2017 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem in T Roosevelt Natl Park Juniper CG

Four Bears Casino in New City ND

Crossing the Little Missouri River west of New City

A rainy day along ND 23

Oil reigns king here
Multiple oil field flares attest to that

A big name in big oil

T. Roosevelt Natl Park North Unit occupies this valley

Welcome to Theodore Roosevelt NP

Carpe Diem in T Roosevelt Natl Park Juniper CG

"Ted" observes bull bison grazing a few meters from Carpe

You know you're in the oil patch when there are oil and...

Slump formation

CCC hut near River Bend Overlook

View of the Little Missouri River

Overlook view of badlands

Carpe Diem viewed from across the meadow

Cannonball Concretions

Cannonball Concretions

Cannonball Concretions

Interesting rock formations

Wed, 03 Aug: Well, the windshield wipers work just fine...

Today was a rainy one. For most of this year's travels it has been dry. We've had very little rain on travel days, but today was different.

We had a comparatively restful nite at the Minot Pilot/Flying J. As a general rule, truck stops are noisy places with big rigs coming and going all nite. Many of those that park overnite leave their engines or generators running. Worst of all are the reefer trucks with their noisy cooling units. That said, last evening was fairly quiet and we both slept fairly well.

It started raining about 0400 and drizzled on and off for a bit. Then, when it was time to get up it settled in to steady rain. Not torrential but not exactly a lite mist either. After our normal travel day routine Bob braved the elements and took the outside duties of checking that the antennae were stowed, engine oil level, LP off, and lite/brake checks.

Sandi rolled wheels @ 0830 and we continued west on US 2 to Stanley, where we turned south on ND 8. A dozen or so miles south we picked up ND 23 and headed west toward the town of New Town. Now, if there is ever a town that is not at all impressive, it is New Town. Just nothing except the 4 Bears Casino and then a bridge across the Little Missouri River.

During most of this route we were in "oil patch" country. This is the heart of North Dakota's shale oil boom, and the huge trucks hauling chemicals, oil, drilling rigs, and all manner of support equipment is staggering. This is big business up here.

A quick stop for fuel at Keene where we added $100 worth of diesel to the tank. That'll ensure we'll have enough fuel to run our generator while boondocking in the National Park.

At Watford City we turned south on US 85 a dozen miles to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit. We flashed our "old fart" cards at the entry kiosk and continued five miles to the Juniper Campground. We found a good spot with a clear view of the sky for both solar and SatTV. SatTV is all we'll get there as it is a remote area with zero wireless and data connectivity. We'll have to drive back to Watford City for infrastructure.

Today's run was 152 miles with an overall fuel economy of 7⅔mpg.

Our plans are to spend a week here, give and take some days. We'll update this as possible when we're in an area with connectivity.

Sun, 06 Aug: Relaxing and quiet don't do it justice...

Today, Sunday, marks our fifth day camping in Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Unit's Juniper Campground. This is about as remote a place as you can get in the lower 48, yet we are within a dozen or so miles of a moderate-sized town. When we first arrived on Wednesday we thought the only link we had with the outside world was our Dish satellite TV. We've since learned that we have some—albiet very limited—1X Verizon service using our external cellular antenna and Wilson amplifier system.

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, we arrived mid-day Wednesday in a heavy rainstorm. It rained most of Wednesday and into the nite.

Thursday dawned sunny yet not too hot. We got sufficient solar to fully charge our batteries and enjoy our modern conveniences. We had quite a treat when we opened our shades and noted a bull bison grazing no more than 10-15 meters in front of the coach. We got many pix of this not-that-rare event in this National Park's Campground.

The next day, Friday, was also clear and warm, so we drove the dozen or so miles up US 85 to Watford City to a laundry. This laundry was, we both agree, one of the nicest ones we've been in. The rates were reasonable, they had a wide array of machine sizes, and most of all they were clean and worked!

As is typical of self-serve laundry's in the "oil patch", they had a section of machines set aside for oil field laundry. This is mostly respected so the "regular" machines are clean. Still, we carefully ran our hands inside the machines before loading our stuff.

AND! The laundry had free Wireless that was fast. While our duds tumbled merrily about we got a lot of internet stuff done. Except, duh, we forgot to upload this Journal. That'll have to wait till next time we get good internet (1X service is NOT conducive to uploading pix).

Yesterday (Sat) was gloomy and rainy. Not much solar charging took place so we ran our generator a few hours mid-day and again in the evening. It was cool, so while the genset was running so was our heat pump! What a contrast to a week ago... In fact, every overnite has been in the low 50s or even hi 40s.

Today is much the same. We're inside, enjoying our snug home while listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. There are many tent campers here and we don't envy them one whit.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and we plan to load the car with our camera gear and do some exploring. We'll see...

Tue, 08 Aug: Got the pix, heading out tomorrow...

As forecast, yesterday (Monday) and today were sunny so we drove the park road to the end and played tourist. We saw some bison and lotsa pretty vistas for our cameras. We've attached several pix for your enjoyment.

This park must be a geologist's dream playground. The rock formations are unique and the slump formations eerily beautiful. Our outright favorites, however, are the "cannonballs" that dot the mountain right across from the Juniper Campground entrance.

Cannonball Concretions are hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape. (Wikipedia).

We're "outta heah" in the morning. Planned destination, a boondock turnout south of Buffalo South Dakota.

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