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Author Topic: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012  (Read 37409 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2012, 09:48:14 PM »
Hi Linda,
     I am so looking forward to your upcoming trip postings. Please let me know if you receive this! Thanks. Happy Trails!
                                                                           Bonnie

Bonnie, I am so pleased you joined.  Yes, all is good!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2012, 11:56:09 PM »
August 28 & 29, 2012      Day 11       Medora, ND

Tuesday--we traveled and saw lots of cows and wheat.  When we arrived at the RV campground, the dirt was blowing from the dirt roads within the campground, we were escorted to a back-in (totally my fault--I forgot to request a pull-through), and we had no trees for shade in weather that was over 100°.  However, we have great full hook-ups, the AC keeps us comfortable, have WIFI that works well, and Cable TV.  We passed by the FDR National Park, and we weren’t impressed.  I had planned on staying extra days, but I decided instead to book into Bismarck for the 30th through Labor Day so I could do my cleaning that I wanted to do.  We will kick up aw lot of dust when leaving, which would sabotage my hard work.

Wednesday—You can’t judge a book by its cover!  Theodore Roosevelt National Park is great!  We saw a 17-minute introductory film at the Visitors’ Center which raised questions, so we talked with the ranger who was full of answers and interesting information.  I have always admired Roosevelt, but I now find him so intriguing and inspiring that I bought a 500-page biography, which I’ll probably finish in the next week or so.

History Buffs: Roosevelt came here when his wife, Alice, and mother died in his house in New York ON THE SAME DAY.  His wife died giving birth to his daughter who was also named Alice.  He refused to say the name Alice ever again, and he called his daughter Baby Lee.  She was taken in by his sister, and Roosevelt took off for his Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota.  He did not return until his soul had healed 2 years later.  He hated being called “Teddy” because Alice called him that, and he didn’t want to hear it from anyone’s lips but hers.  He remarried and had two more children.  He said that he would never have been president if he hadn’t come to ND.  He also said the happiest years of his life were those he spent here.

Current Events Buffs:  I planned to see several sites and refuges in the Berthold area, not knowing of the discovery of the Bakken formation, which has made North Dakota the second biggest oil-producer in the U.S.  Located two miles below the surface, it was not extractable until a highly controversial technique, “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing, allowed oil companies to quadruple their daily oil production.  This has brought tens of thousands of new jobs, and many of the workers are staying in RV campgrounds.  There are those who drink and are rowdy, and I read horrible RV park reviews, so we skipped that loop on our trip.

 (excerpt from Visitor Guide)  “All 3 ND national parks are having serious issues due to the oil boom.  New wells can be seen from inside park boundaries.  Each new well means another drill rig, well pad, pumpjack, debris pit, flare pit, storage tanks, and access roads on the landscape.  Each new well requires 2000 “trucking events” to complete its setup and begin pumping oil.  Noise and dust from heavy truck traffic and pumping equipment is constant.  Numerous flares can be seen in the formerly dark night sky as excess natural gas is burned off.  Socioeconomic impacts are altering local communities.“  I was told by the KOA park manager in Bismarck that he won’t let them stay there.  He also told me they are drilling like crazy, then capping them because they don’t have the transport capacity yet.  They only have to pump a certain minimal amount of oil every 2 years while they are developing their support system.

We embarked on the 36-mile drive, but it was so hot (over 90°) that I thought all the animals would be hidden from view.  However, we’d get to see the geological features. Sure enough, we came around the first curve and saw all these whitish hills among the grass.  Then I saw a prairie dog on top of one of those hills, stretching his front paws to the sky, and emitting a shrill cry.  The prairie dog on the next hill responded in kind.  Every time we stopped, those nearest our car did this same warning. Today we saw THOUSANDS of prairie dogs, and Dean took lots of pictures.  But they only do their warning once, and you can’t stop and get a camera on them before it’s all over. (Picture 1)  There were several prairie dog towns on the tour, and we were always treated to a different show.  They dug in the dirt causing mini-dust clouds; they jumped, bounded, and chased each other.  Some were quite chubby, well prepared for the coming winter.  (Pictures 2 & 3)

Not even a mile further on, we saw HUNDREDS of bison.  One stood right next to our car saying, “Please don’t disturb my sleep.” (Picture 4)  Another came right up and greeted us (Picture 5).  Throughout our drive we saw groups of 30-40, and Dean couldn’t avoid all the buffalo pies on the roadway.

We saw pretty badlands, second only to those in South Dakota. (Picture 6)  Some had scoria, which is formed when veins of lignite (coal) in the rock formation catches fire and bakes the surrounding sand and clay.  Lignite doesn’t emit enough heat to be useful to people, but once ignited, it is hard to put out.  One of the fires lasted from 1951 to 1977.  (Picture 7)  Over the years, erosion removes the softer earth on top and leaves the bluffs this bright red color.

As we were just admiring the small hoodoos and cannonball concretions, a white-tailed deer bounded across our path.  I’m glad we were driving slowly.

We had such a great day that we planned to go back at dusk and look for elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.  We were told by the ranger to go around 7:30 for best light for pictures.  Unfortunately, it was too dark, so we’ll get up early tomorrow and try to catch them at dawn.   I wish we had at least one more day here. 

Red Trail Campground ($30) is actually fine.  After boondocking, I was into “clean”, and seeing the dust popped my bubble.  I’d stay here again.  It has everything, including nice people and fun things like karaoke
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2012, 08:47:31 AM »
My parents really liked Roosevelt NP, said it reminded them of "Death Valleywith grass."

Unfortunately, most NPS sites are having trouble with industry and towns encroaching.
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

ArdraF

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2012, 12:46:10 PM »
Linda, when I read in the first paragraph that you weren't going to go through the T.R.N.P. I said on no, they're going to miss a really neat place.  I'm so glad you changed your mind.  I love the place!  It's such an interesting contrast to the South Dakota badlands - one with grass and one without grass.  We even saw a herd of wild horses our last time through there.  Anyway, I'm glad you went.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2012, 10:37:22 PM »
Linda, when I read in the first paragraph that you weren't going to go through the T.R.N.P. I said on no, they're going to miss a really neat place.  I'm so glad you changed your mind.  I love the place!  It's such an interesting contrast to the South Dakota badlands - one with grass and one without grass.  We even saw a herd of wild horses our last time through there.  Anyway, I'm glad you went.

ArdraF

Ardra, we were always going to see it, but I just had really low expectations, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised.  I would have loved to see the wild horses.  I thought of you when I bought my Roosevelt book because you are such a history buff.  Remind me when I see you next, and I'll give it to you.  i am hoping to see RVForum people in January (no, not in Quartzite).
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

ArdraF

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2012, 03:53:57 PM »
Me?  A history buff?  Goodness, dear Miss Taylor, my seventh grade teacher and Miss McCormick, my h.s. history teacher, wouldn't agree at all!  ::) It turns out I just hated to memorize dates and such, but now that I'm all grown up I do enjoy learning about such things.  Anyway, I'll look forward to the book.  And I'm so glad you were so pleasantly surprised!

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

MN Cake Eater

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2012, 07:46:19 PM »
Hello from Minnesota!  I'm not sure your route thru MN, WI and the UP of MI, but would love to help you out with travel advice.  Please drop a message to your travel route.

Paul
MN Cake Eater (Paul)
2009 Winnebago Destination 39N

Paul, wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a boat load of patience.

Minneapolis, MN

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #37 on: September 01, 2012, 12:11:16 AM »
Hello from Minnesota!  I'm not sure your route thru MN, WI and the UP of MI, but would love to help you out with travel advice.  Please drop a message to your travel route.

Paul

You wrote at the perfect time, Paul.  Just tonight, Dean and I just spent an hour or two revising our route through Minnesota, based on new info.  For now, it is Detroit Lakes (stay there) to Park Rapids to Lake Itasca SP (stay there), on US 2 to Duluth (stay), then I-35 to Minneapolis/St. Paul. 

I have conflicting info on Lake Itasca SP and Avay Up Nort.  Friends who live in Park Rapids say that the SP can't handle our 38' rig, but the SP says "no problem"--that they actually have much larger rigs come in.  I'd like to stay there because it's a SP and has 50-amps (we are an all-electric coach, no propane at all, and the beast loves those kilowatts for cooking, washing, etc.)  My friend says Avay up Nort is great, has 50-amps, big-rig parking, FHU, but its website and RVparkreviews.com says it isn't so.  I think what we have decided is to go into the SP and see for ourselves, being careful to not get into a pickle.  Then, if that doesn't work, we could go over to Avay Up Nort.

Then on to Madison, Milwaukee, up US 41 to Green Bay, checking on leaf color in MI before deciding on whether to do the Door Peninsula, over US 51 up to Ironwood, east on SR 28 across the Mackinac Bridge, head S on I-75 to Flint, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit, then look at the date because we MUST be home in Southern California for Thanksgiving--possibly go into Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis.  However, our focus is on the Big Three--Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.  Anything beyond that is gravy.

We would appreciate any knowledge you have on this, especially any guesses on when the leaves will be at their peak on the UP and any info on RV parks in the UP.  They sound kind of marginal to poor, but we can happily boondock on any level site for a few days.





« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 12:15:54 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Lorna

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #38 on: September 01, 2012, 01:50:56 AM »
Linda,


There are two parks in the St Paul/Minneapolis area that we have stayed at, our favorite is in Apple Valley near the MN  zoo and the other is Ham Lake Campground on Constance St? in Ham Lake.  Both have room for 38' coach and 50amp.  Apple Valley has FHU at all sites in the one area for big rigs.  Be sure to check out the state capitol in St Paul and the MN zoo.  There are other things but I am usually there to visit family.


In Madison I am not sure of a campground because the only time that we stayed there was many years ago and it was a county park.  Be sure to see the capitol there because it is located on an ismas? between two lakes.  In Milwaukee I wish I were there because would take you around.  Since we aren't be sure to see the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Discovery World on the lakefront.  The zoo is also very good.  We have stayed at the fairgrounds which is convenient to most everything and has FHU and no problem with a 38'.  However is an asphalt park with no shade but it should be cooling off when you get there.  When we are there every summer we have a reserved site at Oak Creek Estates on College Ave and 23rd St.  It is a mobilhome park with sites on either side of the park. The east side of the park has more shade but the west side is nicer and easier to park.  Right now they are doing some construction on the east side.  Both parks are right off I-94, fairground park is on the way into downtown and Oak Creek is on the south side on the way to Chicago.


In the Duluth area we stayed at Northland RV Park in July and it is a very nice park with FHU and 50amp.  Their laundry room isn't the best but everything was working when we were there.


In upper Michigan be sure to go to Pictured Rocks National Seashore and do the boat trip if they are running.  If it is to windy and rough they won't take you out.  Also, Whitefish Point to the Shipwreck Museum and the Bird Observatory.  If it is a beautiful day when you get to St Ignace take the ferry out to Mackinac Island it is worth the time.  The fort and the Grand Hotel are very interesting.  As for lower MI Barb Weimart probably has more info.


Give me a call or email me for the phone # if don't have it if you would like more info on anything in MN and WI.  The leaf color should be good in the northern areas and possibly Door County.  You can probably do Door County in a day or at most two.  Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame is a possibility if you are interested in football.



Lorna
Better to drive thy closet than pack thy suitcase
Want to know where we are?
http://whereis.nedreiter.com
Follow our trip of the USA at http://blog.usabyrv.us

MN Cake Eater

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #39 on: September 01, 2012, 08:12:05 AM »
Hello Stocks, Welcome to MN at the most beautiful time of year! 

It sounds like you have some plans already made, so I'll try to fill in the gaps.  I'm familiar with the Park Rapids area, but don't know much about the state parks.  The state parks we've been to with 50 amp service have been big rig friendly.  (We travel in a 40 ft. DP.)

I'll start in Duluth.  Beautiful area!  If you are looking for a CG, you might want to consider running up the shore to Two Harbors.  City owned campground with newer big rig area.  It sits right in town and is on Lake Superior.  Another option is the KOA that's probably equal distance south of town.  Camping in the Woods. 

Hinckley, about half way to Mpls. on I35 has a casino with a very nice campground too.

Lorna had two good CG's in Mpls.  Dakota County parks has a wonderful CG in Apple Valley.  About 1 mile from the MN Zoo and 10-15 from the Mall of America (can't miss this!).  You'll feel like you're camping in the woods and only be 5 minutes from Target, grocery stores and other shopping.

Ham Lake CG in Ham Lake, MN is another good choice as is Bunker Hills Regional Park (Anoka County Parks) in Coon Rapids, MN.  Only $25 per night.  Both these CG's are on the northside of the Twin Cities.  Apple Valley is on the southside.

After leaving Mpls, consider driving down US Hwy 61 towards LaCrosse, WI.  A very nice CG in Wabasha, MN (Wabasha Motel & RV Park), my sister and niece work there and you can visit the National Eagle Center.  Also don't miss LARK Toys in Kellogg, MN.  It's a toy shop and museum and is rated as 1 of the top 10 independent toy stores in the world.

A good area to stop in WI is the Wisconsin Dells area.  Lots of campgrounds!  By the time you get there all the kids will be back in school and the place should be much quieter.  A couple fun things to checkout in this area is the Circus World Museum in Baraboo and the train museum in North Freedom, WI.

Skipping ahead....Green Bay Packers museum is attached to Lambeau Field (easy parking) is interesting.  Hard to believe such a small city is home to a NFL team.  The National Railroad Museum is located in GB as well.

Off to MI, the Houghton/Hancock area is wonderful.  We've stayed at the city CG in Houghton.  It's beautiful!  Marquette is another scenic area.  We also spent time this summer in the Mackinac City area.  Make sure to take the ferry out to Mackinac Island.  It's a wonderful way to spend a day.  I can't remember the name of our CG in Mackinac City (it was southeast of town), but it sat on the lake and had a free shuttle to the ferry docks.

After leaving Mackinac City head down towards Petosky.  Two wonderful CG's, KOA and Hearthside Grove.  Both owned by the same family.  Hearthside is where we stayed in July.  Very upscale and the nicest park we've ever stayed.  The KOA is a former KOA of the Year award winner.  Make sure to continue to Charlevois, MI.  Another beautiful town, but the thing to check out is "Castle Farms".  (Easy RV parking) Take the self guided tour.  This place is incredible!

Here's my fall color report for UP of MI and northern WI.....you should see colors in the UP during mid-Sept.. You might have to wait until mid until late Sept for northern WI.  Southern MN usually doesn't get very good colors until October.

I hope this info helps you out.  Let me know of any other questions.

Paul 
 





     
MN Cake Eater (Paul)
2009 Winnebago Destination 39N

Paul, wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a boat load of patience.

Minneapolis, MN

Ned

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #40 on: September 01, 2012, 09:26:57 AM »
The campground in Apple Valley, MN, is Lebanon Hills and is part of the Dakota County parks system.  You can reserve sites online at their web site here.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2012, 06:12:15 PM »

August 30 & 31, 2012      Days 13 & 14      Bismarck

Aug. 30—We got up early and did the 36-mile auto tour in reverse.  We saw 3 times as many prairie dogs running everywhere, some new white-tailed deer who crossed the road right in front of us (Picture 1), and 3 times as many bison.  Everyone was up and grazing, and there were many little calves out running around.  Yesterday, we saw no young bison at all.  However, we missed the elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

Nice weather, just hitting 80° with a very gentle breeze.  Today we saw more fields of white plastic rolls—and all that wheat I have been mentioning is really HAY!  What can I say except that I am a city girl? As part of 49’ers Day celebration at my college, I drew the lucky straw to represent my sorority in the cow-milking contest.  In all seriousness, I asked my future husband whether the cow I had drawn was a boy cow or a girl cow.  I thought dairy cows were a special breed of cow, just like a poodle is a special breed of dog.  It made sense to me!  Anyway, as we traveled today, we saw hay, hay, and more hay.

When we came into the KOA, the owner escorted us to a lovely, large, pull-thru spot, facing trees instead of RVs, but the TengoInternet didn’t work, so the manager moved us to another nice spot.  He really bends over backwards to make everyone happy, and it’s a real Pride of Ownership kind of park.  He’s owned it for one year, and he shared how hard he has worked to build it up and how glad he is that we are here.

Aug. 31—We were guided through the State Capitol (Picture 2) by a recent graduate of UND.  The capitol is one of the youngest; it was built in the 30’s.  Oily rags in a janitor’s closet caught fire and burned down the old building in 1883.  I didn’t do the math at the time, so I don’t know what happened in the intervening 50 years.  However, when they did get around to building it, it was during the Depression, so they didn’t spend a lot of money on interior decoration. They did have a nice entry, but it has been blocked off since 9-11, and you now enter through the basement. 

Their one big splurge was these huge lights (Picture 3) that cost $1,140 each, weigh 1,000 pounds, and use 109 light bulbs each.  The government is still thrifty because not one of them was lit.  They are in a lobby that is used for press conferences.

They also commissioned a Great Seal (Picture 4), which has an Indian on horseback pursuing a bison toward the setting sun, an anvil, a plow, a sledge, a bow with 3 arrows, a tree with 3 bundles of wheat, and a tree arched by a half-circle of 42 stars.  This is interesting because they were the 39th state admitted to the Union.  They made a bad guestimate as to in what order the states would be admitted, and they have never chosen to correct it.

Total cost of the building was $2 million.   It is done in a very simple art deco style and has some very pretty woods, especially the rosewood.  The building is 18 stories tall, and is the tallest building in North Dakota.  The capitol occupies the first 2 floors. The other floors are other state offices.  The capitol has no dome, and 80% of the capitol’s space is usable, whereas in Minnesota, only 29% is usable.  Now I’m anxious to see St. Paul.  Outside of the Senate and House of Representatives are these little alcoves, (Picture 5) each built with a roof-like structure to keep the echo down.  (Do they want to keep their conversations with the lobbyists secret?)

Both houses meet from January to March in odd years, and the members earn $152/day when in session and $427/month when not in session.  There are 97 members of the House.  The theme of the House is Moon & Stars. (Picture 6) They have all the latest electronics, but the furnishings are simple.  There are 47 members of the Senate.  The theme there is the Sunset.

They did put decorative, symbolic doors on their elevators (Picture 7)

In 1981, they built on a 4-story addition to house the State Supreme Court, at a cost of $10 million.  Justices have to be 30 years old and have lived in North Dakota for 3 years. They serve for 10 years. The appellant gets 30 minutes to state his case, and then the prosecutor gets 20 minutes.  If the appellant wants to rebut what the prosecutor says, he needs to have saved some of his 30 minutes, or he’s out of luck. That’s how they can hear 260 cases a year.  (And, they work 11 months a year!)  The walls are covered in a soft velvety material, which captures the voice so people don’t have to use a mike.  2 of the 5 justices are women, However, I was disappointed to learn that North Dakota has never had a female governor.

They are making the capitol more decorative by spelling out NORTH DAKOTA in petunias. (Picture 8)

Our guide shared her exciting news that her Concealed Carry Permit had just arrived.  She is a self-confident, physically robust woman in her early 20’s, but she says all North Dakotans are frightened.  She said the oil boom has brought a lot of scummy people, crime, homeless people sleeping in the trees, beggars, traffic, and that she doesn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere alone.  Men tried to kidnap one of her friends when she was in the Walmart parking lot.  Williston is the center of the Bakken formation, and the old people who have lived there all their lives have had to move out because of the violence and murders, high prices at their stores, inability to get into barber shops, etc.  I read a statement by a police lieutenant that said he never had locked his doors since the day he was born—in fact, no one knew where the key was for the lock, but he has put new locks on all the doors in his house since the oil boom.  Sounds like the Wild West!!

Staying at the KOA—good WiFi close to the office, where we are now, FHU, $43 with KOA card, spacious sites (I looked out the window, and told Dean that sites on both sides of us were vacant, only to find out that that is just grass.)
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2012, 06:13:36 PM »
More pics
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

  • ---
  • Posts: 1195
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #43 on: September 01, 2012, 09:51:15 PM »
Ned, Lorna, and Paul--THANKS SO MUCH!  You have given this teacher a lot of homework and things to think about.  I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as I get into it, but it will take me a couple of days, as I am also working on cleaning the inside of the coach.  Dust blew in today while we were gone, and there is a fine layer everywhere.  And, I had already dedicated Sunday to vacuuming and scrubbing floors, etc.  Going through your suggestions will be fun!

Ned, I want you to teach me how to do that thing where you type "here" and underline and it takes you to a website.  That is so cool!  I hope it's not a trade secret.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Ned

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  • Ned and Lorna are former full time RVers
    • Have you seen Rolling Stock?
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #44 on: September 01, 2012, 10:16:58 PM »
Ned, I want you to teach me how to do that thing where you type "here" and underline and it takes you to a website.  That is so cool!  I hope it's not a trade secret.

To insert a link like that, you must be in the full message editor (not the quick reply editor), highlight the text you want to display, then click the Insert hyperlink icon (farthest left above the row of smileys) then insert the URL.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Bonnie Lawrie

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #45 on: September 02, 2012, 12:10:30 PM »
Hi Linda & Dean,
     Thank you so very much for posting such interesting information and photos. I am enjoying YOUR trip! If you happen to be in Escanaba, MI around dinner time, you might want to go to the Stone House Restaurant for a delicious fish fry dinner.  Being a Yooper, I would highly recommend pasties, too. They are served in restaurants all over the Upper Peninsula.
                                                                                    Happy Trails,
                                                                                              Bonnie Lawrie

             
August 30 & 31, 2012      Days 13 & 14      Bismarck

Aug. 30—We got up early and did the 36-mile auto tour in reverse.  We saw 3 times as many prairie dogs running everywhere, some new white-tailed deer who crossed the road right in front of us (Picture 1), and 3 times as many bison.  Everyone was up and grazing, and there were many little calves out running around.  Yesterday, we saw no young bison at all.  However, we missed the elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

Nice weather, just hitting 80° with a very gentle breeze.  Today we saw more fields of white plastic rolls—and all that wheat I have been mentioning is really HAY!  What can I say except that I am a city girl? As part of 49’ers Day celebration at my college, I drew the lucky straw to represent my sorority in the cow-milking contest.  In all seriousness, I asked my future husband whether the cow I had drawn was a boy cow or a girl cow.  I thought dairy cows were a special breed of cow, just like a poodle is a special breed of dog.  It made sense to me!  Anyway, as we traveled today, we saw hay, hay, and more hay.

When we came into the KOA, the owner escorted us to a lovely, large, pull-thru spot, facing trees instead of RVs, but the TengoInternet didn’t work, so the manager moved us to another nice spot.  He really bends over backwards to make everyone happy, and it’s a real Pride of Ownership kind of park.  He’s owned it for one year, and he shared how hard he has worked to build it up and how glad he is that we are here.

Aug. 31—We were guided through the State Capitol (Picture 2) by a recent graduate of UND.  The capitol is one of the youngest; it was built in the 30’s.  Oily rags in a janitor’s closet caught fire and burned down the old building in 1883.  I didn’t do the math at the time, so I don’t know what happened in the intervening 50 years.  However, when they did get around to building it, it was during the Depression, so they didn’t spend a lot of money on interior decoration. They did have a nice entry, but it has been blocked off since 9-11, and you now enter through the basement. 

Their one big splurge was these huge lights (Picture 3) that cost $1,140 each, weigh 1,000 pounds, and use 109 light bulbs each.  The government is still thrifty because not one of them was lit.  They are in a lobby that is used for press conferences.

They also commissioned a Great Seal (Picture 4), which has an Indian on horseback pursuing a bison toward the setting sun, an anvil, a plow, a sledge, a bow with 3 arrows, a tree with 3 bundles of wheat, and a tree arched by a half-circle of 42 stars.  This is interesting because they were the 39th state admitted to the Union.  They made a bad guestimate as to in what order the states would be admitted, and they have never chosen to correct it.

Total cost of the building was $2 million.   It is done in a very simple art deco style and has some very pretty woods, especially the rosewood.  The building is 18 stories tall, and is the tallest building in North Dakota.  The capitol occupies the first 2 floors. The other floors are other state offices.  The capitol has no dome, and 80% of the capitol’s space is usable, whereas in Minnesota, only 29% is usable.  Now I’m anxious to see St. Paul.  Outside of the Senate and House of Representatives are these little alcoves, (Picture 5) each built with a roof-like structure to keep the echo down.  (Do they want to keep their conversations with the lobbyists secret?)

Both houses meet from January to March in odd years, and the members earn $152/day when in session and $427/month when not in session.  There are 97 members of the House.  The theme of the House is Moon & Stars. (Picture 6) They have all the latest electronics, but the furnishings are simple.  There are 47 members of the Senate.  The theme there is the Sunset.

They did put decorative, symbolic doors on their elevators (Picture 7)

In 1981, they built on a 4-story addition to house the State Supreme Court, at a cost of $10 million.  Justices have to be 30 years old and have lived in North Dakota for 3 years. They serve for 10 years. The appellant gets 30 minutes to state his case, and then the prosecutor gets 20 minutes.  If the appellant wants to rebut what the prosecutor says, he needs to have saved some of his 30 minutes, or he’s out of luck. That’s how they can hear 260 cases a year.  (And, they work 11 months a year!)  The walls are covered in a soft velvety material, which captures the voice so people don’t have to use a mike.  2 of the 5 justices are women, However, I was disappointed to learn that North Dakota has never had a female governor.

They are making the capitol more decorative by spelling out NORTH DAKOTA in petunias. (Picture 8)

Our guide shared her exciting news that her Concealed Carry Permit had just arrived.  She is a self-confident, physically robust woman in her early 20’s, but she says all North Dakotans are frightened.  She said the oil boom has brought a lot of scummy people, crime, homeless people sleeping in the trees, beggars, traffic, and that she doesn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere alone.  Men tried to kidnap one of her friends when she was in the Walmart parking lot.  Williston is the center of the Bakken formation, and the old people who have lived there all their lives have had to move out because of the violence and murders, high prices at their stores, inability to get into barber shops, etc.  I read a statement by a police lieutenant that said he never had locked his doors since the day he was born—in fact, no one knew where the key was for the lock, but he has put new locks on all the doors in his house since the oil boom.  Sounds like the Wild West!!

Staying at the KOA—good WiFi close to the office, where we are now, FHU, $43 with KOA card, spacious sites (I looked out the window, and told Dean that sites on both sides of us were vacant, only to find out that that is just grass.)

jagnweiner

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #46 on: September 02, 2012, 12:23:07 PM »
Linda-

We have a cabin just east of Park Rapids and if I weren't out of the country I'd probably be there right now. It's a neat little town. After Labor Day most of the crowds should be gone.  As far as things to do, Itasca is the top attraction. Downtown is nice.

I can't think of any real fine dining options; nice restaurants tend to go in and out of business rather quickly. Companeros in Dorset has good Mexican, but that's starting to get a ways from Itasca. For breakfast, the West 40 just west of PR on Hwy 34 is very good. Rockys has a pretty good pizza and the Schwarzwald downtown has decent German food.

Have fun and enjoy.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2012, 08:21:59 PM »
\
     Thank you so very much for posting such interesting information and photos. I am enjoying YOUR trip! If you happen to be in Escanaba, MI around dinner time, you might want to go to the Stone House Restaurant for a delicious fish fry dinner.  Being a Yooper, I would highly recommend pasties, too. They are served in restaurants all over the Upper Peninsula.
           
Bonnie, we'll definitely try your suggestions-the pasties for sure.  I'll have to look at the map for Escanaba.

 If you just want to reply, you don't have to quote.  Just hit "Reply" at the bottom, and write what you want. 
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #48 on: September 02, 2012, 08:33:38 PM »
Scott, thanks for the restaurant info.  I don't mind cooking, so we only go out if there's something special, like Bonnie's pasties, or it"s super late when we pull in and i don't have any reheatable leftovers.

 I'm looking forward to shopping at Summerhill's closing sale (they shut down on Sept. 9) in Park Rapids.

 I am thinking of trying "Bad to the Bone BBQ" in Laporte, but it's only open Thurs.-Sat. after Labor Day and Brigid's Cross Irish Pub & Restaurant in Bemidji.  A friend in the area recommended Sparkling Waters and Tutto Bene in Bemidji and Douglas Lodge, but they didn't score very well on Trip Advisor, so I put them on a back burner. 

Do you know anything about any of these? 
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

jagnweiner

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #49 on: September 02, 2012, 08:56:28 PM »
I'm afraid not, Linda. We don't eat out that often either. I have eaten at the Douglas lodge and it wasn't bad, but that was at least 7-8 years ago.
-Scott
2000 Itasca Horizon 36LD

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #50 on: September 02, 2012, 09:39:34 PM »
Sept. 1 & 2      Days 15 & 16      Bismarck, ND

Sept. 1--We enjoyed the North Dakota Heritage Center right next to the Capitol.  It had outstanding exhibits on their fossils and about Plains Indians.  They had a great duck-billed dinosaur mummy (Picture 1)  (not a fossil because it is mummified—think Egyptians—instead of fossilized).  They actually have the mummified skin and you can see the scales.  It was found by a high school sophomore  on his uncle’s farm, and he named it Dakota. He died 65 million years ago.  He was a 3½ ton dinosaur.   He died by the side of a river and was quickly buried by river sediment; some of its soft tissue mineralized and turned into rock.  He died a little before the big dinosaur die-out.

This museum taught me a lot.  We had devoured the information in the Beringia Museum in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and I thought I understood it all.  I had taught my students about the “land bridge”, but I thought it was kind of like hopping from little island to island, and small.  I learned there about its size and wished I could go back and re-teach. This map shows the huge land mass up outside of Alaska that is named Beringia, (it’s brown), and where the ice had melted is all brown.  This was the migration route of the Asians who followed the bison.  I knew what it looked like up by
Alaska, but not further south, especially not into Central and South America.  I found it fascinating, and Dean went on ahead, so there are no more pictures.

However, in the background you can see a birchbark tipi.  Now, I taught about the Plains Indians in my 3rd grade classroom.  I read many books and even visited them so I would be knowledgeable.  I learned and shared Plains Indians’ myths with my students.  I burned sage in my class, as they would do, to purify before gatherings.  I played Native American music from the Plains Indians.  So, I was surprised to learn that they built permanent structures of thick birchbark. I learned so much at this museum.

The museum told the history of North Dakota.  I learned that after Norwegians, the next highest group of immigrants were the Russians.  The last section was wonderful displays of the birds of North Dakota.  This museum is worth of its AAA “gem” rating.

We came back to the KOA and discovered we had electrical problems.  The owner and his brother worked on it for a couple of hours and discovered that the problem is the park’s, not ours.  They said they would get the electrician to come out—not likely on Labor Day weekend (at least in California).  We do have 30 amps, but that isn’t enough to keep the coach and my husband happy.  On this 99° day, the AC in just the front half sucks most of the juice, so we will eat out at Ruby Tuesday’s (I really enjoy their salad bar.)

Sept. 2—I spent all day plotting and planning the new information given me by RVForumers.  I’ve changed our routes in Minnesota and Wisconsin to include many new and interesting sites.

We still only have 30-amps.  One of the reasons I chose this park is that I needed 50 amps so I could vacuum and wash.  We haven’t used AC all day, despite it being in the high 80’s, so we could wash.  I’m going to ask for a partial refund tomorrow.  Any ideas on how much I should ask for?  I’m paying $42/day.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Billy Bob

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #51 on: September 04, 2012, 09:11:41 PM »
Hi Dean & Linda I have been following your post and have enjoyed the info. & photos. Dean hope that you are doing Ok now. Sorry you had to miss your Alaska trip this, hope you can make it next year.
You asked for 50 amps & paid for them I would  ask for half price 30 amps sucks when you need 50 for your rig

MN Cake Eater

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2012, 06:25:56 PM »
Hello Dean and Linda, I'm assuming you must be in Minnesota by now. 

Today around 3:45pm, I was driving North on Interstate 35W thru Bloomington and seen a Airstream Motor Coach going south.  Any chance that was you?

MN Cake Eater (Paul)
2009 Winnebago Destination 39N

Paul, wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a boat load of patience.

Minneapolis, MN

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2012, 06:40:46 PM »
Hello Dean and Linda, I'm assuming you must be in Minnesota by now. 

Today around 3:45pm, I was driving North on Interstate 35W thru Bloomington and seen a Airstream Motor Coach going south.  Any chance that was you?

I'm pretty sure that was us.  There aren't many Airstream coaches--most are trailers.  We were on 35W, but I'm not sure of the time.  I'm sorry we didn't get to meet you.  We have had a good time here, and we are leaving the Twin Cities tomorrow morning.  We are headed to Wabasha to the National Eagle Center tomorrow.

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #54 on: September 17, 2012, 06:54:08 PM »
It is going to take a few days for me to get 2 weeks of logs with pictures posted.  Please be patient with me.  Linda

Sept. 3         Day 17      Jamestown, ND

We traveled 100 miles to the National Buffalo Museum.  It has good parking for any size RV and is open until 8 PM.  On the grass hills, buffalo were grazing, including this white buffalo.  (Picture 1)  Yes, he is white!  However, it had just rained for about half an hour, and buffalo find wallows (large shallow holes), urinate in them, and then drop and roll, covering themselves with their own urine.  Yuck!  But, that’s what the flies think, too, so they stay away, which is good because bison have anemic little tails to brush them off.

The museum is in an old building, but they have put a lot of effort into it.  Museum admission was $4; everything else was free.  They had lots of free printed information, many bones, fossils, pictures, buffalo jewelry, and quite a bit about the Native Americans, as well as an observation deck (with a hole 4” in diameter that could cause big problems if a lady caught her heel in it). The stuffed brown bear from Alaska in the museum was definitely out of place (Where is the Border Patrol when you need them?).

 I thought it was interesting because I learned a lot and worth the low cost of admission.  Dean didn’t.  They also have the largest buffalo statue in the world.  It cost a lot and the governor came to unveil it, but it’s seen better days and didn’t impress me. 

In a pen outside are 2 very active billy goats    and 2 Rhode Island Red roosters (Pictures 2 & 3).  The billy goats ran around, played, and jumped, just like a winning Super Bowl team.  They tired, and one goat went over to eat.  A rooster charged him, pecking at his eye area.  The goat shouldered the rooster, and he flew, only to attack the goat’s hindquarters.  The goat chased the rooster for about 6 steps, and the rooster quit.  I thought they put on a good show!

There is a frontier town (free) with about 15 stores, a pony ride ($5), and a stagecoach ride.

Staying at Jamestown WalMart.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #55 on: September 17, 2012, 07:50:30 PM »
You take your time. We can enjoy your travels in small bites :)
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

MN Cake Eater

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2012, 08:34:03 PM »
Enjoy your drive down beautiful Hwy 61!  Plenty of things to see and do!

Lake City-Beautiful Lake Pepin.  The birthplace of water skiing.

Wabasha-Nat'l Eagle Center.  Also the the inspiration to the Grumpy Old Men movies.  Check out Slippery's Bar (about 6 blocks north of NEC) for pictures and props from the movie.

Kellogg-LARK Toys.  Right on Hwy 61, just 7 miles S. of Wabasha.

Have a safe trip!
MN Cake Eater (Paul)
2009 Winnebago Destination 39N

Paul, wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a boat load of patience.

Minneapolis, MN

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2012, 10:07:32 PM »
Sept. 4      Day 18         Detroit Lakes, MN

As we drove to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site—Oscar Zero.  I saw one swan a swimming and 2 golden eagles. The gentleman I had talked to earlier told me that they had parked 91 semis, and we would have lots of room for our RV.  The site was NOT RV-friendly, so Dean had to detach the Jeep, back up, and re-attach.  But, he was VERY happy with his tour.

Since Dean was the only one to go in (more mis-information—I was told I would only be able to see a small part of the site and would not be able to get down to where the interesting part was), Dean did the following write-up:

The Air Force chose North Dakota for a variety of reasons.  Vast open spaces were required (the size of New Jersey).   Low population density was necessary to reduce civilian casualties in the event of a massive first nuclear strike.  Also, North Dakota is closer to the Soviet Union than many other states. 

At the peak of Minuteman Missile deployment, there were missiles located near 6 Air Force bases in Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The Air Force grouped its Minuteman force into 6 wings.  Each wing had 3-4 squadrons.  Each squadron was divided into 5 flights, and each flight was responsible for 10 missiles. 

The 321st  Strategic Missile Wing based at Grand Forks Air Force Base is shown on the map. (Picture 1)  (Please excuse the picture quality—there was a nasty glare on the glass cover  which affected the focus.)  The 321st consisted of 3 squadrons—the 446th (top section of the map A, B, C, D, and E).  The 447th (middle of the map F, G, H, I, and J) and the 448th (K, L, M, N, and O), the O being Oscar, the site I toured.

Each of the letters A-O represents one flight of 10 missiles.  Each dot represents a silo.  Each star represents the missile alert facility for that flight.  The Oscar Zero Center (missile alert facility) is at Cooperstown, North Dakota.

The missile alert facility is the control center for a flight.  It consists of the above-ground portion, living quarters (Picture 2), recreation facilities (Picture 3), dining (Pictures 4 & 5), administration, maintenance, and security areas.  The elevator and ladder to the below-ground section is behind a secure door controlled by the missileers (launch control officers) 60 feet below ground in a blast-resistant, secure area. 

The underground area, including ladder, elevator, and two rooms that are behind blast doors, is inside a 4+ feet reinforced concrete and steel wall.  The first room is a support facility that contains air vents, filters, back-up generators, etc. (picture 6 & 7).  All of the equipment is bolted or welded to the floor.  The floor is mounted on shock absorbers.  The blast door for this room weighs 14 tons. (picture 8)  The door and locking pins are manually operated (hand-operated hydraulic pump).

The second room, the launch control room, is even more solidly built.  The launch commander’s console (picture 9) and the deputy launch commander’s console (picture 10) are shown.  All areas below ground are controlled by the missileers. 

Day-to-day operation of site security is handled by two 3-person teams.  The teams alternate to provide 24-hour coverage.  These 2 teams cover 3 days and are then relieved.  The 2-person missileer crews serve a 24-hour shift in the launch control room.  When their relief arrives, the existing crew must allow access to the elevator room.  The relief crew then goes down to the support room and checks out all the equipment, then closes and locks the blast door.  Then they report to the launch control room, the blast door of which must be opened from the inside.  The relief crew takes over the duty, and the original crew returns to the surface.  The blast doors are closed and sealed when the original crew leaves the launch control room.  Anything that the launch crew might need during their 24-hour shift, including food, must be brought down with them.  Should anything delay the relief crew, the original crew stays there.  The room must never be unmanned.

The Oscar Zero site is de-activated because of the START treaty, and silos have been filled in.  However, there are still some squadrons functioning elsewhere. 

Staying at Detroit Lakes Walmart—because we are having trouble with our Motosat.  As I understand it (pardon me, Techies), there was an update that we have to install.  But Dean’s e-mail is out on a cloud.  However, our 6-year-old travel MAC, doesn’t reach out to the cloud,   So, Dean was somehow able to transfer it from the cloud to somewhere that our e-mail could reach, and he got the update.  He wanted to be in a place without trees so he could get our Internet going, but it still doesn’t work.  We could have stayed in a Passport America park with everything for only $15 a night if we had known.  Now he has to find another treeless spot tomorrow and work with a Motosat techie.

I would not choose to spend the night in Detroit Lakes again, even at the RV park.  The whole town is by the railroad tracks, and the trains ran all night.  They didn’t just blow their whistle; they sang a whole concerto.  And, there must have been at least a dozen trains.  AND, it rained hard intermittently, which made loud noises on our roof.  Decidedly, not a good night’s sleep.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2012, 10:10:44 PM »
More pics....
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2012, 10:15:04 PM »
You take your time. We can enjoy your travels in small bites :)
 
Wendy

Thanks.  It's really hard for me to leave anything dangling, though.  I have a real need to complete (my son's phrase for me), and it really bothers me if I don't.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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