Thursday, July 24, 2008

Minot, North Dakota

As we left Spearfish we were back to driving through miles and endless miles of farm land. I think we found out where all the wheat is grown. We have seen wheat fields before but nothing like this. There were some fields of corn, hay, and other stuff that we don't know what it was but mostly it looked like wheat and with all the wheat reports on the radio – most of it must have been wheat.

One of the biggest surprises of the trip was when we came upon the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. Much of it can be seen from the highway so we did not stop and drive into the park. The area is very reminiscent of the South Dakota Bad Lands but with more trees.

Little did we know that once we left there, we would see very few tree for the rest of our time in North Dakota and most of the trees we would see were planted in rows as wind breaks. One city even had a sign boasting that it had more tree wind breaks than any other city in the world. Guess when you live up here, any claim to fame is better than none.

Our next stop was in Minot, ND. We camped at Minot Air Force Base. It is a nice, small, base that is loaded with B-52s and missile launchers.

Minot proved to be an interesting stop.

The first place we visited was the Scandinavian Heritage Center. Here we toured the Gol Stave Church. This is an exact replica of the Gol Stave church in Norway. A stave church is a medieval wooden church with a post and beam construction related to timber framing. The wall frames are filled with vertical planks. The load-bearing posts (staves) have lent their name to the building technique. It is not very often that you see a church adorned on the outside with dragons.
There was also a Dala Horse which is the national symbol of Sweden.

While we are still on the subject of Scandinavian heritage – almost everyone in this area speaks with a distinct Scandinavian accent.

Our next stop this day was at the North Dakota State Fair. Yes, we just happened to be in the right place at the right time - it was State Fair Week in Minot. And we will just let the pictures speak for themselves.
As we left Minot, we were extremely lucky as we passed by the geographical center of North America in Rugby, ND.

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