Merv and I moved from Prairie Farm to Port Wing, WI near the south shore of Lake Superior in the fall of 2019. Maybe one day I will get back to blogging. It was fun while it lasted. The site as it is at least has value in being a snapshot of a window in time.
This slideshow is a compilation of 100 pictures submitted by Rose’s friends and family.
Rose died peacefully early Thursday morning. She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. Rose’s family and friends gathered to honor her yesterday. I left that gathering feeling the love that surrounded that special woman.
My post from, A Dismal Day, expresses how I felt the day I found out that Rose had cancer.
This photo taken at Pattison State Park makes me think of a 1970s Rock Band album cover.
We started our time together Thursday evening by taking part in an interactive production of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. The experience was so immersive and intense, at times frightening, that we will remember it for a long time.
Thursday morning we took off for Hudson where we went through the Phipps Center’s art galleries before escaping the heat with a swim in the St Croix. We played Marco Polo for a long long time. From there it was Noodles and Company for lunch, Orange Leaf for dessert and a visit to the Seasons Gallery where Rosa bought Coop and Ani melted glass art refrigerator magnets and herself a hand carved button.
From Hudson we deposited our things at my cabin near Cushing, WI before heading up to Crex Meadows to help the DNR band ducks. It was almost 90 degrees but both the banders and the ducks managed to get through it. We stayed at the cabin that night. The kids spent most of their time up in the loft. The 10 foot library ladder was both intimidating and a big draw. They took every step carefully and with a tentative grin.
Saturday on our way to Pattison State Park, we stopped for snacks at the Burnett Dairy Cheese Store. Every time I saw an ice cream joint after that, I’d ask if they wanted to stop and they’d respond in unison with a resounding NO! They had their fill, at least for that day.
We pitched our tent at Pattison in grueling heat before escaping to the coolness of the swimming beach. That evening we went into Duluth for dinner at Chipolte and a cool evening stroll along the shore at Canal Park. It disappointed us that no ships would be entering while we were there.
Sunday we walked along Pattison’s dramatic waterfall and its gorge before heading to Amnicon State Park for lunch and to cool off in that amazingly beautiful stretch of river. Have I mentioned that it was hot?
That afternoon, our cabins were not ready at The Beach Motel in Herbster where we were to meet up with the rest of the family so we hit some studios on the Herbster Art Crawl. The kids were always up for stopping to look at artwork.
I ran across this newspaper story related to Dad’s dad, Harold Cornelius Angland. It was in a youth section of the 1902 Minneapolis Journal. The paper had asked people to send in funny stories about things that happened in school. What I don’t know is if Harold wrote this article or if he was the child in the story. I’m thinking that he wrote it. In 1902 he would have been 15. Harold grew up on Monroe Street in MPLS.
Here is a pdf of the full newspaper page
It’s so cool that I own a piece of art made by Barb Bend that was selected for a magazine cover.
I’ve wanted a Cape Dory for 30 years. I just put $500 down on this one near Saginaw Michigan. I am SO EXCITED! Merv and I are going to inspect it on our way home from Tennessee after the holidays and finalize the sale. She’s a vintage boat. they haven’t been built since the 70s. Most of them are on the east coast. Its been stored inside and is in excellent condition. My plan is to rent a slip near Bayfield, WI next summer.
I had to take a moment to record the cacophony of lunchtime at last weekend’s family gathering. We had 16 people stay over. Five kids under 10. It doesn’t get better than this.
This picture taken on my morning walk sums up how I’m feeling today. Dreariness abounds with a road that leads to you don’t know where.
Our good friend Rose has a tumor on her liver. She is having it biopsied today. Her daughter had planned a surprise birthday party for her tonight.
Rose is in the middle of a home addition project. The foundation along the stairs to her basement was caving in and she had to tear down an old addition as part of the repair. With much concern over finances, Rose decided to put a new addition over the repaired foundation that will house a bedroom and laundry. Rose had done her laundry in her unheated basement for years. In the winter, the washer would sometimes freeze. She has been sleeping upstairs in her half story loft. The new addition will make life easier.
I can’t stop thinking about Rose. I think about how our phone calls always start with a long silly HELLOHHohh and we share a laugh before getting on with the topic at hand. I value that easy laugh.
Yesterday she answered the phone with a hollowness in her voice. She had found out only the day before. Rose said that her good friend Nancy was with her. Daughter, Malainey, was coming that evening and she had a ride to her biopsy today. There was nothing I could do for her now but she would be needing us in the future. She was told about the surprise birthday party and wants to go ahead with it. She said she wants to stay positive through this.
Rose is dear to many people. We will all provide her with a great support network. I assured her that Merv and I would be there for her. And then I said “I love you Rose”. It just came out. It felt so good to have said it. I pretty much say “I love you” only to Merv which might be why on hanging up I appended my goodbye with the word “sweetheart”. That was also reflexive and it felt weird but I guess it shows how dear Rose is to me.
Milainey let us know that while Rose came through her biopsy fine, she is too tired to have the party tonight. Soon though.
I made a trip out to extreme western Minnesota to attend the Big Stone County Harvest Fest. My niece Jessica’s family and her husbands cousins were selling garlic at a booth there. Jess and Les are excited about their new venture and it was fun sharing the weekend with them.
The prairie landscape reminded me of how much I enjoyed our model A road trip out west last year. I was so happy to take the time to travel the back roads again. It took me 2 hours to drive the 12 miles between their farm and Ortonville stopping every quarter-mile or so to take photos. Life doesn’t get better than that.
This past week I set them up with an e-commerce site: bigstonegarlic.com. I posted my photos on their Farm News blog. Take a look. This is my shameless way of sending traffic their way. Smile.
Last night as I walked from the studio to the house, the clouds and the moon were doing awesome things. The air was perfectly still and the crickets were the only sounds to be heard.
Our ancient white pine. These iPhone cameras come in handy. I had to tweak the image in Photoshop to even see that there was a tree there in the darkness. I like the grainyness that resulted from the under exposure.
I missed a great shot of these two standing on a log having a moment looking out at the lake together. I was so disappointed. The scene was so reminiscent of the one I took of them as toddlers in 2009. I thought about asking them to pose but the body language would not have been right. The top shot does convey their fast friendship though.
The water was higher this year than we’ve ever seen it. What little beach that was left was strewn with driftwood and I had a grand time beach combing. There was a driftwood TeePee built by vacationers before us. It was cool and evenings were perfect for campfires on the beach. We always wonder if this will be the last year that Skip and Shirley run the place.
Birth 6 October 1875 in Hastings Dakota Co. Minnesota
Death 7 November 1918 in Chester, Liberty, Montana
Download Dennis Storres’ Life Overview (pdf)
Spanish American War Veteran
A search of US military records for Storres brought up this application to the War Department for a gravestone. On first glance, I saw that Dennis Storres, my father’s great Uncle, died in 1918. I thought, “Oh, so he died in WWI.” A closer look shows that he was not a WWI vet but was a veteran of the Spanish American War. Dennis Storres was living in Montana at the time of his death. My father, Dennis Warren Angland, was named after him.
There is a book about the 15th Minnesota Infantry. Dennis Storres is listed as having been in a private in Company “E” at time of muster out at the end of the war. The book tells of a typhoid fever outbreak at camp in St. Paul and of a mutiny involving 50 or so men. The war ended before the 15th was called over seas. This is notable as there is a family story around a pocket watch with a dent in it that was to have shielded Dennis from a bullet. My brother Tom has that pocket watch. Dennis Storre’s gravestone has him as Col. Dennis Storres, Date of death, Nov. 7, 1916.
Click for larger image
I checked on an old Yellow Birch on the west side of the soybean field in front of our house. The tree has a huge burl that makes it look like it has a spare tire. The tree is old and loosing branches and has a hollow trunk but it is hanging in there. I thought about whether to take the tree down to harvest the burl before it disintegrates but I would have a hard time watching the grand thing get sawed.
On my way home from the birch tree, I walked through the soybean field. The plants are covered with fuzz. I was in shorts and was pleasantly surprised that they were soft rather than scratchy. An Asian Beetle was doing what it was introduced to this country to do – eat aphids.
Gosh its been a beautiful summer. But don’t be deceived. The corn has tasseled but the stalks are midgets. The neighbor who farms our land said that the late wet spring and cool temps makes this his the second worst year of farming ever.
Today we had a bead baking lesson at the North House Folk School. Both kids were totally engaged in the making and in the eating of their own thin bread and focaccia loaves. Rosa said she would like to be an intern there like our instructor Emily.
We walk along the harbor on our way to and from the school and town and there are usually fisherman cleaning their catches in a cleaning station. They are happy to talk their catches. One man offered to teach the kids how to clean them. Both took about two steps back and politely declined.
At 9 am we went out on a 42 ft sailboat. The kids were unimpressed and went below where it was warmer to play captain and first mate. Coop was capt which meant Rosa had to do anything he asked.
We went for a hike up the Cascade River and looked for rocks on a beach. Coop found one so special he is going to include it in his will. Rosa wanted to know “Why if hot air rises, is it colder up north?”
Our attempt at baking Australian Outback bread (aka damper) was a limited success. We managed to mix it up alright, but all but 10% of the loaf was either burned black or still doughy. The part that was cooked well was very good though. It was really good with apple jam.
Jessica called just after the damper came out of the coals. The conversation lasted about a minute and went something like this on my end:
” Hi Jess, yes things are going fine – hey Rosa, was that water or lemonade? Ok, well you’d better pour that big container of water over the chair or its going to be all sticky. Hi Jess, no big deal, just some spilled… hey Coop, did you just burn your arm on the lid to the damper pan? Yes thanks Jess, we’ll need that ointment in Rosa’s bag. Guess I’d better go. Bye.”
After a morning swim we headed up the North Shore of Lake Superior towards Grand Marais. Our stop at Gooseberry Falls was cut short by a thunderstorm. It continued to storm so we skipped Split Rock Light House and continued to Grand Marais. It was still raining when we got there so we went into town and hit the bookstore. The weather cleared in time to set up camp and start a fire.
Sheila somehow deleted the first part of Rosa’s entry for day 1. Basically she said that we left her house in Brooklyn Park around 9:30 am. We listened to an Encyclopedia Brown audiobook, stopped at Subway for lunch and went straight to the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.
I wish I would have taken pictures of the surrey bike ride but I was otherwise busy. Rosa pedaled the whole time and seemed to totally enjoy the biking experience. She really got her exercise that day. What a trouper. Coop and I took turns pedaling. While he was pedaling, I walked/jogged behind holding on and acted as an emergency brake. When I was pedaling I was also being watchful that he didn’t fall as he used the bike for a jungle gym.
Rosa Day 1
At the aquarium we saw:
- mata mata turtles
- a sting ray
- piranhas ( they didn’t bite us)
- more turtles
- a crow
- a magpie
- and a lot of others
After a trip to the gift shop, we went to Canal Park, and we rented a Surrey bike that held us all (most of the time), and we went for a bike ride, and after we put the bike back, we went to Cold Stone Creamery and I got cake batter and mint ice cream with white choclate chips mixed in.
We went on a shopping spree and then ate a pizza at Vitta Pizza. We walked back to our car, and went to the hotel, and after a quick break, we went swimming and had a frantic search for a ball and a key, and a hotel room.
We headed back to our hotel room and changed into out PJs( at least I did) and I am now writing this blog. Read Cooper’s entry and you will learn more about our day)
Rosa 🙂 😉
P.S. I miss you all a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.P.S. I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cooper Day 1
Rosa wrote all the good stuff.
Its a good thing that my agate has crystals in it.
I liked the invasive species game at the aquarium. It was hard and fun and a little easy. We saw snakes too.
I liked swimming in the pool at the hotel. We played with a ball. I practiced swimming almost with no hands.
We got the best pizza ever and that’s the end of my blog for today.
Yesterday I got this jawbreaker at the Renaissance Festival.
I slept over at Sheila and Merv’s. Today we are going to make lists and pack for the trip. Tonight we are going into the cities and tomorrow we will pick up Rosa and go to the aquarium in Duluth. After that we will go to the north shore of Lake Superior.
Rosa is my great-niece. Cooper is my nephew and he’s great too. Cooper will be 9 next month, Rosa will be 10 in November. Last year Rosa and I spent a couple of fun days in Duluth. This year we are including Cooper and after hitting Duluth, we are going to venture up the north shore of Lake Superior to Grand Marais.
I’ll leave it to the recent email correspondence between these two and myself to fill you in on our plans for the upcoming trip.
July 15, 2014 2:06 pm
Hi Auntie Sheila,
I had an idea for a book on tape, what do you think about Encyclopedia Brown?
You said something about looking for a certain animal each day, so can we see how many
we can spot each day? Then we can sketch all the animals we saw, and the one we saw the most of we can sketch, and then do a goofy drawing of that animal! I think I may have seen an aquarium, so maybe we can check that out!
Could we stop by Noodles and Company,and maybe Orange Leaf (Do you still have your card?) and how about Amazing Grace(the restaurant with the huge sandwiches,and I think their breakfast is really good!)?
And are we coming home on Friday or Saturday?(Mom forgot to write it down!)
July 15, 2014 3:56 PM
Good idea, I read the Encyclopedia Brown books when I was your age and I really liked them. Pick a couple and I will download them onto my iPhone for the trip.
There is an aquarium in Duluth that would be fun to visit. I hope we have time. I talked to your mom about us stopping at the library before we leave Monday morning, but maybe you could do that before so we would have time to stop at the aquarium before going to Gooseberry Falls.
I think we can eat at Noodles and Company. Cooper should find something there that he likes to eat. We won’t be eating out too often. You me and Coop will have to plan our meals and make a shopping list on the way to Duluth. There are lots of ice cream places up there. If Orange Leaf is your favorite, we can stop there (I’m not sure if the card is still in my purse or not).
We are going to come home Saturday. Clair and Cindy will be coming up from Rochester and will pick up Cooper at either your house or your Grandmas.
July 16, 2014 9:10 AM
Hi Aunt Sheila,
If you have an agate at home, can you bring it, because I have no idea what they look like.
Here are some ideas for the shopping list:
pasta(not spaghetti, unless we want that instead of pasta)
Guess who is coming tonight?
Uncle Loren and Aunt Julie and Chase!
Can I bring my camping cup?
July 16, 2014 4:29 PM
I don’t think I have an agate but I’ll look. I used to have a bunch of them. Maybe we can find a rock shop and look at some.
Thats a good start for a shopping list. We’ll see what Cooper likes to eat too. Do your folks have a cookstove for camping?
Have fun with Loren and Julie!
P.S. Definitely bring your camping cup.
July 16, 2014 6:27 PM
Hi Aunt Sheila,
Yes, we have a cookstove, as I said on the phone. I think I might have an agate at home,but I’m not sure.
Another idea for our shopping list: frozen pizza! I think Coop likes pizza, as I happened to be sitting next to him at dinner a Ani’s party and he seemed to enjoy the pizza(although I think he may have pulled off the cheese) but just to be sure,can you ask Aunt Cindy? Today Grandma told me and Ani and Mom about some of her ideas for Herbster, and one of them was me and Coopey building some things(possibly out of driftwood) and have an art show to show our stuff! Could you help us? I don’t think Coop has been notified of this idea, but I will tell him about this on the trip (By the way, who are you picking up first?)Another idea was vests made out of old shirt or possibly old jeans(it was actually my idea). Did Grandma tell you about that? If not, I’ll tell you about it when you pick me up.
Here are more shopping list ideas:
jelly(how about strawberry?)
pickles(spicy, if everybody likes that kind)
potatoes(bring a peeler)
Lots of fun,
July 16, 2014 7:20 PM
Cooking frozen pizza over a campfire? Worth a try!
Your grandma comes up with good ideas. We will have so much fun at Herbster building things out of driftwood. I think everyone should be encouraged to participate. We could have a sculpture garden on the beach.
All good food ideas. I will print a draft grocery list and we can get Coop’s input on the way to Duluth. I am sure he will have lots of ideas for food.
12 days and counting,
July 17, 2014 5:17 PM
Hi Aunt Sheila,
The sculpture garden sounds like a great idea!!!
Can you give me the campground number?
You said something about a lot of ice cream places in Duluth? Yum!!!!!!!! Do you remember if Orange Leaf has cookies and creme for a flavor of frozen yogurt? I love that kind of ice cream!!!! Orange Leaf had some kind of unusual flavors, if I remember correctly. Flavors like wedding cake and cherry tart? What do you think about borrowing Mom and Dad’s camp sandwich makers?
More food ideas:
baking powder(make sure it is not baking soda)
We can use that to make damper, otherwise known as Australian outback bread. I can get the recipe.
We went to the Hudson beach with Michelle Gillard and her girls. We made a pool of that was quite wide(It started out as a sand castle) and we had a lot of fun in the Saint Croix river
Should I bring my swim suit?
July 17, 2014 8:40 PM
Good thing you asked what number the campsite at the Gooseberry Park campground is because I was surprised to see when I logged in that my reservation did not go through. There are over still 60 sites that are first-come-first-serve at Gooseberry so I will call up there tomorrow to see how fast they fill up on Mondays. I hope we won’t have any trouble getting a spot.
I looked it up and there are only two Orange Leaf stores in Minnesota, one in Woodbury and one in Blaine. There is a Cold Stone Creamery in Duluth’s Canal Park near the Duluth Pack Store where you bought Ani’s camping cup.
I think the sandwich makers will be perfect. For mine, I ‘d like to make something fancy like turkey & cranberry with brie cheese. Do you think that would work?
It would be a fun adventure to make damper. I’ve never heard of it. Have you eaten it? If so, where? One recipe I found says that you bake it in the ashes of a campfire.
Yes bring your swimsuit just in case. Funny, you could end up going swimming and wearing your winter jacket (on the sailboat) on the same trip. Maybe even on the same day.
Today was a beautiful day. I’m glad you were out in it. I was at my computer taking a webinar class on website development. Arg.
We are going to have a lot of organizing to do Sunday night so we don’t forget anything.
July 20, 2014 4:25 PM
Dear Aunt Sheila,
I’m glad you mentioned Cold Stone Creamery, because I like that place a lot, but one problem. The servings are huge! I think I should have gotten a child’s small serving,or maybe that is what I had, but any way, the servings are real big, and you have to be careful how many toppings you put on. But the ice cream is really good, and they have a lot of toppings to choose from! I know of another place for frozen yogurt called Cherry Berry, and another one called Freeziac, and Leean Chin does frozen yogurt too, I think. your idea for a sandwich is great. I like butter and jelly sandwiches, but what I like best is basil pesto in a rolled up tortilla. Can we get those too?
Lets add turkey, cranberries and brie cheese to our shopping list. And if we are going to make damper, we are going to need measuring utensils like tablespoons,teaspoons,cups half cups,quarter cups, and third cups. If possible, can you bring all the measurement utensils? If you don’t have some of them, tell me which ones and I will ask Mom if we can bring them on the trip if we have one. You said you read that damper was supposed to be baked over campfire ashes. I read that too. We will be in the perfect situation for that. Can we get something else to drink besides juice? We should probably buy a couple of jugs of water, and do you think we could keep milk refrigerated
in a cooler? If so, we should probably add milk to the shopping list.
9 days and counting,
Good luck getting a reservation at Gooseberry Falls!!
July 20, 2014 5:10 PM
Bad news, the Gooseberry Falls campground fills up right away in the morning and we won’t get there in time Monday to get a spot. I think what we will do instead is stay in a hotel near Duluth. On Monday we can go to the Aquarium and walk around Canal Park then spend Tuesday at Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock. Tuesday night we will camp at Grand Marais as planned. The hotel will have a pool so be sure to bring your swimming suit!
I will bring what we need for making dampers.
Our shopping list is really growing isn’t it? Fortunately, we can shop at the store in Grand Marais so we don’t have to bring the entire trip’s worth of food.
Yes, we can keep milk in the cooler. Do you like Greek yogurt with fruit in it?
July 21, 2014 4:56 PM
Dear Aunt Sheila,
About the Greek yogurt, I don’t know if I have tried it, But it sounds pretty good! Lets pick some up at the store. I wish we could get to stay at Gooseberry Falls, but maybe next year. I wish the spots wouldn’t fill up so fast. Nuts! Where and at what time are you going to pick me up? I will send you the recipe for damper(hopefully it gets there in time), so you can see the other things we may need. I think I will try and make a copy of the sheet I put the recipe on so we both have one. Can you bring an extra sketchbook for me and how about one for Coop? I will try and get Mom to get out the camping stove, and did we want to use Mom and Dad’s camping dishes? I think we may need a hotel room with two beds, as I don’t think all three of us will fit on one bed, but we will see, because I think hotel bed are kind of on the big side. Will we stay in the hotel in Superior that we stayed in the last time or one someplace else, because if we stay in the one we did last time, we could probably visit Uncle Andy and Aunt Tiffany and that historic house we drove past the last time?. Do you remember how I got my hair to fly straight up in the air? That was funny!
Seven Days and counting,
Call me later!
It is really hot here!
July 21, 2014 7:49 PM
I think our phone conversation put the final touches on getting things organized. Your dad said we can use your 6 man tent, cook stove and mess kit. I’ll be at your grandparents house on Sunday and will head over to your house if you get home from the farm in time Sunday night. Otherwise I’ll see you and Cooper Monday morning around 9:00.
We will be staying in a different hotel in Superior than last year. I got a good discount with our AAA membership. As I said on the phone, the room has two double beds and a sleeper sofa. We’ll have to play elimination Rummikub to see who sleeps on the sofa.
I think I remember the historic house from last year that you are talking about. Lets see how much time we have after the Aquarium on Monday. I’ll email Andy and see if we can eat supper with them someplace.
Still 7 days and counting,
P.S. It is really hot here too.
July 22, 2014 11:34 AM
Hi Aunt Sheila,
I have one more thing to tell you, and that is the fact that Mom bought S’mores pancake, and salt and vinegar chips for our trip too. We will need a couple extra things for making the S’mores pancakes. I’ll tell you what we need: A beater(for the eggs, unless you can beat them at home and somehow find a way to keep them good until we need them, because we need lightly beaten eggs for these pancakes Mom bought),a griddle(do you have one?), and you might need more measurements then the ones we need for damper, but here are the ingredients:
3 Tbsp Melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
Add butter and eggs to the grocery list. We usually get home from the farm about nine, so we should get home in time.
See you in 4 days!!!
Our email conversation:
July 22, 2014 1:29 PM
I want to listen to the animals noises at dawn and night and evening.
Listen to waves also. – Cooper
July 22, 2014 2:24 PM
Yes, and I hope that we have a clear night where the sky over the lake is lit up by trillions of stars. – Sheila
July 22, 2014 2:36 PM
Hi Aunt Sheila,
Mom and I just read all of the emails between you and Rosa.
I have a Cherry Berry coupon somewhere. I like big servings of ice cream and frozen yogurt.
I like Australian Outback Bread. I had it at an Australian Outback restaurant.
I know what kind of rock you were talking about. It has one color in it, but a lot of different colors are found in those sort of rocks.
I barely like greek yogurt with fruit in it. It tastes sour to me, at least a little bit.
I doubt we will be able make a pizza on the fire.
Saturday my great grandma Nylene turns 90. I’m not sure what time her party is. Mom will have to find out.
Cant wait to see you.
p.s. It was hot here too yesterday
p.p.s It was hot here the day before
p.p.p.s. it was in the middle the day before the day before
July 23 2014, 4:34 PM
Save your coupon. I looked and there are no Cherry Berry stores along the north shore of Lake Superior. There is a Cold Stone Creamery in Duluth and they have good ice cream.
I am looking forward to trying Australian Outback Bread, also known I guess as damper. That seems like an odd name for bread but the Australians probably think damper is an odd name for a device found in a chimney.
It is hard to describe an agate, but I know one when I see one.
Greek yogurt is not for everyone. It is a bit sour, but I like sour things like sour gummy bears, Skittles and Jolly Rogers.
I found a recipe for making pizza on the grill. You grill one side of the dough without anything on it except some butter. Then you turn it over and quickly put pizza sauce and the cheese on it. Then you cover it and cook it until the cheese melts. I’m thinking it can be done with crusts that are small enough to cover with a cooking pan lid. That is not to say that we won’t burn them though.
See you this weekend at Ren in the Glenn!
Jul 23, 2014, at 2:16 PM
Hi Aunt Sheila.
I’m looking forward to our trip. How many days long is it?
Is the aquarium fresh water or salt water? Is it big? Are there plenty of fish in the aquarium?
I’m getting a metal detector. I’m not sure it will be here in time to bring it with. It would be fun to use it on the beaches and maybe even find gold in that area. Maybe even some diamond rings.
See you soon.
Jul 23, 2014, at 4:00 PM
I think I’ll be picking you up near our house at Ren In The Glenn on Saturday or Sunday. We will Leave Rosa’s house Monday morning and come back Saturday. So the trip will be 5 days but you might be staying at my house a day or so beforehand.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is pretty large. It’s like a zoo only with underwater animals. It has both salt and freshwater aquariums. On Monday, when we will be there, there will be three demonstrations with live animals starting at 12:30. One with a crow, one with otters and one with a snapping turtle. We will have to leave early if we want to see the show with the crow.
Jul 25, 2014, at 1:22 PM
We got our metal detector today. I got my birthday present early, my very own metal detector too. We can bring mine on our trip. Please save room for it in the car.
Great! Learn all about how it works that you can!
The window landscape and the glass of milk bring this piece closer to completion.
As I was blocking in a very different landscape, an unintended shape formed that to me looked like a road that drew the viewer’s eye into the painting and beyond the horizon. Then a new landscape quickly fell into place. After having cogitated on this for months, the landscape virtually painted itself in 10 minutes. I just had to show up. All that remains now is to break up the mass of the grassy area in the foreground and make it recede. I also need to think about unifying the interior and exterior spaces.
As I mention in earlier entries, I am painting this piece with my brother in mind. Tom is a playwright and he teaches theater in Nashville. Over the years, he has been an actor and a singer song writer. His lines of work have meant frequent moves. I imagine that he struggles to balance his need to feel settled and his need to follow his creative path. Mountains are his respite. When he comes home to visit, he bakes us wonderful artisan bread in a dutch oven. Growing up, I remember him as a teenager drinking large glasses of milk at our family table.
Not finished in time to deliver it to Tom this week on our trip to Tennessee for the holidays. Its kind of funny that what will be a window with an outdoor scene looks like a window with the blind drawn down.
Also to be done is the glass that you can see faintly outlined in white. I am going to try making it a clear glass which is why the background is not blocked out.
The red top on the dutch oven will be muted a bit too.
The piece is about 27″ x 67″.
My brother Tom moved into a new place. His fridge is black and its side is what you see from his kitchen table. He asked me if I would come up with something to cover it. I brought Annette into the project. We had just been to the Matisse show at the Minneapolis Art Institute so we cropped a few images of his work and showed them to Tom. It turns out he is not keen on Mattise’s color schemes.
Back to the drawing board. We did a number of small thumbnail sketches in search of a theme and I became engrossed in the project. After sharing my streams of ideas with her, Annette gave me her blessing to run with the project. My ideas went from the musical instruments Tom plays to geometric patterns of silverware and then it hit me, a life-size kitchen table for his kitchen. I want scene to be open and airy, not easy to do with the tall vertical canvas. A window in the back wall does the trick.
For my canvas, I am going to use an old slatted window blind and transparent oil paint. During testing, I found that by allowing the first layer to set overnight, I could apply and wipe off a second contrasting layer the next day to produce a wonderful patina effect. Stay tuned
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The Jack and Caro Angland family ca. 1978. One of few photos that include Jack and Caro and all six sibs. This was taken at our family home in Robbinsdale, MN. Not a bad out-put for two only-children. Family gatherings have swelled to over 40 when all are present.
Annie’s parents were both born in Germany. German would have been her native tongue. She would have learned english in school. She was born on Christmas day (as was her mother) in 1882 on the Spilker family homestead in Johnson Minnesota. Annie was the second child baptized in the newly established german communitie’s recently built church. Annie was the oldest of 5 children. Her father died when she was 16. Annie was a fine seamstress and she cut hair for people in the area. She had an artistic flair. The photos she took of her flowers arrangements, vegetable harvests and of young daughter Caroline are well thought out compositions.
Remembering Annie Behrens:
Daughter Caroline Angland 10-19-93
Someone from Northfield wanted to pay her tuition for college – she declined.”
She worked for Dr. Olive in Graceville. She did housework and sewing. She also worked for Obrien in Graceville and was Richard Obrien’s nanny
Daughter Caroline Angland 1-20-2010
At 16, after her father died, she worked for wealthy people in Graceville. She would sew for them and she would live with them while she was fitting them and doing the sewing. She sewed all of Caro’s clothes. She cut hair for people.
Daughter Caroline Angland 04-30-2010
She did field work. She used to enjoy working in the garden and with trees and flowers. She used to enjoy growing things. I don’t recall her joining in on the fun with her sisters. Her sisters were more fun loving. Annie was always there to keep them out of trouble. On Sunday afternoons, she and Detlef would lie on the couch together. Also on Sunday afternoons Detlef would make up food in the kitchen for the animals and young Caro would look in and see her parents embracing.
Grandson Dennis Angland Junior May 28 2005 on trip to Johnson with mother Caroline
Denny remembers Annie taking him aside and telling him that he shouldn’t watch cowboys. She said this with such fervor you’d think you would go to hell for it.
Annie told him that she worked too hard when she was young and that was why she got so sickly when she was old.
Granddaughter Sheila Bergman’s memories May 2014
Annie and Detlev lived in an apartment in our basement. Annie was bedridden, thin and frail when I knew her. When I was no more than 5 she called me over to her bed and gave me a silver dollar saying she and Detlev wanted me to have it. I remember feeling very special and thinking that there must be more to the story. I have no memory of what happened to that dollar.
- Death Certificate Hennepin County, MN
- Caro’s hand written eulogy for her mother
- On the back of the eulogy is this list of Annie’s paul bearers:
- John Miners -lived next farm east of the Behren’s farm.
- Bill Andrews -aquaintance who lived just outside of Johnson, his wife was Johnny Norenberg’s sister
- Gust (Louie) Duin – bought Detlef’s farm.
- Melvin Demrow – went to church out there
- Bill Wilkie – went to church out there
- Ed Heuer – another family that lived out there.
Photos of Annie
In the 1880 census Louise’s immigration year is listed as 1880 while her obituary states 1879. She lived in Northfield, Rice County, MN from her arrival until her marriage in 1882.
Per Ron Nelson May, 2014
Immigrants often got money for their tickets by agreeing to work off their trip once they arrived. Possibly Louise was working off her trip in Northfield for the three years between the time she arrived and the time she married.
Marriage To William Friedrich Spilker
Their marriage certificate states that Louise and William were married on March 3, 1882 in the private Ramsey county home of witnesses Regina and Carl Zimmerman. William was living in Big Stone county in western Minnesota and Louise had been living in Rice county in south eastern Minnesota.
Researching how William and Louise might have met has been a fun challenge. Witnesses Carl and Regina Zimmerman might have been in-laws of Louise’s sister Ernestine Zimmerman. Two years earlier per the US Census, Regina and Carl Zimmerman had been living in Rice County. Ernestine and Louis lived in the Johnson, area but had come from Northfied (per the Trinity Church 1882-1982 history). It might be that Louise and William met when one family visited the other. The Weisses and Zimmermans may have known one another back in Baden Germany. The Weisses were from Blankenloch, the Zimmermans were from the town of Graben, just a few miles away.
Louise’s obit, written by her daughter Annie:
“Louise Spilker, nee Weiss, was born that she was born in Blankenloch, Baden, Germany on the 25th of December 1858. Baptized in her infancy, she was later instructed in the Christian faith and at the age of 14 became a member of the Lutheran Church through confirmation. In 1879 at the age of 27, she came to America and spent 3 years at Northfield, Minn. On the 2nd of March 1882 she was united in Marriage to Wm. SPilker. He died 36 years ago leaving her with 5 children, all of whom survive. To them the mother with her quiet and loving disposition, her christian fortitude and simple faith must always remain an example worthy for them to follow. These children are Anna, Mrs. Detlof Behrens with whom she made her home; Louise, Mrs. John Nornberg, both of this vicinity; Lydia, Mrs. Emil Mowdrow; Fred and August, these three from Clarissa, Minn.. In Mrs Spilker, our congregation has lost the last, local, surviving member of the founders of Trinity church 51 years ago.
She passed peacefully Sunday morning after but a few hours illness. Her days numbered 80 yrs. 10 mos. 6 days.”
Louise’s date of death was October 1, 1933
Talking with grand daughter Caroline Angland, 30 October, 2003
Caro’s (Caroline’s) Grandma Spilker had a sister that lived in the Johnson, MN area. Caro knew her as Tante Zimmerman. She was dark complected and heavy set. Grandma Spilker was light complected and slight. All of Grandma Spilker’s kids were dark complected.
Caro thinks she remembers the hearse with Tante’s body drive by her parent’s farm near Johnson, MN when she was a girl. Grandma Spilker was too sick to attend the funeral.
Detlef Julius Behrens was born February 23, 1872 in Worden Germany. He journeyed to America at the age of 14 with his 19 year old sister. He lived with an older brother in St. Paul and then left to work on a farm on the prairie near Morris MN. Eventually, Detlef homesteaded a place of his own. Detlef was a kind, honest and respected man with a twinkle in his eye. Wife, Annie, grew up on an adjacent farm. They were married in 1919. Detlef was 47. Annie was 37. When I was young and they were old, they lived with us in a basement apartment. My mother, Caroline Louise (Behrens) Angland, was their only child.
Harold Cornelius Theodore Angland, my paternal grandfather, was born June 5th, 1888 in Minneapolis MN. His father was a wood carver and was born in Sweden. His mother Anna (Mattson) Angland was born in Minnesota from Swedish born parents.
We do not know much about Harold. What I do know is that my father’s cousin, Barbara Mirabido, spoke fondly of him. Harold and Inez visited her family farm near Litchfield MN when she was about 10 years old. She called him Uncle Harold and enjoyed his sense of humor. Barbara told me that her mother Francis (Hendrix) McGraw spoke well of him too.
Harold was a farm hand in South Dakota in his 20s and later a chief auto mechanic in the army during WWI. He served in Michigan. He married Inez Hendrix at the age of 33. He had been a boarder at the Hendrix family hotel in Chokio, MN in 1920. His occupation was listed as Mechanic in the 1920 census.
After they separated, Harold lived in Minneapolis. He remarried in 1937. By 1948 he had moved to California where he died in 1962 at age 73. He left property to my father who went to California for his funeral. My father corresponded with Harold’s sister, Marian Dean, regarding the management of the property until it sold.
Barbara Inez (Hendrix) Angland, my paternal grandmother, is the sad young girl sitting on the chair. She was born a twin on August 6th, 1894 in Wendell MN. Her twin sister died as a baby and Inez was a sickly child. Inez’s parents left farming to own and operate a hotel in Chokio, MN when she was 13 years old. She cleaned rooms at the hotel. At the age of 26 she became pregnant with my father by Harold Angland who had been boarding at the hotel. They were married when she was 3 months pregnant. The couple moved to Minneapolis but she returned home with the baby. Harold was villainized by the Hendrix family. Inez developed rheumatoid arthritis as a young woman. She was disabled when I knew her. She died in her 60s. Inez had 3 sisters and a brother. My father, Dennis Warren (Jack) Angland was her only child. Her older sister Agnes Elizabeth (Hendrix) Davidson was as sparky as she appears in the photo. Agnes was like a grandparent to us.
The house has a thaw ring of about one-and-a-half ft. with moss and other signs of green growth. Much of the green was coated in ice from the dripping from the eaves but green is green.
Highs in the 50s today and rain tomorrow. Stay tuned for mud season.
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Merv throws the peel from his morning banana out the side door and into this tree. Every once in a while the peel hangs up on a branch – a clear indicator of a good day ahead. Niece Liz Flaig’s family has a banana tree too.
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I began my journey into art with water-based media. This piece was done with water color and ink. I started it in a class. What is now the hillside was supposed to be an ocean wave but I mixed the paint too thick. I liked what happened but I set the piece aside for 6 months before deciding that it was a hillside like you would find in a gravel pit in northern Minnesota. That’s when I added the trees and the background to the top of the image.
This piece combines my figure drawing and working with natural materials. It was drawn with charcoal and with pastels that Teri Power and I made from clay. The drawing was done during a drawing session with a model. Some of the clay we collected locally some was potters clay. We spent a fun day testing different binders with types of clay but we have not made charcoal yet. Hey Teri what do you think?
I started drawing from the figure in 2007 in a drawing coop lead by Karla Faith. Karla has become a close friend and mentor. I am slowly learning to see and draw things in a spacial way. One reason I keep drawing is that it is such a challenge. I will never be through learning to draw. The other thing about drawing are the surprises that come with reviewing the things you have drawn. You become aware of what’s on subconsciously your mind. You learn something about how your mind processes things. You learn what it is that you pay attention to.
Click image to enlarge
My experience of art broadens as time goes on. I put this interactive piece together for a group show with the theme “Connections”. It was satisfying to watch visitors become engrossed in the form and texture of the driftwood while arranging and rearranging them in the sand. The piece represents connections for me on a few levels. For one, it connects my work with sand and my work with driftwood. More importantly though, I was able to connect people to the calm and creative way of being that I experience when collecting and working with these materials. I would like to see this piece and other pieces like it in a hospital waiting room or a nursing home.
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Developing a quality website takes a lot of time and energy. Since I have limited amounts of both, I do web work for quality people and organizations that I believe in and want to work with. Here are some sites I have designed and developed and manage. I highly recommend the product or service that every one of these sites offers.
Click thumbnail to go to live site
3043 miles in a 1930 Model A Ford Tudor
Click on a city name for its entry.
It’s the day before our trip. Merv has our Model A ready, complete with an add-on brake light and turn signals. Model A’s didn’t have turn signals back in the day. And the brake light is an inconspicuous amber light mounted on the left rear fender. There is a two gallon gas can and a gallon of antifreeze strapped to the rear bumper. Tools and spare parts are under the seats. There is a load of laundry and packing left to do. Its been rather a low-key day before such an ambitious undertaking.
At 7:00 tomorrow morning we will be meeting up with our friends Larry and Linda Hanson just south of Turtle Lake, WI and we will be on our way. Our ultimate goal is Missoula Montana but for Day One, our goal is to make it to Alexandria, MN where Sheila’s brother Denny and his wife Barb will be putting us up for the night.
Barb, in her confirmation email wrote “Can’t wait to see the six of you!” And it’s true, the two cars will be characters in this trip as much as the people. Larry and Linda will be driving their 1928 Model A Ford Roadster. Its a convertible but they can snap on side curtains. We will be driving our 1930 Model A Tudor. These old cars cruise along at 40 mph. They were made for the back roads that we will be taking. One of Henry Ford’s specifications for the car was that there had to be room on the floor of the backseat for a 10 gallon milk can so there will be plenty of room for our gear.
Denny has tentatively arranged to have Merv and Larry show the cars to some members of his church tomorrow night. Merv and Larry love to show people their cars and people, especially in small town’s, love them too. Whenever we stop with our “A” in a small town we can count on someone walking over and asking about it. Often three or four more join in before we make our getaway. Once an old gentleman remarked wistfully that he had “courted many a gal in a car just like this”. It’s also fun to watch people react as they first hear the car coming and then turn, smile and wave. Merv honks the a-ooga horn and they laugh. I hope to catch a number of these scenes as movies and photos and then stream them together later.
A few years ago, Larry came home with a 1919 Model T Coupe. He and Linda planned to drive it to Montana to visit relatives. Larry spent nearly a year restoring it to beautiful condition readying it for the trip. But time and progress conflicted to force a postponement until this year. Two weeks before the planned departure date, Larry was on a local drive in the Coupe when the crankshaft broke. A disheartening event. Fortunately, it happened then instead of someplace in North Dakota.
Larry fell back to his backup car, a 1928 Model A roadster which he had to hurry to get ready for such a trip. So he wound up preparing two cars for one trip.
When Larry first talked about going I said “Well, I’ll just go with you.” So on a whim I decided to go with him.
What a great day! We met up with Larry and Linda, went over our back road route to Grantsburg and off we went.
I have to admit to wondering how I was going to spend the time as we crept along at 40mph but navigating is a full time job. And when I wasn’t tracking our route, I was thoroughly engaged in watching the scenery. Traveling slowly allows you the time to really see what you are driving by.
We made two stops en route. The first was at a wayside rest in Governor Knowles State Forrest to go over our route to Alexandria. The second was a dirt road tailgate lunch west of Ogilvie.
We were intrigued by rock corner markers in Benton county MN. A cylinder of woven wire fencing about 4 or 5 feet high and 4 feet in diameter filled with field-stone rocks.
We arrived at Dennis and Barb Angland’s home, Sheila’s brother and sister-in-law, near Alexandria, MN at 3:55pm having traveled 249 miles. Barb had snacks and refreshments ready, the table was set and we enjoyed a wonderful end-of-summer feast. Sheila’s nephew Bean, wife Tina and kids stopped in to visit too.
After dinner we brought the cars to show to the men’s club at Dennis’ church. The men were very interested, had lots of questions and shared their own tales of cars. It was hard for Dennis to gather them back in for their meeting.
Then it was back to their house for some conversation and a good night’s sleep.
Click for larger images:
Written by Sheila and Linda
Day two began with a great pancake breakfast at Den and Barb’s. And speaking of pancakes, the morning also began with a flat tire on Merv’s car. Merv and Larry put the spare on, no problem.
Well its now the morning of the third day 3. And I thought time was going to be plentiful on this trip. Its been tough finding the time to write.
So on the way to have the tire repaired yesterday, another tire went flat on our car. M&L put one of Larry’s spare tires on and we were once again on our way. Merv put new tubes in the tires before we left. It turns out the rubber on the tubes was of bad quality and had degraded. Fortunately the service station in Parkers Prairie had two tubes. There is a tractor that has similar size tires. The station only had two tubes of that size. We are on the look out for another two as we go along.
We headed out cross country from Parkers Prairie with Larry and Linda in the lead and crossed the Red River at Breckenridge. I was totally absorbed in following our route on the map and watching the countryside turn from lake country oak savanna to flat prairie with its occasional wetlands.
Linda was frustrated because choice of roads seemed to be either highways with semis or minimum maintenance dirt “field roads.” She noticed a sign for a Wild Rice Preservation Area. And numerous potholes seemed to be surrounded by wild rice.
Well into the afternoon Larry and Linda’s car overheated. As the guys were replacing the coolant, I enjoyed observing the marshland on either side of the road while Linda stood guard behind the cars holding up a FTD Lakeland Coop neon green shirt as a warning flag.
After we got back underway, the packing at the connection of the exhaust pipe and the manifold of Merv’s car gave way and we rode along listening to a very loud ticking sound.
Linda’s wildlife observations: 2 sandhill cranes, lots of swamp birds including, great blue herons, snowy egrets and a deer.
We were amused by the area’s short railroad telegraph poles still with their glass insulators not much taller than the corn.
It does seem unlikely, but actually Merv had a good day. I think he said “cripe” a couple of times but I guess these sorts of issues are to be expected with these old cars. I had a good day too. Am really enjoying life at 40mph.We stopped traveling after 7pm last night. After having a bite to eat we crashed.
I’ll upload pictures tonight I hope. Last night the wifi here was so slow as to be unusable . No cell coverage either. I am amongst morning people who are ready and raring to start day 3.
Sheila’s and Linda’s words:
The first thing the lady in the office of our motel said to us tonight was “Are you guys lost”? You don’t get that kind of question when you travel freeways.
We had a good day although it was a bit warm at 94 degrees. Not so bad for us as for Larry and Linda’s radiator which needed water added a few times. Once, when their radiator started spitting, we pulled off the road into a driveway in Emmons township. Thanks to the home owner for his route suggestions and a short visit (we hope you are following us on the blog now.) We are finding people along the way to be quite friendly and interested in our trip.
When Larry checked over his car this morning, he discovered that his radiator problem is caused by a leaky upper radiator hose. He got a stainless steel hose clamp and Merv got a muffler patching kit at a car parts store late this afternoon. The guys will make their repairs tomorrow morning.
Tired now and again I didn’t get the photos uploaded. Tomorrow will be hot again so we plan to start out early and stop someplace early afternoon. I hope to add photos to all posts then.
7:30 am: Badlands today with a high of 97 forecast- What?
We enjoyed the little town of Carson ND. More curious, friendly and helpful people. We were told of a scenic back route through the badlands that was stunning. Merv was unable to fix our exhaust issue with a kit that turned out to be inadequate for the task. It did take the noise level down a tad and changed the pitch to something less annoying though.
We’ve been out of cell range almost the entire way through North Dakota. Bismarck and here, that’s it. Note to self, don’t travel with cell phones with coverage supplied by your local telephone coop. The two-way radios we brought have been invaluable in communicating between cars. Messages like “Didn’t we want to turn there?” and “Stop at the next gas station” and “Where the hell are we?” go back and forth.
We started out the day traveling along the edge of a thunderstorm. It kept us cool most of the morning. But by the time we got to the town of Amidon , our departure off the tar road to the 34 mile gravel back road through the badlands the clouds had dissipated and it was getting warm. We had expected there to be a gas station there. Note to self, never expect there to be a gas station in a North Dakota town. After a quick calculation, we decided that we had plenty of fuel in our reserve gas cans to get us through to the large tourist town of Medora on the freeway.
The trip through the badlands was impressive. It would be impossible to relate the breadth and scope of that rugged landscape. Photos certainly are not going to to it either. As I mentioned earlier, we took a back road into them. We came in from the south. Most everyone comes in from the freeway and takes the driving tour through Theodore Roosevelt National Park right out of Medora. It was hot but not unbearable as long as we were driving with the breeze blowing on us. When we got to Medora, we saw a thermometer that read 102 degrees!
We are staying at a nice place in the country called Buffalo Gap Lodge with a sweeping view of the badlands out our window.
It was overcast and cool in the morning when we headed south on a gravel from Buffalo Gap Lodge to old highway 10. The guys weren’t thrilled with the coarse rocky roadbed, but the scenery made up for it.
Water is a commodity here. No crops, just grazing land. They pipe in water in 6 inch PVC pipe from a lake several miles away. The system is called Rural Water and subscribers can hook into it. The owner of the lodge was installing a 6,000 gallon water tank to store the piped in water so that he could supply enough for the showers. He has a 1500 foot well but the water is not potable.
There were scattered showers throughout the day so the big sky was once again fun to watch.
We had lunch in Miles City and deliberated as to where to stay the night. Towns of any size are so far apart that we need to plan ahead. We learned the hard way that just because a town has large letters on the gazetteer doesn’t mean that it has services. We ate lunch at a wifi hotspot to find available rooms ahead. Today we had to decide between stopping at 3pm or going on another 100 miles. We wanted to get to Helena on Sunday so we decided to forge on to the town of Roundup, MT. We opted to take 40 miles of freeway to help shorten the drive. Linda remembers being nervous because of all the semi’s. I remember being bored for lack of scenery. The rest of the drive was enjoyable in spite of having to be alert because of all the deer as it got dark.
I asked Merv, still at the wheel after a long day of driving, how he was enjoying the trip. He grinned wide and said “I like my car.”
Merv on the A’s exhaust system repair:
The repair wasn’t a complete success but it introduced some low frequency sounds. Now, instead of making an irritating clacking sound it sounds like the chuff of a high speed steam engine so its not unpleasant. The road we are on follows an old abandoned railroad bed. Its nice to think that we have returned the sound of a steam engine to these hills. We’ll attempt a more thorough repair sometime later.
At breakfast, a local man came up and introduced himself as owning the towing service in town. He told us that he recently had to tow a totaled Model T Touring car. The driver had stopped to make a left turn and a car of kids slammed into it from behind at 65mph. Everyone in the T was thrown from the car a considerable distance but they all lived. His story added fuel to Larry’s concern of getting hit from behind when driving on the freeway.
I made a recording of the sound in our car as we were driving along. I will try to post it.
The guys have driven the entire time. They don’t seem to mind. Neither do Linda and I.
We drove through the mountains in the afternoon. The guys were very aware of how slow we took the long hills so they kept moving off to the shoulder to let people pass. A lot of traffic with a strong head wind made for hard driving.
We arrived at Linda’s cousin Sharlene and her husband Kenny Kolb’s home in Helena late afternoon. They have a beautiful view of the valley and mountains from their home. It was nice to chat and relax. Sharlene and Kenny, and Linda and Larry used to double date in high school so they had a lot of catching up to do. We had some tasty apple cobbler and retired early.
Nice relaxed time with Sharlene and Kenny. They had been to the farmers market so we reaped the benefits with meals of fresh fruits and vegetables. We took a guided trolley ride around Helena and visited the Historical society museum with its large collection of old west paintings by Charles Russell.
On the trolley tour, we learned that Helena was once home to the countrie’s largest number per capita of millionaires – over 120. This was on account of gold mining in the vicinity. The trolley took us past many of their old mansions. I didn’t have my camera with me. I’m sorry to not have taken pictures of them.
Another interesting trolley ride story. They tore down an old bank building and they discovered and recovered enough gold in the mortar sand to finance the new building.
Sharlene spoke of a Montana resident who traveled to Wisconsin and had a hard time of it because they felt so closed in and claustrophobic. Sharlene says that even she and Kenny who grew up there have similar feelings when they go back to visit. I can see it. The grand vistas and low population density out here is quite …. I can’t come up with a word for it… freeing or calming maybe?
We left Sharlene and Kenny’s knowing that the first thing we were going to tackle was a 6 mile 8% grade over MacDonald pass. The continental divide runs along the top. Last night in Kenny’s off-road 4×4, the guys scouted out a possible gravel alternate route over the pass but ruled it out as being too rough. We got to be a bit concerned because they didn’t return until well after dark. They had waited “forever” for a train stopped on a siding at a crossing that was waiting for another train to pass by. A couple of hunters came by in a pickup with a low tire. Kenny loaned them his car jack. The hunters were lucky the guys had been detained because they were out in the middle of nowhere and it would have been a long time before another car came by.
We made it up the pass without any trouble. Highway 12 is a four lane so people were able to pass and the trucks were creeping along too. We even passed one. Merv did have to replenish the engine oil. It had dribbled out of the back of the engine during the long steep climb.
People continue to delight in our cars. At one point, as we crept up a steep grade, we pulled over to let a mini van pass us only to find them pulled over a little further up the hill. They had stopped to take a movie of us as we went by.
The rest of the route offered more great mountain scenery with an added bonus. In the town of Deer Lodge, a few miles off our route, was an antique car museum with over 120 old cars, many old model A’s and T’s. Many were extremely rare.
We pulled into Bruce and Darcy Hover’s place near Clinton, MT around 5:30. Bruce is Linda’s nephew. We caught them in the middle of a busy work week but they made us feel more than welcome. As you can see from the pictures, their home is a trophy chest. Bruce, Darcy and their two boys are avid hunters and lovers of the outdoors.
Bruce and Darcy suggested we head south for 40 or so miles on Rock Creek Road. Wow, was that ever an awesome drive. These photos will have to do for now.
The internet speed was so bad at the Super 6 Motel we stayed at last night as to be unusable. Much better tonight but its 11:00pm. Gotta get some sleep.
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We started out from Butte at 5300 feet on a winding uphill road over a mountain pass that took us up another 1000 feet. The road was steep with hairpin switchbacks but the car performed very well. The ‘A’ took the pass in second gear all the way. Beautiful views rewarded us at the top.
Just west of Livingston we stopped at a tourist attraction called Grizzley Encounter. A couple has built facilities that house 5 rescue grizzlies with a large zoo-like observation area. The bears come out 2 at a time (they don’t all get along) to play and forage for hidden fruits and nuts and we tourists watch and take photos. One playful female gave us quite a show. After first testing the water temp with her back foot, she took a swim and then ran circles around the yard like a puppy. She teased her big oaf of a male companion trying to get him to play but he was having fun straddling a huge log with his hind quarters and rocking it back and forth like a teeter-totter (see the pictures). One of the bears the couple had raised from a young cub. He is used in films. The others, they rescued from poor captivity situations.
After Grizzly Encounter, we attempted to bypass a section of the freeway on a cut off road we saw in the gazetteer. The road kept getting narrower and steeper as we drove up the mountain. Finally, just a few yards short of the crest, we hit a section that was so steep that our ‘A ‘could go no further. Just not enough power. And when we stopped the car even slid backwards a bit on the gravel. Yikes. There was no room to turn around and no going backwards for fear of an un-controled slide. Larry and Linda’s roadster is lighter and geared lower so they did not have a problem with the steep grade. Merv suggested that the three of us give him a push to try to get him going again. Fortunately that worked. The road ended as the driveway of a huge house on the very top of a mountain so we had to go back down that steep gravel slope. I can’t imagine how they managed to get big trucks up there to build that thing. Were we ever glad to get back to the tar.
We enjoyed our stay at our motel in Livingston. Its nice to park right outside of your room. Every time we would go outside, there would be people curious about the cars. Poor Larry, still sick with his cold and tired after a hard day of driving, was not sick or tired enough to stop chatting with people. He and Merv stayed out til after 9:00pm chatting with a couple who, on their evening drive in their Model T, happened to see our Model A’s in the motel parking lot.
A gorgeous day of driving through incredible beauty. On the advise of some locals we took Swingley Road south out of Livingston and could not believe our fortune. The weather, the cars, the scenery – everything was optimal.
After a couple of hours on I90 frontage road from Big Timber through Billings we were back on the back roads heading towards the Little Big Horn Battlefield. We are staying 15 or so miles from there in a motel at Hardin.
Larry’s cold has moved into his chest but he refuses to lay-over. He says that he has never taken a sick day in his life. I guess he isn’t about to start now.
Merv’s hip is giving him problems. He is fine driving but walking is quite painful. He will not be going on any walking tours tomorrow. Linda remarked that she has not had the time she would like to work on a needlepoint project. Merv told her he would stay back and work on it for her while we go off sight seeing.
The guys are taking the term “road trip” quite literally. Going from point A to point B has been the, well, point. No lengthy layovers and not much in the way of sight seeing. I have been content with this approach. The passing scenery has provided sightseeing a-plenty.
It was a good day for photos. Most of my photos have been taken from the window with the car underway and jiggling. I have been surprised and quite pleased with some of them.
Merv is on the laptop tonight so just a quick two fingered summary of our day.
We spent a lot of time at the Little Big Horn National Monument. They have done a good job mapping out the cultural and political issues as well as the battle strategies of both sides. We took the five mile drive around the battle field and stopped to read the descriptive markers.. It was a sobering experience.
We left there about 3pm and drove 3 hours to our motel at Broaden, MT. We went down the block for some good pizza and have tomorrow’s drive to the Black Hills region all planned out.
Merv’s hip is better today. He thinks he pulled a muscle getting into or out of the car. There isn’t much room between the steering wheel and the seat so he has to do a bit of contorting when climbing aboard.
I had to ask Larry where we started from this morning. It seems like a week ago.
It was a full day. We angled SE from Broadus, MT and cut across the corner of Wyoming into South Dakota. Then we went looped south into the Black Hills, took the Needles Highway scenic route, stopped at Mt. Rushmore and headed back north to Rapid City. In a way it reminded me of that segment from the Chevy Chase movie “Vacation” where they drive all the way to the Grand Canyon, nod a couple of times at the view and get right back into the car. I think we might be getting desensitized to grand scenery.
The roads of the Black Hills had sharper and steeper switchbacks than anything we had encountered in the mountains. Linda has a fear of heights so negotiating the narrow twisting roads with no shoulders and no guard rails did not amuse her. We did see some awesome vistas though.
By 7:30 pm when we pulled into Rapid City the guys were pretty tired from driving those hills without power steering or power brakes. We had seen some hotel signs along the way but we could not find them. We decided to look for one out by the airport which was on our route east anyway. No hotels there either. At that point we were 5 miles out of town, it was after dark and we were more than a little tired. And what happens but our alternator stopped keeping up with the headlights. It was one of those moments you laugh about after the fact. As it turned out, Merv found a way to make the alternator kick in, we stopped at a gas station and got directions and after some doubtful moments we found a nice hotel.
After settling into our room we went to a nearby Arby’s and rehashed the day. We even had a few chuckles.
Tomorrow we will head east through the South Dakota Badlands.
Click on an image to enlarge.
The weather has taken a turn for the worse, we are finished sight seeing and are now like horses galloping back to the barn.
Larry and Linda put up a side-curtain on her side. She has been getting pummeled by a strong wind from the south east yesterday and today.
It was a dreary overcast day, not good for photos.
Click on an image to enlarge
We drove under overcast skies again today. It’s hard to get good landscape pictures while underway in low light. Also making it difficult is all these Minnesota and Wisconsin trees. I’d see something engaging and it would be blocked or have passed before I could snap the picture. Not a problem in the Dakotas and Montana where I had time to get off two or three shots. I deleted 90 percent of the pics I took today. Thank goodness for digital cameras.
Today’s trip was uneventful which is a good thing. We were happy to cross over the Wabasha bridge and we stopped on the Wisconsin side to savor the moment. We all had the feeling of really having accomplished something. Merv and Larry with their mechanical skills and their long hours behind the wheel, Linda and me having successfully navigated the back roads with maps and gazetteers. It was comforting to have made the trip with two cars. It made us feel secure during the trip that we had a backup should one of us experience a total breakdown (as in mechanical).
Once in Wisconsin, we took the familiar highway 25 north through Menomonie and said our good-byes at its junction with county road F.
Tune in tomorrow evening for one more post.
Click image to enlarge.
I took a photo from the shotgun seat every hour that I was in the car.
I have been trying to think of another mode of travel that would draw the smiles, trust, and local advise that these quaint old cars drew along the way. Both men and women showed such enthusiasm for the cars and for our venture wherever we stopped. These encounters left us smiling as we climbed back in and headed on our way. They made the trip. I suppose you could travel with a puppy and get a similar response. But then you would have to travel with a puppy.
We drove to Montana and back in our restored Model A s with a credit card in our pockets. When you think about it, people drove these cars to California in hard times under dire conditions. Now that is amazing. I wonder if the shared hard times drew people together. Did spontaneous campsites spring up alongside the road where people shared stories, supplies and skills?
Things Learned for When Touring in Old Cars.
Go with another couple
It was comforting to travel with another couple and another car. Larry and Linda’s skills, tools, parts, and eyes, all were good things to have on the road. Rehashing the events of the day with them added a lot to the trip too.
Carry two-way radios
They came in so handy when needing to communicate between cars – “Hey, you missed the turn!” or “Pit stop next gas station” or “Gotta stop and check our coolant level.”
Have a cell phone with a good service network.
Our phone contract is with our local telephone coop. We rarely had cell reception even in some larger towns. Larry and Linda have Verizon, they had much better luck.
Make sure that your jack will lift the car high enough.
We took a modern general purpose hydraulic jack only to find that it wouldn’t lift the car high enough. Luckily Larry had one that would.
Take a 6 to 12 volt inverter for charging cell phone and GPS
Purists might have a problem with having a GPS stuck on the dash of their model A. We did our navigating on Gazetteers but we found the GPS useful at times to know exactly where we were in relation to a town or a road.
If a road trip sounds like fun to you, do it.
Larry and Linda had been intending to go on this trip for a few years. Things kept getting in the way. Two weeks before we were set to go, the crankshaft broke on the Model T they intended to take. Rather than delay the trip any longer, they decided to take their Model A instead. It was just time to do this thing.