It had cooled down overnight and was a very pleasant 70s. Sadly, the wind seemed to have gotten stronger. Sigh.
I needed diesel and some supplies, so I ran to Walmart first thing in the morning. Oddly, it didn’t have a gas station, so I ended up at one of the truck stops where I, of course, had to use the truck plaza. I feel like I’m getting the hang of using them and it went fine.
Back at the campground, I was hitched and moving by 11:30. I got back on U.S. 2, but ended up driving 55-60 most of the way (speed limit of 70) as the wind was really pushing me around. I burned through diesel like I had a hole in my tank–only got about 7.8 miles per gallon. Not the most enjoyable drive, but I did pass through Rugby, North Dakota, the geographical center of the USA, so there’s that. According to Wikipedia, Rugby has a population (from 2010 census) of 2,876. And it’s the 18th largest city in North Dakota. W.O.W.
I ended up driving the whole way without stopping, about 4.5 hours. I’m in Fort Stevenson State Park, which is on the shores of Lake Sakakawea. It’s near a tiny town called Garrison. There is a huge campground, and the lake itself is large, with 480 square miles to it. There are a lot more people here than I thought there would be, many of them double towing a camper and a boat. It is Friday, so I suppose people are ready to get out of their homes and enjoy the summer.
It’s a really nice state park; if it were closer to Indy, I’d definitely come back.
I drove to one of the marinas and found an area off to one side that had parking and an information sign. Curious, I drove over to it–it had a nice view of the lake–and discovered the marker gave information on the Black Tailed Prairie Dog, which the park has helped preserve. I thought, ‘gee, it’d be nice to see one,’ then glanced to the side only to discover I was in the middle of prairie dog city!
The lake itself is huge, from what I could see:
It’s named Fort Stevenson after a fort that was established in the mid 1800s that was located near this area (the original is now underwater thanks to the creation of the reservoir). There’s a bunch of trails and some informational displays set up.
Tomorrow it’s on to Montana. Closer and closer to my destination!