Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Columbia River to Helena, Bismarck & Lake Elsie, ND.

Sat. July 31st - Mon.Aug. 9th

Wind turbines above Columbia River Gorge east of Portland, Oregon on our way home from our grandson's baseball tournament in Eugene.

John Day Dam on Columbia River.

Thanks Grandpa, for taking me to the tournamnent!

The Metra in Billings after the recent tornado went through, estimated $25 million to repair. We stopped to visit my cousin just a couple miles from here.

A couple of views from the truck stop where we spent the evening near Beach, North Dakota.

New Salem (between Beach and Mandan) is dairy country. There is a huge statue of a holstein on a hill that is easily seen from the interstate. We drove up there when the kids were very small. John held Dawn above his head, so she could reach up and touch one of the cow's teats.

We called my great aunt Clementine in Mandan who just celebrated her 90th birthday. She said, "Do you have time to stop for a beer?" We can always make time for a beer. My mom is named after her. She still calls my mom "Clemmie". This is her coming up the stairs, bringing in her laundry from the clothes line before the storm. You can see her garden in the background.

The storm hit a few minutes later. There was a tornado warning with a tornado sighted 9 miles north of Mandan. The wind blew 70 miles an hour and blew the hail onto the deck from all directions. We enjoyed our beers and visit as the storm blew through. We were lucky not to be in our camper.

We spent the night at the home of old friends north of Mandan. They live way up on a hill overlooking the Missouri River in the distance. What a view!

This is a view the other direction from their house.

The next day we visited the capitol across the river in Bismarck. It says NORTH DAKOTA in the red and white flowers in front of the building and the statue is supposed to be pioneers. It was built in the 30s and is one of the most modern looking capitol buildings. There is a Hall of Fame Walk on
the first floor with portraits of people from North Dakota such as Lawrence Welk, Roger Marris, Bobby Vee, Angie Dickinson, Louis L'Amour, and Teddy Roosevelt (who wasn't really from there, but just loved it and spent a lot of time there). There was also Mrs. Frank (Elizabeth) Bodine from Velva who was Mother of the Year with her 19 kids and enough boys to have their own baseball team. Also the actress, Dorothy Stickney, who played the mother in the play "Life with Father", also a great old movie. There were lots more who I had never heard of. It's very interesting.
The view above is from the top of the capitol building and the black and white picture is of when they broke the record for snow angels, over 8,000.

Looking out from the 18th story observation deck, you can see trees and walkways in every direction. There is a huge grounds. You could spend all day walking around. There are several different statues and the Veterans Memorial, plus a walkway through some of the trees where the different varieties of trees are labeled with stone markers. It is called Centennial Grove and was dedicated by the first President Bush. This is a petrified tree.

This is the ceiling in the house. It represents the moon and the stars surrounding it. The senate ceiling represents the sun and its rays. Kind of cool. They were the first ones to get electronic voting boards.

This is a windmill in the Heritage Museum. Quite a change from the ones we see everywhere now. There was a picture of a man named Ole Larson in the museum, who was the first business proprietor in my small hometown of DeLamere. They also have a replica of the USS North Dakota that was commissioned for World War I, but was never used. They have the silver service that was on the ship. It is beautiful.

This is a boxcar on the grounds from the Gratitude Train that France sent to the United States after WWII as a thank you. There was one for every state, except Hawaii and District of Columbia had to share one. They were filled with gifts from the people, such as dolls made by school children and other hand crafted items and mementos. Most states still have their boxcars, but North Dakota still has most of the stuff that came in it.
We stopped in Steele to visit my Uncle Ole who is 93 years old. There is a statue of the world's largest sandhill crane right by the exit at Steele.

This is the Buffalo statue at Jamestown that you can see from the interstate. There is also a herd here that you can see as you drive by with a white buffalo.

Back at my Mom's. She is surrounded by beauty. There are three fields of sunflowers straight across the road from her driveway where we park. Her neighbor across the street has so many flowers, it looks like a park. Just one house down from her, this same neighbor has created a community garden with vegetables and flowers. It's beautiful. She also lives just a block from the swimming pool, campground, playground, skateboard park, football field, softball field, track and bike path and just three blocks from downtown. Location, location, location!

Back at my brother's lake place, here is my Mom swimming with my grandkids. They couldn't get enough of the water.

Family time, 90 degrees, seeking the only shady place.

Granddaughter, daughter and my Mom having some fun with Gunner and Dash.

Grandpa, I only get 10% of the attention. My baby sister gets all the attention!

Just relaxing at the lake for the next few days, then heading to Brookings, Sioux Falls and Iowa.


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