Escape Pod Log 12 – Glacier National Park

We arrived at Glacier National Park to find it very rainy and very cold out. We came into site of Glacier heading west on Hwy 2 from Malta, MT and followed it down the east side of the park to a National Park campground by the name of Two Medicine Campground.

The campground was fairly busy but not full and we were able to secure a wooded site next to a river. We could not see the river from our camper due to all of the trees but we were able to hear it and walk to it on a short path. The boys were immediately out of their shoes and wading in the river before I even had time to start setting up the camper for the night. They lasted about 15 minutes in the frigid waters before they were back to the camper talking about how they could not feel their feet anymore.

Once the camper was set up and we walked to the registration station and paid for the camping we returned to the camper to start dinner. I have a camp stove much like the Coleman brand that I found at a yard sale for $2 that I have been using for several years now and it has worked like a dream. I set it up outside of the camper usually on a small fold up table that we bring with us and hook a small portable propane tank to it. I bring 3 or 4 of these small tanks with me and they last a surprisingly long time before they are empty.

I carry two cast iron pans with me, 2 regular size sauce pans, and 1 small sauce pan, plus a tea kettle and a percolator for when I need to make a large amount of coffee at once. Everything I have in the camper with the exception of 1 of the regular sized sauce pans I have picked up over time at yard sales. I love finding cast iron pans at yard sales that are rusty and people are selling them for a few bucks. I can have a rusty pan looking like new in about an hour or less, which I find rather gratifying.

Two of my cast iron pans I have rescued from a life of rust and disuse.
Two of my cast iron pans I have rescued from a life of rust and disuse.

Anyway back to Glacier…we decided to have noodles with spaghetti sauce that evening and had purchased  a pound of mild Italian sausage at a grocery store along our route.  I browned the sausage in my cast  iron then added a jar of spaghetti sauce, I prefer garden vegetable versions but am not picky about brand.  I let the sauce get warm and when the water in the sauce pan is boiling I add a package of noodles.  We use an gluten free version of elbow mac type noodles that we like, gluten free because my wife is allergic to wheat so almost all of the cooking I do when she is with is gluten free.  Once the noodles are done it is time to eat.

We ate our meal in the camper that evening because it was pouring rain, I forgot to mention that I had to cook dinner while holding an umbrella. I do not have an awning on my little camper, if I am camping in the same spot for several days in a row.  I do have a free standing canopy I can put up that sits right next to the camper and works like a charm but if I am only camping for the night I don’t usually take the time to set it up.  Once dinner was done and we had everything cleaned up we pretty much just went to bed as it was already fairly late and we wanted to get an early start the next day.
The next morning we awoke to more rain, the camper was damp due to not being able to have the windows open very much and the condensation building up which I have found to be fairly common with my camper especially when the temperature drops to 50 or less.  That morning the temperature was sitting at a balmy 38 degrees inside the camper so things were feeling very damp.  I managed to get myself out of my warm (and dry) sleeping bag, get dressed, and get everyone else moving.  We were on the road in less then an hour and on our way to the south entrance of the park.
Going to the Sun Road ended up being closed off at the 16 mile mark so we only got to see a very small portion of it due to there still being to much snow blocking the road, so we saw what we could in the cold and the rain and then had a family meeting and decided our time would be better spent on the road heading to better weather. So after some photo ops, a few small hikes, and a stop at the visitors center to get the boys sworn in as Junior Rangers and to get their badges we were on our way south.

Escape Pod Log 11 – Malta, MT

Woke up this morning and headed out of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and headed North to see Fort Union Trading Post just outside of Wilston, ND. Fort Union is part of the US Park Service and is staffed by US Park Rangers wearing outfits of the period, it was a very fun visit.

We had the entire fort virtually to ourselves and because of that had the chance to sit with the ‘Trader’ in the trading post for quite some time and he had some very interesting facts and stories to share. He even shared a cup of old fashioned coffee with me that he had brewing over the open fire/cooking pit inside the trading post, I enjoyed that immensely and it very much made my visit to the fort something I will always remember.

The boys enjoyed the fort and became Junior Traders and earned their badges while we were there by going around and completing an activity book with questions all about fur trading, the fort, and local history. They had a lot of fun learning all about the different aspects of the fort and life back in the 1800’s.
After leaving the Fort the rest of our day was pretty much spent driving towards Glacier National Park, we are now in Malta, MT spending the night in the city park which offers camping for $3.00 a night.

We were going to stay in a campground by the name of the Edgewater, but the lady at the desk recommended that we come to the park since we did not need electricity or water hook ups. I am glad she sent us here  because this park is very nice and very quiet except for the cows that were mooing like crazy right before dark but they have since calmed down, it must have been feeding time at the farm across the river.
Tomorrow morning we will get up and drive the rest of the way to Glacier National Park.

Escape Pod Log – Log 9 – Schnell Recreation Area, ND

I had logged earlier that we were going to be taking our summer trip to Maine this year, well things have changed and we are currently on the road. Today was the first day of our journey and we have decided to head West, we hope to visit several of our beautiful National Parks in the next three weeks starting with Theodore Roosevelt National Park which we should arrive at tomorrow. We will then head off to points west in hopes of seeing Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton, and then turning back towards home and spending a few days in the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands.

Today we left home and drove approximately 9 hours, going northwest from Duluth, MN and Superior, WI and heading towards Fargo, ND. We are currently camped out at the Schnell Recreation Area which is a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground about an hour east of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I was here before back in 2012 when I took a three week trip with my kids and we were here with only one other camper. I liked the solitude so much I decided I wanted to do it again and we arrived here about 6:30PM this evening and we are the only people here. We have very much enjoyed the freedom of having the entire recreation area to ourselves. The boys have been loving running around all over the hills, the woods, and around pond which is not far from our camp spot. Belle our Australian Shepard has been going crazy running as fast as she can from the boys, to me, to the camper, to my wife, and back to the boys again, she has loved the wide open spaces and the freedom to run as fast and as far as she wants. We are now all tucked away in our Escape Pod, the boys are watching a movie, my wife is next to me reading on her Nook, I am typing out this blog, and Belle is passed out on the floor next to me.lonelyfield.jpg

Tomorrow morning we will wake up, have a breakfast of hash and eggs, clean up, and head towards Theodore Roosevelt in hopes of finding a great camping spot to spend the weekend at.  The boys are excited to see the buffalo, my wife is excited to see the prairie dogs, and I am excited to see the beauty of the park.  Even after seeing the likes of the Grand Canyon now with my own eyes I have to say Theodore Roosevelt is still at the top of my list of must see National Parks.

Hash and eggs in the escape pod.
Cooking breakfast The Broke Dad Way, in a cast iron pan. Hash, eggs, and potatoes.

Escape Pod Log 10 – Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

Have been having a great time at Theodore Roosevelt National Park the last couple of days. Camping at the Cottonwood Campground right in the park, drove around the park several times, each time seeing new and amazing things. Saw bison, turkey, deer, wild horses, prairie dogs, and lots of different types of small birds. We spent time geocaching in Medora, did a little shopping in the little shops around town, and even had dinner at one of the local eateries.
Tomorrow we pack up and head out north and then west towards Glacier National Park.