Leistikow Park, ND

The small town of Grafton, ND has but one campground, so while the sign out front says Leistikow Park Campground, everyone around here just calls in Grafton Campground. This is where I’m staying while working the beet harvest.

It’s directly adjacent to Leistikow Park and is owned and managed by the city, so for the purpose of this write-up I’m going to treat the two of them as one entity, which they essentially are. Unlike privately owned campgrounds, staying here feels much more like camping in a state park, just on a smaller scale.

Remember that I mentioned in my last post that KOAs are not my ideal camping style? That the extra amenities didn’t do much for me? Well Grafton Campground doesn’t have a club house, convenience store, indoor pool, or hay rides, but it does have a lot of nature, and that IS my style. I love this place.

See the campground?

First, the details. Grafton Campground is officially open from May to October, weather permitting, but I’ve heard that it’s usually open until late November, but the water gets turned off to the sites early that month. The shower house has only one shower stall per side (great water pressure though), but right next to the campground is the town welcome center, and in there is another shower plus laundry facilities.

It’s $28 a night for full hookups, $145 a week or $435 a month during peak season (summer). There is no office here, just a self-pay station at the entrance and a campground host who can answer questions. All RV sites have mixed dirt/gravel pads (quite level), a picnic table, and fire ring. Starting after Labor Day, the monthly rate changes to $360 a month for us harvest campers. But as mentioned before, Crystal Sugar is paying for my campsite.

See Cas? Shower house is on left

The center of the campground square has a open area with picnic tables and fire rings for tenters. It’s $10 a night from May to Labor Day, and $15 a night from Labor Day to November. There are also five cabins on site which start at $35 a night.

That’s all fine and dandy, but where this place really shines for me is the the park. Leistikow Park is a mix of mowed grassy areas and forest butting up against Park River. There’s a playground, tennis and basketball courts, outdoor pool (closed for the season now), 18 hole disc golf course, canoe and paddleboat rentals, and what I find most interesting: trails!

Trail following Park River

Camping within walking distance of trails is a huge perk, I find walks in nature to be very restorative. The trail system isn’t big, but great for quick morning jaunt before working on the computer.

So, I believe I also owe you all the rest of the story of my arrival here. Tuesday was pretty miserable with temps around 50 and a lot of rain, my site was under water when I arrived and I everything from my calves down got completely soaked through from trying to unhitch in it. To make matters more interesting the camp host insisted on hovering and talking to me while I was doing it (pro tip: it’s a lot quicker and easier to set up and take down camp when you can focus all your attention on it). Luckily the shower house has hot, hot water and the rain ended that evening. The mud is slow to dry but it’s getting there.

After the rain on Tuesday

So in short, this is one of the better campgrounds I’ve stayed at while work-camping. I’ve enjoyed my two free days, but the vacation is coming to an end.

The harvest starts tomorrow (Saturday)! On the plus side, I’ve learned I’ll be working the Grafton site after all which will be much more convenient than Drayton. It’s only about 7 minutes from my camp rather than a half-hour – when you’re working long hours at a job where the main purpose is making money, being close is important.

Another after rain shot

To that effect, expect slower response times to comments and e-mails until the harvest is over. Remember I’m going to be working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week weather permitting. I may also have to go to one post and video a week, depending on what we get for weather days. Next update I’ll be writing about on-boarding, orientation, and my first impression of the harvest. Should be an interesting few weeks ahead!

* * *

Park River

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  1. Jimmy on October 3, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    * Park looks very pleasant………. ‘cept for the mud. =)

    * Will be interested to hear how “demanding” it is…..I’m very close to 60, but can hike 10 miles (I did two weeks ago) and can still bench my weight (190). So I like to think I can still hack it.

    * Not to blow smoke, but having read enough blogs – RV and otherwise – I am impressed (again) by your writing style. Not dense and complex, but not overly simple either. COMFORTABLE, if I was to choose a single word. The reader starts in and…..before you know it….you’re at the end. That’s a rarity, believe me. (And since you were a vet-tech I surmise you did NOT take a lot of English /composition courses in college, though that may be to your benefit.)

    * What’s “supper”? LOL I’m from California……(I joke, of course…..My Downstate Illinois-raised, born-on-a-farm Grandmother used to refer to “supper” all the time….. Nice to see regional colloquialisms still live. =)

    Now get back to work. =)

    • marijka on October 4, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Supper = to sup, or a small nighttime meal. Traditionally, farmers eat their big meal at midday, then rest during the heat and head out for more work in the afternoon. They finish up with leftovers or, in my home state of Tennessee, dry cornbread crumbled in a glass of buttermilk. Much healthier to sup than go to bed on the pile of food most people eat at night!

      • Jimmy on October 8, 2017 at 7:15 pm

        Marika – I’m pretty sure I answered my own question just as quickly as I raised it….LOL. But thanks for playing…..=)

  2. Becky on October 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Still alive after day 4! Writing a quick post but a thorough write-up of the harvest will have to wait until I get a day off.

  3. bonkers on October 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    To S Kaeseman,
    There are quite a few bloggers who have written daily about their ‘experience’ working the beet harvest. I’ve only read 5 or 6 and none of them planned to return. Sounded rather chaotic and physically demanding. Google ‘blogs about working the sugar beet harvest’ or something similar to find them..
    Last years blogs include Camper Chronicles who are 50ish, and roadtreking who are 60s. In 2013 whatsnewell in their 60’s. 4
    Becky has youth on her side so I hope it will be a better experience than I;ve read about from others.

  4. Furry Gnome on October 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Hope you survive this intense experience and make lotsa money!

  5. S. Kaeseman on October 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Hi, hope you aren’t working any harder than you thought you would. Also look forward to reading about it. Plus if you would, give us all an idea of what age maybe to old to work a beet harvest, would appreciate it.
    Until next time, hope your continue to have a blessed life.
    Respectfully, S. Kaeseman

  6. Becky on September 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Hello everyone! Just a quick note that I survived my first day, and it was 13 hours because of training, phew! Showered and now eating supper. Thanks for all the well wishes and I’m looking forward to telling you all about it!

    • Linda Sand on October 1, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      I look forward to reading about it all. I don’t know whether to hope it does or doesn’t rain since you get weather days off but your campsite floods.

  7. Jodee Gravel on September 30, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Your little park sounds like a piece of heaven – so pretty with all the trees. Hope you’ll have some time to enjoy it once that crazy work schedule starts! Having a nice hot shower available will sure be appreciated at the end of your shift. Take care of yourself.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Homesteads, Mountain Tops and Echo CanyonsMy Profile

  8. Sue on September 30, 2017 at 11:58 am

    We were in North Dakota last year at this time and loved it. In fact, we were in Grafton and visited that campground/park, though we were staying elsewhere. We observed much of the activity of the beet harvest, though we weren’t working it. The sheer volume of beets is staggering. Good luck to you. I’m eager to hear the inside scoop on the beet harvest.

  9. Marylu on September 30, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for the wonderful photos! Best wishes on the long days. I hope you earn enough to keep you going for many months.

  10. Rhonda on September 30, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for the extensive review of Grafton Campground. Though I am only an infrequent part time rv’er (due to family commitments I’m mostly an armchair traveler) I always enjoy learning about campgrounds across America. I am thankful when rv bloggers give an online review and I carefully log the useful information in the event I find myself “there” some day. I look forward to your thoughts and feelings about the beet harvest work you are doing. Best wishes that you will sail through it with little physical discomfort and come out the over side with lots of moola to put toward your next rv. I am SO excited to find out what you’ll be traveling in next. 🙂

  11. Jim on September 30, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Wow, beautiful park. That’s my favorite kind of park too.

    Have never pulled a trailer, so curious: Why did you bother to unhitch in the rain and 50F temps? Why not just drop the front jack so there is a bit of support for the trailer while you’re inside and leave the rest until morning?
    Jim recently posted..Capt’n Jacks Stronghold…My Profile

    • Becky on September 30, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      Wasn’t level front to back with it hitched!

  12. Suzanne on September 30, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Good luck Becky! I have been working 12 hr shifts for years..but only 3 days a week! I know you have lots of energy and stamina (as evidenced by your last backpacking trip) so I know you will do great.
    Thanks for keeping us all informed. I’d like to do the beet harvest myself one day. Can’t wait to read your follow up posts…but try to rest as much as you can. I know you’ll do great!

  13. Ron on September 30, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Good luck. Looking forward to hearing about your latest adventure. Hope you make lots of $$$.

  14. Pamelab on September 30, 2017 at 6:58 am

    I watched a video description of the beet harvest and it does sound interesting and with different jobs for people with varied levels of ability. I’m looking forward to your first hand account of your time there. Congratulations on this good opportunity to earn! Thanks for sharing, Becky.

  15. MnDreamer on September 30, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Good luck, Becky! I hope it goes well for you- make lots of $$$ and may the work time go quickly!

  16. Jeff on September 29, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    You certainly don’t mind a challenge, a beet harvest sounds like difficult work. At least you have a beautiful RV park to enjoy and call home.

  17. Emily Ebstein on September 29, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    good luck with the harvest! i’ll be very interested to hear how it goes for you!

  18. Marsha on September 29, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I’m always surprised when someone comes over to chat/watch/hover when you’re setting up. We always ask them to come back once we’re all set. It’s usually someone who’s interested in our fiberglass trailer.

    Weather aside, it looks like a nice place.