Wednesday, October 07, 2015


We really enjoyed Theodore Roosevelt Park but it was time to move on, so we continued east stopping first in Bismarck.  The city park we stayed in was nice, but the city was pretty drab.  After two nights we decided that perhaps Fargo would be more exciting, so we cut our stay short and moved on down the road.  Upon arriving in Fargo, a friend sent me a message in which he asked "Did ya ever stop to look around Fargo and ask yourself....why the hell did they stop here?"  My response was, "They had already been to Bismarck."

Actually Fargo was a nice city, with a city park along the Red River for camping and bike riding.  Also in the visitor center you can find the wood chipper used in the movie Fargo.

While on my bike ride, I crossed the river into Moorhead, Minnesota and came across this church.  It is a full scale replica of a Norwegian Stave Church.  These churches were built just after the close of the Viking Age in Scandinavia around the 1100 and 1200's.  The technique of using vertical posts or staves had been modified over time to become wooden architectural works of art.

We also paid a visit to the Fargo Air Museum where, besides the air planes, Cathie picked out a pair of boxers from the gift shop.

One of you asked, "Why North Dakota?"  Well, it's close to Winnipeg, Canada and Winnipeg is home to Len, who I met and walked with on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  Actually I wanted to go to North Dakota, but decided early on to stop for a visit with Len.  Len and his wife Janet couldn't have been better hosts.  We camped in their driveway, also known as mooch-docking, they fed us, and showed us the sights.  Of course any visit with a fellow pilgrim has to involve a hike or two.  We had a great weekend with Len and Janet and they have promised to pay us a visit in San Diego.

Turns out the Manitoba and the area around Winnipeg has something in common with North Dakota.  It's flat, really, really, flat.

So, after leaving Canada I received a message from Howard, who along with his wife Joy walked the Camino de Santiago with me.  Turns out they were heading east across South Dakota as we were heading south.  Our paths crossed just outside of Sioux Falls at Palisades State Park and we spent a great afternoon and evening together.  This is how it is with pilgrims.  They become part of your Camino Family and given the chance will get together to talk about the Camino.  In fact Howard and Joy were heading into Minnesota to visit with more pilgrims.

We are now in Omaha at Walnut Creek Recreation Area, a campground we've been in before.  There's a Costco and a Trader Joe's, so we shall resupply before heading south into Kansas.  We are on the downside of the trip and should be home by the end of the month.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


We spent our last morning at Devils Tower taking a 5 mile hike around the tower. Beautiful early in the morning.  We then pulled up stakes and continued east into South Dakota and the Black Hills.  Of course any trip to the Black Hill wouldn't be complete without stopping to pay a visit to the presidents at Mt. Rushmore.  We had been there once before in the 80's and at the time the new visitors center was under construction.  Now completed, it really looks great.  No entrance fee, but it did cost $11 to park.  There's been talk of putting Obama to the left of President Lincoln.  What do you think?

The Confederate Flag has not been banned at Mt. Rushmore

As a bike rider I'm always looking for designated bike trails to explore.  For me, I like level and I'm not into mountain biking, so you can say I like easy.  The George Mickelson Trail is one such trail.  Running from Edgemont to Deadwood, a distance of 110 miles, the trail follows the abandoned Burlington Northern rail line.  With grades no more that 4%, it is my kind of bike ride.
No, I didn't do in entire 110 miles, but did go for about 20 miles.  I'll have to return to finish it one day.

We headed north from the Black Hills into North Dakota for a visit to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  In the Bad Lands of Western North Dakota, the park is divided into the south and north units, which are about 50 miles apart.  Both sections of the park are bisected by the Little Missouri River, which takes on the brown color of the bad lands.  From the park service web site:

When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.

With bison and wild horses roaming the landscape it is almost like going back it time.  We took a look in a cabin that TR lived in for a while and also drove the back roads to the site of his ranch on the banks of the Little Missouri.

We did see bison from time to time, one here a couple over there, but one evening we took a drive on the the park loop.  Bison were everywhere, especially after it got dark and usually in the middle of the road.  I guess we must have seen over 100 of them.

We wanted this campsite, but it was taken

We caught Teddy outside of his cabin.

We did manage to get in a hike or two.  One was to the petrified forest, where there are lots of tree stumps.

 Road to Teddy's Ranch

Oil wells are everywhere in this part of the state.  The oil boom is in full swing, so if you want a job, this is the place to get one.


About the trees being cut down in the Hart Mountain Antelope Reserve.  I sent the following e-mail and have yet to get a response:

On a visit to the refuge I noticed that Juniper trees were being cut down.  I spoke with a volunteer who told me that they were being cut down to make the refuge like it was 100 years ago.  Is this true?  Aren't the Junipers natural to the area?  If they are what possible good could it do to cut them down?  Who made the decision to cut them down?  Unless they are a non native plant overtaking native plants, I can't imagine that you could provide me with a reasonable answer.

I sent a follow up e-mail and again, no response.  I haven't given up, so next will be a phone call.  I'll keep you apprised of any news.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Well, now we are in Eastern Wyoming, taking a gander at Devils Tower, but we've been other places since arriving at our current location. After leaving Oregon we headed north and east, arriving in Boise, Idaho for a re-supply and a good cleaning. Boise, the state capitol is really a beautiful city in the Treasure Valley which is bisected by the Boise River. They have a beautiful green belt on both sides of the river running through the center of the city. 27 miles in length, it is a long and narrow park with bike and foot paths on either side of the river. Needless to say I took advantage of the bike trails on the 3 mornings we were there.

I took one of my rides on 9-11, so I stopped to pay my respects at Boise's 9-11/Firefighters Memorial. In the photo I am standing in front of a steel girder from the World Trade Center.
We also paid a visit to the State Capitol Building where we were allowed to wander around as the legistators are in session the first 3 months of the year.
With the truck trailer washed and the laundry done, we headed east across Idaho to Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. We really like the area as there are ample places to hike. After arriving, we took a drive around the park and it soon started raining. And it didn't stop raining. So after two days and with the weather forecast calling for more rain, turning to snow, we decided to pull up stakes and continue east. We left early to avoid the high winds and snow that was to arrive by midday. We did manage to stay ahead of the winds, but we drove through slushy snow over the 9,600 foot Togwotee Pass. Glad we left early. By the time we arrived in Lander, the wind was clocking between 50 and 60 MPH.
With the trailer safe in camp, we drove up to Sinks Canyon State Park. I wasn't sure what the sinks were all about until we arrived. The Popo Agie River, which runs through the canyon, disappears into an opening in the bottom of a cliff, and reappears about half a mile down canyon. It is said the water travels through cracks in the limestone for two hours before it reappears. Both Rainbow and Brown Trout that swim upstream to spawn get to the point where the river comes back to the surface. The trout stay in the deep pool at this spot as it never freezes and because the park service sells fish food to the tourist to feed fish. As a result the fish get huge, 8 to 14 pounds huge. No fishing though.
After Lander we continued eastward and camped at a beautiful spot overlooking the river in the Wind River Canyon.
Nearby Thermopolis takes it's name from is home to the worlds largest hot spring, or at least that's what they claim. There is a beautiful state park there which includes a bath house where one and enjoy the hot mineral water. When the water comes out of the ground, it is just shy of 130 degrees. It is cooled down to 104 degrees so as not to kill the visitors. No charge by the way to use the mineral pool.
After Thermopolis we were going to camp in the Big Horn Moiuntains, but our chosen camp spot was covered in snow and the tempature at 11 am was 33 degrees. So we opted for a lower elevation and a warmer climate.














Thursday, September 10, 2015


Actually not much has been happening in the adventurous vein, but we have been travelling right along.  Our next stop after Reno was Lassen National Park.  We were there for an overnight stop many years ago, so we figured it was time to go back and get the lay of the land so to speak.  I had read on-line that the campground rarely fills up and upon arrival there were ample spots to choose from.

As is the norm for us we're here to hike and hike we did.  Several easy hikes and one not so easy. Mt. Lassen at 10,400 feet, is generally a somewhat easy hike if you consider that it is only 2.5 miles to the summit on a well maintained trail.  Not so easy if at the 9800 foot level you become dizzy to the point that you feel like you're going to fall off the mountain.  In addition the wind was howling making one's balance even more precarious. Cathie said she wanted to go on, but as I was the one who felt like I would be blown off the trail, I called a halt to the summit attempt.  All this means though is that we'll have to go back.






Here's some more photos of Lassen

Next we continued north into Southeastern Oregon.  Every couple of years my sisters, Jude and Kathy decide it's time for the family to get together on a camping trip.  They pick the spot that is sometimes central to everyone.  They also seem to always pick a spot that is in the most remote location central to everyone.  I believe that they also take into consideration that I have big RV and like to test my ability to get into the chosen remote central location.  This time it was the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, which by the way is located in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  Located about 65 miles from the nearest help, on a road on which you see no one, the last 20 miles of which is a dusty washboard gravel track, you finally arrive at camp.  But hey, it's got a hot spring, so it can't be all bad.  With no place for me to turn around in the campground I backed the last half mile into my chosen spot.  Jude and Kathy were already there and brother Joel and cousin Lee arrived the following day.  We did enjoy ourselves catching up on old times and the latest happenings with family.






I noticed while on the refuge, that some of the Juniper trees were cut down.  Just left there laying on the ground.

Vandals, wood thieves or were they non-native trees or diseased?  So I asked a refuge volunteer who happened to drive into camp, what was up?  He told me that the trees are native, not sick and that they were being cut down to make it like it was 100 years ago in the refuge.  I said, "so you're helping nature".  He didn't like that comment.  I then suggested that if they wanted it to be like 100 years ago,  he should get out of the truck and walk.  I don't think he like that comment either.

It really pissed me off.  How do they know how many trees were there 100 years ago? If more trees have grown naturally, why are they messing with nature and cutting them down?  I'm going to get to the bottom of this and find out who the idiot is who made this decision.  When I find the answer, I'll post his name and address here so you can all tell him what you think. Stay tuned.........