Sunday, August 07, 2005

Big Things




Ok, let's recap. When you last joined our roving reporters they were in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Seems they found out that Moose Jaw has some strange subterrenean tunnels that Al Capone supposedly used as a hide out. But, most of all they have a big thing. You know you have to find big things when on the prairie. This big thing is Mac the Moose. We had some other people take our picture in front of Mac. Our "Big Thing on the Prairie." We found a web site that lists all of the Big Things but this is the only one we got close to.

On our way to Moose Jaw we passed a place called Chaplin, SK. It is worth mentioning because of the strange white mineral deposits everywhere. Turns out they were sodium sulphate deposits and Chaplin is known for producing something from it called "saltcake." I guess it is used for making glass and paper and other stuff. We were so baffled by it that we had to Google it as soon as we got to Moose Jaw.

Ok, so we left Moose Jaw and headed south towards the border into the US. The roads in Canada are quite good with wide shoulders and frequent pullouts. Now, this is weird, but just before we crossed the border we stopped at a WalMart that appeared way out in a little town on the prairie in Saskatchwan. We picked up a few things and then went on to North Portal, SK. Seems Portal and North Portal are one and the same town with one unique thing. One half of it is in Canada and the other half is in the US. Our crossing was uneventful with a nice border patrol guy inspecting us and giving us the all clear.

We then followed the stair step township and range roads in North Dakota and worked our way down to Minot. There are some tiny and remote little towns up in North Dakota and each of them must have a great story but we didn't stop as we had miles to go. After Minot we took a highway south towards Jamestown, SD having picked out a campground that looked good for the night. We traveled 14o miles from Minot to Jamestown in North Dakota with no cell phone coverage and almost no traffic on a fantastic, straight as an arrow, road. When we got to Jamestown we picked up cell coverage and called the campground. "We are full and are parking them on the grass." was the reply to our question about a site for the night. We checked our atlas and found that there was a WalMart in Jamestown so we headed for that. Arriving we found a small village of about 12 large motorhomes so we made ourselves at home. The manager, a young woman, came out to greet us and was astonished at the number. "I have never seen so many of you here." she said. She was very friendly and told us to make ourselves at home and that the store opened at noon the next day. She said that she loves having motorhomes in the parking lot but some stores cannot allow it because of municipal laws.

After our night in the WalMart parking lot we headed east through fields of sunflowers and corn until we started encountering eastern culture near Minneapolis, Minnesota in the form of grid locked traffic on I-94. Good to be back in the east. Right! Here we are in Minneapolis with a drive to Chicago tomorrow. Oh boy. What fun. We really want to get through this densely populated area but we fear traffic is going to be heavy from here on out. That's about all the news that is fit to print from the Mothership. Oh, Barbara has been getting in lots of time piloting the Mothership and is doing really well. It is nice having a relief driver to share the load.

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