Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

If you visit Jamestown North Dakota, do this but not that

Thursday July 17, Friday July 18,  2014
Frontier Fort Campground (AKA Frontier Fort RV Dump)
Jamestown, North Dakota





Boy how things have changed.

We leave wonderful Itasca on Thursday morning on the first leg of our 425 mile trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.





After 205 miles we stop in Jamestown North Dakota at a Passport America Park called Frontier Fort Campground.  I had looked this up on several review sites and while not glowing reviews they seemed fine.  The most recent from October of 2013 was 8/10.   To say we were shocked at what we found is a gross understatement.   We’re sure not in Itasca anymore.


First of all for a PPA park the rate was high.  PPA said $22 a night.  RV Park Reviews said paved roads, sites were a little tight but….OK.  When we get here none of that is true.  It is $25 a night for full hook ups  The girl behind the desk says Passport should have changed it.  I know for a fact that Passport sends out yearly update requests.  So I write to Passport about this and have since put up a “comment” on the PPA web page for this campground and on RV Park Reviews and Trip Advisor.   When you finish this post you’ll have an idea of how they read.


Pretty close quarters.IMG_1656



The entire campground is totally dirt not one piece of pavement in sight.  Well there are trash littered strips of grass between the sites which are close together but not so bad we can’t put out our slides thankfully. 

It may be FHU but the power voltage is low, seldom over 110  and often down to 85 which means with our progressive industries electric protection if we turn on only one of our two AC units, even on a 30 amp circuit, it won’t stay on long.  Progressive cuts it off over and over again until we give up and just open the windows dirt and all.  With temperatures in the upper 80’s this is not a good thing.  



The sewer is one of those above ground ones and it appears someone has had an accident here.   David thinks it is toilet paper.

The site ground is littered with trash and a layer of cigarette butts.

Of course the PPA sites are often the least desirable ones in the park, that’s why they are half off.   Certainly the full price “pull throughs”, in the front row of this nothing but dirt campground, are not worth $50 a night. 

And if you are unlucky enough not to have a FHU, the dump site has a lock on it and is in the dirt too of course.  Guess you have to pay extra for that.  




Shower Stall


We took one look at the bathrooms and showers and said, don’t think so.  Each shower stall has a plywood seat nailed in the corner that clearly gets wet all the time.  One seat has broken lose and the nails are hanging out of the wall in the shower. 

All stalls have a plywood wooden slatted floor but in one of them the boards had rotted through right about where you would want to stand and it appears to have been that way for some time.  You have to wonder what they are doing with all the money they are making here.  The park is actually mostly full primarily with permanent or temporary residents I suspect.  Perhaps the fracking employees.












We’re not even sure about the water either since it seems the entire state of North Dakota is into fracking in a big way.  So to be safe we’re drinking bottled water.

We spend Thursday night dealing with our disgust.   This is absolutely the worst campground we have been in during our over 4 years of full timing.   If you come to Jamestown be very careful where you stay.




Our closest neighbor.



So, I know you are asking, why in the world are we staying there more than one night?  Well the National Park has no hook ups although they do have a dump station at the northern campground 78 miles away from the southern one.   They also have no showers.

If you want to see both sections of the park for more than a drive through, it is best to stay in each section.  So that’s what we hope to do.  No reservations either, another reason we are not going in on a Friday or Saturday. 

In addition,  we’ve been warned that it is 40 miles to the nearest grocery store and that’s more than we want to drive during  our 10 days stay.   Therefore it’s stock up time here. 




Trash on our site when we arriveIMG_1652



So we are here in Jamestown with full hook ups, such as they are, in order to change Ruby’s Oil, get the clouding off of her headlights and off of the windows of my bike gear shift levers so I can see what gear I’m in.  Stock up on groceries, do the laundry, give the RV a thorough “vacuum and wipe down everything” cleaning and a number of other things are also on the agenda. 

Theoretically this seemed like a good time to do some of that catch up and stretch out this drive to make it more our style.  But boy was this a bad choice of place.  Site unseen takes on a new meaning. 

I’m amazed at the reviews of this place.  In RV Park reviews the most recent review in October of 2013 gave it an 8/10.  The review had the wrong PPA price and said the roads were paved.  This entire places is one dirt dustbowl there is not a piece of pavement in sight. 

So I’ve learned not to totally trust RV Park Reviews anymore.   The most recent review, as of this afternoon or as soon as they approve it, gives it 1/10.


No wonder we are having power problems.  Four of us are  hooked to the same pole.IMG_1655



Today dawns WINDY and I do mean windy.   Weather.com says 25 mph with gusts 31 but from the way Winnona is swaying I’d say they have seriously underestimated.  And of course in a dirt campground you know what that means.  What a mess.   It also meant that David was not getting down on the ground to change the oil.  Hopefully tomorrow.



Views of the neighborhoodP1150103



Out our front windowP1150116


But we do get a few things done.  We find a very nice Rainbow Laundry in Jamestown where I do 3 loads of laundry at $2.50 each to wash and $1.00 for 28 minutes of dryer time.   This takes me about 2 hours and it takes David longer than that to walk around the corner of the building into the Coborn’s grocery store and buy 3 bags of groceries.   How is that possible?

We have the same AC problem this afternoon as yesterday until the rains start and then everything seems to be OK.  Just hope the rains will settle the dirt and not turn it into mud.  I’m counting the hours until Sunday morning.

We catch up with some financial and medical record keeping, with emails and future plans for how to get from one National Park to another and stop by to see my dad and brother near Denver in between.

By now we are pretty tired and decide to do the major cleaning tomorrow morning.  I’m even more tired after putting this post together so I’m afraid you will have to wait until tomorrow for what you might very well want to do in Jamestown, North Dakota.


  1. Oh no....this is like my worst RV park nightmare. All the things I hate wrapped into one. Can't quite believe this park got 8/10 reviews. Hopefully you can escape to some decent sightseeing in the area.


  2. I'm very happy to hear your review. I had thought of this park as my brother and I leave Tamarac in Sept. Guess I'll give it a pass for sure. Will you drive from here to Theodore Roosevelt NP tomorrow? Because of my residential fridge and no solar, I'm thinking of staying in a private park in Medora to see TRNP.

  3. Gee, Sherry, sorry to hear this. I am sorry I recommended this place. I'll be careful to not recommend in the future. There were only a few units there when we were there and after what we witnessed in Fargo we were glad to find this place for two nights. We had a very nice experience and found the town very interesting in a good way. I guess we all see things differently.

    1. It was not only your suggestion that got me looking at it. The reviews I found on line didn't hint at all about all the dirt and cigarettes and the bathroom. One person said the roads were paved. I assume none of this was the case when you were here. Please don't hesitate to recommend. It is certainly not your fault that I got the wrong impression from on line reviews. As you'll see in my next post, we thought the town was interesting as well.

    2. Sure sounds like two different places for sure. I think we lucked out because the park had very few campers. And a lot can happen in two years for sure. Like I said earlier we also ate in the restaurant and had a very nice meal.

  4. I think I would have driven out as soon as I got a look at the place. The problem in ND seems to be the influx of oil workers and the infrastructure wasn't in place to deal with all of them. I loved both campgrounds at T.Roosevelt NP, and I think from there I drove to Graham Island State Park, or something like that. I had visited Ft. Totten and stayed overnight in a motel, then decided to try the state park which is on a big lake where I had a beautiful spacious and private site close to the lake.) I'm going from memory here and I'm not good at remembering names. I drove up to US-2 and took it across. Avoid Williston at all costs! Luckily I didn't need to worry about hook-ups of any kind - the beautiful simplicity of tent camping! Good luck - things will certainly get better when you get to the NP.

  5. Yikes.

    Hey, if you keep on your current path, you'll be in Saskatchewan soon. :-)

  6. We've stopped at some bad PA parks but not that bad. Hope your time in TRNP will help you forget.

  7. Well, we got our absolute worst campground over with the second night we traveled with Baby. Left Stephen Foster and just went a short distance to a PPA in Georgia. It was pouring rain and the campground was a swamp!! Skeeters bigger than the birds and a neighborhood out of Deliverence:o(( Just really got to watch the PPA sites. There's a reason they are willing to reduce their rates. Hope you get out early Sunday and have much better luck as you move on!!!

  8. Wow, Sherry, so that we're not staying up on the north end of TR Park. We'll be moving in to Red Trails CG on Monday in Medora, ND for a week's stay. Eventually heading up to Glacier NP.

  9. We've had really good luck with most of the Passport Parks we've stayed in . . . including the one we're in now! That place looks pretty horrible, and I think I would have added one more driving day and gotten to Bismarck!

  10. Sherry, I just checked the PP website for the price on this CG. Perhaps your writing to them actually worked. The price shown as I write this is PP rate $25-$27.

    1. Yes, they changed it. They wrote me a thank you for my email and said they had checked with the park. I know they send out yearly requests for updates that many parks ignore so when I find a discrepancy, I email them.

  11. good lord! that's a bad looking RV park…. wonder how they stay in business?

    1. The park is pretty much full. May be oil/fracking workers.

  12. Oh boy, what a damp. When Steve read campground reviews he becomes leery when the last post is a year old which usually is a red flag and your experience have just demonstrated that.
    Steve submits his campground reviews and he tries to be honest and detailed as possible.
    We will avoid this place for sure, thanks to your unbiased detailed review.

  13. I have had no luck with Passport America parks, I have driven through or past some and changed to Plan B after seeing the condition of the parks. I wonder if I will even renew my membership when it expires.

    1. We've hit a few crappy CGs over the years in our travels, but that one has them all beat! Thank goodness we have our own shower, who knows what kind of diseases lurk in those showers. :cO

  14. We stayed at park like this earlier this year in New Mexico, but only for one night. It was so bad that RV's were parked at all sorts of weird angles, no pattern what so ever. Thank goodness we did not have to worry about power issues....would not want to stay there in middle of summer for sure. I'll bet you will be more grateful for the next few parks you are in! I know we enjoyed the rest of the parks on the way to Florida after that experience. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  15. This was painful for a non-RVer to read although I guess every traveler hits a dump occasionally. So sorry it happened to you guys. When I read a poor review from an RVer I regularly read, I know I'd take it seriously. Most of you seem to be a flexible, adaptable bunch who try to make the best of every situation. Hope you can forget this and move on. Have never been to ND so can't wait to read more.

  16. We stayed there 4 or 5 years ago and while it was dirt, there was no trash. We never used the shower house so I don't know about that. The location to the Louis Lamour cabin and the Buffalo Museum made it tolerable and of course the big buffalo. The frackers have ruined many places across the country. While we were in WV and OH you couldn't find a park and they don't care what the parks charge as the companies pay so much they don't care. The park owners just rake in all the fracker money without doing any work on the parks. Now don't get me wrong, some of these frackers are OK, but it's ruined the typical RVer who isn't staying for months.

  17. Well, Sherry, would you believe that Al was actually born in Jamestown? He has a lot of family still there and the family farm is in nearby Spiritwood. I've been to Jamestown a few times, but mostly in the winter so I didn't get out much. I use rvparkreviews too but when the reviews aren't current I am very leery. It certainly is a dumpy campground, but since it's full, I guess that's all that matters to them.

  18. Sorry you didn't have a lot of choice of a place to stay in the area. We never stay in parks that don't have a current review on RV reviews. I'm sure the fracking workers don't care about how things look, and too bad that PPA doesn't keep an eye on the parks in their system. Makes me shudder!

  19. Just seeing the photos was a shock to the system after Itasca! I'm sure the prices are that high because that's what they can get from the big companies, but with the extra revenue they could keep the place clean and safe. Give some high school kids a job for the summer! Hope the weekend wasn't even worse :-(.

  20. Oh yuck...just makes you appreciate how lovely Itasca was! Trash everywhere, falling apart bathrooms, misleading reviews and overpriced. Goodness - I hope they will "approve" your review. It must be the frackers - doesn't look like where I'd want to make a home. I am sure you are ready to be gone from there - at least you can feel good about being productive - hopefully!

  21. GROSS! This is worse than if you were living in the crappiest trailer park around and on top of that you're on top of someone else. I wouldn't want David to get anywhere close to the ground to change Ruby's oil given how filthy everything is. BLAH I say.... So sorry. I think I'd rather be in a Walmart parking lot than there.... XXXOOO

  22. If'n I were you guys . . . I would encourage David to wear a mask around this place.

    Do you have the Ultimate Campground app ($4.)? It's free to look at on the web.


    Or Overnight RV Parking? It's not free, and I don't have it, but it gets a lot of really good reviews.


    You might have been able to redirect yourself elsewhere as soon as you saw the condition of that park.

    Virtual hugs,


  23. Yep, that's definitely a dump. By now, you're well on your way to a better place, I'm sure!

  24. well UGH! and YUCK! Goodness. . .today, as I am writing this, is Sunday, so I hope you have escaped. . .

  25. i live in jamestown and your right this ia a crap hole.there is a nice park on the east side of the dam right north of town, off of highway 20 that is real nice ,big spots ,lots of trees real close to the lake and i dont even rv but i am planning to fulltime in a few years.

  26. Oh my! We usually pass on parks if the reviews are over a year old. Guess this is proof that you never know what can happen between now and then. On the upside, at least it sounds like David enjoyed his little getaway to the grocery store. :-)))


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