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STOP #213

"The Peace Garden State"
is our 34th visited state


North Dakota is the only state in the nation to never have an earthquake.
North Dakota has more registered vehicles than it has residents.

Today we traveled across another state line border into our 34th visited state. There was no mistaking where the state line was because the roadway height differed by at least four inches. With a bone rattling jolt we literally dropped into North Dakota from South Dakota.

You'd think the two states could come to some kind of agreement as to what a proper road height should be! But, according to a gentleman from South Dakota at our last campground, if their fierce high school sports rivalries spill over to the Department of Transportation from each state, that may not be possible.

Once ROVER and THE POD recovered from their less than welcoming entrance into North Dakota, I must admit the scenery did change over to something we haven't really experienced anywhere else on our travels. These multilayered-multicolored cliffs appeared very dramatic against the blue skies and green grasses, which captivated our attention as we wound our way through them in search of our destination.

This kind of scenery is found all over the western United States, but as you know we haven't really been west yet in our travels.

ND State Road 6 somewhere near Breine, ND

After our arrival at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, the premiere state park of North Dakota according to everywhere I looked online, we prepared to spend another four days unplugged.

With the fairly heavy tree canopy found over our site it will be a good test to see how well our current solar equipment setup performs under less than perfect, but normal everyday conditions.

Here at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park there are many sites with water and electricity, but the only sites that have an unobstructed view of the Missouri River are geared more towards the tent campers and do not offer electricity.

We elected to camp on one of these 15 waterfront sites and as it turned out, by the end of our weekend here we were the only RV to do so. All the other 14 sites were filled with tent campers and we felt right at home with them.

FRIDAY - This morning the campground is less than half full, but tonight and tommorrow there are no vacancies.

In an effort to avoid the crowds this weekend we are going to get our sightseeing done today. All of our planned activities are inside of the park for a change and first up on the list is to visit the Fort Commisary Building where we can purchase $8.00 tour passes for today.

The first Ranger led tour is of the reconstructed Custer House. This is the location of where Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer spent his final night with his wife, Libby, before engaging in the Battle of the Little Bighorn over in Montana.

The two day battle on June 25–26, 1876 resulted in Custer, two of his brothers, a nephew, a brother-in-law and 268 of his soldiers being killed. The U.S. Army was defeated by several thousand warriors from the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes as they were led by Crazy Horse and Chief Gall. This battle is commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand.

Next up is another Ranger led tour of a mandan Indian Village, known as On-A-Slant Village, that existed here some three hundred years before Custer's arrival. We explored the insides of several earthern homes, a ceremonial hut and an extensive museum with a documentary film to enjoy.

Finally was a short drive up to the Infantry Post where several restored blockhouses still remain overlooking the river valley and surrounding area below. I was intrigued by the design and construction of these structures after I saw them featured on the State Parks website.


Our guide awaits to give us a personal tour of the Custer's House interior.
They sure had a strange way of hanging a photograph back then?
This is one of the few personal possessions of the Custer's that was left behind, his wife Libby's favorite rocking chair.
Most everything else are period pieces like this bed and matching night stands.
The soldier's barracks...
... and their Mess Hall.
The view from above and behind the village. It almost disappears into the natural surroundings.
You'll have to get close in order to see their mud homes.
The entrance way into one of their homes.
The center of the village is left bare for community gatherings and ceremonies.
One of three restored Blockhouses here in the park.
Notice how the second floor is rotated 45 degrees so that there are rifle windows pointing in every possible direction, no blind spots here!
The ground floor interior of a blockhouse.
The second floor interior.
Finally outside of the turret on the third floor lookout deck.
From the lookout you can see Fort Abraham Lincoln with Custer's House on the right and the barracks surrounding the parade grounds in the middle.
That tall tree center frame is in our campsite's back yard with convergence of the Heart River and the Missouri River in the background.

Our final morning sunrise at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, ND

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