The morning after the big bash party, Tom and I started on a 1500 mile trip from Ohio to North Dakota. Usually we would take a week to make such a long trip, but we had to do it in just three days. We couldn’t leave until after the party on Sunday and we needed to be at Fort Union Trading Post in time for their biggest annual event, Rendezvous, which started Thursday.
Sunday after the party we loaded up everything except what we would need for overnight. The most important thing was loading the Prius on the tow dolly. Because we had practiced, it only took about 35 minutes to get it all set to go behind the RV. Packing took longer because we had to find a place for everything in the RV. We loaded all my living history stuff in the Prius, then put clothes, food, and kitchen stuff in the RV. Tom packed his tools and the outdoor things. We made sure we had all the electronics and the chargers for the electronics.
Both of us went over the checklist I made, which helped us grab a few items we might have forgotten. I emptied the refrigerator and freezer in the house and figured out how to turn off the refrigerator. The hardest part of that was turning off the refrigerator light. We finally had to turn off the breaker to the kitchen to get the light to go off. Easier than pulling the fridge out and unplugging it. As I write this post, we are now a week later and the only things we forgot were the MiFi hotspot and some extra AA and AAA batteries. The batteries are easy to replace and we have good internet provided by the park.
We finished packing, checking, and rechecking the list about 9 p.m. Sunday night and settled down to get what sleep we could. I always have a hard time sleeping right before a big event, such as traveling 1500 miles away from home. The next morning we were up bright and early to finish packing. We turned off the water to the house, locked the door and climbed in the RV to begin our journey.
Fortunately our 1500 mile journey was uneventful, even if the days were very long. We had great weather and the Prius stayed on the tow dolly just the way it was supposed to. We spent the first night north of Madison, Wisconsin and got going first thing the next morning. Our second night we slept in Jamestown, North Dakota. Both campgrounds were really nice and easy to get to from the interstate.
There were plenty of things I would have liked to stop and see on the way out, but Tom promised we would take our time in the fall heading back to Ohio. I kept adding things to my list of stops, so it might take a long time to get back! From the highway we saw “The World’s Largest Buffalo” and “Salem Sue, the World’s Largest Holstein.” Somehow we missed the “World’s Largest Prairie Chicken” but we did see the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture, “Geese in Flight.” We had to stop every 100 miles or so to check the straps holding the Prius on the tow dolly, so we had plenty of rest stops. One rest stop in Minnesota even had a boardwalk trail to an overlook.
As we drove I sent pictures to Mom and Dad and John and Jackie of the state signs that we passed. I also kept Tom amused by reading him the news, filling him in on some Fort Union Trading Post history, and quizzing him on trivia.
The longest part of our journey of 1500 miles was the two hour drive from I-94 north on US 85 to Fort Union. We were so close to done that the last 100 miles seemed to take forever.
But the last 100 miles were also some of the most beautiful we had seen. We drove through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, south and north units. The North unit, in particular, has beautiful “breaks” that reminded us of the Badlands in South Dakota. The road curved up and down and around the Yellowstone River valley and the Missouri River Valley.
Finally we arrived at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, 1500 miles away from Westerville, Ohio. We parked the RV and started settling into our summer life here in North Dakota. You will be hearing a lot more about everything as the months go on. Now that I finally have something new to write about, I want to savor the opportunity.