Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fort Ransom, Awesome Rangers and Butterflies That Chase Swallows

We rolled out the next morning in pretty good moods after our 2 day hiatus from driving. We needed to hit the reset button believe me! We are trying to stay positive even when bad things happen but you can only take so much before you get a little grouchy. Grouchy and class b rv living don't mix very well.
We decided we were going to try and stay in state parks as much as possible even if they were off the main route rather than the convenient rv parks. The scenery and space are so much better and it's usually cheaper as well. We looked on the map and found Ft Ransom St Park and even though it was a fur bit from the main highway we set our sights on it and took off. We drove for a few hours just happy that the road was clean and straight with no semis coming straight at us. Nothing much to see really. Just flat ground and lots of corn and grass fields.
Always lots of wind blowing on the flat plains

We turned off the main highway and drove south towards Fort Ransom. It took forever and we kept turning and driving and turning and driving. The ground was so flat and there was nothing there so we couldn't imagine where a river and big state park was going to be or why it would be there. We finally found a holler and started to wind down into it. There was the ancient teeny town of Fort Ransom there with a gas station and some old buildings painted white, kept going and finally saw the entrance to Ft Ransom State park. Lots of signs about paying the fees and how everyone has to pay even just to drive around. So tiresome. It was a beautiful little valley on a little river that really was stretching the definition of river. More like a slough. It was hot and we wanted a hookup in the shade. We drove all over the park and finally settled on a huge site in the mostly empty campground. It was nice and shady and lots of room for the animals to run around.

 Max was a tad anxious to go for a walk so we found a lovely stroll along the river. We were down off the main park road and no one could see us so we let Max off the lead. He raced up and down and was having the time of his life. There were some corrals and campsites there for horse people only. Fortunately no horse people were there. Walking back along the river we saw a butterfly ahead in the grass. We stopped and controlled the dog just so we could watch it for a minute. Now when you think about butterflies in general you think they fly kind of randomly. I don't think I've ever seen a butterfly fly in a straight line with any kind of purpose. Maybe that's by design because this butterfly was pretty direct. All of a sudden a swallow swooped by and that butterfly took off and chased that swallow away. It copied the swallow's every move like a fighter pilot. Then it settled back down on the grass. We were dumbfounded and in awe. It was like reality shifted there for a minute. Now we are not so sure about butterflies. They have some kind of ruse going.
After our walk David was tasked with making drinks while I took Erley and Max on a little stroll about the campground. I left Max off lead and walked Erley on the leash. I wasn't gone two minutes before the Ranger truck comes by and slows down to see me and my unleashed dog scampering about. He went on by and talked to another camper and I thought I was in the clear. I sat on the picnic table holding Max and letting Erley roam on the lead. Sure enough he gets back in his truck and backs the truck all the way up to where I was. He gets out and says"Boy I sure don't see that very often" talking about the cat on the leash. He said he was puzzled as to why I had the cat on the leash and holding the dog. I said I didn't want to get in trouble for not having the dog on the leash and he said he didn't care if the dog was off the leash as long as he wasn't bothering anyone. Fabulous! A park ranger with some common sense! I immediately let Max down and he ran off and brought a stick back for the ranger to throw. We sat there and chatted while he played with the dog. He lived just a 1/2 mile away and grew up in the area. Super nice awesome ranger and I wish they were all like that.
There were lots of frogs there. They scared Max half to death jumping into the water when he went down for a drink. They sure jumped right back out again too.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Garrison North Dakota

Sunflowers on the way to the park from Garrison.
After a night of a few drinks and a long sleep we decided to stay another night to try and reset after our day of horror in North Dakota. The park was so beautiful and sleepy that it was a no brainer.

We really wanted to wash the rv again but weren't sure if it was allowed or not. We decided rather than ask the ranger and be told no, we would just go ahead and wash it and plead ignorance if chastened. We kept watch and every time she drove by we hid the hose and acted like we were innocently perusing something on the side of the rv. I don't know if she noticed that the rv went from stained red/brown to sparkling white in a few drivebys, but she never stopped or seemed to glance our way with any kind of interest. It helped our mood to have the rv clean again and we went on some long walks with the cat and dog and had a nice meal at the end of the day. 
We were baffled by the neighboring rv folks that asked us where we were from and seemed surprised that we were so far from home. They, on the other hand, were just vacationing there from Garrison! Less than 10 miles away!!! What? One of the women came over in the early morning in her pajamas while we were battening hatches and almost ready to go and asked about Erley. She wanted to know all about him and after talking to David came up to my passenger side door and knocked on it. I opened the window and she said she “wanted to see the cat.” Well it was about 7:30am and Erley was sacked out way under the bed not even in reach if I was to try and get him. And I wasn't about to for some lunatic woman's fancy. Sheesh. I told her he was sleeping and she kind of whined and asked to see him again. I absolutely told her he was dead asleep and I was not going to wake him this early and that I was sorry. She went away disappointed and hating me but that was okay. You have to have boundaries.
This was next to the Garrison Laundromat. Any ideas what this is?