Thursday, August 4, 2016
Valley City and Bismarck North Dakota…
With no hook-ups at the casino it was a breeze to get ready to go. No water to disconnect, no sewer hose to put up and no electric plug to pull. We simply pulled in the slides, raised the jacks and started the engine! One hundred and fifty four miles later we pulled off in the town of Valley City ND and drove eight more miles north to the Mel Rieman Corps of Engineer park.
The drive from Valley City to the park was a pleasant drive through a nice green valley. It was a nice respite from the fields of corn, golden wheat and occasional fields of yellow sunflowers. When we went to check in we noticed someone was still occupying our site. The camp host said they had till 1:00 pm but that another site was open and we could take it. This turned out to be better since the one we reserved would have been a challenge to get into while the one that was open was a paved pull through site. Score!
During our recent travel we drove over a railroad track that was super uneven and as a result we were jarred pretty good. Usually if a track is rough there is a warning sign, but not this time. Because of the jarring we heard a noise in our bedroom which turned out to be the closet rod collapsing. Therefore we spent one day running into town and buying repair parts to get our closet back into shape. We mainly stayed in the campground taking a few hikes to enjoy the views of the lake. It was very relaxing at this spot even though we spent much of the time repairing the closet.
After two nights we pulled up stakes and drove further west on the dreaded and boring interstate. Another 154 miles (long drives for us) and we pulled into the town of Bismarck ND camping at General Sibley Campground. After setting up we still had time to play the park’s 24 hole disc golf course. It was a scenic and challenging course (2 and 1/2 miles long). We felt that the campground was fantastic (despite the narrow entry roads to the sites) and the disc course was fabulous as well.
The next day we drove into the capitol city of North Dakota and toured the state capitol. This state capitol is the second one we have visited that wasn’t a domed building. The tall skyscraper styled building was actually built in the 1930’s after the original capitol building had burnt down. The architects decided to build a new building that was inexpensive and space efficient thus resulting in a non-domed structure. Given the USA was on the cusp of a major depression it looks like they made a wise choice even if the architecture is unflattering.
The inside of the capitol (at least on the first and second floor) was beautiful with lodes of Yellowstone Marble along the walls. We happened to be at the capitol on one of the days the house was in session. Amazing considering we read they are in session only 80 days over two years. Wow, what a great job! We also took the elevator to the observation deck on the top of the building. This 360 panorama was pretty nice and solidified what we have been seeing...... that North Dakota is pretty flat!
After the capitol we strolled over to the Heritage Center. This free museum (donations accepted) is really nice and they have several really good exhibits. Lots of fossils and dinosaur bones are found in North Dakota and their exhibit of those items is really well appointed. After the museum our last stop was at the local Laughing Sun Brewery where we enjoyed our first North Dakota made craft beers. They were quite good even though we thought they were a bit over priced!
NOTE: Next up for us is a visit to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (where we are now) where we will spend a few days to hike and sightsee before moving on to Miles City Montana…