The Big Sky

Wednesday 28 June 2006, 9:43 pm

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. Both of us have been ill, and we've also been cobbling the trail end of our trip together differently than we'd planned.

Wednesday, June 28

Today I wasn't feeling well, so I let Mary do a fair amount of the driving again. We drove pretty much straight through from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to Belfield, North Dakota.

Belfield is about ten miles east of the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we plan to visit tomorrow.

We did stop for a few minutes to drive through Barnesville, Minnesota. Why? Back around 1985, I installed some electrical equipment here. I wanted to see if it still looked the same, or if I even remembered it at all. In all those years I've often told the story how I was trying to put some tiny screws into a terminal block in an electrical cabinet outside as it snowed around us. I had lots of trouble because my hands were so cold! The screws were small enough that I could not wear gloves. I looked across the street to see a bank sign that read 19 degrees. I commented that I didn't think I had ever been in 19 degree weather before; that perhaps it didn't even get that cold in sunny California! My co-workers from the local community remarked how 19 degrees was a beautiful spring day in Minnesota, because in the winter it got down to 40 below! Anyway, today I did find that electrical substation on the north side of town, and across the street was a Wells Fargo Bank, although now the temperature sign was gone.

I've also many times told how Minnesota had the friendliest people I had ever met. In those mid-1980's trips, one co-worker from the local community had me to his house for lunch (which he called "supper") including fresh corn from his farm. I got to meet his wife. Also, in the laundromat I met a cute gal and asked her out. We went to a modern music concert at one of the local universities (both Fargo and Moorhead have state universities). I went to her Lutheran church that Sunday, which happened to be Reformation Sunday, so they held a potluck that included Lutefisk, a Norwegian special that some say is not to be missed, others never to be eaten. The church welcomed me like a long-lost family member even though I came to the potluck empty-handed. Afterward, this same gal's family invited me to their house, where I played piano for them and she played piano for me.

This time, we stopped at several places in Minnesota and the people weren't nearly as friendly as I remembered them. But I guess the people you meet at the truck stops are not the same as the people you meet in the local Lutheran church. Or perhaps we just didn't pass close enough to Lake Wobegon.