Teddy Reflections – 25 Years

 25 Years of Rides, Stories & Legends 1985 – 2010

by Ron Keall, 2010

The Teddy Tour or the Theodore Roosevelt National Park Ride as it is officially labeled was started 25 years ago (1985) by Hugh Walker. As he drove past, he decided to check out the little town of Medora, North Dakota as it bore the name of a relative and he wanted to find some touristy memorabilia with her name on it. Hugh discovered a wonderful park with rugged scenery and an amazing variety of wildlife and decided that the club just had to check it out.

Teddy 92
Teddy 92
In photo L to R: Brian Fergusson, Velda Back holding Adam Kerney, ? red jacket, Ron Keall, Leta Brierley, ? profile green jacket, Don Black, Bev Pyne, Deb Black, Peg Delanghe (at rear), ? blue hat, Peg Beaudry, Jergen Westerhoff, Peter McKinnon, Richard Schlosser, Perry Kerney (rear) Neil Slater (rear), ? red pants front, Shelley Kerney. Missing: Glen Bannman and his daughters, Noreen Hetherington

In the early years, the usual plan was to drive down to Williston after work on Thursday and check into what is now called the Airport International hotel. The continental breakfast provided by the hotel was always made just that much more enjoyable by the large, mounted road-kill racoons (or some such beast) displayed on the wall. A shopping trip to the nearby mall was a required pilgrimage, not only to stock up on the essentials but to search for the prized ingredients for Ron’s traditional Buck Hill lunch snack of kippered herring and Limburger cream cheese! Yumm! Lately a disturbing lack of this famous Kraft Foods product has led to a less aromatic repast.

A trip to the local liquor store has to include a bottle of Buttershots to share with the crew (especially good on pancakes!) as well as a bottle of Southern Comfort to warm your toes around the evening bonfire. As one cannot gather or cut firewood in the park, wood brought from home supplemented by the ubiquitous dried buffalo dung has provided warmth and comfort in the past. Ron has taken over the traditional group breakfast first provided by Bill Stewart. His famous pancakes and delicious oatmeal have been challenged by Ron’s french toast and ham offerings over the last few years.

Teddy Breakfast 2009
Teddy Breakfast 2009

We have done this trip so many times that traditional activities, traditions and stories have been repeated and probably enhanced over the years. Robert, Kathy, Velda, Brian, Perry, Marion and others are welcome, no encouraged, to revise, dispute or enhance to their heart’s content these stories. Let me list of few of the best:

  • Bill Stewart being chased by the buffalo as he attempted to cycle past them when they blocked the road. Bill reported that adrenaline actually does work! I did not actually witness this but I believe Robert Stedwill did. We now always wait patiently for bison to disperse and haven’t been bothered since.
  • the same Bill hitting the Texas cattle gate at the park entrance and taking a nasty spill, of course he is reported to have been standing on the top tube of his bike at the time! Again, I was not witness to this but apparently Robert did. Do you detect a disturbing trend here?
  • Karen opening a screw top wine bottle with a corkscrew and Tamela enjoying the contents so much that she had time to perfect the ‘flat on your back’ starwatching technique so copied these days
  • The year Glen Banman brought his young girls down to the park, pulling them in a plastic trailer. The poor girls were forced to bail as a sudden and intense rain storm threatened to fill their little chariot with freezing water
  • Hugh’s wife Kay struggling so hard to keep up to her partner that she threw up while climbing one of the more challenging hills – the ‘Kay Walker Barf Hill’ ever since (sorry Kay!)
  • the year that the Iron Horse Bar in town hosted a lingerie show which Velda and others found quite ‘amusing’!
  • a very young (5-year-old?) Adam Kearny getting out of the trailer in which he was riding behind his dad and pushing it and dad up the Wind Canyon hill.
  • Years later, Adam Kerney, of legal age or almost, trying to prove he could actually fly as he pushed the limits of rubber on road traction down one particularly steep hill
  • taking the nightly stroll around the campground in the evening – watching Halley’s comet one year and a magnificent view of the stars every single year
  • ‘talking’ to the howling coyotes as we huddle around the campfire
  • going out for supper on Saturday night at one of the local spots. Dickinson had a superb Mexican restaurant we always used to carpool to but as it is closed we have been quite pleased with the Buffalo Gap, a restaurant surrounded by a working cattle ranch! Talk about fresh!
  • Sharing the only shower in the park with the poor souls who actually rented a room but did not count on a herd of Freewheelers ( Free Loaders I fear!) invading their space. Actually they didn’t seem to mind as long as we brought our own towels and shared the Buttershots!
  • climbing Buck Hill in the South Unit – This is a brutal climb but one you will be proud to have accomplished, if only once. Many will push their bikes up the one mile road to enjoy a lunch at the sheltered lookout. This is where you will hope that Ron failed to find his special cheese!
Teddy 2006
Teddy 2006
  • climbing to the lookout at Wind Canyon
  • flying kites at the top of Buck Hill and wondering if we would be pulled straight up
  • discovering that the Easter Bunny will find you wherever you may lay your head.I don’t know how he (or she) does it!

Join us on this annual Easter weekend ride. Make some new memories and traditions!