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RV Rental – Many Advantages

Picking an RV rental for your next cross country road trip can make for a great experience.  By renting an RV you can eliminate the unpleasantness of stopping in cheap motels by the side of the interstate during your trip.

While Motel 6 and Super 8 both have their place, neither of them can really be considered pleasurable places to stay.  For most road trippers they are simply a place to rest and recuperate between spells of driving.

This really isn’t the ideal situation.  There is no reason that you cannot take a trip and actually enjoy the places you are staying – rather than just tolerating them.

It is very easy to find nice RV parks to stay at if you are taking a long drive from any point A to point B.  Some people will make the whole point of their time on the road to get to those places!

Unfortunately, if you don’t own an RV of your own, you are really going to want to find a way to acquire one for the duration of your trip.  It is no good going to a scenic RV park if you have nothing to stay in after all.

Imagine selecting a mountainous destination by a lake in the beautiful Rockies.  You can pick yourself up a nice RV rental in Denver and drive it up into the mountains.  While the best camping spots are not cheap, they are comparable in price – even including the cost of renting the RV – with a nice quality hotel.

Odds are however; that you will enjoy yourself much more camped beside a mountain stream than you will in a small motel or hotel room.  With kids especially the extra space – and additional activities – can be a god send!

Activities like hiking, fishing, or simply relaxing to the sights and sounds of nature while sitting by a campfire are all opened up to you when you choose an RV rental for your vacation.

Taking your place to stay with you rather than taking yourself to the available places to stay is a wonderful thing, and will give you a good taste of the benefits available to those whom choose a life of fulltime RV living.

 

 

 

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Red River State Campground – East Grand Forks – Minnesota

Upon leaving Walhalla we attempted to follow the Rendezvous Region Scenic Backway, which traverses a remote part of Northeast North Dakota.  This took a bit of luck to find the starting point but we were soon off and running.  The drive took us on some rather poor roads that would probably not be open year around, but we did stumble across a couple of neat things along the way.

One noteworthy item was a large field full of old decaying cars.  Of course these are a dime a dozen, but in this  particular case all the cars looked to be at least 40 or 50 years old.  At the very back of the group were some vehicles that looked to be significantly older again.  This would be a great place to visit for vintage car buffs, as you can see many – although admittedly not in the best of shape!

Next we stopped at the Icelandic State Park.  The park was quite attractive with a pleasant lake and attractive campsites.  We decided to walk one of the local hiking trails which seemed to correspond to an electrical easement judging by the flags – and the walk was enjoyable.  There was a lot of elevation change, but the path itself was mowed – helping somewhat with treading the uneven terrain.
At one point the path started heading down to the  river side thru a shaded tunnel of trees – this looked very enticing until the mosquitoes came out in force and we decided a strategic withdrawal was in order.  A good walk nonetheless.

Next we found our way to Pembina on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, extremely close to the Canadian border.  We found a great free museum there, the Pembina State Museum, and took some time to explore it.  It had a lot of great information on the Métis culture that developed there, a blending of Native American and French European peoples.  I found this very informative, and it was a good counterpoint to all the Scandinavian heritage information we had seen the day before – clearly demonstrating the local population was not completely homogeneous even in recent times.

From here it was determined we needed to find some lunch.  Driving for quite some time we came to the town of Hallock, where we found a wonderful little restaurant called the Caribou Lodge.  After eating way too much we determined there were very few camping options in the local neighborhood, so we made our way to East Grand Forks, and setup camp in a large campground on the Red River.

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Walhalla Riverside City Park – Walhalla – North Dakota

Started the day by traveling north again past the Minot Air Force Base.  Again had no luck seeing any aircraft take off or land, but did manage to catch sight of a bunch of B52s sitting on the runway.  They don’t make it easy – you have to go down some paved roads, and you really don’t see all that much.

This done, we headed again towards the Canadian border, this time we paralleled the border along highway 43, and travelled the Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway.  Driving this route we saw ‘Mystical Horizon’ which was actually less new-age than it sounds.

This is a modern interpretation of Stonehenge on a hilltop with a great view incorporating a sundial, a scope for sighting on Polaris and old school stone markers for determining the change of seasons. Unfortunately the sky was full of clouds so we couldn’t do much with any of those.

Later we drove to Strawberry Lake.  This site has great campsite potential, as it is very secluded but has generous facilities, and is quite close to the attractive lake.  The heavy forest also includes – according to signage – many fruits, though I wouldn’t advise anyone to randomly grab foliage without a solid knowledge of botany.

Next we made our way around Lake Metigoshi.  From what I can see this is a popular retreat with the well heeled,   as there were many expensive looking properties on the water line.  We considered stopping in the local state park, as the town offered a long pedestrian path that looked worthy of further exploration, but decided to continue on.

Several hours later we reached Pembina Gorge thinking it would offer some camping opportunities.  Unfortunately it turned out to be an ATV trail type destination, rather than a place for campers, so we carried on.

In the town of Walhalla we thankfully discovered a nice campground – the Walhalla Riverside City Park – so we set up camp there in the grassy shade for the evening. The ground at the site got wet by dew during the night, but it was a pretty quiet and comfortable site which allowed us to sleep in for the first time for a long time.

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Fairfield Inn Marriott – Minot – North Dakota

Coming up from Bismarck to Minot, the direct route involves taking Highway 83.

We however, chose an alternate more scenic pass.  ND 1804 hugs the Missouri river for several miles, and offers some enjoyable sights.  The highlight to me was the site of the Double Ditch Indian Village, a former location for members of the Mandan Indian tribe.

This impressive site is very large, and the sheer scale of the land involved is a vivid reminder of how different these agricultural based communities are from the more commonly thought of nomadic Indians.  The North American continent had several native populations that had settled ‘villages’ which could be best categorized as small towns.

Walking the site was enjoyable.  While there are no buildings present the dents, bumps and other landmarks clearly identify the former locations of earthen mound lodges, middens, ditches and other fortifications.  I did have to be careful strolling around however, as there are many many critters who have dug dangerous holes in the ground – some hidden by long grasses.  There is a thriving prairie dog community present, and I suspect some larger animals such as rabbits and foxes also.

Also present at the location – which is on a bluff over the Missouri – was a stone shelter built by the new deal Works Progress Administration.  It was unclear to me why they built this, but it was certainly sturdy.

After driving along ND 1804 a while longer, near the town of Washburn is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.  While not cheap to access, they have some great displays and provide great context for understanding their Corps of Discovery Expedition.  Although the center is undergoing expansion, the display they already have I think were worth paying to see.

Included in admission is an interpretive tour of a replica of Fort Mandan. While not an exact copy of the original fort, it is a fair duplicate based on what is known of the original.  As well as describing life in the fort, staff also give presentation on various topics of interest.

We were there for a talk by Jeffery Carlson, who gave a run down on life for new army recruits on the expedition – ‘the Kentucky nine’.  A lucky volunteer from the audience was dressed up in a replica of their uniforms, and Jeff fielded question.  It was clear he has a great knowledge of the relevant topics, as he was able to provide detailed answers to some relatively complicated questions.

The final stop before arriving at Minot was when we crossed the Garrison Dam, that forms the very large Lake Sakakawea.  This impressive edifice is an earth fill dam, it is 60 feet wide at the top and very very wide at the base.  Without a lot of concrete visibly involved there is a lot of grass growing on the down river side, and it was thus to me a rather unusual looking dam.

While the trip from Bismarck to Minot is only about 2 hours direct, we managed to spend most of the day with all our detours and stops; they were well worthwhile however, and the day was much more interesting than I anticipated.

We opted to spend two nights in the Marriott in Minot, as we had quite a bit of activity planned.  Since it took so long for us to get there taking our scenic drive, we didn’t get to do much more than eat dinner the first night.  The next morning however, we were up brighy and early and went down to the local tourist information office at the Minot Scandinavian Heritage Park.

The buildings weren’t open to explore when we were there, but we took a stroll around the grounds and checked out the various items on the grounds.  The Gol Stave Church was particularly impressive, and I’d have to say it was both unique and beautiful.

After leaving we drove downtown to explore the old main street.  There are quite a few stores there, and while it has to compete with the Dakota Square mall is still seems pretty functional.  I spent some time in ‘Bravs Shoe Store’, a shop selling a range of Western goods, and picked up some great gifts.  The elderly gentleman running the store told us it was the oldest in town, and was operated by his father before him.

We briefly attempted to locate a rumored river walk in the downtown area, but were unsuccessful.  Minot is a very easy town to get lost in!  Instead, we headed out of town up Highway 83 in the hopes of seeing some planes taking off or landing at Minot AFB.  Unfortunately the weather was pretty overcast, so we couldn’t see much of anything, and the visit was a non-event.  Probably unsurprisingly they are not setup to receive tourists.

In the name of following 83 as far as we could – since we have been roughly driving it since Texas – we headed North about an hour until we reached the Canadian border near Westhope in the northern tip of North Dakota.  We took some quick photos – probably to the bemusement of the border guards – and then drove back to the hotel in Minot.

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Big Pine Campground – Custer – South Dakota

two nights

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Red Cloud Campground – Nebraska National Forest – Nebraska

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Roadside Inn – Thedford – Nebraska

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High Plains Camping – Oakley – Kansas

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Seven Winds RV Park – Liberal – Kansas

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Olde Town Cotton Gin RV Park – Goodlett – Texas