Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Drove to Devils Lake, North Dakota. Minnesota is starting to level our now. No more hills or lakes. It’s becoming part of the Great Plains which runs all the way west to the Rocky Mountains. Lots of hay, sunflowers & corn. There is a beautiful crop we were not able to identify. It was a plant about 12” high with the most brilliant yellow flower. The ground looked like it was shining when the sun hit the right way.
The plan was to spend the night at the Devils Lake State Park. At a rest area we picked up some local information and learned of an Indian Pow-Wow in the area. Off we went. What a great find this was. This must have been a major Indian event. There were a few hundred people there. Looks like most people camped in the area for the three day event. Besides the Indians dancing in full regalia, we had fry bread, tacos and a churrita(sp?) which is a long piece of dough, star shaped, fried then rolled in cinnamon & sugar. Carol hadn’t had one of those since the New Mexico State Fair we went to last year.
We continued on hoping to find a campsite along the way. The city of New Rockford has a very nice campground with an electric hookup, right on the highway. Free. Can’t beat free! It’s just us in the middle of a nice park. Some kids were playing Frisbee golf earlier. Let Gopher off her leash for a good run.
Changed the oil first thing. After that we headed towards Riverdale and the C.O.E. Lake Sakakawea project. Garrison Dam is the fifth largest earthen dam in the world. The lake is the largest man-made lake in America. It’s 178 miles long and six miles wide at its widest point. We stayed at the Downstream Campground.
The drive here was through beautiful cropland. Grains, sun flowers, corn, soybeans and two crops we didn’t recognize. The same plant with the brilliant yellow flowers and a new one with pale blue flowers. From a distance the blue plants look like a lake. Everything is just so green.
A bright & sunny day. When gopher and I were taking our morning walk, we came across a prairie dog colony near the campground. I let her off her lease. She didn’t stand a chance of getting even close to one. They chirped a warning signal and they all disappeared and stayed gone until we were far away. We left for the North Dakota Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. Along the way we passed a huge coal strip mine. The mine supplied coal for two nearby electric power generating facilities. The Interpretive Center was amazing. It had artifacts from every tribe the explorers encountered on their journey and a complete set of printed artworks by the famous Swiss artist Karl Bodner. Bodner, accompanying Prince Maximilian, travelled in the same areas as Lewis & Clark but about thirty years later. We also visited the Fort Mandam Historic Site and Headwaters Visitor Center. This is where Lewis & Clark spent their first winter. This was the longest stop of their journey. There was a statue of the Newfoundland dog, Seaman, that accompanied Lewis & Clark on the journey. It is believed that at one time, there were over 30 million bison in North America. By the end of the 1800's there were about 1,500 left. This handful were saved in preserves devoted to the species. Much like the trees in Michigan, Wisconsin & Minnesota, that were so numerous the supply would last for all time to come, the bison were soon decimated. When I hear the arguments against Global Warming, I just shake my head. Don't we ever learn?
In the afternoon we continued on to Bismarck. When I came out of a grocery store, a guy was admiring the Lazy Daze. We started talking and I asked what the crops were with the yellow and blue flowers. The yellow is rapp seed from which canola oil is made. The blue is flax. Now we know. In Bismarck we stayed at the General Sibley city campground. A large, very well maintained facility. We read an advertisement about Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que and gave it a try. We agree this is probably the best bar-b-que place we’ve ever eaten. The meat just fell off the ribs, the beef brisket was excellent as was the beans, chicken, corn muffins and slaw. We would never have expected to find a Bar-B-Que place like this in North Dakota.
Overall, a wonderful day.