Friday, July 23, 2010

A very unusual two days

About 9:00am we left our last campground in Minnesota and continued our trek west. We came to Rock Lake, ND and pulled into a little city park for lunch. Noriced the most unusual sign about not washing birds. ?? North Dakota is, of course, part of the Great Plains. Mostly flat land with some small rolling hills. Lots of grain and soybeans are grown around here. As we learned on other trips, the bright yellow flowers are from canola and the bright blue from flax.
We had no particular destination in mind nor a specific place to stop for the night. The weather was poor so we stopped driving in Belcourt, ND. There is a casino in Belcourt, the Sky Dancer Hotel & Casino. Got gas on the way to the casino. The plan was to spend the night in the casino parking lot. While in the gas station, and again in the casino, I picked up a flier about the 125th Novena in honor of Good St. Ann that was in progress at the Saint Ann's Indian Mission in Belcourt. The mission serves the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. The flier said there was a mass at 5:00 so we drove to the mission. When we pulled into the church parking lot the Pastor, Father Mark walked over. He said there was a steak dinner after church and we were invited. He also showed us a place we could park overnight. At 7:30 there was a talk by Fr. Efren Borromeo, SOLT, about healing. After dinner we attended the talk. Unfortunately, between Fathers strong accent, my poor hearing and the echo throughout the church, I didn't have a clue what he was saying. Carol, and everyone else, clearly enjoyed the talk.
After the mass, dinner & talk, we drove down the hill and parked with four other RV's. One of the women came over as soon as we stopped; she remembered Carol from church. We were introduced to everyone else. This group of friends, all who live very near here, come camping each year for the nine days of the Novena. With the exception of one husband, we were the only ones there who were not Chippewa Indians. They made us feel very, very welcomed. In the morning we were invited to join them for breakfast.
This afternoon, there are childrens games. This evening another mass, dinner & talk.

This Novena is all so refreshing. It's not about corrupt Popes or Cardinals or Bishops. Not about pedophile priests. Not about the religious worlds biggest and wealthiest bureaucracy. This is the most basic form of religion where the community church plays a real and central part in peoples lives. All of these events have been very well attended. Everywhere you look in town is posted a schedule of events.
On both Friday and Saturday there were different types of church services. By Saturday night, Mom had about reached overload. During the evening social in the campground, Mom gave someones grandson, Brandon, a long ride on her scooter. :-)
These few days were certainly memorable. Our new friends invited us back for next years Novena.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The last of Minnesota

As we were driving along County Road 10, we noticed an RV camped along a lake. A mile or so further on, we saw the sign for the Lake Bronson State Park. What a great find this was. We have a campsite directly on the shore of Lake Bronson. There is a nice network of paved multi-use trails. The three of us have been taking walks on a perfect, cool, sunny day. Mostly we have the park to ourself so Gopher is free to just wander around.
Next time we're up this way, we'll be back. Lakeside Campground sites 40, 42,45 & 46 are the best.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Falls , Thief River Falls & Warroad

The plan was to continue west on Hwy 11 from International falls to North Dakota. Shortly after we left I-Falls, there was a road detour sign. Turns out the detour was close to 75 miles. Had we known, it would have been much shorter to have gone into Canada, headed west, then come back into the US after the detour area. But we didn't know so we headed south on Hwy 71. As we crossed the bridge over the Big Fork River, which is just before the town of Big Falls, we noticed a campground on the river so we pulled in. It was the Big Falls City Campground. What a great find. We camped on the Big Falls rapids. At night all we could hear was the river. People came through the campground portaging canoes around the rapids. They canoe the river all the way north to the Rainy River near I-Falls.
Since we were so far south of Hwy 11, we just continued west on Hwy 1 to Thief River Falls(TRF). TRF has a very nice city campground right on the banks of the Red Lake River. There are walking trails along the river. While taking a walk, we came upon a DQ. After dinner, Carol sent me to DQ for another small blizzard to share three ways.
TRF is the largest city we've been in for some time. Population of over 6,000!!. There was even a Super WalMart in town.
In the morning, we headed to Warroad, MN. A beautiful drive through farmlands. Mostly hay and grains of different types with some corn & soy beans mixed in. Now & then we would come across a little community with a grain elevator and not much else. We're 6 miles south of Canada (Manitoba Province).
Tonight we're "camping" in the casino parking lot. Interesting how Warroad got its name. The Chippewa Tribe lived here years ago. Wild rice was a major source of food. The Sioux Indians from the Plains States would raid the area regularly to steal the rice. Because of the rivers & marsh, there was only one practical way for the Sioux to get here by horseback. Over time, that trail came to be called a Chippewa name that meant the war road.