Monday, August 6, 2012

Bismarck–Capitol of North Dakota

We found a great county park, General Sibley CP, to stay while visiting Bismarck.  Last year the park was flooded so the reviews were not very favorable, but we decided to check it out anyway as the pictures on the website looked good.  We were not disappointed. There were lots of available very roomy spaces, very reasonably priced for 50 amp, and there was 4 geocaches right in the park!

During our 4 days in Bismarck we tried to visit as many of the historical sites as we could fit in.  In addition to this being the Capitol of North Dakota, it was visited by Lewis and Clark, has lots of Indian history, and was an important stop on the Northern Pacific RR.  Bismarck began as Hancock, but the name was changed to attract those of German descent.  We visited a small park, Historical Camp Hancock, that housed the locomotive #2164, built in 1909 by the Baldwin Company.  This impressive engine ran the Northern Transcontinental passenger train from Chicago to Seattle.  She was retired in 1955 and moved to Camp Hancock. 


There was a church that had been moved to the Camp Hancock site and displayed the the Norwegian heritage in the state of North Dakota.

Bismarck sits right on the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark camped near there.  There is a lovely park about a mile long that follows the river with displays of river boats, the Lewis and Clark Keel boat, and an Indian monument that honors and explains the legend of the Thunderbird from the perspective of four tribal areas of Indians: East Coast Wetlands, Plains, Southwest, and the Northwest Coast.



Each of the areas have a slightly different story of Thunderbird, but all include thunder and lightning. This is an example from the Olympian Indians: when the thunderbird flaps his wings the thunder claps, when he blinks his eyes lightning zig-zags across the sky, and he lives in a cave in the Olympian Mountains.



We went to the North Dakota Heritage Center, a museum that documents the history of N.D. from the dinosaurs, the Indians, the explorers, the immigrants, and the many industries.

As we were finishing our visit to this wonderful museum Tom spotted the Mercy Train Car on the grounds of the Heritage Center. This display is one of the very best we’ve seen. The car is protected and the history is beautifully depicted. We became interested in this train when we visited the Northern Nevada RR Museum and discovered the history of the Mercy Train. We placed a geocache at the site of the Mercy Train Car in Fresno.


There was a small display of some of the contents of the Mercy Train Car in the Heritage Center.

The next day we visited the Capitol of North Dakota.  This is not like any capitol we have visited. It looks like a high rise building; nothing like a Capitol.  To further lower our expectations, the building was surrounded by chain-link fencing.  There was scaffolding, and a window washing platform that a grinding sound was coming from. 

So when we found the entrance and walked in we were dumbfounded at the beauty we experienced.  The incredible Art Nuevo  design, the marble, brass, and wood was beautiful.


We were taken to the top floor which is open to the public and we could see for miles.


We did not spend all our time playing tourist, we did some geocaching, ate at some very good restaurants, and spent a whole day working on the lights of DA TOAD.  We have had a left tail light out for quite some time.  We found a short in the plug and replaced it.  We found a burnt out bulb and replaced it.  We found a bad fuse and replaced it.  Bottom line…. we have left side lights in DA TOAD when not attached to DA PAD and NO left-side lights when attached.Confused smile


So we will work on that problem again later.  We have lights and turn signals on DA PAD that is visible in the short term. 

We changed our plans and decided to visit Fort Totten on our way to Sault S. Marie.  So until our next blog… we will be caching on the road.

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