USA 45, 28th September 2006

Now where was I? Willmar. Willmar? What the heck happened in Willmar?

Oh yes. I went to the museum.

There was a coach load of oldies visiting. I blended in perfectly.

The museum itself although not dull was dim. Very dim. In an attempt to make, presumably, some sort of special effect, all the lights were turned down low. The result was, that although the exhibits looked interesting, you couldn't be sure because you couldn't see them properly, and it was difficult to read the information placards. There were lots of photos of barns that I would have liked to examine closer but I couldn't see them clearly.

There was a nice old steam engine outside, I could see that, and the old house alongside.

The Minnesota licence plates say State of 10,000 lakes. There are lots of lakes. Lots of nice lakes. Ed, who I met later, told me a survey had shown 14,000 lakes bigger than 10 acres. Here are some of them.

I found another Walmart in Hutchinson, hen in the morning I explored. The museum was shut today, they didn't have enough volunteers. So I took a walk round the park, the oldest park in the USA, so I was told, after Central Park, New York. Nice fountain. It wasn't working when I walked past, then it started while I wasn't looking, I ran over to take a picture in case it stopped again.

I took a short trail through a wood to another lake and relaxed a while. Don't know why I didn't take a photo, I probably forgot.

I did remember, however, that I didn't have a photo of a barn. This type of barn is typical of this area, there are many of them, and there were similar bars throughout Alberta also. This one I suspect had been modernised. There is a pointy piece on the front of the roof, normally there would be a pulley mounted under here so that produce, hay, etc., could be hauled up through the door into the first floor. Now there is a tiny window at this level, originally there would have been a door to take that produce.

The barns are of little practical use today, they are not suited to today's style of farming, and they are expensive to maintain, but obviously many people are interested to preserve them.

I eventually arrived at the Chapman home in Jordan, SW of Minnesota. Dinner was organised by Ed and Sandie, with Marty, whom I flew with on my last visit here almost exactly 5 years ago, and Marty's wife. Nice dinner, super desert by Marty's wife. (Darn. I can't remember her name. I expect it will come back to me only seconds after I hit send for this email)

Next morning Ed needed to go to Chicago to collect some things. He's an airline pilot, and has a medical in a couple of days, he needed some things from his brief case there. Did I want to go he asked? Of course I said, please. So we caught a United flight from Minneapolis, 1st class of course, nothing less for employees and friends. First time I've been in 1st class. Except of course I have walked through from time to time, on the way in or out from my economy seat at the rear of the plane!

This is Minneapolis although not downtown of course. There are streets and streets of houses, all at right angles, and, as you can see, lots of trees.

We got back in time to confirm it was not good for balloon flying today. Ed, in addition to flying passengers from A to B in his Airbus 320 as his regular job, also takes passengers in his balloon where everyone is flying for fun.

I couldn't buy dinner. Ed came out with some story about having gift certificates at the restaurant that had to be used up. Then I found out, it was supposed to be flyable in the morning. Oh-oh. Doesn't look like it to me but then I'm not in charge, it might be better in the morning. For sure, Ed won't be flying unless it's OK.

Best regards

David Barker
In Minnesota

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