Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

July 5, 2015 Categories Camper Van, Road Trips, Travel, USA

It was a long drive today to get to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It’s only around a five hour drive from Fargo, where we were last night, but it’s an extremely boring drive with almost nothing to look at the entire way. Seriously, North Dakota, can’t you plant some trees or something?!

We arrived at the visitor center just before 4pm. I bought a couple postcards and talked with the rangers about back-country camping, but they suggested today was a bad day because there’s supposed to be a storm coming through and I guess lightning is a fairly decent threat out here. Adela hasn’t done much for backpacking or setting up a tent, so I thought it’d be a fun experiment, but it might have to wait until next time. Instead, we took about two and a half hours to drive the 36 mile loop around the park. Along the way we saw lots of prairie dogs, a deer, several pronghorns, five horses, and a bison. The drive around the park is quite nice and offers great views of vast landscapes. My favorite view was from the Wind Canyon Trail, accessible on the North side of the loop drive. The trail leads to a ridge overlooking the Little Missouri River and was quite relaxing to look out over.

I forgot to mention it before, but as of yesterday, I have been to 49 of the states. I’m coming for you, Alaska. Next year.

Fargo, North Dakota

July 4, 2015 Categories Camper Van, Road Trips, Travel, USA

This morning we stopped at an auction on the side of the road in Park Rapids, Minnesota to see what cool stuff they had. I was really interested in an old Coca-Cola bottle tray, but it would have been a long time to wait for it to reach the auction block. There was a lot of other cool stuff, inlcuding a small bike, some old bottles, lots of pictures, a sailboat plate, and tons more. I really want to find an old wall thermometer.

About an hour and a half into our trip we met Alice, an 18 year-old homeless girl, hitching her way to Fargo to meet up with one of her fellow homeless friends. We picked her up in a town called Dilworth and chatted her up on the way to Fargo. She talked about how her and her fellow homeless friends ride trains and tried explaining how the process works, what cars to ride, what’s safe, what’s not, what the bulls look for, and what to do (or not to do) in order to avoid being charged with a felony. She gave us some back story on her life (she’s originally from Wisconsin!) and how her group was working their way out to Washington, then hopefully down the coast of California trying to work odd jobs. At just 18 years old, she’s living a pretty hardcore lifestyle. Many of her friends are similar in age, one of whom we met. His name is Nate, also 18 years old. We hung out with them for about an hour or so at a McDonald’s and then gave them a ride back to Dilworth to meet back up with their group. After parting ways, it dawned on me an Adela that we should have gotten their Facebook info (they mentioned how they had them) so we could keep up with their journey and see how far they make it. Oh, well. Notes for next time.

It was after 2pm by the time we dropped off Alice and Nate. Since we had a few hours to waste, we decided to stop at a Flying J and take a shower. I’ve never taken a shower at a gas station before and although the showers are meant for truckers, they’ll let anyone use them if you’re willing to pay $12. They guy at the counter was cool and said we could pay $12 total instead of each and just take turns showering, but not to let the door close when switching. Once the door closes and no one is inside, the shower is considered over. I’ll admit, the shower was very nice; fancier than a lot of hotel room showers.

After our showers, we went to a nearby Starbucks to do some Interneting and find out where to go to see some fireworks. There were only a couple options from what we found. Minnesota State University Moorhead does a fireworks show and since it seemed like the bigger option, we decided to try it out. We were there for less than five minutes before leaving. It didn’t seem to be an event designed for adults, more of something for the kids. And by kids, I mean lots of screaming 3 year-olds. Instead, we headed over to the fair grounds in North Fargo; significantly better. Other than being more open, there weren’t kids running around everywhere screaming and we got to watch fireworks for over an hour. The entire city seemed to be setting them off. By 9:30pm, the entire horizon provided something to look at. The main event didn’t start until 10:20pm when the professional fireworks went off. I think it was a pretty good way to end the day.

The best part of today, by far, was meeting Alice. I just wish we got her and her friend’s contact info.