A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Wednesday, July 6, 2022

We Didn’t Get Far

Seven-tenths of a mile to be exact. 

Pipestream Reservoir, Jamestown, N.D.

We got already to leave Parkhurst Campground, drove by the dumpster to deposit a bag of trash and decided to drive down to the lake to see what was happening.  Everyone had cleared out except for one tenter.  It looked inviting.

The weather forecast called for rain and other fun stuff by midday. 


At the turnaround at one end was a cement slab, all that is left of a building that once stood there.
I thought Why leave?  This is nice.  Best we’ve had all week.


I would much rather sit out the weather here with this nice view than in a city park.
Also there was a lot of bird action to watch.
Don’t be surprised if we stay here for a few days.
Will see how it goes.


That evening.


This is why I live this life.


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Beans ignores the fireworks explosions.  Sinbad was deathly afraid of them.



Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A Peaceful Fourth of July

 Parkhurst Campground, Jamestown, ND

Beans out collecting ticks.


Since Mr. Generator Man left I could go over and check the bird house by that spot.
It was occupied.
My guess...starlings.


Then I saw this.  The young girl around ten years old left her glasses on the table.  This was sad to see having just lost my glasses not so long ago.  I felt bad for her.  She had an older sister and a younger brother.  Mr. Generator Man was maybe a single parent or got the kids for the holiday weekend from his ex.  Overall they were good neighbors except for that generator.
I hoped the loss would be realized soon and they’d come back but it never happened.
She needed a new pair anyway.  They were really scratched up.  But what else would one expect with a pair of kid’s glasses?


One group that did not leave did in fact shoot off fireworks.  It was midnight and several spectacular explosions went off followed by a finale of explosions that rocked the camper.  Must have been half sticks of dynamite.  Then it was all over.  Short and sweet.  I put my head down and went back to sleep.


Monday, July 4, 2022

They’re All Gone

 

Parkhurst Campground, Pipestream Reservoir, Jamestown, South Dakota

At this new spot I have a nice view out the window by the bed where I sometimes sit and read.


There are five of these bird houses along this fence that borders these campsites.
I noticed early on this one had some occupants. 
I went back a couple days later.  Nobody home.
 

Then I found these on the ground beneath the opening.


Since they were intact I think another bird kicked them out and took over the nest.
I put them back in the nest not that I expected the parents to return.


The predicted severe thunderstorms never materialized the day before the Fourth.  Yet the neighborhood wasn’t all that bad.  The natives seemed to have settled down some, not as restless.  So we didn’t leave.  I just wore earplugs to muffle out Mr. Generator Man who didn’t start up the noisy contraption until noon. The fireworks weren’t as hazardous but they were incessant.  All I could think of was the hundreds if not thousands of dollars going up in smoke.  It is the Fourth as I compose this post.  We will for sure leave today to escape the main event attraction tonight.
Next year at this time I hope I will be a bit smarter.


Update:  Well Mr. Generator Man packed up and left.  I took a walk around the campground.  It appeared quite a few have packed up and left.  Well it kind of makes sense if they have to be at work tomorrow.  The campground is quiet.  The wind would be hitting us headlong if we drove north.
Looks like we’re staying.



Sunday, July 3, 2022

The Three-day Holiday Weekend

 

Parkhurst Campground, Pipestream Reservoir, Jamestown, North Dakota.


This place was less than ten miles out from Jamestown.  We would use it for a one or two night stay before moving on and finding a safe haven for the upcoming Independence Day weekend.  As the weekend neared not that many merrymakers had arrived.  It began to look like maybe we would do okay here until all the silliness was over on the Fourth of July.


They are no designated camp spots.  Just park anywhere you wish on the grass.  This is good.  It would give us the freedom to move elsewhere if need be.


This group was the largest encampment near us and within sight.
They seemed pretty well behaved.  

We left after the second day to go back into town.  Propane was low and I should have been thinking and filled it up before leaving town but the joy of finding that book messed with my good sense.
Some people had moved in near that covered picnic table while we were gone.
They didn’t seem to be an issue. 


The next day, Saturday, the place went to Hell.  Kids (and adults) were racing atv’s and motorbikes around the dirt camp roads, dogs were barking back and forth to each other endlessly but it was when someone over there by the “well behaved” group cranked up an outdoor sound system. That did it.      
We moved. 

These three sites had been vacant for days.  I felt we’d be safe on the end.  No camping to the right.  The long trailer moved in an hour or so later.  He brought out a generator.  I just couldn’t get a break.  At least it wasn’t a Noisemaker 3000 like that woman had but it was still annoying nonetheless.  Earplugs were called into action.  That evening fireworks started up again.  It isn’t even the fourth yet.  Only this night they were more intense with professional grade pyrotechnics blossoming explosions overhead barely fifty feet up showering sparklers all over nearly hitting the ground before going out.                                    Sheer madness. 

That’s it!  Fool that I am thinking we would be okay here during the holiday weekend I decided we’d leave in the morning.  Even if we had to go back to Walmart it would be quieter and safer than here. 


In the morning I got several severe thunderstorm warnings for that afternoon and all through the night for several days.  Rain, hail, lightening, thunder, gusty winds over twenty-miles-per-hour, all sorts of fun.
Well that should put a dampener on all the mayhem going on.
I decided we would stay and enjoy the peace and serenity of a severe thunderstorm.

Happy Independence Day to everyone from Beans and her cranky old dad.

 

 


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Eureka!


 Jamestown, North Dakota

Jamestown has a population of over fifteen thousand and as such it has a used bookstore.  We stopped by after an overnight at Walmart.

Now granted this bookstore didn’t have the charm as did the Little Corner Book Shoppe but that was all right for the AAUW Used Bookstore delivered!

I had to ask what AAUW stood for.  American Association of University Women. 


So back in September of last year I discovered the Paperback Used Bookstore in Twin Falls, Idaho.  I had been searching thrift stores all over for any Michael Connolly Harry Bosch detective books.  At this store they had most all that I had yet to read.  I walked out with a plastic grocery bag full of paperbacks happy as a little boy on Christmas day.  I have since been reading them in order and had come to the publishing date of the one book I did not have.  I hated to skip beyond to the next book. 
So I have been on this quest for a few months.


And there it was on the top of the stack!  I could not believe my good fortune.  
I had finally found The Burning Room.
I bought three other books while there.  Boy, you think I was happy back there in Twin Falls...


Of course I shared with the lady (you can see her in the second photo) about my delight in finding this book.  She told me she had a guy drive over a hundred miles for a Lee Child hardcover he had been searching for.  “He was in a near panic when he finally arrived fearing the book would be gone.”  The lady asked if I knew of James Patterson.  She’s not the first.  Patterson has been recommended to me several times.  My goodness though, the guy has 372 books out.  I’m not so sure I want to get started with him.

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“How long have you been on the road?” - full time on the road began in October 2016.  Before that were two month road trips once a year for three years.  Short trips were here and there in between. 

“Do you ever get a hankering to NOT be on the road?” - I honestly can say I do NOT.  I cannot imagine going back to living in a house.  Well, I can imagine and I think I would be very unhappy.  I love the freedom and adventure of traveling all over the country seeing something new and different everyday.






Friday, July 1, 2022

You Can Never Go Back...

 ...and expect to find things as they once were and how you remembered them.

Jud, North Dakota

Sinbad and I went to Jud thirteen years ago. It was one of those things to see on one of our oddity tours.

Today.  


Thirteen years ago.


Jud is kind of out of the way, off the beaten track. 


With a population of seventy-two it is not even referred to as a village, but a “rural hamlet”.


We were in the neighborhood and I thought I would do a revisit so Beans could see it. 
 

Time and the elements have aged the murals.


Overall it looked as if the town had aged also.


It just didn’t seem to have that spark I felt back in September of 2009.


Maybe back then I was a lot more excited about what all I saw since traveling 
like we do was all new and exciting to me back then.  Don’t get me wrong as I still find newness and wonderment in our travels but back then I was just beginning this joruney. 
  

Still I was happy to have made the effort to come back to Jud and see how things may have changed.

This old car was there then.  It is holding up well to the brutal North Dakota winters.


Look closely to see real chicken wire in place.


The real “You Never Can Go Back” feeling hits most for me when revisiting National Parks.
Changes have to be made to accommodate the growing numbers of visitors.


We spent most of the day parked alongside one of the dirt roads in town enjoying the quiet.


As it was approaching tea time we moved on for Jamestown twenty miles away.


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We didn’t camp at the drive-in theater as it was a still working theater.  But that thought triggered a vague memory of indeed staying over night at an abandoned drive-in.  I can picture the place in my mind and remember the smoke being so intense from nearby wildfires but cannot recall where it was.
Possibly Nevada.


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Noisy Camp

 Edgely, North Dakota  pop. 585

This I guess was classified as their city park camping place.


The park was across the street.  
For such a small town they had quite an elaborate swim center.
I didn’t venture any closer for a photo.  
It would look creepy for an old man taking pictures of little boys and girls in a swim center.


This monstrous grain storage facility was across the street.  It had some sort of ventilation system going on constantly.  It was like being near those huge air conditioning units at Walmart. 
 Imagine the sound of a waterfall.
I guess the residents get used to it.
There was another one but smaller behind us, behind the trees shading us.
So we had stereo white noise sound going on.


Despite the noise from the big blowers I still fell asleep for a nap after having a cup of tea when we arrived.  An hour later I was woken by the rumbling sound of distant thunder.  Must be a severe storm coming our way.  Kind of groggy for having napped too long I got up and discovered the sound was from this locomotive nearby.  Sitting there idling it almost shook the ground.  This went on for an hour or so then they shut it off.  Oh well.


Five a.m. the next morning I was woken up by the rumbling thunder locomotive again.  Really?  At five in the morning?  I guess they were just working on some sort of repair.  The grain ventilators were still whirring away also.  Okay, that’s enough!  We left before the sun was up.  Drove seven miles to a rest stop.  Parked.  Sipped some coffee and ate half a granola bar, laid down and fell asleep for two hours until a cat decided to walk all over me.  
Get up Dad. I’m hungry.

This little guy lived where we were parked at Noisy Camp. 
Oddly Beans shows no interest in rabbits.  If they bound away she just looks. 


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The L. Frank Baum living in Aberdeen came from Wikipedia.  It said “notable people” whatever that means.  Said he was a resident in the 1880’s.  It is the same with Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Little House on the Prairie author.  There’s a dozen places that lay claim to her just because she stayed there for a short time.  Also I know I could have got the book from online used book sellers but having it shipped to where I don’t know where I will be and just when is a problem.  Stay tuned for an update on the quest.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Corner Book Shoppe

 

Aberdeen, South Dakota

One of the good things about being in a large town is the increased probability of it having a bookstore.

Aberdeen did.

What a cute little book store.


I opened the door, the little bell overhead tinkled and I stepped inside.


“I’m in heaven.”  Yep, those were my first words.
Long ago I dreamed of having a little book store.
The reality though is I have no idea how to run a business.


The little shop was made up of several rooms for after all it originally was a home.


I had a nice visit with Linda who kept shop for the owner two days a week to have something to do in her retirement years.  I ended up telling her that this was the most I have talked with anyone in months.
I was exhausted.


I was able to find a Lee Child I have yet to read.
But it was the one Michael Connelly I do not have was what I really wanted.
The search continues.


Back at Walmart for the a cup of tea and a rest I checked off my purchase on my book want list.  I realized then I should have given Linda the three books I have read and wanted to give away.  I don’t like just throwing then into a Goodwill bin.  I’d rather a used bookstore have them.
So when we left Aberdeen the next day I went by The Corner Book Shoppe and gave Linda the books much to her delight and mine too for I’ve been carrying them around since Twin Falls, Idaho, last year.

L. Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz was from Aberdeen.



Tuesday, June 28, 2022

An Unhappy Workplace

 

Aberdeen, South Dakota (pop. 28,495 - third most in the state)

This town was along our way which was nice has it had a Walmart for a big resupply and place to stay.

Driving through town it was lunch time and I wheeled into an Arby’s for something different.


I gave my order to Mariah and she asked if I wanted anything else.  
“Just if you give old people discounts” I said.  
“Only on drinks” she replied.  “Besides, you’re not that old.”
“Okay then. How old do you think I am?”
She studied me for a moment and said a number.
“Why thank you. You made my day.  Add eleven to that.”
“Well I was close” she said.
Girl, when you’re my age eleven years isn’t close.  It is a gift.
What a sweet girl.

But as you can see Mariah doesn’t look too happy.  None of the employees (looked to be around ten at least) in there did.  I stood back and observed while waiting for my sandwich.  There was a lot of tension going on behind the counter.  You could just see and feel it.


French dip sandwich.  
Very good.


We spent the night at Walmart and did the big shop in the morning.  I decided to just stay a second day in Aberdeen.  No need to rush off.  A day’s rest is always nice.
After putting groceries away we went across the highway to a home supply, Menards, to see about getting something to put into the back window to let the air in while keeping a cat inside when open.  
No luck.
By now it was lunchtime.  I went back to Arby’s.  Now Heather was at the window slumped over.  Heather looked bad, as if in pain.  I saw her favor a foot as she stepped back from the register.  I asked.
“My leg is swollen.  I should go to the hospital.  But she don’t care.”
Who’s she I asked.
With a nod of her head she said “The manager.  She doesn’t care.”
I told her she should go.  Her wellbeing was more important.  We were kind of whispering back and forth so I said no more not wanting to get Heather into trouble.  

I got a Rueben this time.  Oh my goodness!  Delicious.


I thought about Heather while eating.  Working in a toxic place like that with so much hostility isn’t worth it.  Yes, I observed some more while waiting for my Rueben.  You could just tell everyone working there was not a happy person.  Two sat down at a table for a break.  A guy and girl.  Neither smiling.  Neither talking.  They just looked as if they were sitting there silently conspiring.
Heather should just tell her manager “I’m going to the hospital.  Bye.”  If she gets fired, so be it.  It would probably be for the best anyway.  And it’s not like Heather couldn’t get a job elsewhere.
Every fast food place along the boulevard had ‘Now Hiring’ on their sign boards.