Canada 44, 26th August 2006

At 9 am Lowell was knocking on my van door. He'd got up earlier than his planned 10 am. So we headed off for breakfast, well, Lowell for breakfast, me for a coffee.

Then we went to the museum and the curator, Wes Anderson, entertained us with some piano roll music. As you can see he has quite a selection and he himself is expert at renovating these old instruments.

He also had a juke box in the museum playing lively music. It's a nice to find a museum sounding lively and bright and actually using some of the exhibits. Of course lots of other items were there, well displayed, including a very polished model T Ford. A nice museum.

There is one house in the town built in New Orleans style.

Lowel's tour continued, up to the lake and down the valley. Yes, this is North Dakota, that boring flat wilderness in north America.

This too is North Dakota.............

There are trees, and more lakes.

And more trees.

There is a museum at Fort Ransom with some amazing exhibits. This museum must be a contender for the worst museum I have visited. Lowell and I walked around laughing.

Now can you believe that? Or this stand, photo below, handmade, for selling brooms? Wow!

Probably I am being unfair, after all there was that Forestry museum at Revelstoke with practically nothing on display. Here there are a number of other artefacts. I counted 38 hand tools. Big Valley, a town with smaller population, has 5,000.

Actually here they did have some displays too, this one, actually, looks quite good on the photo, although the others were quite bare.

And of course someone has worked hard at this museum. It's not really fair to knock them because they don't have a flair for museum design, or because they don't have a large number of local exhibits.

We called in at another restaurant for dinner, in Tower City, a mistake really. The service was slow, it took an age even just to discover what beers were available. The food when it came was good but we would have been better to go again to Sabir's, the super restaurant we went to yesterday. If heaven forbid anyone else should be travelling the 94 through North Dakota Sabir's is at the middle exit to Valley City, and is the building next to AmericInn that looks like a warehouse. It is well worth a call and can liven up that dreary journey.

Next morning, just before I hit the road, I checked emails, Lowell had woken early and was suggesting breakfast. I'd already taken my coffee but I joined him for the chat.

I finally hit the road, heading towards Ed Chapman's near Minneapolis. I took a route just south of the 94 and there was almost nothing to see. On this back road there were almost no towns, I only took one picture, in Minnesota, but this was fairly typical of the whole trip. In this case, the road was almost dead straight for 50 miles.

I called in at Fort Abercrombie but it was closed for the season. I poked around outside for a few minutes and continued on. I found another couple of museums, both closed for the season.

Although the scenery was somewhat repetitive I enjoyed the drive. I looked around the few small towns on the route and discovered that without exception they were all very pleasant, they all looked to be nice places to live. Not at all like the flat surrounding countryside. The houses seemed friendly. The locals seemed friendly. In one town for example I passed a group of 6 or 8 men sitting outside, round a table, they all waved at me as I drove by!

It rather reminded of those times on a balloon flight when you wave at someone on a housing estate, and all 50 or so of their neighbours wave back.

I parked at for the night at the Walmart in Willmar.

Best regards

David Barker
On the road in Minnesota

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