That's right, it's June 30th 2020, COVID is still raging on and well let's not even discuss politics. So how about some sunsets and free and low cost camping spots! On the 22nd we embarked on a journey of healing and reconnecting with ourselves. Allow me to show you some sights and tell you about some points of interest.
Glacier National Park was partially open and very beautiful, the little bit that we saw anyway. It was raining but we had a nice hike. There weren't any easily accessible sites for camping so we decided to continue East on US Hwy 2.
These sunset shots are from the Saco, Montana area, Nelson Reservoir. At an elevation of 2,500 feet, the recreation area is about 300 acres. The free campground offers several tent and camper spots along with restrooms and drinking water. Pets are welcome, they ask that you limit your stay to 7 days. When we arrived there were only about 4 or 5 other rigs to be seen. Nelson Reservoir is ranked the number one walleye spot in the state. Stocked with walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike, it is a popular ice-fishing spot. We didn't fish, well we don't fish anymore at all but what a great place to put on the list to return to. However, you better have your window and door screens ready! We stayed one night and moved on to North Dakota. Our method of finding such great spots was just dumb luck. I scanned the paper atlas and Darin would take unexpected turns down little dirt roads. We avoid interstates as much as possible. Since we live in Southern California we see enough of those.
North Dakota has some great camping areas. Check out Lake Sakakawea, Garrison Dam area, there are 5 US Army Corps of Engineer campgrounds to choose from. COE campgrounds have larger sites and better views than any campground I've ever seen. Most have better amenities and the ones we’ve been to so far are very clean and less populated.
Our journey on US Hwy 2 from Everett, Washington across the northern states was just the kind of trip we were hoping for. The next point of interest we came across was in Rugby, ND, the geographical center of North America.
Fun fact, after 90 years of Rugby holding that title it was handed over to Center, ND in Oliver County.
Just west of the Minnesota border we stopped for dinner ay Ely's Ivy in Grand Forks, ND. If you are in the area do stop in, the food is great.
The art on the street was fun and the bridge led us to a great spot to park for the night.
This spot was across the bridge to the right near a boat launch ramp. No one bothered us and another van was further down the river barely in sight.
Minnesota was a fun state to visit, first up was the town of Bemidji and Paul Bunyan and Babe! Library Park has some great sculptures, but Grand Rapids was the childhood home of Dorothy, I mean Judy Garland! Did you know that there were four pairs of the ruby slippers made for the movie Wizard of Oz? One of the four was placed on exhibit at the Judy Garland museum. In August 2005 thieves broke in and did a smash and grab, they've not been recovered and the case remains open.
We didn't venture far from US Hwy 2. This route took us through small-town America. I wish we had taken notes and conducted a study on which towns were masking up and which ones weren’t. I’d love to know the correlation with which towns were boarded up and which towns were still functioning. When we exited the van we donned our masks unless there was no one in sight or within 6-8 feet of us. We always wore the masks when entering an establishment and used hand sanitizer obsessively. The looks we got for wearing the masks in some areas was almost threatening, it was bizarre. Then there were areas that if someone thought our masks weren’t just right we could end up in front of a firing squad. The tragedy of this pandemic is nothing to take lightly, and we don’t. Our precautions were discussed and we knew at some point we would end up in close proximity to other people. We understand that there are folks that feel trips like this should be side-lined. Thankfully we do live in America and enjoy freedoms that allow us to do such things.
Before I close this post out... It is worth mentioning Bena, MN, the Big Winnie & Frank Lloyd Wright. So as legend has it, Frank Lloyd Wright was staying in a cabin near Lake Winnibigoshish. Apparently he may have sketched up something for Mr Dahl's general store design. I'm not sure that I'm falling for that but anyway, there ya go. As far as what that little gem looks like, here it is. A cool store in its own right and a must-see when traveling along US Hwy 2 in Minnesota.
Please subscribe and join us again as we tackle the Great Lakes and manage to get a 60,000 mile service done in Lansing.