Summer 2017, Day 9: Fort Mandan, Knife River Indian Villages NHS, Dakota Gasification, Teddy Roosevelt NP

We awoke to a beautiful morning at Chain of Lakes Recreation Area:

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I love RV breakfasts:

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As we prepared to leave, we stowed the leveling blocks we had parked on and found this fellow living inside:

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It’s a Tiger Salamader:

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So long:

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We drove west, the phrase “God’s country” coming to mind:

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Our first stop of the day was the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota:

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The museum was very well done:

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This air rifle is the same type used by the Corps of Discovery to impress Indian tribes they encountered:

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This journal clasp was removed from one of Lewis or Clark’s journals from their expedition, which lasted from 1804 to 1806:

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M tried on a buffalo robe:

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Thirty years after Lewis and Clark’s expedition, Prince Maximilian of Wied led an ethnographic expedition to chronicle the then-rapidly-disappearing Native American culture:

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It’s cold out there on the prairie:

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We visited nearby Fort Mandan, where Lewis and Clark wintered in 1804-1805 before continuing west.  The original fort’s site was submerged with one of the Missouri River’s frequent shifts in channel.  This recreated fort is near the original site:

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We continued west to Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, where Lewis and Clark dropped off Sacagawea on their way back from the Pacific Coast:

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A recreated Hidatsa earth lodge:

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The visitor center included this Bull boat

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We continued west for a plant tour of the Great Plains Synfuels plant:

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After viewing a video about the coal gasification process, which breaks down coal into simpler compounds which are then reconstituted into an array of useful fuels and products, we viewed the 1:32 scale model of the plant that was used to build the actual plant.  The model covers 1200 square feet and was built by eight engineers over two years at a cost of eight million dollars:

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Note the plant employee in the control room:

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The tour was fascinating!  Outside, the actual plant:

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We continued west to visit the northern unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which preserves a portion of North Dakota’s badlands in an area which shaped the pro-conservation attitudes of then-rancher Teddy Roosevelt.  The visitor center was closed, so we left the RV in the parking lot and drove the scenic drive out into the badlands:

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Longhorn cattle were reintroduced here to recreate the landscape as Teddy Roosevelt experienced it when he owned a ranch in this area:

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Great views from the overlooks:

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I love the wide-open vistas of the American West:

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Bison in the distance:

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This area of the park has the largest concretions we’ve ever seen, much larger than the Moki Marbles we saw in Utah:

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Huge concretions!

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We left the park, briefly driving south:

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A few minutes later, we arrived at the Forest Service’s Summit Campground, which now operates as a dispersed camping location:

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This campground is not very well known:

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Falafel for dinner:

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Good night from west-central North Dakota!  See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 8: Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile SHS
Summer 2017, Day 10: Fort Union Trading Post NHS

One thought on “Summer 2017, Day 9: Fort Mandan, Knife River Indian Villages NHS, Dakota Gasification, Teddy Roosevelt NP

  1. Beautiful pictures Ben. I believe we visited this area many, many years ago. We took several trips with our camper as our temporary home. Stopped at a lot of these places when traveling to Oregon and Montana.

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