Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lake Sakakawea State Park, North Dakota

We're staying at Lake Sakakawea State Park near Pick City, ND, for 3 nights, thank goodness.  We practically ran through Wisconsin and Minnesota, and it will be nice to stay put for a couple of days.

Sakakawea is the correct spelling of the park and the lake it sits on -- not the more frequently seen spellings of “Sacagawea” or “Sacajawea.”  However you spell her name, she was the young Shoshone woman who (along with the man who bought her for his wife -- French-Canadian fur trapper Toussaint Charbonneau) helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Lake Sakakawea has the third largest storage capacity of any man-made reservoir in the US, after Lake Mead in Nevada and Lake Powell at the Utah-Arizona border.  The lake was created by Garrison Dam, which Jim's dad helped build.

Jim’s dad was a carpenter, and he worked on the dam for one year beginning in the summer of 1954 near the end of the project.  Jim started first grade in the nearby town of Coleharbor; we hope to do a little exploring to see if any of the sights bring back memories from his then-six-year-old brain.  Jim’s watching a football game right now or I’d get more details :)  Hopefully tomorrow.

Just a couple more things before I sign off tonight:

We went into the visitors' center to pick up brochures and ask about kayaking.  The park ranger asked if we "were the people from Utah in campsite 12.”  We said something along the lines of “Wow, you're good” and he answered “It’s my job to know these things.” About half an hour later I went into a small store at the marina because I’ve been wanting ice cream.  As I was paying for my Drumstick, the man behind the counter asked if we were “the kayakers.”  

So we're feeling well-watched. In a good way.

It also turn out that the ranger once lived in Lancaster, Ohio, the home of our friends Sandy and Carl who've hosted us three times.  You reading this S and C?

Our tow car being pulled by the rig over the causeway as we left Devils Island State Park this morning.  After we got to Lake Sakakawea State Park we filled a bucket with water and cleaned the aphid juice/honey/dew/poop off our car.   
Signs of north Dakota agribusiness as seen out the driver side window.  On our way to Lake Sakakawea State Park we went through Rugby, North Dakota, the geographic center of North America.
More signs of agriculture on the outskirts of Minot, North Dakota's fourth largest city with 42,000 people.   North Dakota has 683,932 residents.  It also has about twice that many turkeys and three times that many head of cattle.
Our camp site at Lake Sakakawea State Park, just north of Pick City, ND.  The two campgrounds with electricity are called Van Hook and Sanish, the names of towns submerged by the new lake when Garrison Dam was completed in the mid 1950s.
Jim taking a photo of the sky as seen tonight from right behind our rig.  At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like the campground.  The trees are relatively small and there are not many trees/shrubs between campsites.  But since it’s a Sunday night the campground is pretty empty and we have a big corner site with a great view of the lake
And here's our view of Lake Sakakawea from behind the rig.


  1. Yes, we are reading your Blog. And, yes we have strategically placed Lancaster operatives all along your route, just to keep an eye on you. Of course, now that the Ranger (Agent R53) has blown his cover, we will have to recall him. But not to worry, our network is vast.