August 25 thru 26, 2018 Beautiful morning, but such a bad f*ing night of no-sleep. I didn’t believe worse sleep than at the rest area was possible. With my joints, not sure how sleeping on a mat, with one-inch pad, could possibly evoke any sense of comfort. Short version: moved from tent to truck driver’s seat. I can laugh, now.

img_20180825_112053After several cups of coffee, I felt less pissy and ready for more exploring. Visited with campground hosts on way out. The husband looks a bit scary in this pic (ha), but both were cool. They’re retired, travel and volunteer as hosts at parks. Awesome and definitely worth consideration as option for me. Drove around the park, to the Boicourt, Badlands and Scoria Point Overlooks. Incredible!

On my way out of the park, I toured the Visitor Center, where they were celebrating the National Park Service’s 102nd Birthday; perfect timing for free cookies and juice. Woohoo! Watched “Refuge of the American Spirit, Theodore Roosevelt National Park”, a wonderfully informative 17-minute film in high-def, then toured the museum.

Experienced strange vibes as I walked through Roosevelt’s cabin, the Maltese Cross Cabin, located behind the VC. Maybe just hungry, but it was weird.

Until my trip, I had no clue that Roosevelt played such a critical role in the protection of wildlife and public lands. Per nps.org, using his authority as president, Roosevelt established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments. He protected approximately 230 million acres of public land! The following quote from Roosevelt was in response to those ignorant about exhaustible resources (wish he was still here, but present day conditions,  continued ignorance, and unchecked greed would probably kill him):

“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”

 

Painted Canyon was just a few minutes east and I stayed for a couple hours to walk the Nature Trail, have lunch, talk to a few people and relax.

Got gas at Dan’s Interstate Conoco ($2.89/gal), where I heard my first, “You betcha!” I smiled then and laughed my ass off later. “Fargo” – one of my favorite movies – had immediately come to mind. From Belfield to Dickinson, there were drilling rigs across the wide plains.

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The black line down middle is my truck antenna. Ha!

In Dickinson, I visited the Family Fare Supermarket off Roughrider Blvd. Stocked up on supplies, like mushrooms, black beans, coffee creamer and frozen veggies, which are also great to keep cooler cold. Found interesting items, like natural soap made in Australia and the biggest containers of tuna and other foods I’ve ever seen.

Regardless of how much I wanted to continue driving, the miles and miles of farmland, followed by another miles and miles of farmland, mixed with serious need for sleep, was too f*ing much!

img_20180825_163103Followed signs, confusing as they were, to the Glen Ullin Memorial Park. My plan was to rearrange truck to get few hours shut-eye in the backseat. There were pavilions, a playground, a caboose to walk through and … a campground.

Paid $6 fee at ‘money box’, located the vault toilet, had a beer with hosts Clayton and Laurie, and their daughter Nicole, expecting a baby girl in just a few weeks. They spent six months or more each year hosting the park, to be close to their daughter’s family. Their garden was great!

Set up my tent next to dense bushes with a nice view of farmland and hay bales, made dinner, re-organized truck, updated journal and went for a walk before zipping up.

OMG! Basically woke up cussing from another shit night, although a few notches better than previous. The noise from heavy f*ing rigs on the highway busted through the pretty, yet purposeless bush-wall, all through the night. I was back on 94E before 8a. The land was wavy, rolling, agricultural. Stopped briefly just outside Bismarck at the Mandan Scenic Overlook.

 

At the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitor Center, I enjoyed a wonderful visit with Carol. I don’t recall if she was a volunteer or paid employee, but very nice and knowledgeable of the area. The gift shop is full of fun, informational, homemade and edible items. I bought a bag of bacon-maple ND popcorn for a travel gift; hope it tasted as delicious as it sounded.

I absolutely love miniature things and models, especially made of wood. This steamboat intrigued me, along with the handsome Captain Grant Prince Marsh (1834-1916).

Had planned on going to Fargo, but tired of the highway after stop in Valley City for gas at the Metro Serve USA ($2.68/gal). Headed straight south on 8th Avenue toward a state park. Stopped in Kathryn for camping cash at the City View Fuel, just in case unstaffed.

img_20180826_163357 At 5:15 pm, I checked in at Fort Ransom State Park for $32; $25 was for electric site instead of primitive, along with $7 vehicle daily entrance fee; odd to me at least one vehicle wasn’t included in camp fee.

Beautiful park in the Sheyenne River Valley with very few campers; no tenters in sight. I picked an open spot next to a tree that overlooked the river and set up camp.

Sautéed my usual mix of mushrooms, onions, jalapeños and mixed veggies, added plenty garlic and onion powder, and topped with mozzarella. Yum! Clouds moved in, so cleaned utensils and headed for a much needed shower (very clean facilities). Out of the building, with wet hair, the air felt pretty chilly.

Walked trails to stretch legs; really liked the overgrown one. I was surprised to find the incredible primitive area, just past what appeared to be a gravel parking area. Fellow-tenters were having sing-alongs, reading and snoozing around campfires under fantastic tree canopies. I slunk back to my electric site (ugh). While gone, a noisy RV moved within a pebble-throw. Of all the open spaces … why?!

An intense storm moved in with such fantastic crackling and lights across the sky that I hardly heard the noisy RV generator. Wind got a bit fierce and rain poured, but tent held fast. Loved my small backpack in the tent with extra clothes, flashlight, knife, dry snack and water bottle. Cold got colder and the air damper; switched from tee and shorts to knit, long pants and sweater. Zipped for the night.