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Day 14 (9.15.07) - Minot to Devils Lake (Photo's Added)

Minot has a Scandanavian Center, historic neighborhood, and the Ward County Museum. Rugby has the Geographic Center of North America (the continent, not the country) and a fantastic museum.

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Trust me - I AM writing Blog Entries (as is Mom), but am having trouble posting them. The only thing that seems to work reliably is wireless internet, which we don't seem to have access to very often...

I am online using the data card tonight (which is working at a slow, dial-up speed), so will try to post this to at least let you know how we are - but the data card rarely lets me post the entry. OK - it seems if I write directly to the blog, I can publish the entry, but if I copy & paste, I can't publish. Now it gets really wierd - if I copy from Outlook, I can't pubish, but if I copy from Word - I can. So much for writing my entries in outlook first (I like that because I could organize my entries by day)! Oh well, at least I can update entries when I only have the data card now, maybe not pictures but at least text.


We stayed in a nice RV park last night in Minot (it had power, hot showers, laundry and guest room). This morning I took Mom to the SDA church in Minot, then while she was there I got caught up on a few things. After church, she stayed for the pot luck & fellowship. I tried using the data card in the RV again, the signal was good and I could access the travel blog, but I couldn't post any new entries. This has happened a couple of times, so I suspect a security setting somewhere. I can update the blog when I have wireless internet, but not over the data card - even with a good signal. One thing I have learned on this trip is that a data card is not very useful out on the prairie - best to stick with wireless internet and sporadic access (or try satelite, which was a bit pricey for my taste).

After the church pot luck, I decided to head into town a bit because the camp host had said Minot had a really nice visitors center. The visitors center was closed, but it was located in a really nice "Scandinavian Heritage Center". We took lots of pictures:



We also picked up some visitor information outside the (closed) visitors center (I guess most tourists only visit North Dakota before Labor Day?). Mom said they showed a "National Historic District" in Minot called Edgewood. It was a residential area from about 1900 - 1910 with a number of interesting homes from that period. They were not open to the public, but you could drive through the neighborhood.

Finally, she suggested we try the Ward County Museum before we left town as it was in the same area. We had a little trouble spotting it, then noticed it was inside the county fairgrounds. When we got there however, it was closed until next June. The museum itself was contained in a stately old house from 1906, but there were also several pioneer buildings arranged in a village and a number of old tractors and farm implements. As I walked around taking some pictures from outside the fence, a very nice gentlemen named Bob Pederson suggested I could go inside the fence if I wanted. He was there waiting to meet another party who hadn't showed up yet, and was kind enough to point out some of the buildings and even unlocked a couple so I could take better pictures! So I did get some pretty good shots even though it was officially 'closed' for the season!


We finally left Minot about 3 PM and started East on Hwy 2. About an hour east of Minot is the Geographical Center of North America. This is at an intersection right on Hwy 2, so you hardly have to leave the highway to stop by it. Of course, we had to take a picture of ourselves by the marker.


While we were stopped, we noticed another museum behind a few buildings along the frontage road. I almost didn't go there because it was already late and we'd been to so many already, but thought we might as well give it a try.


This is in the town of Rugby and we did indeed see a lot of interesting things (each one has been different). Mom seemed to enjoy this one even more then I did, and went through the exhibits pointing out things she had used as a kid or young woman. I walked into one room and immediately thought of dad's barn - it was chock full of antique sewing machines, old flat irons, old stoves, and other sundry home appliances!


Can you guess what this wooden box is? I couldn't, but Mom knew - it is a washing machine.


Outside was another pioneer village, but this one was more turn of the century than the others I'd seen (they were 1800's). In each one, we see a different slice of American History.


There is one cabin from 1885:


There is a blacksmith shop, but this one had a single engine and pulleys to run tools:


There is a church, built in 1904:


And a Cook wagon, complete with information about how they were used:


There were two homes from about 1900. The white one wasn't open when we were there, but the Norway house next door was fully furnished. Itwas built in 1898 as a middle class dwelling. It had a kitchen inside, but also a separate summer kitchen.


Like many small towns, there is a Creamery:


The saloon (and some unwanted patrons, I'm sure):


And of course, a school (or two schools to be exact):


Finally they had three barns of antique and/or old vehicles. Mom was tired, so headed back to the gift shop while I went through them as quickly as I could. I took several photo's to show Mom later. One barn contained old cars and bicycles, the second old tractors (mostly in good shape and in a series, e.g. Farmall 1927, 1928, 1929, etc.). The third building contained various farm implements - most of which I have no idea what they werer. The exhibits were labeled and I could get some idea from the labels what some of them were used for. Mom might be able to shed some light on some of these from the pictures (I did not try to photograph everything). (I forgot to upload any pictures from the vehicle barns, will have to rethink this...)

After spending far longer than either of us expected at the Rugby museum, we again headed east (I think this was about 5:30 PM). The countryside of North Dakota was different than I expected, not as dry or barren on the eastern side of the state (from Minot). We didn't go through the N.D. Badlands, which are farther east, but the photo's we saw show them as being somewhat green also. We also passed many ponds, which I found somewhat surprising. Many of the ranches or farms had old buildings which had fallen into disrepair. It seems in this part of the country, when a farmstead is abandoned, folks just leave it to mother nature rather then taking the buildings down. Old farm equipment was a frequent sight along the highway, some around abandoned buildings others set up nicely as decorations on new farms or homes.

Late in the afternoon, we got to a town called "Devils Lake". I had seen a writeup on "Fort Totten", which is supposed to be the most intact fort from the cavelry days in ND. I thought it would be a nice way to cap off our trip through ND, but of course we got to the area after closing time, so planned to find a campground and tour it in the morning. We drove and drove and drove and drove - all the way around and through Devils Lake, without finding any campgrounds (I have since learned where there are a few, but as the visitors center in Minot and Devils Lake were closed when we came through, we were not very well provisioned with local maps and campground guides). I have learned since that Devils Lake is ND's largest lake. It is a natural lake (not caused by a dam) and has been rising for the last 12 years - for unkown reasons. Several sections of the road 'around' the lake were actually causeway's 'through' the lake (today anyway). We also passed utility poles that were in the water and an old, abandoned house that was either in the water or almost in the water (water in the front yard and water reeds growning around it).

We did make it to Fort Totten at dusk (closed as we expected), but still couldn't find any campgrounds, so we continued to drive around Devils Lake. This wasn't exactly what I was expecting, it was a brick fort - not a stockade style.

We did see plenty of water fowl and deer. At one point Mom spotted some deer (or antelope, we aren't sure) running away from us through a field. However, they appeared more to be hopping then running - quite a sight. The prairie sunset was very beautiful and I took a couple of shots of it, then noticed that it was also reflected in some of the ponds as we drove by, so tried getting those shots as well. Finally, very tired and about 100 miles later, we got back to the town of Devils Lake where we started. The first time we went through it, I had noticed a Wal-Mart, and knowing you can stay in a Wal-Mart anywhere in the US - decided that was a good enough campsite for us.


Enough of that, I decided Fort Totten wasn't worth the LONG drive back so in the morning we would just head east (Mom had decided this several hours earlier, but I'm a little stubborn sometimes).


Starting Mileage: 112216, Minot ND
Ending Mileage: 112416, Devils Lake ND
Weather: Sunny, mid to upper 60's F
Camped at Devils Lake Wal-mart, ND

Posted by jl98584 20:27 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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