05.17.2013 - 06.25.2013
Minneapolis / St. Paul
Our travels through Minnesota were brief with just a day trip to Minneapolis to take in the Minnesota River drive (a tributary of the Mississippi River). It was a rainy day but we were able to appreciate the scenery along the river which is popular with the locals. The final picture is us heading into St. Paul where we popped into a bar and were held hostage by a violent downpour that prevented us from leaving for a while...
As it turned out we were traveling within an easy distance of our home park of Perham so we decided to stay a few days. It was their off season and although the pics show many RVs we were all alone as regulars leave their rigs set up in their sites and only visit on weekends. The place had a weird feel like an RV ghost town, during the fishing season it comes alive and fills to capacity in this rural area.
Grand Forks, North Dakota
We headed to North Dakota to visit our friends Don & Carla Gellerman and their family who we had not seen over 20 years. We found Grand Forks to be a quiet town situated on the banks of the Red River. It was quiet because classes were out for the University of North Dakota and the campus was empty leaving the town and devoid of much of it's population. Don had trained Brad at his first air traffic facility in Juneau, Alaska and after his retirement from the FAA had settled in Grand Forks and is now a professor in the Aerospace division.
It was wonderful to see the Gellerman family and we had plenty to talk about after such a long separation but we quickly caught up and felt like good freinds again. We were honored to be invited to dinner almost every night we were there and marveled at the harmony amongst their 6 children (their son Jeremy was not present); they were excellent hosts and we enjoyed the superb food in a jovial atmosphere.
Don & Carla took us on a tour of Grand Forks as it was Don's hometown as a young boy. We were astonished to learn the campground we stayed in on the other side of the river in Minnesota (East Grand Fork) was once part of the town but after flooding in 1997 was turned into a park, you could see the driveways and streets where once stood houses.
The Flood Memorial Monument honors the rescue workers of the April 18, 1997 flood and shows the water levels from flooding throughout the decades.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and hope to visit again.
Lake Sakakawea, ND
Don & Carla told us we must make a trip to Lake Sakawea on our way through North Dakota for some walleye fishing; we could'nt wait to do just that.
Lake Sakakawea is a reservoir in the Missouri River basin in central North Dakota named for the Shoshone-Hidatsa woman Sakakawea (Sakagawea of the Lewis and Clark expedition), it is the largest man-made lake in North Dakota and the third largest in the United States.
We stayed at the state campground which was beautifully kept and very quiet, not many other campers. We fished from the shore just about every day of our 10 day stay and had such a good time. Brad was the victor with a 5 1/2lb walleye (and a 2 1/2lber!) while I modestly caught 5 or 6 small mouth bass, no walleye for me. We also caught a slew of skipjack which we threw back as not so tasty! The walleye was delicious and is a favorite in that part of the country, we had it several times during our travels.
Where the Road Takes Us
On a mild spring day I per chance to see an American Robin spying on me
Busily he built a nest of twig and feather
And I contemplated my own home, road worn and weathered
Miles of travel, grime and dust
A badge of honor to wanderlust
He makes his home nestled safe in a tree
We go where the road takes us, happily free
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Our friends had also told us to check out Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the badlands of North Dakota (western) and again we were not disappointed. The bison roam freely and the landscape was breathtaking, so different than the South Dakota badlands these were green and full of life. There were few people so exploration was easily done and we also visited the historic cowboy town of Medora situated right outside the park.
Teddy Roosevelt had a great fondness for the area since a bison hunting trip when he was a young man. He built ranches along the river where he raised cattle and his appreciation of the land led him to become a conservationist when he was president.
We traveled to Billings, Montana to visit our friends Chris & Konnie Collinsin. Chris was a controller from Anchorage when we were there (20 years ago) and has since retired from the FAA and runs a Cross Fit gym in Billings. We made a day trip to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument to visit the site of Custer's last stand. We were surprised at how small the area is, just a hill and the fact that the "battle" lasted less than an hour outnumbered as they were. It is also the site of a U.S. National Cemetary and many graves of known and unknown veterans.
Next it was on to Idaho to see my friend Erin Colombo in Moscow (northern) Idaho situated on the border of Washington. It was a lovely town and we enjoyed catching up with Ken & Erin and seeing the sights. The first pictures reflect our travels through Missoula, MT and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Erin took us to the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at the University of Idaho where we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the gardens. The fields surrounding Moscow are full of lentils, a brilliant yellow on the landscape.
We looked forward to seeing our son Tom as we traveled on into Washington and the coast, our trip almost to a close.