Wait a minute, it’s Thursday already? And we are off tomorrow – so its pseudoFriday? SCORE! Seriously, where did this past week go? Not that I am complaining, I am overjoyed at the thought of a beer and pizza night then sleeping in tomorrow. Sounds brilliant.

We had planning on conquering the Cannonball River via canoe on Tuesday. Problem. Don’t tell him this, but Rick isn’t a “real” truck. He’s only a Ranger, and our canoe is quite large, thus there is no way it would fit in the bed or fit in the bed angled over the roof. Well there goes our Tuesday plans. We took some measurements and headed out to Lowes for lumber. With much help from Willy and Dan and a few hours later, voila – Rick now has a nice, sturdy wooden frame in the bed capable of holding the canoe.

Since half the day was used up by construction, we decided to spend the rest locked in the office working on paperwork, contacting land owners, etc. Fun.

Okay. Hump day. Finally we get to canoe! Problem. Apparently while both of us were at one point self-proclaimed experts at ratchet straps we both have apparently forgotten all aspects of properly using them. After much random knots, cussing, stopping at a truck stop to buy more straps and attempt to retie the canoe, a very nice trucker came out of the diner and offered to re-teach us the art of the ratchet strap. Okay. Canoe successfully (and safely) strapped down we hit the highway and headed southwest to Mott where our portion of the Cannonball River is. Problem. The bank of the Cannonball is about 10-12 feet tall, sleek, and pretty dang step. Well… balls to the wall, we slid and slided the canoe down to the water and off we were surveying for beaver signs (which there were TONS of) and otter signs (which there were none of). I would like to say we took our time for the sole reason to make sure we were thorough (which we were), but we definitely enjoyed ourselves canoeing up and down the 1km stretch of our study area. The sky was cloudless, the sun was shining, and it was great!

Problem. Now we had to get the canoe UP the step bank. After slipping, struggling, cussing, and more cussing, we used our massive muscles and hauled that dang boat up the bank and back onto the truck. Success. On to the next site. Problem. The left hand turn we were supposed to take is not there. Fact: 70% of North Dakota’s roads are not paved and have tendencies to disappear. Well, that was just dandy because our next turn happened to take us to South Dakota and into a town called Lemmon where we found him…

Epic, isn’t he? Yes, he is a cowboy RIDING a triceratops. Probably the coolest metal sculpture I’ve ever seen. Well done, Lemmon, well done.

The rest of the day went by pretty uneventfully as we finished up our surveys. Megan did run into a skunk and before you ask, no, it did not spray her. Today was more or less the same as Monday, except I think we are already starting to fine-tune our bridge surveying skills. One of our streams decided it no longer wanted to be there and has dried up since our gazetteer was created, giving us some free time to log data, reply to e-mails, and work on our human dimension surveys some more.

With that being said the week is over (until Saturday). And after the gym, I have some cold beer and hot pizza calling my name. (Yes, I realize it pointless to work out if I am just going to eat junk food. Think of it at canceling each other out. Besides, it’s pseudoFriday).

Peace out, homies.

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