Lewis and Clark

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Riverside Park

Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tuesday night we had a thunderstorm with a lot of rain in Cooperstown (today I read in the local newspaper that in nearby Fargo, N.D., four inches of rain fell!).  Fortunately, I was inside my tent and not a drop came through.  It was fun to listen to the rain drops drumming on the tent.  Next morning it was overcast, and I was concerned that it might begin to rain again, but pretty soon the weather cleared up, and the sky was beautifully clear, so at app. 9 o'clock a.m. I took down a completely dry tent and packed it.  At the same time I drank my morning coffee brewed on a small gas heater.
I then decided to head for Washburn, N.D., app. 140 miles to the West.  This is where two captains in the U.S. Army, Lewis and Clark, built Fort Mandan in 1804.  They had been sent on an expedition by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the until then largely unknown West and to find a passageway to the Pacific Ocean.  Their military expedition, which totalled 46 men, set out from Saint Louis and sailed on the Missouri River in three boats.  At the end of October 1804 they decided to spend the winter in the Washburn region, and they and their men built Fort Mandan, where they could survide the harsh North Dakotan winter.  In April 1805 they continued the expedition West on the Columbia River and reached the Pacific towards fall.  Next spring they began the long journey back to Saint Louis and received a thunderous welcome upon arrival at the end of 1806.  They had been gone for almost two and a half years, and many in Saint Louis thought they had all died.  But the expedition brought back a wealth of scientific data about the region.  The whole story is told in vivid pictures and displays in the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Centre in Washburn.  A replica of Fort Mandan is located 4 miles outside the town.  The original fort was probably 'swallowed' by the Missouri River in its permanent change of course, and it has never been found.
My internet connection did not work in Cooperstown, so upon arriving in Washburn I went into the county history museum and asked if they had WiFi.  They did not, but the library down the street did.  The kind curator at the museum also called City Hall to enquire if I could put up my tent down at the Riverside Camp right next to the Missouri river.  No problem, but campfires were not allowed.  I went to the library, updated my blog, proofread Ullas 'LŠnkehunden' (www.laenkehunden.dk), talked to the librarian, who said that the Captain's Cabin is a good choice for dinner.  It's a liquor place, she said, but they serve good food.  I had an excellent steak dinner and after visiting the Lewis and Clark museum today I went back for lunch (today's specialty: two cheeseburger strips and mashed potatoes w/ country gravy).                       
In Minot, 80 miles north of here, there is a Scandinavian Heritage Museum.  It's a little out of my way, but I absolutely have to go see it.  So, my next report will be filed form there.    
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Linda on

You are making me realize what a vast and interesting country this is. and I haven't seen much of it.

Marilyn on

Spending a winter in ND even for miraculous Lewis and Clark party sounds cold.
Didn't realize how many small town War Memorials there are, very touching.
We've seen them at public highway rest stops too. The last one you posted keeps current on all wars to the present, a tribute to these soldiers and freedom.

Denise Strom on

THANK YOU Jens for all your travels and the wonderful History lessons. better then what I learned in school. Its wonderful to know that our country's town folk "great and small" have not forgot. My husband Tim is a distant relative to Clark of the Lewis&Clark team. Dad and brother's middle name is Clark. FYI. The photo of the blue tent with the pretty red car is priceless! Look forward to the next Blog.

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