Day 7 starts out Blissfully peaceful, which after yesterdays exhausting sweat soaked shirt changing start, was a welcomed change of pace. Once we were all up and coffee was made, we had blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup and bacon. Next time I need to remember to mush up or at least pop the blueberries before I put them in the mix. It was great though, and a breakfast we had all been looking forward to, for a couple of days.
Once breakfast was done we all loaded up into the suburban ready to head out for the park.
One of my most dreaded situations, turn the key and click click click click click click click. Battery‘s dead. Now up until this point the battery protection program on the new 12v or 120v Dometic CFX had done an excellent job of protecting the suburban’s battery from being dead, and I don’t have to worry about finding ice. This night I had forgotten that I had plugged an inverter in to charge my laptop while we were hotspotting and making reservations and now the battery was dead. This is exactly the reason and scenario I had made sure to allocate room for a large jump box when packing. I connect to the jump box thinking it’ll start right up, no such luck. The jump box had to be connected to the battery for close to 15 minutes before it would turn over and then it would turn over but still wouldn’t start. This was even more concerning for me as the dad responsible for these children to be this far away from home my two biggest fears are obviously something happening to the children or a major mechanical malfunction and us losing our way of getting back home. I wasn’t panicked but I was on the far side of anxious. The children were oblivious until I told them what happened after the fact. I had an idea to cycle the key to the run position let it sit for 5 to 10 seconds and then back to off two or three times before trying to actually start it. For some reason thinking this would prime the fuel pump not that fuel delivery was what I thought the problem was but whatever it seem to just be turning over and over and over without catching stating a spark so I tried that and for one reason or another it started right up. Maybe the computer needed to recognize where all the sensors were indicating things were, I don’t know but it started now, thank goodness. The gauges look good, the headlights are bright and seem to be no strain when I turn them on so I put the jump box in the car plug the inverter in to start recharging the jump box so it would be available if I need it again later.
We made it in the park and to the visitor center with no problem got for junior ranger books and a plan for the day. I left the suburban idling in the parking lot with Leo in the back. We headed off on the scenic Loop drive to start accomplishing junior ranger book tasks and Loralea found an appropriate 0.8-mile trail called the Coal Vein trail that we decided to hike. When we got to the trailhead it was already lunchtime as the scenic Loop was fairly slow with a lot of opportunities to pull off and have a look. I mean, I guess thats why they named it the name “Scenic Loop drive”. We made PB&J‘s and ate them in the car I have a cold steak sliced it into quarter inch thick pieces and used it like steak spoons to scoop out crab dip both needed to get eaten before they “turnt” and actually made a fantastic combination and frees space in the “refreezarator” (it’s dual zone).
After lunch the Coal Vein Trail did not disappoint and there was a surprise. About 200 feet in there was a dead Bison about 50 feet off to the side of the trail. The elders and I took a somber, moment to have a look and discuss how the grass was taller and greener around the body and how the cycle of life and energy works in that way and why they say "ashes to ashes dust to dust" at funerals. Leo even knew something, he sniffed and jumped back startled at first then slowly sniffed while encroaching and at about three feet stopped and hung his head.
We met another dad and his daughter on the trail chatted for a while and then made it back to the car, everybody was thirsty but we have to pass around the large gallon jug. We made a couple stops for pictures on the way back out and then found one more trail that was .3 miles and decided we hit that one as well.
We wanted to be out and back at the campsite around five to get ready for the Medora musical tonight. I brought enough little handheld radios for every child to carry one and we stopped at a few parking lot with vistas and paired off “running missions” as they called. They had a ball. They even wanted to take them on the hikes when we wouldn’t more than 10 feet apart.
We made it back to the campsite and the girls headed straight to the showers and “the blues” stayed back to get dinner ready.
After dinner we headed just across the road to the Medora Musical. The guy at the campground office said it was kind of like a variety show. The set initially reminded me of The Lost Colony but bigger, pricier, and generally looking a little bit more pro. Once they started it was confirmed. This was a good show. Maybe not big Nashville star level talent but certainly cruise ship or better. They even had a performer from Durham NC, but I didn’t remember his name. They told the story of Medora’s beginning and Teddy Roosevelt intertwined with partial rendition of modern and classic country music. It's very Godly and patriotic, has fireworks and horses, and at one point in the show I found myself all up in my feelings, thinking “these are my people I should have been a farming ranching cowboy. I would move here.” There was even a moment when a wild deer like creature wandered through the backdrop eating. It was a very good and impressive show and most importantly the children absolutely loved it. I looked at Loralea at one point and she was clearly enjoying the he show but I wasn’t sure if she was enjoying it for the showmanship or if she recognized the music so I asked her if she recognized theses songs OMG, she looked at me and in her most teenager you’re crazy dad voice she said “uh Neon Moon daaad”. Ok then I guess she knew not only that song but nearly every other one too. At one moment towards the end George, in my lap, looked up at me smiling and said, “this is a great great day”. Oh man, if I could dwell forever in that moment or package it and carry it with me to take out and have when I needed it. It was a great feeling. Loralea talks about the show all night and into the next day. I definitely 10:10 recommended the Medora Musical. Skip the $15 popcorn and $4 bottle of water but hey, everyone has gotta make a buck.
After the musical we headed just back across the street to the camp site and hit the sack. Today was another good day. It started out a little rough but what's life without a little adversity and if that's the worst thing we face this trip, we're doing great.