Mohammed and the Medora Mountain

Just like Mohammed, we couldn’t get to the mountain, the mountain came to us.

When we first heard of an annual gathering of midwest travel writers and bloggers in 2018, we were sad we could not join the Midwest Travel Conference in Iowa. Oh well, maybe next year.

That was back in 2018.

Things changed.

The 2019 Midwest Travel Conference came to Medora, thanks to a welcoming promise of adventure offered by the ND Tourism Department and the Medora CVB.

Our sadness of 2018 became gladness of 2019.

Mary and I were tabbed not only to attend but to participate in a big way.

Promoting, Prepping and Plotting

We promoted the opportunity by doing regular social media posts and Facebook Live shots from Medora, sharing them with potential bloggers and writers who may attend.

And we prepped for the Midwest Travel Conference. We prepared a presentation on tips to get off the beaten path with your camera.  By planning light, location and weather, people can get postcard quality images by getting off the beaten path.

Then we also plotted the route. We measured and identified the timing and stops for a tour we were honored to lead.  We were tickled pink about leading a tour.  When the time came, we headed to the Elkhorn Ranch site north of Medora, between the North and South Units of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

The tour was at the same time as the scheduled Medora Musical promoted heavily by the Medora CVB. As you may know, the Musical is the “must-see” attraction in Medora.  So, we did not expect more than a couple of fellow explorers.  That’s why we took both our Jeep and Pickup to carry the four or five who we thought might attend.

A stop along the way compares the differences between the badlands and the grasslands


Whoops! Miscalculation.

Not just one or two, but more than a dozen people followed the dusty caravan to the healing place where Theodore Roosevelt spent his days in 1884-1885.

Later we found out that the date we were there coincided with the approximate date in which Roosevelt first laid eyes on the Little Missouri River site for the Elkhorn Ranch, 135 years ago.  Wow.

Sometimes it seems as though we take for granted the sights and experiences until we see them fresh through the eyes of first-timers. That was the case when we followed the gravel road through the herds of cattle and past the occasional antelope.

Enthusiastic exploration

Once at the site, we were excited to tell what little we know about the Elkhorn Ranch.  We answered questions about the trees, the river, the plants, and of course the foundations of the building.

Jay Goodvin, the Iowa Gallivant sits and contemplates where Roosevelt sat and contemplated at his “healing place,” the Elkhorn Ranch.



We pointed out where Roosevelt sat on his “veranda.” It was a place of contemplation and writing for the soon-to-be President. So, at least one visitor found it to be an almost spiritual moment to sit in that spot.

The trip back to Medora, 30 miles was a trip at dusk. By the time we got back to town, it was dark.

However, billed as a sunset tour, the group got to sample a badlands sunset and twilight.


As a result, a contingency of travel writers got off the beaten path with their cameras and experienced more of North Dakota than most visitors ever experience.

If you are familiar with the Badlands, you’ll relate to Jay Goodvin’s experience. Or if you’re new to the Badlands, get a sample here from Jay.  (Man!  The guy is far more eloquent than I’ll ever be. His romantic play on words is like a young buck prancing and dancing for his doe.)

Or visit Medora and the surrounding Badlands.

For Mary and me, the biggest reward was getting to know some of the people on the tour from Iowa, Canada, California and other areas.  We began friendships that we intend to foster and develop as we, in turn, visit the home turf of Midwest Travel bloggers and writers.

Next year, it’s our intention to join the group again when they meet — in Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

Here’s where you go to learn more about the Midwest Travel Network. Bloggers, writers, publishers, reporters and of course destinations will get thousands of dollars of value from the conference.  Thank, Sara Broers and Lisa Trudell co-founders of the Midwest Travel Bloggers