A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Where Our Trails Cross


Carpio, North Dakota  (pop. 144)

Sound familiar?

Yep, we were here in July. 

This is why I knew it was worth the drive from Stanley for I knew how nice the little park was with big shade trees and just an occasional train every now and then.

Since we’ve been gone they have added a swing set.

I thought this might be new also.  I checked back on the blog and saw it was already there.

See this Stanley?
  Carpio gets my money because they provide an iron lockbox to deposit your camp fee.

We rested up for two days in Carpio then set out on a new trail and new adventures.

- comment replies - 

“Is there anything you miss as much as those showers?”  I really had to think on that one and couldn’t come up with anything...then it hit me.  Having my own laundry machines!  I do not like having to go to laundromats.  That would be the number one thing I miss.

“Why subject 1920?” - that was the code to the bathroom on the back of the ticket.  I can read upside down writing so I didn’t think much of it when posting the photo of the ticket.  Sorry.

“Do you ever get nervous or afraid when you are on the road? (Yes but not for the reasons you are thinking) Have you ever had anyone hassle you while you are camped by yourself?”  I can honestly say ‘No’ to that.  I am more concerned while in cities and the bigger the city the bigger the concern.  Cities are where the crime is, where the predators are seeking their prey.  As for in the country I have always felt safe from human predators.  If something doesn’t feel right I will go elsewhere.  And I may have done that once or twice in all these years.  That is the beauty in being able to move your home by just the turn of a key.  In a house in the city you don’t have that freedom.  Understandably living the life of a nomad is more of a concern for a solo female traveler.  I have watched many interviews with solo female travelers on YouTube. They all agree they started out on their journey fearful. And all have said they discovered their fears were unfounded.  Their biggest concern is breaking down (which is part of my ‘yes’ up above).  Just go with your gut feeling where you camp.  Always park facing out to your exit.  Having a dog is a plus for solo women.  I have talked with women who want to do what I do.  I tell them to do so in a van or a small motorhome.  Never go with towing a trailer.  Some yahoos pull in and camp close to you.  You crawl up front, start your engine and drive way.  If you are in a trailer you have to step out and expose yourself to get to your truck or car.  Not a good thing.   

Tuesday, August 30, 2022



Stanley, North Dakota  pop. 2392

Stanley was an hour drive away from Ray with strong side winds all the way.  It had a campground supposedly with showers.  I was looking forward to that.

The campground left a lot to be desired.  In fact I drove right by it not recognizing the fact that it was a campground.  I thought it was an abandoned picnic area.  It was right alongside the highway, kind of ratty looking and uncared for.  Just a long line of pull in spots.  It had the added feature of railroad tracks running all long it just to the left of those trees and on around the trees at the end of the camp road.

Down there at the end of the camp road were the restrooms with the much anticipated showers.
There also was a long list of rules and regulations among which “pay at city hall” was noted.
Now I’ll fess up here, I have yet to pay at a city hall anywhere.  It is a pain trying to find city hall, find a place to park a small house downtown and so I regularly don’t bother staying.  Its not worth the effort.  

Locked out.  Ya gotta pay and then they give you the secret spy code.
So much for a shower.

Walking back I spotted someone had left their tag on the post when they left.
I wonder...

I lifted the tag.

That was a nice shower.  We then ate lunch.  I asked Beans if she was up to some more driving.  No comment.  But I felt good and refreshed after my shower and with a full belly.  It would be worth the effort to log in another forty miles to the next place we could stay, a place we were familiar with.
We would be there by tea time.

Monday, August 29, 2022

The Noisiest Little Town Ever...so far.


Ray, North Dakota  (pop. 706)

The campground was odd.  Two spots you pulled down in between a row of trees in what looked like Sherwood Forest.  The forest stretched on around the bend but with no more camp sites.

Once settled I discovered a side road with three spots.  Okay, this made a bit more sense.

We opted for out in the open between the two near the boat ramp.
No one will camp up here.

Oh lookey there!  Two sets of railroad tracks right behind us.
There wasn’t any horn blowing so I thought we could deal with this.
Wrong!  The trains would come barreling by shaking the earth and making all kinds of racket.
Beans would bolt down into her hidey-hole each time.
Just before midnight I gave up and rolled on down to the side road three spot site.

I met another travel cat while there.
His hoomans stopped to ask me if this place had a dump station.

Even at the new spot the train noise was overwhelming.  In the morning I pulled out up into the sunlight further away from the tracks now closer to the highway through town to eat breakfast.  Now we had the added noise of big-rig diesel trucks gearing down for the stop light then pouring on the fuel as they passed through town.  I stopped at their little grocery store at the other end of town on our way out.  The trains roared right on by next door rattling store shelves and customers alike.  There was no escaping the train and truck noise in this town.  I’d hate to be forced to live in Ray, North Dakota.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Little Town of Stop Signs

 Epping, North Dakota pop. 84

Epping had a camp place that after reading about it, it was worth the half hour drive just to get out from the hustle bustle and noise of Williston.

A cute well-cared for little town.

Nothing was open except the post office.

Maybe this is all just for looks.

Well, I’ll take in the museum while we’re here.

Well, no I guess I won’t.  Despite what the sign reads, it was closed.  

A nice playground for the one little girl that was in there while her mother was cussing up a storm with whoever she was talking to on her phone.

Ice skating in the winter!

This was the strangest thing about Epping.  Every intersection had stop signs.  Look beyond, more stop signs.  This is the only small town with dirt streets that I have ever come across that had stop signs.  There were no cars, no people and no life in Epping except for the cussing woman and her little girl.  The only thing I could figure out was when the town went to order A stop sign they must have had a sale going and you could get a crate full of stop signs for next to nothing.  So they added that bonus option to their cart before checking out from Amazon.

We went to look for the advertised camping park only to find they had built a new fire station on the campground.  The satellite image showed all grass.   

So I backed up to this sign across from the fire department.  It would do for a night.  That lasted about fifteen minutes.  Some fool dog over there behind the trees would not shut up because we parked there.
We moved to find something else.

Something else wound up to be just outside of the town by the intersection of the two main highways that had no stop sign, just simple a YIELD sign.  Go figure.  

Good night Epping.

- comment reply -

The question was: “At the beginning of summer your plan was to see the ocean.  Gas prices dictated a different summer for you altogether. In all these years being on the road, have you found that you go where the road takes you for the most part and let the traveling dictate what comes next?  Or do you usually start out with an idea of what you are going to do?”  Good question.

Back when Sinbad was with me my travels always had a plan behind them.  Now with Beans I am full time on the road and there is no plan other than visit a particular part of the country.  This year was revisiting the South.  Although I was grumbling about the cost of fuel in trying to get across Texas to be honest I had to admit it was just going to be too hot and humid for us to follow that plan.  For the most part our travels are just that - go where the road takes us.  I try to select small back country roads as much as possible that lead us to small towns. I am particularly enjoying this years travels so much that I am not in any way anxious to hurry up back to the desert in Arizona for the winter.  

That is a first for me. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

On a New Track


Culbertson, Montana  pop. 753

It was about an hour drive to Culbertson south from Plentywood, made longer by the fact we had to stop midway at the turnoff to Homestead because Beans wanted out.  She wouldn’t shut up.  So stopping and letting her out to wander quieted her down for the rest of the drive.  Its like having a dog with me.

This is the camp area at the Culbertson park.  Looks inviting doesn’t it?  

When we arrived one van was there where that black car is.  We went down to the end of the dead-end road and parked under that shade tree for the afternoon.  I decided to just stay there for the night.  The above photo was taken in the morning when we left.  Whew!  Good call to stay put.

That morning it was east for forty-two miles, back into North Dakota to the large metropolis of Williston (pop. 29,000 plus) and Walmart to resupply.  Oh my!  I can say after observing the kids in Walmart I better understand how the Westby kids are all for the better living in Westby.  I went to a bookstore in old town downtown only to find it was new books only.  Then to a nearby park to let Beans make friends with a little dog smaller than her (I didn’t have the camera with me for the brief nose rub) eat some lunch and then finally decided we can’t stay here; we have got to get out of this town.
It was a short twenty-four mile drive to...(tomorrow’s post) 

- comment reply -
Why not go to Canada?  I had a prepared answer but Debby said it all and even more for me.  Check back on the previous post for her comment.  Thank you Debby!  The older I get the less tolerance I have for bureaucratic silliness. Yes the upper peninsula of Michigan is now a possibility depending on how the weather holds out.  I’m not pushing for it though this year.  As for how many states I’ve been in, just as for traveling on the road as I am currently doing, all except from Maryland and Pennsylvania on up.  I have been in a few New England states but not while living on the road.  
I have no plans ever to go there either.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Decision at Plentywood

 Plentywood, Montana

I needed to realign my thinking.
The plan all along was to continue on westward across Montana.  This would take us through the northeastern corner of the state, a large area we had never been in before.  My wall map in the RV was void of any little black lines marking roads and little white dots marking the towns we stayed at.  I pulled out my paper map of Montana.  We had ninety miles ahead of us westward with only a handful of towns-none offering places to stay-before we would run out of road.  We would then be forced to turn south (into warmer temperatures) away from the Canadian border that we had been hugging all this time.  Turning south we would be driving through fifty miles of nothingness, not a single town.  These road are so remote they are not even on my wall map.  And now what?  Turn west for seventy-four miles finally arriving in territory we’ve already explored before?  And all for what?  
Just to fill in a vacant part of my wall map?  

It didn’t seem to make much sense to do all that driving, seeing nothing but prairie grassland while burning up a hundred dollars worth of fuel with nothing to show for it.  I felt it would be best to head south to Culbertson (49 miles), stay the night there then turn east back into North Dakota forty-two miles to Williston and resupply as they have a Walmart.  Then we can angle back up towards the border once again.  North Dakota has been good to us offering up a lot of places to stay while throwing in some adventures along the way.  Then once again while hugging the Canadian border we will travel east until the change in the seasons drives us out to warmer lands

In case you are wondering, the larger color dots are places Sinbad and I stayed at.  
The small white dots are those places Beans and I have stayed.


Thursday, August 25, 2022

Sheridan County Museum

 Plentywood, Montana

My kind of museum...free.

It was nice inside.  Air-conditioned and no one else there except the guy on duty who kind of kept pestering me wanting to talk.  I just wanted to look at things.

First off to the left was the General Store.

And there is one of those stoves I think Mr. Storlie and Mr. Alkabo had that others took away. 

Look at all that neat stuff.  Yeah look, just do so from a distance.

It along with everything else in the museum was roped off.

I am afraid that museum in Oberlin, Kansas as ruined me forever when it comes to visiting these small town county museums.

This would be my living quarters in another time.

Ropes and chains be damned.  I stepped over this one because I wanted to read the signs.  The coat at the right was made from raccoon in Canada.  The black one with the white tag on the breast was made from muskrat hide.  The far left one was of buffalo and looked the warmest to me.

Otherwise the museum was just the usual collection of old things from around the area.

I tried to get these photos for you ladies.

This was amusing.
Oh goody, someone died. 
Now I can go on to the next lesson.

If Phyllis could fit in this dress she must have been just a wisp of a woman.

Then there was the mock-up of a classroom.

First thing I thought of was that these desks would look much better in the Alkabo school house.

Your kitchen back in the day.

How do they expect us to read this standing back behind the ropes and chains?

Here’s another childhood regret of mine. 
 I self-taught myself to play the piano (somewhat) and didn’t stick with it.

So the dentist office of the day is always a guarantee to give you the willies.
Imagine him drilling in your tooth with a foot-powered drill!
The stuff of nightmares.

Since these museums always have the usual same items I am always looking for something that stands out.  The unusual. Here I found it although I don’t think it qualifies as a museum piece.  Its just something I have never seen before, nor heard of.

Those are two bowling balls suspended.
You get them moving and...

...the homemade contraption creates these drawings.
The clipboard and paper moves, not the pen.

The guy came over to bother me some more so I left from here.