We can see for miles and miles

Trip Start Sep 06, 2012
Trip End Mar 06, 2013

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Where I stayed
Roughrider Campground

Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Midday temperature: 83F

We woke up this morning to frost on the ground and 36F. Brrrr. Yet by mid afternoon the temperature was a very comfortable 83F. Can't complain.

Well, after a couple hours of driving we finally drove out of the corn belt and into the sunflower belt, acres and acres of sunflowers! There were also acres and acres of grain fields. The grain harvest has begun and from miles away we could see the dust clouds coming from the back of the combines. But most of the time it seemed like a moonscape. The topography is quite flat and we could easily see 25 miles in front of us and on each side. North Dakota has a huge open pit coal mine and as we passed by it there were warning signs of explosives in the area. We also passed two more wind farms between Bismarck and Minot, these are even more expansive than the one we saw yesterday.

In a particularly Prairie province type of terrain we drove over the continental divide, which really surprised Greg and I until we were able to research it on the internet. Turns out that a divide is the border between rain water drainage systems, so everything to the west of where we were drains to the Pacific Ocean and everything to the east drains to the Gulf of Mexico. We learn something new everyday.

We also saw a group of pelicans on a small lake near the road. Another surprise.

One of the roads we traveled on is named the Lewis and Clarke Trail. My history of this area is sorely lacking and I did not realize the significance of this title. I did get excited however when we crossed over Lake Sakakawea and tried to pronounce it. It was then that Greg and I remembered from "A Night at the Museum" Ben Stiller trying to say the name of the Indian woman that came to life: Sakakawea. She was the interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clarke back in the early 1800s. Wow. Now I wish I had taken a picture of the lake.

The lady that registered us at the campground told me that in the spring of 2011 the campground was evacuated because of severe flooding of the nearby Souris River. The Souris River originates in Manitoba and the Canadians decided to open up a dam, and that's what caused the flooding. The Canadians only gave them a half day notice and it's only because of the state police warning them that there was a wall of water heading their way that they were able to get to safety. 

States driven in: Minnesota, North Dakota
Driven today: 608 km (380 mi)
Driven to date: 4568 km
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Judy B on

My recollections of North Dakota when our family crossed it west to east in 1994 (besides how flat it was) was the constant "click-click" of the seams in the concrete highway. As you said, its amazing how far you can see off in the distance - eerily beautiful!

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