January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Liking North Dakota

Downstream COE, Riverdale,  ND

We've seen a lot and done a lot.   Tomorrow morning we move on just a little further west.

But in our short five days here we've visited:

The site of a Hidatsa settlement.    These people lived in mounds such as this.

They lived in these settlements during the summer.  There would be around 120 lodges with 10 to 30 people living in each lodge.  In the winter they moved into smaller lodges along the river where trees provided firewood and wind protection.

Another day we visited:

This is their two year old visitor center.  In it is a learning center and various displays.

 We drove the 8 mile auto tour checking out the various waterfowl, deer and beavers.

A fish hatchery

Here at the COE park is the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery.   We went on the self-guided tour yesterday.   The hatchery produces a variety of fish including chinook salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, walleye, northern pike, black crappie, sauger, burbot, paddlefish and pallid sturgeon.   I have to admit, I never heard of some of those fish.

Paddlefish are a prehistoric species living 30 years or more and exceeding 100 pounds.  That IS NOT a lightning bolt going through its head.  It is a reflection from overhead lights.


Pallid sturgeon are an endangered species found in the Missouri River.  They grow to about 80 pounds and live 70 years or more.

In addition the inside tanks, there are 64 acre and a half ponds outside.


Last night we drove about 65 miles to visit with Carol and Kevin from www.weremovingon.blogspot.com   On the way we saw this:

Being curious souls, we stopped to check it out.   It is a military cemetery for the Arikara people.  Interned here are Arikara veterans of every American war going back to Battle of Big Horn through Afghanistan.

The Arikara are one of the Three Affiliated Tribes, the other two being the Hidatsa which I wrote about above and the Mandan whom I blogged about when we visited Mitchell, SD.

We were also curious about this plant that we see growing in abundance in this area.

We are told it is Canola.

We then met up with Carol and Kevin for a short time at the campground where they are working until September.   We all drove the 33 miles back to Garrison where we enjoyed their company at dinner.

We first met Carol and Kevin when we were in Austin, TX.    How pleased we were to learn they were working right across the lake from where we were camping.   But that drive to across the lake was over 60 miles.   NOTHING is close in N.D.  Still worth seeing these nice people again.

In another stoke of luck, I remembered a couple of NOMADS whom we worked with last winter in Tucson, AZ live in ND.    I looked up their address and found they lived only 40 miles from the COE park.  So today we got together with them.   Jim and Janet Fagerland are a fun couple and two of the hardest workers we've come across.    While in Tucson it was these folks and Len and I who worked on scaffolding removing and replacing ceiling tiles in a church.   Well, truth be told, the last week I was of no help having sprained my ankle on that Monday.

We visited at their lovely home while Jim grilled some great steaks and Janet prepared potatoes, carrots and salad.  And for dessert the most delicious rhubarb cobbler ever.   Four years ago Jim and Janet retired, Janet from teaching and Jim from working at BNI, a coal mine only a few minutes from their home.

Jim arranged that we receive a tour of the mine.  Unfortunately due to heavy rains we were unable to see as much as  planned.   Lots and Lots and mud.

Getting ready the the tour.   From left Janet, Leonard, Janet and Jim's Sister-in-law Georgia who is visiting from Illinois and Jim.

Leading the tour was a young man working as in intern while he gets his degree in Human Resources.   (For those who didn't know, that was my profession pre-retirement).   We piled into a small van as our tour guide Eddie drove the muddy slippery roads.

The coal is mined up to 140 feet below ground level.  The ground is either purchased or leased from the landowners.   Once the coal is harvested, the ground is returned to it's natural state and reverts back to farmland or fields.  This process can take up to 40 years.  

Below is an area that is currently being minded.    They predict there is enough coal in the surrounding area to continue operations for over 200 years.

An area has been reclaimed back into its natural state.   The picture is poor as it was raining heavy at the time.

We sure did see and do a lot in only 5 days.     We are finding that as we travel there are not only things to see and do but quite often we are blessed with the opportunity of meeting up with friends!  Thanks for sharing some time with us Carol and Kevin and Janet and Jim!


Paul and Marsha Weaver...OCT. 17, 2009 said...

I can't even image living like they did. I would never have survived!

We went to our first fish hatchery this week. It was really fun.

How nice to be able to meet up with friends. Sorry about the stupid rain. It rained here all day too. YUCK!

Carol and Kevin said...

It was great to see you both again. Next time we'll drive! We promise!

Rick Doyle said...

Wow, you sure have found lots of neat things to see and do in North Dakota. It's always fun to meet up with old friends too.

Safe travels to your next destination.

Elaine said...

you have definitely been busy in North Dakota....how nice to meet up with friends...travel safe folks..

JOJO said...

Sure have covered a lot of ground.
And then meeting bloggers and nomads for something good to eat.

Paul and Marsha Weaver...OCT. 17, 2009 said...

Phyllis...I can't return an answer to your comments because I do not have your email address. I will just answer it here.

We joined the Elks right before we began full timing mainly for the campgrounds. They are all over the country. Some do not have campgrounds. Most of them that do not have campgrounds allow boondocking. Much safer place to stay than a rest area.