West 2021:
Day 3 - Beaver Lake State Park, ND


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West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

Wednesday, May 5, 2021: Oh, yeah, leftover Carbone's pizza for breakfast!
We left the campground around 8:30 AM. We spotted this footbridge in the park that connects North Dakota and Minnesota.
We stopped at a small waterfall which finally solved the question of which way the Red River flows - toward the north.
We passed a Statue of Liberty replica next to a bridge over the Red River. This was a replacement for one that was originally installed by the Boy Scouts in 1950.
This mural let us know that we were now in Moorhead, where the zip code is 56560.
We passed a house with this cute shed. The roof's shingles curved around each edge of the roof.
Not long after, we saw an entire house with a roof shingled the same way.
We drove through the Concordia University campus in Moorhead.
It was obviously large trash pickup day in both Fargo and Moorhead, because trash lined many neighborhood streets, but nowhere as heavily as this street near Concordia that featured three separate couches.
St. John's Episcopal Church had a historical marker out front.
The old Fairmont Creamery building has been repurposed for contemporary use.
We arrived at the Hjemkomst Center just as it opened, ...
... so we had the museum portion all to ourselves. The centerpiece of the indoor museum is a dream come true for the late Bob Asp, pictured here.
He dreamed of building a working Viking ship.
He named it the Hjemkomst. Check out the detail on the dragon head bow.
Stairs lead up one level so visitors can get a look at the interior.
Bob passed away after an initial test on Lake Michigan but his children led the effort to sail it across the Atlantic Ocean to Norway as Bob had dreamed.
There is a Norwegian stave church outside. Built in 1998, iIt is a replica of the Hopperstad stave church in Norway.
Here's another view of the church, ...
... and a closer look at the dragon head details.
We'd like one of these little things in our yard, so if you'd like to build one for us for free, that would be great.
The detailed carvings around the door is called Urness Style and was very impressive.
Next to the church is this cross, which is a replica of a Celtic cross located in Nordfjord, Norway.
Back inside, there was an adorable model of the church, ...
... a replica of the weather vane, ...
... and a display that featured the original church and details on how the replica was constructed.
There is a cool mosaic celebrating the region in the lobby of the facility.
We crossed the Red River again to head back to Fargo.
There's the Fargodome, which we decided should be pronounced "Far-gah-dah-may." We thought it was hilarious.
We went to the Fargo Air Museum but didn't go inside.
We were just here to see the Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile in the parking lot. This was previously on display at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD.
We also drove by the exterior hangar windows very slowly.
We passed an odd display that we guessed was fire hose training day for the Fargo Fire Department, but your guess is as good as ours. The rainbow it created was nice.
We drove through the campus of North Dakota State University, since we have a shot glass from here that we got as a gift. Here's Shepperd Arena, with the art deco word "Livestock" over the entrance. The sign out front says that it now houses Animal Sciences and Meat Science Laboratory.
Of course, a bison statue graces the entrance, since that is the school's mascot. Brace yourself for a lot of bison statues on this day. Lots and lots.
We drove through the vintage buildings of downtown Fargo, ...
... past the Fargo Theater, ...
... and down an alleyway to see this masterpiece, the #fargomariowall.
There were cool pillars on each corner of the main street, with the name of the street included in the globe sculpture on top of each one.
Here's where the mighty railroad comes through town.
The Fargo-Moorhead area had hosted "Herd About The Prairie: A Virtual Art Stampede" back in 2005, and we had to hunt down a few statues. Here's one, ...
... and here's another that we found as we crossed back over into Moorhead. This one was outside the Rourke Art Museum, ...
... which featured this beautiful peacock sculpture over the entrance by the parking lot.
After waiting patiently for 10:00 to roll around, we headed to the Moorhead Dairy Queen.
Legend tells us that the Dilly Bar was invented at this location, which explains the giant Dilly Bar statue right outside.
Of course, we had to get one each, even though Buster Bars are far superior.
Did you know that Dilly Bars come in different flavors? They do, and Tom was asked which flavor he wanted. As if anyone would order anything other than chocolate!
There was a great vintage Coca-Cola Classic neon sign in the window.
Back in Fargo again, we passed the Fargo City Hall with its large murals.
We passed the junkyard full of animal sculptures we had passed the day before, but this time we took pictures of the three bison statues on the property.
They were all the same shape, but they did not match the Fargo-Moorhead bison statues.
This poor statue was barely decorated at all - just a coating of gray paint.
We spotted a bison statue on a strip mall roof, which appeared to be a one-off sculpture and not part of a set.
UFOs and aliens - who can resist a restaurant decorated like this?
Our last stop before leaving the area was the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center.
We got one last painted bison statue here.
Toward the back of the parking lot was a trash dumpster with beautiful rosemaling painted on it, plus the Norwegian words "Nord av normal," which means North of Normal, Fargo's motto.
The Fargo Walk of Fame wraps around the edge of the parking lot.
It features signatures from celebrities past and present.
It's Suzy Bogguss! We love her.
A shiny new woodchipper stands outside the visitors center. A sign next to it notes that it is the "stunt double" for the famous woodchipper used in the film "Fargo," ...
... which is right inside. This is the actual movie prop, folks.
There were "Fargo" movie posters on the wall and a glass display of movie memorabilia.
We were delighted to see these "Fargo" movie snowglobes. We own a copy of the "Car Accident" version on the left and didn't even know that the "Wood Chipper" version on the right existed.
We really should have asked about this sign while we were there, because we learned a day too late that this club is reserved for people who have visited all 50 states but saved North Dakota for last, which is exactly what Tom did back in 2012.
We did some driving on I-94 for a while and spotted an eagle's nest in the distance.
A quick zoom on the camera revealed that there was a parent bald eagle on the nest.
We drove past Valley City, a town that Debbie vividly remembers seeing for the first time at night on a Greyhound bus when she was 11, traveling from Seattle to St. Paul. (The story of an 11-year-old traveling by bus across the country alone will have to wait for another day.)
Anyway, the nighttime approach into Valley City from the west is across relatively flat plains, then the highway suddenly descends into a valley that is filled with twinkling nights. We were going the other way during the day, so it wasn't nearly as magical, ...
... but just look out the back of our rig and try to imagine a valley of lights appearing out of nowhere.
North Dakota is filled with a surprising number of lakes, and we saw many more in just an hour of driving than we did throughout our entire Minnesota drive.
We are compelled to photograph every Continental Divide sign. Don't know why.
We saw steaming soil in areas that had obviously just had prescribed burns.
North Dakota's Adopt-a-Highway signs featured a bird and flowers.
As we approached Jamestown, we spotted the World's Largest Buffalo on the hill (on the far right in this photo), ...
... and a herd of real bison too.
We squealed over the adorable twin bison babies frolicking on the hill.
We drove through downtown Jamestown ...
... to the Depot Cafe ...
... where we got a takeout order of ...
... a Juicy Lucy burger and onion rings, plus a Philly cheesesteak and fries, washed down with a Diet Pepsi and a lemonade. Both meals were very delicious so we shared them.
We decided to take a different route back through town rather than backtrack, and Google Maps routed us through a cute city park along the James River.
However, no matter how much Google Maps wanted us to take this road, we were dead set against it. Was it because of the huge rock blocking the bridge? Was it because it was a pedestrian-only bridge? Or was it because we are just obstinate and won't do as we are told? We backtracked all the way to the main road, with Siri squawking at us the whole way to turn around.
We made it to the World's Largest Buffalo, which had recently been named Dakota Thunder.
Quite by accident, Debbie had discovered that the sculptor, Elmer Peterson, was from the small town of Galesville, Wisconsin, where Debbie's father grew up. He created the two Gambrinus sculptures we had seen in La Crosse a few years earlier, and the sculptures we would be seeing when we visited Galesville toward the end of this trip.
Want to learn more about him? Call this number.
We headed back to our little RV and saw the same two RVs we had seen earlier in the day parked in the Fargo Air Museum. Were they following us?
We continued to enjoy the North Dakota lake scenery, ...
... and were amused by the number of times we saw roads and train tracks built right through the lakes.
Pelicans in North Dakota? Yes, we saw quite a few, including this set of ten.
Another pretty lake mirroring the perfect sky.
After we turned south from I-94, we found ourselves on a road to ourselves. We rarely saw vehicles coming from the other direction, and there was no one behind or in front of us. Here, the road curves into the distance and there isn't a vehicle in sight.
See what we mean about building roads right through lakes and marshes?
We loved it because it provided excellent closeup viewing of the many types of birds who called the marshes home.
Oh my. Fifteen miles away from our state park destination, we encountered a dirt road, which decreased our speed and increased our stress considerably.
We passed field after field of cattle.
This blurry picture shows a brand new baby calf. He could barely stand and appeared to still have his umbilical cord attached.
We were so relieved when the dirt road ended and we met up with paved roads once again.
A few minutes later, we arrived at Beaver Lake State Park.
A sign on the hill warmly welcomed us.
After checking out our campsite and failing to find an unlocked restroom, we were relieved to find an unlocked vault toilet.
That's when we discovered how incredibly filthy less than 15 miles of dirt road can make an RV. Mud caked the running boards and everything underneath the rig.
We got checked in with the ranger and got settled into our campsite.
It was located on the lake-facing side of a perfect oval campground. Per the ranger, the campground was built on what used to be a half-mile oval horsetrack.
We loved the view of the lake from our site. We also loved the privacy, because only two other campsites were occupied in the whole campground, and they were both far away from us.
We did have neighbors, though. This cute little thirteen-lined ground squirrel was busy digging near our van much of the afternoon, plus we had a steady stream of robins stopping by.
From the comfort of our rig, we could check out the birds across the lake from us.
Our new binoculars gave us even closer views than our powerful little camera, so we were able to see this row of birds across the lake much better than shown here.
After some relaxing, we headed out to view the lake.
Pretty.
We spotted deer across the lake and zoomed in with the camera to get a picture. How nice that we happened to get a picture of a gull at the same time.
Some gulls were yelling at each other on the dock north of us.
As primary photographer, Debbie is rarely pictured in these travelogs unless she catches herself in Tom's reflection ...
... or if she hands the camera to Tom and asks him to use it.
Back inside, Tom watched a SpaceX test launch at Boca Chica ...
... then we had dinner of freeze-dried spaghetti and meat sauce, one of our favorite RV dinners.
We had managed to avoid the rain all day ...
... but around 7:00 PM, our luck ran out. It was actually a good thing, though, because the rig stayed dry the whole time which verified that Tom's leak prevention the previous couple of days had worked.
The rain was brief and the sun came back out in time for sunset.
This evening's entertainment was "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," a movie classic that neither one of us had seen until now, which is odd considering how many times we've seen "How to Marry a Millionaire."

Day 4 >


West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

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