AmeriCanada 2015

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. 

Day 5. Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Mid-Montana (Hardin) to mid-North Dakota (Bismarck). Birds of a Feather.

The first time I am actually aware of a time, it is 7:12 am Mountain time. We are getting ready for the day. Sharon says there is no wind outside, and it's a clear day. Excellent.

We take off at 7:34 am. I'm giving this RV park a 5 or 6. Here we are parked across a gravel patch from some storage units. {We had enjoyed the night before the "clown" trailer next to us. It seemed to be full of young men who are probably working on the road construction near here. They have a bunk house arrangement in the back of a fairly long trailer and when they start coming out, they just keep coming out. They all had come out the night before to go to the "ice cream social" that we had seen advertised when we came in. It was tempting but we didn't go.}

The morning is uneventful. We stop by the "New Hunan Chinese Restaurant" in Miles City, in its parking lot. A couple of workers dressed in restaurant garb are sweeping and cleaning the entrance. The trip odometer is 211.7 and our fuel is barely under half. I have my usual Basic 4 breakfast cereal.

At 10:30 we are back on the road. Sharon is driving, and as we drive through town, I admire this buffalo statue..

Yesterday, we were working a New York Times crossword puzzle, getting near to finishing it, and we had one word that seemed to be coming out "VITENO". The clue was something like to display annoyance or to express a negative opinion - something like that. First we argued over the pronounciation. "VEET NO" or "VEE teh no" were candidates. I said it might be Latin. Checking all the cross words, we were certain of every letter. Finally the puzzle was done except for that word, and possibly one of the crossing words. The answer turned out to be "VOTENO" because crossword puzzles don't have spaces between words of phrases, of course. This made the crossing word into something we could not accept, unless we did the usual thing with the NYT crossword, and that is to just say "Those crossword guys!" (Not remembering the crossing word vexes me. I'll try to do better).

We stop in Beech, where the trip odometer is 325.9 and the unleaded 87 octane regular gas is 2.599 a gallon. Hot dang, said the Californian. I pump in 32.0 gallons for a total of $83.20, and I could get used to these "under $100" a tank per fillup fuel stops. We are near the Interstate 94 and Highway 16 intersection.

On we carry. For lunch, the ladies decide that 1) they need a rest room stop, and 2) there's a Flying J with a Subway attached. We stop in a little before 2. I'm not a fan of Subway, but they sell pizza in the non-Subway part of the store, so I get a hot slice of that, and we all eat together in a Subway booth, finishing about 2:30. I pick up an ice cream drumstick for dessert and we are off.

Here is our version of the Welcome to North Dakota sign after we cross the border. Well, use your imagination, is what this picture says. Hey, Superman could see it. {We always try to be ready for these signs when we come into a new state. You'd think we have plenty of advance notice but it isn't always where you think it would be, or sometimes it is in the middle of a river and the sign won't be on the bridge. But the person in the right passenger seat is responsible to take the picture. Sometimes the result is what you see here. There's always a bit of panic at that moment}

About 3:30 , with the odometer trip on 31.9, we come to Teddy Roosevelt National Park, honoring the man in the Badlands of North Dakota. (Don't you just love the trip odometer reporting?)

The two photos below indicate the typical approaches to a scene, of Sharon and Shirley. Sharon wants to read every word written about it, and Shirley wants to record it in the camera of her iPad.

And here are a few shots of what we see in the Badlands.


Look at this. They could almost be the 'Sh' sisters - Shirley and Sharon. I like this fence they put up so we don't fall in.

Oh, they're so happy because I listened to them and stopped here. {With Shirley here, Bob gets outvoted (or vited) for things like this roadside stop. Women 2, Bob 1}

And here's a panorama that the modern iPhone can do. I really like this feature.

Sharon is reading to us that up ahead, in New Salem, is the largest Holstein (black and white milking cow, is how I think of that word) in the WORLD!!! Well, we will just have to see this. We wonder how big she's going to be. As Sharon continues, she reveals that its made from plaster of paris. Wait! What? I was led to believe that this cow was alive. What a gyp-off, as my boyhood friends and I used to say.

But we see it, and it is very inviting. We want to go up and take pictures of each other standing under the tail and so forth. To know more, maybe Google "largest holstein cow". Her name is Salem Sue.

We are disappointed however wen we come upon a sign that says 40 feet is the maximum vehicle length allowed to drive up the winding road. We are 50 feet of bad rig, so we take a couple of shots and continue on our way. See ya, Sue. {It's funny how many small towns will have some attraction like this to get you to pull off the hightway and look at their town. I wonder who thought up this one.}


Continuing still onward, we program in a Walmart in Bismarck, and make our way there at 5:52 pm Central Time, which we are now on.

Arriving, we find that it is a Supercenter, as it has a market and an auto center. The trip odometer is 156.9.

We all go in for the shopping experience, which I look forward to every time. It's like infinity - what am I going to find that I wasn't expecting? The answer here turns out to be Rainier Cherries, a delight of my life, and especially welcome because our area of California is now "out of season", we were told by every grocery store there. Ha!

Sharon has called ahead to the Bismarck's KOA and reserved us a spot. We check in and get a pull-through at $53.39, which includes $5 for sister Shirley. I ask for permission to lop off some limbs over our trailer spot, to clear the air above us to get satellite TV, and get it. The fellow I was told to ask is eating a cheeseburger in the check-in room, at a dining table, and he immediately agrees to my request, partly, I think, because he had earlier picked up our empty propane tank, promising to get it filled and be "right back". He says, "Sorry, I was so busy I forgot about your propane. I'll get it to you right after I eat." I am happy with that, especially because his agreeable demeanor has allowed for me to cut branches.

I cut these branches, but up north, the satellites are low off the horizon, and there is a grove of trees 100 yards from me that are so tall, they block the satellites, so we're back to the pioneer days of no TV. Wah, wah, wah. That's ok, of course, because we will be fully committed to Rummikub.

As we were maneuvering into our site, Sharon picked up the fact that there is a bird nest just ten feet from our trailer {I followed the sound of the baby birds calling for their mother.}, and if we stand in the trailer door, we can see two babies waiting for worms and the like. The mother comes and stuffs the goodies into their mouths, and after several of these trips, we can see that there are three babies.{They are Western Kingbirds.}

We finish a great fajitas dinner about 9 pm, but that's only 8 pm Mountain Time, where we were a few hours ago, and that doesn't seem so late.

The ladies gather up the laundry and though the washers are efficient, the dryers apparently use a one watt light bulb to dry, as they are pouring quarters into the machines, and in fact, the laundry never does get totally dry. But sometimes you have to pull the trigger when it ain't time to shoot yet. {I said it doesn't make sense to them to fix the dryers as we just keep putting quarters in because we need our clothes dry.}

I get some great photos of the Western Kingbird (we do the ID) feeding the babies. {Look at the resolution of Bob's camaera where you can see the string of saliva from the babies mouth to the Mom.}

And after Rummikub and laundry, it's off to LaLa Land.

Began: Hardin, MT
Pass Through: Miles City Montana, Glendive and Belfield North Dakota on Interstate 94.
End: Bismarck, ND
Miles Today: 388
Miles for Trip: 1640
Stay at Bismarck KOA again? Yes, but inquire which dryer is best if you are doing laundry.
Previous Report 4. West Yellowstone to Hardin, Montana. Yellowstone National Park
Next Report 6
. Bismarck to International Falls, Minnesota. The Hitch Hitch
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