Canada 43, 21st September 2006

I had noticed a little cat wandering around the parking area last night, he was here again this morning. Well, really, he was a big kitten. Friendly as could be, when I knelt down he almost jumped into my lap. I gave him a few scraps and left for town to do some shopping. He wasn't there when I got back.

That was good news. Because I presumed it meant he lived at one of the nearby houses, and visiting the parking area was just an exploratory mission.

I didn't see the 2 hitch hikers from yesterday. That was good news also, it meant they had got a lift.

I drove on, through pretty constant scenery. Like this.

Or this.

I reached Culbertson, a little town in about the middle of nowhere. There was a sign that said museum, so I stopped. And what a museum! There was no shortage of TLC here. Here are a few displays, really well thought out.

There was an enormous quantity of material, and it was superbly displayed. And all done, I understood, by local volunteers. There is only a population of around 1000 in Culbertson, it is amazing that such a small town can have such a superb museum. I've got to put it best ever for a town of this size.

There were lots and lots of nice creative ideas. Lots. Small things, but it showed a nice touch. If I mention anything, it's too easy to say, it's been done before. Of course it has. But here it was done. A lot of good thought has gone into these displays.

The volunteers manning the museum even run their work here in a fun way. They seem to have coffee on the go all the time, even if they are not working they will call in for a coffee with their friends! Like it was the senior citizens museum club! But it works, real good.

They usually had a lot of tractors outside, they told me, but many of them had been taken to the fairground for the threshing bee this coming weekend. I drove around to the fairground and had a peek at all the old tractors on display, there must have been over 100, with some really special models.

I continued on, with similar scenery.

Finally. just into North Dakota, I found a pretty view.

It was time to stop, I saw a sign to a recreational area, and took the turn. There was a small picnic/camping area, space for 6 vehicles, and a sign saying camping restricted to 4 consecutive nights. That'll do me.

In the morning I continued gently southwards until found a sign to the Lewis & Clark Interpretative Centre. I've seen several of these centres, this wasn't the best but it was certainly OK. Just down the road was a reconstruction of Fort Mandam. Here is interior of the cabin as it thought to have been at the time, this is the one used by Lewis & Clark.

They stayed here for their first winter. Their second winter was at Fort Clapson, at the mouth of the Columbia River, I visited there about a couple of months ago

The Interpretative centre was by a rest area. I enquired if it was OK to park overnight and was told we think so. I was debating whether to continue on to Bismarck or stay - it was rather early to stop - when I realised I had an internet connection in the parking lot. That settled it. I had all sorts of stuff to do that required occasional checking on the Internet.

Another camping car then 2 cars came along to stay overnight so I guess other people thought it was OK to stay.

Late in the evening it came on to rain. It rained all night and most of the next day. In the morning I continued on the pretty route to Bismarck checking out various side roads to small recreational areas. One of these was a historical site, the site of a Mandan Indian village. I put on my coat, braved the rain, and took a walk around the trail.

In Bismarck I stopped to pick up a few items from Walmart and was called to the welcome desk. My van had rolled forward in the car park and bumped a pickup. I guess I hadn't put the handbrake on securely. Anyway it left a minuscule dent in the bumper of a tatty pickup. I guess it must have rolled along at almost 1 mph. The owner claimed to be panic stricken, said not only was the bumper dented, it was bent. It wasn't bent. I could see it wasn't bent. Now if it had been my vehicle I know I would have said no problem. Actually, I didn't even bother to look at my bumper.

I said, how about $20? He said I'll call the police. Now I know if he'd called the police they probably wouldn't have come, if they had they'd probably arrest HIM for wasting their time.

I didn't feel like aggro so I said, OK, $50. That'll do he said.

I finished my shopping. Just by the fruit the pickup owner found me. Here's your $50 he said, put it back in your pocket. I guess his conscience got through to him................

I drove on through the rain to Valley City where I met up with Lowell Busching. Lowell is another Dixieland jazz enthusiast, and over the past 5 years we have found reason to exchange some 1500 emails.........But this is the first time we have actually met. We headed off for dinner at what turned out to be a superb restaurant. Good by any standards. Lowell paid, he'd said he would. Thanks Lowell!

Then he guided me to a parking spot in the centre of town. Useful because again I had an all night internet connection. We partook of a beer at a local club and arranged to meet in the morning. Rain is forecast.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in North Dakota

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