Back in the U S A!

On Monday August 22, we left the campground in Winnipeg at 8:30. Acey’s mileage 93,154.1 and Thor’s 105,268. At 9 we stopped at Flying J to spend the last of our Canadian cash on diesel for Acey before we crossed the border.

 We arrived at US Customs at 10 and waited in line; by 10:45, we had an agent come on board to inspect our refrigerator/freezer and no foods were taken!

It was a nice day and an easy drive – we saw lots of sunflowers growing as we drove on. We found out later that North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state!

Once we got to Fargo, we filled up Acey at Petro and went to Costco; we had time to kill since check-in time at Lindenwood RV Park is 2pm – we arrived there just before 3pm and got settled in. We added North Dakota – our last state – to the US map!

We stopped by Camping World for 2 new vent covers and then went to Aldi. We had not seen one in quite some time!

We were on our last jar of their crunchy peanut butter – and if you are a fan of crunchy peanut butter, their Peanut Delight brand is THE peanuttiest! We also like their sweet potato chips!

The RV Park is just a small section of Lindenwood Park – the city park has ball fields, a playground, picnic areas. kayak and bike rentals and some pretty gardens.

Tuesday morning, Jim installed one of the vent covers and we went for a bike ride on the Red River Trail – we crossed the river into Minnesota for part of the ride.

As we rode back thru the park, there was a tribute to Roger Maris. He was born in Minnesota but grew up in Fargo. He and his brother Rudy excelled in basketball and football while in High School. Roger played baseball in the summer with the American Legion program and led his team to a state championship. Playing for the Yankees in 1961, he and teammate Mickey Mantle had amazing home run records, Mantle scoring a career high of 54, and during the last game of the regular season, Maris hit his 61st home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 60, and the Yankees went on to win the World Series that year.

We rode 9.7 miles and headed back to Acey to have lunch. We then headed over to the Fargo-Moorhead visitor center and joined the “Best for Last Club”.  North Dakota is our 50th state– we were given a certificate and a free t-shirt!

Some fun facts about North Dakota.

And facts about Fargo

Since we were at the visitor center, we figured we’d ask ”What should we be sure to see while we are here?”. We were directed to the Hjemkomst Center where there is a Viking ship and the Hopperstad Stave church replica in Moorhead, Minnesota; so off we went! Quite an unusual looking roof!

The first thing we saw at the center was this pretty mosaic showing historical events of the area.

Here is a model of the Hjemkomst.

The ship was SO big, and we were so close to it, we have to share parts of it at a time! Starting with the bow — a dragon figurehead leads the way!

The tail of the ship has an intricate carving that we couldn’t get a very good photo of.

You may wonder why this ship was built and what it is doing here in Minnesota! Building a Viking ship was a dream of Robert Asp – to build it and sail it to Norway, his family’s motherland. Hjemkomst means “homecoming” in the Norwegian language. Robert and his family built the ship patterned after actual Viking ships. Even after Robert was diagnosed with leukemia, he continued to work diligently on the ship. He sailed her as captain for four months on Lake Superior as they worked out the bugs in preparation for the Atlantic crossing. Two years after Robert’s passing, the ship did indeed sail to Norway. His family and crew sailed her in the summer of 1982, bringing Robert’s dream a reality 8 years after the dream began.

Here’s the Hjemkomst sailing with the New York skyline in the background.

What an intriguing story of a dream come true!

It was a 32-day voyage across the North Atlantic

Behind the Hjemkomst Center was the Hopperstad Stave Church Replica, built in 1998. The church in Hopperstad was built around 1130 and is one of the oldest stave churches in existence. It underwent extensive restoration in 1881. Here are some photos of the church in Norway that the replica is modeled after.

Our guide said the Norwegians were excelled at building with wood, and when they needed to build a cathedral, stone was not an option. They knew wood and were very creative with it. Here is the replica church that we saw.

Due to the plexiglass covering the intricate carvings – and the glare from the sun, it’s hard to photograph the beautiful work around the oval door!

Inside, the wood work was amazing!

By the altar, a small “leper’s door” was installed in the wall that could enable lepers who had to remain outside the church to attend Mass and receive communion.

These pictures tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Who is that masked Viking?

There was a walkway that surrounded the church.

We headed back to Fargo and stopped at Fargo Brewing for some craft brew.

We had a fun day and went back to Acey – tomorrow we move on to Bemidji, MN!

Wednesday August 24, we left Fargo at 9:45.  Acey had 93,378.3 miles, Thor 105,306 and 2119 on our bicycles. We arrived at Royal Oaks RV Park in Bemidji at 1:15. We got set up, had lunch and went out to explore Bemidji; we only have today and tomorrow here. First stop was the Tourist Information Center where we saw see Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Linda remembers stopping here on her family’s 1968 trip to western Canada!

There are many tall-tales and legends about this duo.  America’s favorite lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, was sixty-three axe handles tall and very strong. After leaving home to log the North Woods, Paul found his lifelong companion; a blue ox he named Babe. He is said to have cut down entire forests with a single swing of his axe! Paul supposedly dug out the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe behind him while he walked, and they created the many lakes in Minnesota by walking in the snow; their footprints later turned into lakes.

We walked around the downtown area and came across the old train station (built in 1912) that had been restored in 2001 and is now the Beltrami County History Center. It is only open Wednesday – Saturday; we picked a good day to find it!

This old cash register was huge – and no doubt quite heavy!

Complete set of railroad emblems found in Post cereal boxes in the 1950’s.

A little history of the train station here in Bemidji.

You may wonder where the name Bemidji came from… it starts with Shaynowishkung.

More about Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

There were a lot of interesting things to see in the museum – we found this canoe and its story to be quite unusual!

We went back out to walk around the downtown area and came to Bemidji Brewing and stopped in for a pint.

It had been misting and cool, so we opted not to attend the free concert by Lake Bemidji and went back to Acey to have dinner.

Thursday, we drove out to Itasca State Park. Minnesota is “the land of 10,000 lakes” and Lake Itasca is a pretty one!

It was a beautiful sunny day to visit the park, which didn’t fare well in taking a photo of this plaque!

The plaque reads “GEOLOGY OF MINNESOTA ~~The diversified scenery of Minnesota—of which the Itasca Park area is one phase—is due to the location of the state in the approximate center of the continent. Situated midway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the state has within its boundaries three principal divides in the watersheds of North America. Minnesota lacks the rugged topography and high elevations found in most continental divides. Its highest elevation, 2,300 feet on the Mesabi Range, is in close proximity to its lowest, the surface of Lake Superior, 602 feet above the sea.

The general surface of the state slopes from the north-central portion near Itasca Park, in four directions toward its distant and opposite corners.

The 10,000 lakes of Minnesota cover 5,600 square miles, an average of 1 square mile of water for every 15 of land. This unprecedented supply of water, which has a surface exceeding the water area of any other state, finds its way to the ocean through Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. ~~ Erected by the Geological Society of Minnesota and the Department of Conservation, State of Minnesota aided by a grant from the Louis W. and Maud Hill Family Foundation. 1954”

As we drove into the park, we came upon this little bridge over the Mississippi River.

Not so “mighty” here!

We came to the Visitor Center and learned some interesting facts about the Mississippi River!

Mississippi River Watershed

We headed down the walkway to the headwaters.

As the suspense mounted, more information…

We got to the headwaters area and walked across the Mississippi River on a log.

We walked across on the stones.

And then we decided to cross again in the water.

As we drove back to Acey for lunch, we crossed the Mississippi again, where it flows into Lake Bemidji.

We went for a bike ride around Lake Bemidji on a combination of bike path, rail trail, on the road and in a bike lane. We crossed over a bridge – where this Mississippi flows out of Lake Bemidji.

We took a short break for water and to look at the lake again.

We rode 16.28 miles on a pretty day with a nice temperature of 71° — here’s a map of our route.

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We were curious about the odd “chimney” on the northern border of Minnesota, so we looked into it!

It turns out that the small extension of the northern border makes Minnesota the northernmost of the 48 contiguous U.S. states.

This peculiar protrusion is the result of a boundary agreement with Great Britain before the area had been carefully surveyed; there was not an accurate map of the Lake of the Woods. So, to reach the Northwest Angle of Minnesota, like Skagway and Hyder, Alaska, you must drive thru Canada – or reach it by boat. There are over 14,000 islands in Lake of the Woods: one of the northernmost in the US being Magnusons Island! That was fun to find out about! 🙂

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Tomorrow morning, we will move on to Saginaw. Minnesota – just outside of Duluth


2 thoughts on “Back in the U S A!”

  1. Alaska was beautiful – weather perfect – and we loved the Bering Sea catch! Thanks for that tip. We did get to see Denali “uncovered” in all its beauty with the sun shining on it. Great Trip all in all. Thanks for all your insights.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the Bearing Sea Crab fisherman excursion – we have done a LOT of cruises and that one in Ketchican is BY FAR our favorite! We have done it twice and would do it again if we have the opportunity! We are a bit jealous that you got to see Denali, but glad you could!

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