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Friday, November 02, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Westward Ho, Day 12:  Bismarck, ND

Today turned out to be a great day to take it easy and recharge our batteries a bit.  When you're sitting in your hotel room working on the computer, things are certainly more palatable when you have a pleasing view.

Outside our window
Even the busy parking lots that make up the view from our room at the Residence Inn seem more attractive when fluffy flakes of snow are falling.  About two inches of snow fell in Bismarck today, enough to shut Atlanta down for a few days with widespread business and school closings.  Here people complained that it wasn't really snow because you could still see the grass beneath it.

In the afternoon, the temperature warmed up to about 30°, so it seemed like a good time to go find a couple of local letterboxes.  The first was near another of the Peter Toth Whispering Giant statues, this one located in the parking lot of a liquor store.  We've seen these carvings in many different kinds of places—state parks, chambers of commerce, city parks, libraries—but this was definitely the first we found hanging out at an adult beverage emporium.  Given the historic problems some Native Americans have experienced with alcoholism, this location seemed a particularly unfortunate choice.  We're not sure whether Toth placed the statue there intentionally or the business opened since he sited the carving in 1981.

Custer's last home
After locating the Whispering Giant box, we ventured over to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in search of another box.  Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer took command of Fort Abraham Lincoln in 1873, moving into the commander's house with his wife Elizabeth.  It was from Fort Abraham Lincoln that Custer led the fateful expeditionary force against the Sioux near Little Big Horn River in 1876.  In the well-known tragic battle, Custer and all his men were killed.

The Custer House at Fort Abraham Lincoln (reconstructed)
As the sun began to fall in the west, we returned to the hotel and called it a day, rested and recharged, and ready to continue our journey tomorrow.  Our next stop will be Dickinson, North Dakota, from which we'll visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park near the Montana border.

Daily Stats:
  • Miles driven:  52
  • Letterboxes:  F 2, P 0
  • Weather:  Snow showers, 25° to 32°
  • States:  1 (ND)
  • Snowflakes:  12,857,901
  • Deer crossing the road:  1
  • Hikers at Fort Lincoln SP:  3
  • ND drivers panicked over snowfall:  0

Trip Stats:
  • Miles:  3,146
  • Gallons of gas:  139
  • Letterboxes:  F 28, P 6
  • States:  11 (GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, IL, MO, KS, NE, SD, ND)
  • Coldest temp:  25°, Topeka,KS (Oct. 27) & Bismarck, ND (Nov. 2)
  • Hottest temp:  80°, Gaffney, SC (Oct. 22)
  • Gas price extremes:  $3.30 in Topeka to $3.95 in Lincolnton, NC
  • National battlefields:  32
  • National historic sites:  3
  • State capitols:  3
  • State parks & historic sites:  6

More Photos from Today

Found one!
Found one, too!
Part of reconstructed Mandan village on Heart River, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
Whispering Giant #39