Friday, September 3, 2010

2010-30 North Dakota

North Dakota

Devils Lake

Campground:  Dry Lake Campground. $18 (I got a deal and paid $15) full hookups.  A small country campground with only 12 campsites plus tent sites.

Here’s another of those odd situations where I travel from one state, Minnesota, into North Dakota and not just the scenery changes, but the weather.  I woke up to a balmy 76 degrees in Mahnomen MN, started driving to the boarder as the temperature started to drop.  By the time I got to the ND boarder the temperature was down to 68 degrees and very breezy.  Kind of chilly with only a pair of shorts and a T-shirt on.

The breeze picked up to a steady wind and the fog rolled in, then out again.  The camper traveled well in gusts up to 35 mph and the mileage went from 13 mpg down to 10 mpg.  I arrived in the Devils Lake area and set up in a quick wet shower.  Darn my timing was off by just 10 minutes.

I woke up the next morning to a breezy 57 degrees.  Did I mention we had a severe storm last night.  I thought at one point the camper was going to slide down the hill right into Dry lake… which isn’t dry at all.  Amazing what ones imagination can conjure up.

I’ll be here in the Devils Lake area for about a week mainly due to the upcoming Labor Day holiday.  The only time I have difficulty getting a specific campsite is usually due to holiday weekends, so it’s easier to just hunker down where ever I am until after the holiday is over with.  I’m surrounded by large prairie farms and the campground I’m in is surrounded by these farms and boarders the lake.  Black cows graze on grass between the fence and the lake.  Mooing as they move from one section to the next. Sparrows swoop in and around the campground in big swarms diving and circling in crazy patterns.

The owner had to move a mama cat and her three, week old kittens, to the barn.  The cutest little kittens I’ve ever seen, one tabby, one black one with a strip right down it’s forehead and nose and an all black one.  So small they could fit in a tea cup.

I visited Sully Hills National Game Preserve.  Perhaps one of the smallest parks I’ve visited.  It contains buffalo, elk and a prairie dog village.  Huge 12 foot fences keep the large wildlife in.  Protected in their small world of forest, grassland and lake.  I was able to view about a dozen buffalo and the prairie dogs.  The Elk were elusive the day I went through the 4 mile loop road.

This is my very first time in the state of North Dakota and I’m finding out that they have had a ton of rain over the past couple of years.  Many of the large farms are soaked through and can hardly handle any more water.  The small campground I’m in is on the highest ground in the county, probably only about 50 to 75 feet higher than the surrounding area.  The long straight single lane dirt roads between farms are well maintained except for the ones close to hwy 2.  Where so many have been flooded out forcing road closures.  I have to drive two miles around the area to get to the campsite.  Devils Lake, which is the largest natural lake in ND is 25 feet higher than normal.  They are in the process of rebuilding many of the roads around the lake.  Raising them even higher.  Boulders and rocks now line the lake front to protect the roads and shoreline from washing away.  When I drove around the east side of the lake the other day, the wind was whipping up waves that were crashing over the highway.  The road barely being a foot or two above the lake.  Everyone drove single file slowly across the narrow winding land bridge to the other side.

That’s about it from one of America’s bread basket communities on a Labor Day weekend.  No real fun activities to go to this weekend.  Cooler weather, highs today should be around 65 if we’re lucky.  But lots of time to enjoy a good book snuggled up inside my camper with the occasional trip into town for lunch and a bit of  shopping.  Enjoy your holiday and be safe where ever you journey.

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