horse radish sauce, but didn't really need it. We'd been listening to a book about Teddy Roosevelt in the Badlands and the cattle industry that flourished here (and apparently still does) and this meat did not disappoint. 
I also ordered some baked cauliflower which was pretty good, flavor-wise, but a little too aldente for me (or whatever the corresponding word would be for cauliflower). 
The hotel is beautiful. It has a painting of Roosevelt in the lobby, as well as a library on Roosevelt, and the fireplace in the dining room is made of bricks from the previous capitol building that was torn down to make room for the current capitol building. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Travel - People Photos

I am horrible at people photos. I am generally uncomfortable taking pictures of people I don't know and when I am looking for photos, it usually involves wildlife, food or churches. However, I have taken a few people photos I really like and share those.
This Muslim woman herding goats on the Black Desert near the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Morocco, not too far from Algeria, looks back at me through her niqab. I would love to know her story. A tough life in a harsh land. 
Not too far away from the goat herding woman above, this woman is in her tent on the Black Desert of Morocco, also in a niqab (the face is more covered than with a hijab, but less covered than a burka). Chicken is drying on a line hanging below her roof. 
This coppersmith works on a plate in his shop in the little village of Lahic, Azerbaijan. 
The man standing in the makoro ahead of me is one of our guides in Botswana. Judy sits ahead of him in the bow of the makoro. 
This man, in Marrakech, Morocco, is feeding charcoal into a furnace which is heating water in a bathhouse. A horribly hot job. 
This Mexican man in Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend NP in Texas, has crossed the Rio Grande on his horse illegally to sell trinkets to tourists on the U.S. side of the border. It was during a government shutdown and the border crossing near here was closed. I was walking off the trail and spotted his horse and him coming toward me. I offered him $10.00 to sit on his horse so that I could take his picture. 
This photo was actually taken by my partner, John, at Carnivore, the restaurant, in Nairobi, Kenya. I love the waiter carving a roast with a huge knife. 
From here, the photos aren't as good, or they are of family, which is very different. 
This was our guide on a walking safari in Hwange NP in Zimbabwe. Not a great photo, but it does have significance to me as a very fun adventure I'd looked forward to for some time. Notice he is carrying a rifle. 
Our guide, Sanjay (yellow shirt) in Minneriya NP, Sri Lanka. 
A woman in the Samburu Tribe in northern Kenya. She had actually moved away from the tribe, with their stick huts and dirt floors, but had come back to visit. She was beautifully dressed in native costume. 
Our beautiful and soft-spoken guide, Orlando (the middle woman), in Dunhuang, China. She took us to this outdoor restaurant in the market for dinner. The night before she took us to a restaurant that served donkey meat and camel hump. 
Judy with our guide, Hassan, inside our luxury dining tent in the Erg Chebbi Dunes of Morocco. 
Judy with a salesperson at a shop in Ouarzazate, Morocco. He was one of the most friendly, distinctive people, we met. Of course we purchased some jewelry from him.
Our son, Andrew, with a Barbary macaque on his shoulder in Gibralter. 
Judy, framed in a window in a madrassa in Fez, Morocco. Isn't she beautiful?
Judy in Hezekiah's Tunnel in Jerusalem. 
Judy going down into an underground stable at Beit Lehi, an archaeological dig in Israel. 
Judy holding a northern pig-tailed macaque outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Judy holding a vervet monkey on the Island of St. Kitts, in the Caribbean. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Travel - Landscape Photos

I don't focus on landscape photography, or use landscape photos much in my blog posts, so it is more of a challenge going through my photos to find them. I did come up with about 120 initially that I liked, and I whittled it down to 63. 

Some of my favorites involve animals. In fact, the animal was the reason for the photo and the landscape is secondary. But the combination of animal and beautiful scenery adds interest to the photo.
This is one of my favorites, from Custer State Park in South Dakota. Here, for the first time, I got a sense of what it would have been like to be alive 175 years ago and see the vast herds of bison on the plains. 
Another bison photo, but this time at Antelope Island State Park in the Great Salt Lake, with a view of the Wasatch Front in the background. 
On safari in Minneriya NP in Sri Lanka. Elephants split the vehicles into two and showcase this beautiful green open area and backdrop of jungle. 
Another jungle backdrop, this time with zebras in the foreground, in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. 
Reticulated giraffes, scattered trees and heavy clouds in the desert of Buffalo Springs National Reserve in Kenya. 

By stark contrast, this giraffe, with wildebeest in the background, showcases the endless, desolate pan of Etosha NP in Namibia. 
Shifting gears, a partially visible humpback whale adds interest to a lighthouse in Passamaquoddy Bay near St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada. 
Harbor seals rest on ice in front of the Northwestern Glacier in Kenai Fjords NP in Alaska. 
Steller sea lions find their own niche in rocks on an island in the Gulf of Alaska in Kenai Fjords NP. 
Some of the landscapes are mostly about human made structures, or just include a bit of human made objects to add interest to the photo. 
The Jema el fna in Marrakech, Morocco has got to be one of the most interesting markets in all the world. This photo is from a restaurant over-looking the square in the sweet light of dusk. 
The ancient town of Jerash in Jordan. 
The ancient town of Volubilis in Morocco. The stork and nest in the center add interest and could push it up to the animal and scenery section.  
The ancient hill town of Ait BenHaddou in Morocco with the Atlas Mountains in the background. 
The modern urban suburb of Lehi, Utah. But it is just a prop for the beautiful clouds and white mountain above and behind it. 
The modern town of Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the foreground and partially in the light, against the background of the foreboding and beautiful Organ Mountains. 
A window in the wall of the slave trading Fort St. Anthony, in Axim, Ghana, along the Gold Coast. It frames one of the most beautiful ocean coasts I've ever seen. 
Judy stands on a foundation of an ancient fort built on Sigiriya Rock, in Sri Lanka. The background is of beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers and incredible greenery.  
The sun-drenched town of Ilulissat, Greenland, seems out of place next to the huge icebergs of the Ilulissat Icefjord. One of the most gorgeous settings in the world. 
More incredible icebergs in the Ilulissat Icefjord. The boats to the left side give perspective and add interest.  
Finally, this bridge at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, near Portland, Oregon, is the reason for the photo. Without the bridge, I don't think I would have taken the photo. 
I find deserts to be some of the most interesting and beautiful places in the world. 
This is big-time desert, the Sahara of North Africa. The Erg Chebbi Dunes of Morocco are the backdrop for the foreboding, bleak, harsh Black Desert.  
A sunset view of the Erg Chebbi Dunes.
Part of the Singing Sand Dunes of the Gobi Desert outside Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. 
My granddaughters running down the Coral Pink Sand Dunes outside Kanab, Utah. 
Yardang National Geologic Park on the border of Gansu and Xinjiang Provinces in China. 
The multi-hued Grand Staircase stretching from northern Arizona into southern Utah. The Vermilion Cliffs are in the foreground and Bryce Canyon NP is in the background. 
A closer view of the Vermilion Cliffs in northern Arizona. 
Steven's Arch, near Coyote Gulch and the Escalante River in southern Utah. 
Hickman's Bridge in Capital Reef NP, southern Utah. 
Capital Reef NP.
A flash flood brings water through the normally drive arroyo in Alamo Canyon, in Organ Pipe Cactus NM, southern Arizona. 
Big Bend Ranch State Park, on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River in southwestern Texas, and Chihuahua State, Mexico on the other side. The Rio Grande is just barely visible in the center of the photo. 
The desert mountains below Hamblin Ranch in southwestern Utah, eastern Nevada. A small stream, not visible in the photo, goes through the greenery in the center of the photo. 
Mountains are a favorite landscape subject. I particularly like them rugged and raw, not covered in forest greenery.
My son, Sam, near the summit of Mt. Russell in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Definitely rugged and raw. At over 14,000 feet with little vegetation, these regions are like deserts themselves. 
A picture taken by Sam, of me, as we hike up scree below the head wall of Mount Russell. 
Mt. Whitney, near Mt. Russell in the Sierra Nevadas. 
A photo from the 14,000+ foot summit of Mt. Tyndall in the Sierra Nevadas. Mt. Williamson, the second tallest mountain in California, is to the right. The northern Sierras stretch out into the distance. Note the frozen lake below.  
Split Mountain, another 14,000+ foot mountain in the Sierra Nevadas. The composition of the rock on the mountain changes partway up, giving it a look like it is two separate mountains. A beautiful lake is at the base. 
Mount Popocateptl in central Mexico, almost 18,000 feet tall. The peak is hidden by clouds and steam. The steam in the upper center is from it in the process of erupting and there are also clouds around it.  
The Alaska Range, which includes Mt. Denali, the tallest mountain in North America, covered in clouds. 
Snow covered Boulder Mountain, in southern Utah, from the east, looking west. 
A stream in the Ala-Too Range of Kyrgyzstan. 
The Caucasus Mountains near Lahic, Azerbaijan. Fall colored leaves enhance the view. 
Glaciers and icebergs are spectacular. Here are some of my favorites.
One of my favorite photos, of us in a small plane flying over the Alaska Range near Mount Denali. The blue glacier below with a black stripe in the middle gives it the look of a racetrack. 
The Northwestern Glacier in Kenai Fjords NP in Alaska. 
Johns Hopkins Glacier (center) in Glacier Bay, Alaska. 
The Greenland ice cap (a type of glacier) outside of Ilulissat. 
Another photo that I love, but that no one else seems to appreciate. The Greenland ice cap from the air. It is hard to distinguish the sky from the ice. This is what the vast majority of Greenland is. 
Icebergs in the Ilulissat Icefjord, taken from just outside Ilulissat. 
Gigantic icebergs in the Ilulissat Icefjord. 
A rounded iceberg in the Ilulissat Icefjord - like a football stadium, or a crown. 
I'm not a big beach person, so ocean views are few and far between in my photos. But I have a few I like.
This is the iconic view of Trunk Bay in Virgin Islands NP. 
Cannon Beach, Oregon.
Rocky coast in Bundala NP, Sri Lanka.
The southern end of Disko Island looking out into the iceberg filled Disko Bay (from a small airplane) in Greenland. Another photo that others don't seem to appreciate, but that I love. 
Finally, waterfalls, rivers and lakes. 
Thousand Island Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas in California. One of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The iconic view is from the other end, looking up at Banner Peak which is behind me in this photo. We saw ospreys catching fish in the lake and were visited by bear and deer in our campsite. 
The Grotto near the end of the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, which juts into Lake Huron at Georgian Bay. 
The Rio Grande in Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend NP, Texas. The other side of the river is the State of Coahuila, Mexico. 
A lake in Okefenokee NWR in southeastern Georgia. 
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls empty into the cross bar of a "T" and flow out through the upright of the "T" as the Lower Zambezi River, which is the gap in the photo below. 
Victoria Falls: Looking lengthwise into the crossbar of the "T" from the side. The amount of mist being thrown up was incredible.  
That's it!