August 9 - 13, 2018: Fort Peck, Montana, Watford and Devils Lake, North Dakota
August 9 - 11, 2018 Fort Peck, Montana
The drive across Montana into Fort Peck was rolling farm hills and high desert.
We arrived in the Fort Peck area not knowing exactly where we were going to stop for the night. We had some ideas, but until you get there, ya never know sometimes. We are not real good a playing it by ear and like to have some plan so we've been coming up with our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd options for lodging. First on our list was Flat Lake Campground where we bookdocked and had an awesome view of the Fort Peck Dam and Lake. Once we set up camp for the night, we relaxed with reading books and watching the sun set.
View from our trailer at Fort Peck Lake
The next day we visited the Interpretive Center/Fort Peck Dam Dinosaur Trail, took a Dam Power House tour, and visited the Spillway which just happened to be above our campground.
Did you know that the Fort Peck Dam is an earthen Dam? Did you know that the Fort Peck Resevoir's coastline is 1,520 miles long - longer than the California Coastline? We didn't either so now we all do!
Our camp spot at Flat Lake was perfect because we were close enough to the water to take a dip one day to cool down and you could hear the water crashing up against the shore. It was incredibly hot and our outside temperature gauge said 111 on August 10th! We did not pull out the generator and run it for this stay, so luckily, there were pretty good breezes most of the days or we were able to find air conditioning. That night we had a really STRONG breeze and slept with all windows and the door open. It was awesome to hear the crashing of the waves throughout the night.
Specially for Kim R. - her favorite, a triceratops!
Pretty cool they found this T. rex in Fort Peck area!
Power House 1 that we took a tour of
Spillway - this is the 6th time in the history of the dam that water has been over the spillway. This area was hit hard this winter with snow.
August 11 - 13, 2018 Watford City, North Dakota - Theodore Roosevelt National Park
We heard from one of friends in Boise (Brian) that he was flying back into Williston, North Dakota on Sunday (he is working in ND) so we decided to head down that way and visit with him.
The first thing that we noticed as we drove across North Dakota was...rolling hills, oil rigs and farming were very prominient. It is amazing to see huge farms of hay, grain, etc. and smack in the middle of the field is an oil rig whether it is just the rig or has tanks next to it, it was such a contrast. Pretty in it's own right.
Instead of staying directly in Williston, we opted to drive a little further South to Watford and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Side. We found a campspot and bookdocked at Juniper Campground which was directly inside the Park.
There was a heatwave going through this area so upon our arrival at camp, it was 106f. This was boondocking with no water or power. We immediately pulled out the generator and turned it on, however quiet time started at 8pm (2 hours away), so in 2 hours we didn't get the trailer very cool and once we turned it off, well...it stays warm in the trailer for a while so never really cooled down for good sleeping. That night it got down to about 65 outside and was probably 75 inside. Very uncomfortable to sleep even with all of the doors open and a slight breeze.
View from our campsite
There were many trails from our campsite, this is the start of one of them. We opted to not continue on it because of the long horn steers on the trail : )
From our trailer, there was a small path to the Little Missouri River. We sat in our lawn chairs on this ridge reading books, watching the river flow, and scenery.
Inside the Park - Cannonball Concretions
The next day temps got up to 109f and after spending a few hours outside in the shade reading books, we had had enough. We could have started the generator but did not want to run it from 8am to 8pm to keep it cool, so...We drove into Watford and hung out in a coffee shop doing computer work and then moved into a restuarant for an early dinner. We then drove up to Williston for the evening and had a late dinner/dessert with Brian. It was great to see him and be able to meet up half way across the country!
While in the Park, we had wanted to ride the bicycles to the different viewpoints and possible a small hike. However, with the extreme heat, we drove the roads instead and still managed to get a feel for the terrain. Craig saw one bison and we saw some longhorn steer. Of course, every black cow that I saw, at first I thought it was a Bison, so we've now nicknamed cows....Holly Bison : ) I think the bison were smart and lazing in the shade somewhere and that is why we did not see many. The herd on the North side of the park is 260.
Inside the Park - Oxbow Point Overlook
Inside the Park - River Bend Overlook
Dinner with Brian
August 13, 2018 Devils Lake, North Dakota
Continuing on our travels, if you remember I wanted to visit each Canadian Province, so....we headed North in Saskatachaw across to Manitoba and then back into North Dakota. We had planned on eating lunch in either Province, however both places we stopped at were closed. So we stopped for lunch in Bottineau, North Dakota.
As we got into Canada, we noticed the topography was the same. Farms and oil rigs, however the oil rigs were further apart and smaller in size. As we continued across North Dakota and the further East we went the oil rigs decreased.
Sunflower fields along the way
Interesting tidbit near Rugby, North Dakota
We were trying to make up some time, so we had a long travel day and stopped in Devils Lake at the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort. We got an RV spot (had electric) in their parking lot and the primary reason we picked this spot was....the swimming pool and hot tub! It was about the same price per night to stay here vs. a campground, so why not choose the pool? Although we got in late, we still had about 3 hours to enjoy the pool and hot tub. We are not big gamblers so we never even dropped a dime on the casino floor. Also, since the casino is on Indian Reservation land (Spirit Lake Lake Tribe) it is a "dry (no alcohol)" casino.
And...did you know that Devils Lake is the largest natural lake in the State of North Dakota? On our route here, we also passed Sakakawea Lake which is the largest man made lake in the State or North Dakota! Too bad we didn't want to spend more time in Devils Lake, it looked like a cool area and lake!
Devils Lake from Spirit Lake Casino
Interesting barren trees along the shoreline of Devils Lake