Thursday, July 3, 2008


We have been fulltiming for over 5 years and can tell you one big difference between fulltimers and campers: fulltimers don't do campfires. Or maybe - but rarely. In our case, we have never - not once - built a campfire at our campsite. Until tonight.

In our travels in the "east" (which is what we call any state east of the Rocky Mountains), we have noticed something puzzling: campers will have a campfire anytime of day or night, even when it is 90 degrees! I kid you not.

We have seen campers sitting around a campfire on a hot, humid afternoon while we sit inside with both A/C's going. We once had a neighboring camper step out of his trailer at 2 am, stoke his 24-hour campfire into a blazing bonfire 6 feet from our bedroom (where we had thrown the covers off because we were so HOT), and go back inside! Conclusion: these eastern campers are NUTS.

Since we are now in a gorgeous North Dakota campground visiting our friends Jan and Barry Kessler, we decided to do something new: invite them over to our campfire. Sounds fun, huh? And look at Odel, bundled up, tending his fire. What a cozy scene.

Except that it was around 78 degrees. The hoodie, sweat pants, thick socks and slippers? Mosquito defense! Poke the fire, swat a mosquito; toss on another log, smash a mosquito; wipe the sweat off your over-dressed forehead, kill three more mosquitos! No fooling.

Jan and Barry came over, we all sweated and swatted together. It was a first for us - and a last.

What a beautiful drive we had yesterday through North Dakota to Turtle River State Park (read our review and view photos here). I don't know whether North Dakota is always so lush and green, or if this year is particularly spectacular, but the views of the undulating prairie grasslands and farmer's fields were highly photogenic, even through the filter of dead bugs on the windshield. Sorry I can't tell you what this crop of yellow is, but we saw several fields like this along the way.

Our drive was only 120 miles, all on two lane back roads, and we checked in at Turtle River State Park early in the afternoon. Jan and Barry are volunteer campground hosts here, so we had time to ourselves to explore this huge, beautiful state park on foot for a few hours before we all went into nearby Grand Forks for dinner.

I took this photo at the Wildlife Viewing Area along the state park's main road. Most of the park is either more heavily forested or more manicured than this photo shows, and campers are cautioned to stay on the mowed lawns and trails as poison ivy is EVERYWHERE else (including the edges of our campsite).

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and big crowds are expected for the annual swing band performance here in the park. We're grilling brautwursts and lounging around... perhaps we have a few things in common with campers afterall!


  1. Hi Laurie,

    The yellow field in your picture is probably canola. It is grown for the oil content of the seeds and is a pretty lucrative crop for farmers. The other possibility is mustard but canola is much more common. The canola fields around Winnipeg look much the same and we are about 300 miles north of Grand Forks. You're right in the neighbourhood. Why don't you come to friendly Manitoba for a visit?

  2. Sorry for your mosquito problems, but not too sympathetic for the high temps. I think I have worn a sweater or more every day since we got to Alaska...heck since we got to the Yukon. I would love to have to put the A/C on just once :)

    Sounds like the Boomerang was a lot of fun. Now that you are the Membership Coordinators, guess it's a good time for us to join. Tell me again, how we do that?

    Happy traveling,