I was up at first light with the songbirds and on the road heading for North Dakota. Stopped in Miles City for coffee at a genuine coffee shop with clumps of retired men in shorts and little dogs at their feet. It could have been the Bay Area. The plan was to make this a real driving day and take the interstate as far east as I could. I crossed the border into NoDak (what the locals call it), and got waylaid by the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The park ranger at the entrance hut recommended the 36 mile scenic loop saying it takes about an hour and a half without stops. It sounded like a challenge. I said, “I can beat that, time me.” It took me over two hours. The place is infested with buffalo. And prairie dogs. There were hardly any humans which seemed amazing for a holiday weekend. I passed on the knick knacks at the souvenir shack and got back on I-94. The 75 mph speed limit is too much for the van. She starts getting a little squirrelly over 70, especially with the steady south wind trying to push us off the road. It’s kind of like sailing a boat, you got find the sweet spot at the helm to keep everything smooth. Then just like some yahoo in a motor boat, a truck roars by and upsets the balance of everything. The North Dakota oil boom is evident in the brand new monstrous motels that have sprouted up in the middle of nowhere with electronic signs advertising great deals on long term bookings. Before I reached Bismarck, I was worn out. My iphone campsite app informed me that the only campsite (besides KOA and a few RV spots) within a 100 miles was Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan. I wasn’t optimistic of securing a site at 4:30 on Saturday of a holiday weekend. The ranger informed me the place was full but if I wanted I could camp up by the horse stables. He said there was one other couple from Switzerland up there. It’s a great spot. Tons of space in a big grassy field overlooking rolling prairie. Out of curiosity I walked the 1/2 mile down the hill to the main campground to see what I was missing. Holy cow. It’s a refugee camp of RVs, coolers, kids on bikes, beer gutted men in tank tops, plastic chairs, tables, and generators all squashed into an area the same size as the Swiss couple and I share up on the hill. I lucked out.