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Archive for the ‘Traveling the Red States Spring 2014’ Category

We got a late start this morning.  Since we needed to stock up on supplies, we went to the local IGA market.  It was raining off and on all morning.  I sat in the Coach House while Jackie went inside to do the shopping.  At this point in our trip we were both exhausted from the pace and monotony of traveling.  The sameness of driving four or five hours then stopping for the night at a campground and then starting over the next day and the day after that had finally taken its toll on whatever “joy” that came from the act of traveling.  At this stage in our trip, we just wanted to get home as soon as possible.  I realized that if we wanted to do any exploring of the areas where we stopped, we would have to stay more than just one day.  It occurs to me that the whole point of this trip, apart from the act of traveling and camping in the Coach House, was to get to Blackduck and Blaine, Minnesota.  That accomplished, when we finally left Minnesota, the goal was simply get back home.  We could have spent more time exploring the places we traveled through, but with the cost of campgrounds and especially the cost of gas to keep the RV on the road (which averaged out to be about $90.00 dollars a day), the trip was already on the expensive side.  Traveling in the Coach House is comfortable enough; it has everything you need to make the experience pleasant. But at this point, Coach House is not for us.  When we stayed in Kino for a lengthy period of time, it was much more pleasant, though we had no freedom of movement to explore the area if we wanted.  Now, I think we will try to sell the camper when we get back home.

To make headway, we decided to try to drive all the way to Spokane, Washington before we stopped for the night.  The weather was improving, and driving through Montana again, gave us a different perspective of the state.  As the clouds begin to clear, the blue sky was vivid and the panorama dramatic:

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The elevation once you’re in the state can be anywhere from 4 to 6 thousand feet, often with roads that slowly curve, then rise and fall.  Little towns can suddenly appear as if out of nowhere, their church steeples often the first clue that a town is approaching.  Here are a few more examples of Montana church steeples that seem to be everywhere:

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I kept my camera close by as I was driving.  The steeple shots are taken through the windshield of the rig then cropped and leveled later using Photoshop.

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Often what you see first is the steeple itself, pointing upward toward the sky:

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A final shot:

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Where are we?  What? Oh, that’s right South Dakota, er, Wyoming, er, Montana.  After four straight days of travelin’, a different campsite every night, road weariness begins to set in:  a bleariness in the eyes, ringing in he ears, a dullness in the brain, and dog “spats” between Roscoe and Louis—all symptomatic of the urges to return to a home that is not moving.

After a night at the Kamp, I expected the campground at Sundance to be a whole lot better.  It wasn’t.  Mountain View RV Park and Campground, just outside of Sundance, might be described as a little campground nestled into the Black Hills of Northeastern Wyoming.  Looking at their website, they give you just enough of a glimpse of some of those picturesque hills to make you believe, especially after five hours on the trail, that you have truly found your overnight mountain respite.  But it is just a place to park your RV.  If you don’t set yourself up to expect too much from these places, if you just accept the RV park as just that—an RV park—then you can begin to appreciate the little amenities like the good views of the Black Hills that they do have, immaculately clean laundry facilities, an endless supply of quarters, and very friendly owners.  The negative stuff like full-timers who act like they own the place (clearly, there is a cast system among Park dwellers that clearly define the lines between those who claim higher status because they are full-time Parkees and those of us who are just passing through) I just laugh off; you see this played out in real time when everybody’s dogs meet each other; what humans think about, dogs act out. The show piece of the Park, a sheet metal cut out of an almost life size bull elk braying (do elks bray?) to the sky (calling for a mate?). Finally, the self-aggrandizing nature of the names of these Parks are always to be suspected.  Mountain View?  Okay, very good views from where we are.

Entrance to Sundance Mt. View Park. Lower level.

Entrance to Sundance Mt. View Park. Lower level.

 

View to the south from park: north end of Black Hills.

View to the south from park: north end of Black Hills.

Back area of park.

Back area of park.

 

Early morning in the Black Hills looking southeast.

Early morning in the Black Hills looking southeast.

Or how about the name of the Park where I am currently penning these tomes?   The Grandview RV Park and Campground in Hardin, Montana.  First of all, I’ve walked through this entire park, and no where is there a Grand view to be seen.  I can look across the street from our camp site and catch the view of the Town Pump, a combination of gas pumps, mini-mart, Keno parlor, and steam-tables full of lamp-heated fried chicken and Jo Jo’s.  But “Grand” it isn’t.  But it doesn’t matter, because by the time you pull in to this Park, after five hours of intense driving, the view is truly “Grand.”

Grandview Camp in Hardin, Montana

The picture above is of the office as you first pull into the campground.  Because there was a major thunderstorm headed our way, bringing wind, rain, and possible hail, the nice lady put us under the trees just to the left of the office.  There was a storm with thunder and heavy rain, but rather than causing nervousness and anxiety, we instead felt calm and serene, sleeping soundly through the night.

Thought for the day thanks to Rumi and Jackie:  “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

 

 

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American RV Park and Kamp

Left the American RV Park and Kamp in Murdo, SD, this morning.  Not much of a camp.  Not sure of the emphasis on “American” in the name of this park.  It certainly did not distinguish itself in any particularly “American” way.  I didn’t see a single American flag, and at the very least if you’re going to call your RV park the “American RV Park,” then you have to have an American flag. Nope. Not a one.

Also pretty interesting is the deliberate misspelling of the word camp.  Obviously, who ever thought of doing this had a different result in mind.  Perhaps swapping the c for the k was intended to show a bit of camp or cutesy or maybe the intent was to be deliberately satiric, for such a thing is certainly possible even for a [k]ampground in the middle of the great red state of South Dakota. The irony here is that the misspelling is an unintended reference to leftists and revolutionaries of the sixties.  In broadsides and alternative press newspapers,  writers would routinely misspell America for Amerika, American for Amerikan to express a kind of skepticism about the meaning of the word.  Using the word Amerika is intended to debase or discredit the original word, to associate it with controversial or repugnant political philosophies.  I think of Marx’s Das Kapital (communism); or the Ku Klux Klan (racism).  So Kamp is really some kind of debasement of camp. Not really a camp in the normal sense, whatever that would be. Also, if this is a Kamp, why aren’t there Kabins?

In any case the park was no more than a functional part of a good night’s sleep.  Note the concrete pads:

American RV Park Concrete Pads

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