Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20 - Across North Dakota to Central Minnesota

Departing the badlands this morning, we drive steadily eastward today on the interstate.  As we go, the broken landscape of the badlands is replaced by the massive flat cultivated fields of factory farms. Evidence of the recent floods along the Missouri and it's tributaries are all still around, as the highway is barely above water in several low spots, with the temporary sandbagging still in place.  The waterways we do cross are swollen and have stretched to consume new banks far upslope from their usual courses.   

By the time we reach the mid-point of North Dakota, the land has flattened and I swear you can almost see the curvature of the earth from ground level.  With the transposition eastward, the sky has become hazy and yellowish. Gone are the clear blue skies and clearly defined clouds.  I suspect the increased humidity, and vast farm productive land has contributed to this change in atmospheric conditions. We are hoping as we drive north and closer to the Canadian border, the air will once again clear.

Not too far into Minnesota, we change course, exit the interstate and veer to the northeast aiming for the border with Canada.  Now we are on two lane country roads bordered intimately by cultivated fields of privately waist high corn.  Towards the end of the day the farm density has declined and more of the space has been returned to open prairie.

At this point, due to the Minnesota state budget, all the state parks and campgrounds are closed and seeing as this is not a real popular spot for recreation, the camping spots are few and far between.  In the end, we settled for an RV spot in the back of an Indian Casino - actually a very nice spot on the edge of a creek, facing the woods.  This facility is so out of place here amongst the endless corn fields and open prairie, but surprizingly, the parking lot is jam packed and there is a waiting line at the check in counter for hotel rooms.

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