Woo-hoo! On the road by 8:30! After a good breakfast, we hit the road toward North Dakota… that’s the way to start the next leg of the trip!
On our way through Wisconsin, we saw the birthplace of Ringling Brothers Circus in Baraboo. The brothers gave up their farm here to run away and start a circus, but they brought the circus back to their hometown before eventually relocating to warmer climes in Florida. (Thanks to Nanny for loaning us the 1000 Places to See Before You Die book that supplemented the signs we saw as we drove past!)
Grandmother laughs and says that Tim serves as driver, I’m the stewardess giving snacks and drinks and taking trash, and she’s the only true passenger.
We stopped for a picnic lunch close to St. Paul, MN. It was quite windy and our food literally flew off the plates! After lunch, we crossed into the land of 10,000 lakes and saw our first state sign. (There were no large road signs heralding our entrance into Illinois or Wisconsin… what’s up with that?)
We stopped about an hour outside Fargo for gas and found ourselves at the Continental Divide–there was a little touristy spot across from the gas station that marked the spot, so we got out to take a fun picture. Next up, we had a little break in Fergus Falls before moving on to Fargo. Fergus Falls was a place we met some nice Minnesotans and a few fellow travelers.
As we approached the border to North Dakota, Tim and I had a difference of opinion on which camera to use to get a shot of Grandmother with the North Dakota sign. I was just going to take it with the iPad, but Tim felt it should be captured with the Nikon. After an adamant entreaty from Tim, I got out the Nikon, and just as we passed the sign, I clicked the shutter button… only to discover he had not switched it back to single shot after we had taken the group photo at the Continental Divide… the timer began, the sign passed overhead, and the photographic evidence of Grandmother’s entrance into her 48th state was lost. My idea of getting off the interstate and back on was rejected by the driver. 😉
Once we arrived in Fargo, we headed out for dinner at Kroll’s Diner, a German/American restaurant in an old-school diner setting. Grandmother and Tim tried their famous knoephla soup and enjoyed it. Grandmother had livers for dinner, and Tim and I got burgers (his with sauerkraut of course!).
After dinner, we headed to downtown Fargo to see the sites. The downtown was quaint with a busy railroad line running through.
We got our picture with a painted sign on the side of a building that said “North Dakota” to make up for the missed road sign opportunity (don’t blink or you’ll miss it on the left over Tim’s shoulder). (Grandmother was also introduced to my ridiculous photographic demands… I told her she should consider herself warned!)
Driving back to the hotel, we saw the most amazing rainbow. Tim pulled into a parking lot so Grandmother could get a good look, and I got out and took a picture. The picture from the iPad just doesn’t give justice to the beauty of this rainbow (maybe I should have used the Nikon for that!). We all agreed we had never seen one so vibrant. It was a full rainbow, though I only got half of it in the picture (and note that it’s double).
Oh the hotel… definitely not the classiest place I’ve ever seen. And much to our chagrin, we discovered that our room is separated from a bar and casino (though it has to be the smallest casino I’ve ever seen) by two walls… we’ll see what kind of night we have. If we get desperate enough and we can’t beat ’em, we may have to join ’em… Wish we could have found a friends and family discount around here!
A story highlight from the hours on the road today: Grandmother told us about her first trip to Virginia when the war ended: Gas was rationed, so the group had to pool gas and truck stamps together to get there. She said one of her favorite memories of that trip is of the paddle boating she got to do around the Virginia swamps. This trip was also the first time she shot a gun–and she almost shot a cow. She said it was also the first time she had a cigarette in her hand: her brother Paul gave her one to puff on to keep the giant mosquitos away.
On to Mt. Rushmore tomorrow!