I got into Grand Forks, ND around 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon. I got a reservation for the night at Turtle River State Park's campground. It was nice: clean, secluded, good amenities. I made chicken and zucchini on the grill immediately when we arrived cuz ya girl was HANGRY. Then I worked on social media things the rest of the evening. It was nice to get in early(ish) and have time to relax before going to bed instead of the go-go-go we've been doing.
Sunday, September 10, 2023: we woke up around 5:30am - Kona's choice. I made coffee and then started getting the RV ready to drive again. We stayed at a campground the night before so I could take care of the RV: dumping and filling the tanks, electricity hookup, showers, etc. After filling my water tank and dumping the "black tank", I went to the showers... and they were locked. I hadn't washed my hair in 5 days so I decided to just do it right there in the parking lot and honestly, no regrets.
We headed out to our first destination which was 4 hours away - Lake Sakakawea. We took a gorgeous 2-mile hike when we arrived. The bugs were bad, but the views made up for it. I made lunch and refilled our water bottles but North Dakota water tastes funny. I mean no offense; it's probably normal to them. But compared to Wisconsin water, it's weird. I regretted filling up as many bottles as I did.
Back on the road for another 2 hours. A lot of the roads on this leg of the trip were gravel/unpaved and it was not fun. Kona doesn't like when there are ripples in the road, and there were a lot, so she was pacing back and forth nonstop while we were driving. I actually pulled over at one point to try to give her some love so she would calm down - it didn't work.
We finally got to Killdeer Mountains at Little Missouri State Park. It is a very beautiful state park that is used a lot for horseback riding. Kona and I began to make a 5-mile loop around the park. It was extremely scenic but an extremely tough hike; we were up and down nonstop. We got about 2 miles in and the trail legitimately just disappeared. The ground isn't normal dirt ground, and whatever it was made out of seemed to have washed away during a storm. We were lost. With zero cell service. So instead of trying to figure it out we just decided to double back the way we came. It ended up being an 75 minute hike and overall it was good.
Then we drove another hour to Dickinson, ND to where we were staying for the night: Phat Fish Brewing. We got in around 5:30 and posted up at their outdoor patio. I ordered us some cheese curds which were surprisingly delicious, along with a pizza and beers. The pizza was just ok; probably because it had honey on it and my waitress didn't bring any napkins. It was a mess. The cheese curds, on the other hand, were fire. They came with some sort of seasoned ranch that was also delicious. I tried 3 of their beers and didn't love any of them, but their patio was really nice and the parking situation was great.
Monday, September 11th, 2023: I lied about that parking situation - it was right next to a train track and SO loud at least every 3 hours. We did not sleep well. Today we worked all morning at a park in Dickinson, ND. It was the first time I was able to get a workout in and it felt great. Kona enjoyed being able to sleep while I worked; girl has been tired. I wanted to go to Theodore Roosevelt National Park during the day, but the time change really screwed up my schedule and I couldn't fit it in. I decided we would go to the visitors center right before closing to get a national parks pass and then explore the park a little bit. Turns out the visitor center that we went to doesn't sell park passes, and we would not have made it before close to the next visitor center. Bummer. I decided we would just head up to our campsite for the day and visit the park tomorrow.
I am so glad that it worked out the way that it did because we ended up being able to get a campsite and it is BEAUTIFUL up here. We are at the top of Little Missouri State Park National Grassland and it is just gorgeous. We are going to hang here for the evening, work on social media things, and get a good nights sleep. Tomorrow we will explore the park (or stay up here all day?)
Tuesday, September 12, 2023: We did not go to the park today - we stayed in our spot and honestly I'm more than ok with that! The weather has been SO windy though, so the back door net kept falling down. I tried to put the awning up but it was a total shit show. I cried a little bit but luckily nothing broke. We took a few walks up and down the gravel road that the campsites are on to try to check out all of the other views. I honestly think that I got the best campsite on the block.
I ate leftover pizza for lunch (again) and then grilled chicken and sweet potato and zucchini for dinner. I put the mini grill on my foldable table and of course the entire thing fell off. Luckily the veggies were in tinfoil and didn't hit the ground, but the chicken went all over the place. I rinsed it off and cooked it anyway. After dinner, I did some yoga. I also painted my toenails and chatted with Kailagh on the phone for a bit.
Wednesday, September 13, 2023: Honestly, I got a little frustrated with life today. I want to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but their visitor center closes at 4:30 and I don't want to risk losing my camping spot. I want to be able to spend at least a few hours at the park and can't do that without being there after dark during the week. That being said, I decided to take a half day on Friday. We are going to go to the park during the day and then cross our fingers we can find somewhere to park at night. Then on Saturday morning we will start heading to our next destination(s) which ultimately will be Glacier National Park.
I did see wild horses today which was pretty cool. I also got my first "good" workout in, and washed my hair with my outside shower. Overall, it was a good day. Just a little frustrating at times. I took this trip because I don't want to be trapped in Milwaukee, and now I feel like I'm just trapped other places. Maybe Milwaukee isn't the issue; maybe it's having a 9-5.
Friday, September 15th. 2023: Today has been rough. The day started out good – had a half day for work. Actually got dressed in real clothes. Put makeup on for the first time in weeks.
Then I got to the point where I was getting ready to leave for Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the RV wouldn’t start. I turned the generator on without a problem so I thought I would wait a bit to see if something was just off.
After 30 minutes – still nothing. Called my dad and he told me that the battery is dead. So I called Triple A and tried to take matters into my own hands in the meantime by hooking up the house battery charger I bought to the RV and then to the RV battery. That did not work.
Triple A showed up after about 90 minutes and jump started the RV. Great. We are on the road again to the park! We finally get our annual pass, start driving around taking pictures of animals and scenery and then I come across a bison. HUGE, close to the road on the passenger side. I go to roll Kona’s window up so she doesn’t scare him, and the entire window slides down and fully disappears. I call my dad and he tries telling me to use duct tape to pull the window glass up – didn’t work. He’s also telling me that I cant turn the RV off because it will die again. So I go to find the nearest battery place – Dickinson. The place that is 30 minutes east; where I was last weekend. I drive to Dickinson, get to the mechanic shop and he starts working on the window. He tells me that a cable snapped and he has to order the part.
Mind you, all of this is happening while Kona is freaking out; whining and barking nonstop while I am driving. I also tied her to the back seat of the RV so she wouldn’t try jumping out the front window but she kept getting the tie out stuck underneath the front seat and choking herself. It was a whole thing.
After the mechanic told me I would have to come back tomorrow, I decided to make the best of my stay in Dickinson. I went to Walmart and got water, groceries, jumper cables, OH and a new grill. I left that part out. I was so excited that the RV battery was running that I forgot to close the side cabinet and my grill fell out at some point. I heard it happen, but it moves around a lot so I didn't think much of the noise. Whoops.
I also found a dump station that was free so we took care of that right away. I wanted to get laundry done, too, but unfortunately the laundromats closed by the time I was ready to get there. I am hoping that the mechanic can actually fix the window tomorrow morning and I can just be on my way. We will be set back a few hours but if I can make it to Glacier before the weekend is over, I will be happy. That’s all I want: Montana.
Saturday, September 16, 2023: We stayed at Phat Fish again and were woken up by the trains a bunch but at least we had somewhere to stay. I found a park this morning and took Kona on a 2-mile walk and got rid of all of the garbage in the RV. We headed over to the mechanic at about 8:15am. 2+ hours and $310 later, the window was fixed and we were FINALLY on our merry way to Montana.