ND: Following Lewis & Clark--WI, MN, to ND

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Aug 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Near a lot of Buffalo

Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

After two weeks in Michigan, we finally headed west to our next major destination, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Three one-night stays in Wisconsin and Minnesota and lots of driving were necessary to get there. Check out the map in the blog to see how far west we have come.

In Ashland, Wisconsin we stayed in a city park campground beside Chequamegon Bay, an inlet of Lake Superior. From the campsite you could see an old "ore dock" built in 1916 to load iron ore mined in the area into freighters bound for ports in the Rust Belt. The last of many such docks, this one built by the Wisconsin Central Railroad was last used in 1965. Ashland was a lovely old town with a well-preserved historical downtown.

Along the highways of Wisconsin and Minnesota, lovely yellow and white wildflowers couldn't be missed.  Minnesota is the land of 10,000 or 15,000 lakes depending upon your source of information. Winter here means cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing on all those lakes.

We went up Thompson Hill in Duluth, MN where you could see the whole city. This is an industrial city on Lake Superior; we saw other docks similar to the ore dock and piles of coal. In contrast, wild rice grows and is parched in this area. Outside a small town of Proctor, we passed Starvin’ Marvin’s Restaurant, and couldn't help thinking of Sarah’s boyfriend Marvin. These small towns in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota have a Scandinavian look. Following the Great River Road to the Mississippi, passing small towns such as Hill City (pop. 633) and Remer (370), we entered Chippewa National Forest.

After lunch at Leech Lake (we didn't swim), we made our way along the Paul Bunyan Expressway  to Itasca State Park near Walker, MN to search for the Headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, from where the River begins its journey of 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1871 Itasca State Park was formed to preserve the remnants of virgin white and red pines forests and serve as a protective buffer around the Mississippi River source. It was so much fun wading in the rapids of the Headwaters along with Emma, but we avoided the slippery rocks.

On to North Dakota. Quite odd, there is a James River in North Dakota, and our next camping spot was in Jamestown,home of the National Buffalo Museum. Maybe we are not so far from home after all.

I know . . . we sound like Lewis & Clark.
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