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Wandrin 2006

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by Lloyd Treichel





Dateline: July 30, 2006 -- Mandan, ND

[To view photos full sized, click on the thumbnail photo]

Crossing Minnesota and North Dakota on US Highway 2....

Campground Report: Federal Dam in the Leech Lake Recreation Area -- a Corps of Engineer campground. With large spaces and a well maintained area, this was a great relief after the stay in Duluth. Golden Age Pass made this a $7 a night stay.

This campground is for the fisherman. However, there are not too many fish, so the campground was mostly empty. Walleye is the goal. In recent years after local resorts started to complain about lack of business, the state began a restocking program of the area lakes. It will take a year or two before the fish are large enough to draw the fishermen once again.

The Bear Encounter... The hot spell across the central US extends here into northern Minnesota. With 90 degree temps and a humidity to match, I decided that today I would explore the area inside the truck with air conditioning. There was nothing to report until I was driving back to the campground.

Without checking for road traffic, a black bear ambled out of the swampy ditch trailing water and headed right into my path. I slammed on the brakes to avoid a black bear rug draped across my hood. He continued that slow pace into the swampy woods on the other side of the road. I checked the road in both directions. There were no other cars in sight. Perhaps this bear and a friend bear were on a dare to see if he could make it across without getting hit by the Silver Slug.

That was a first for me. Many a deer has tempted fate crossing on my path, but this was the first time for a black bear.

Sorry. I didn't get the photo.

[I received a note from The Peripatetic Poodle (aka Glen): "Oso, you bearly missed it!" The appropriate response is a GROAN. However, I do enjoy puns.]

Bemidji, Minnesota and nearby...

For your geographic trivia knowledge... Put your canoe in this little stream of water and over 2500 miles later you will find yourself in the Gulf of Mexico. The river is the Mississippi.

Since this area was founded on lumbering, there is homage to Paul Bunyan and Babe. On display at the visitor's center are Paul's personal effects including his walking stick (small tree), his eyeglasses and -- I am not making this up -- his toe nail clippings!

Walking downtown Bemidji, I found this place. I had never seen or been at an after hours bar. Since those are my sleeping hours, I will have to forego the experience. However, it does seem to have an interesting ID requirement. Foreign passport? My US passport wouldn't work?

Passed through Grand Rapids, Minnesota... the birth place of Judy Garland. On the side of one building was the scene from the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her companions are on their way to the Emerald City. I passed on the museum that celebrated the city's fame.

Rugby, North Dakota... is another location for more trivial knowledge. It is the
geographic center of North America which happens to be located right on US Highway 2 in Rugby, ND. Wow! What are the odds that there would be a city right there so they could build the marker? As the coastlines contact around the continent, no doubt the center remains somewhere nearby.


The Enchanted Highway... winds through 30 miles of the western North Dakota prairie. Along the way are six metal sculptures made up of scrap materials from nearby ranches, farms and communities. Included here are The Tin Family, the male of Pheasants on the Prairie, and Geese in Flight. These are large sculptures and highly visible in the distance of the rolling prairie. Tin Pa is 45 feet tall. The sun ray in the Geese in Flight is 110 feet at the high point.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park...

Campground Report: Juniper Campground in the north unit has 44 RV/tent no hookup spaces from full sun to full shade surrounding a meadow where buffalo frequently dine in the late evening or early morning. Make it a base for hiking the marked trails in the grasslands, wooded areas and coulees.

One evening while parked at the Juniper Campground these buffalo passed through. As I watched and took pictures, I was concerned for my internet satellite tripod. What if one of those buffalo decided to rub against it to remove an itch.

Recent campers had a wide range of taste in beverages.

I forgot to post this picture when traveling through Minnesota. A water tower painted to look like a bobber. Pequot Lakes is in fishing country in northern Minnesota.

Some other photos to share:


During the ride we saw wild horses, huge prairie dog towns and the ever present buffalo. We did manage to come across a rattle snake without incident. However, near the end of the ride, a buffalo did spook the trailing wrangler's horse tossing the wrangler. Fortunately, it was a young wrangler; they bounce better than us old guys.

Cinnamon Rolls...

In downtown Bemidji, Minnesota a very good cinnamon roll was found at Raphael's Bakery.

Business Names...

"The Bad Habit" is a novel name for a bar in Gresham, Wisconsin.

"Hair Teasers" is the name of a beauty salon in Bemidji, MN. Does the name go back to the 50s-60s when beehive hairdos were the thing.

Vanity plates:

WALI4ME -- No doubt a Walleye fisherman

APRASR -- of what

BOYSNXS -- no girls? On an SUV.

LITSEMI -- on a pickup truck hoping to grow up IBE4U -- not always!

DRMATIC -- Doctor Matic? :-D Okay. Dramatic?


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