Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Just off I 94 at Jamestown ND  is the National Buffalo Museum. It advertises that it has two albino bison. That may be the case, but we have been there at least 3 times and have yet to see them. This visit was on August 20.

Pictures are by the Canon A 1100 IS point and shoot.


The displays are inside this building. There is ample parking for RVs in the parking lot. In an earlier visit we parked the rig there, unhooked the tow car and went into Jamestown for a couple of hours to see the sights.



Easily visible from I 94 is this statue of a bison. A better picture of it is on an earlier blog featuring large statues of animals popular in the area (turkey, loon, cormorant, deer, otter, crow, cow, largemouth bass, and walleye – see below). Part of the pasture for the bison herd is in the foreground.


Jo and our hostess, Brenda, under the massive head of a bull bison, also shown below.



This one is not so big. His shoulder still is about six feet high. The signs explain that the correct name of the animal is bison and that true buffalo are found only in Africa.



Brenda solved the mystery of the missing bison herd. She found them across I 94 in pasture for them there, well out of sight from the viewing deck at the museum.  Their albino cousins were absent.


Now, here is the “etc”>


This statue of a walleye is in Garrison ND which we visited later in our trip while parked at the COE park just downstream from Garrison Dam. It backs up the third largest manmade lake in the US, Lake Sakakawea.


Most years recently our travels take us through the rich farmlands of Minnesota and North Dakota.We marvel at the scale at which farming business is conducted there. When I was growing up in southern Wisconsin (over 65 years ago), the size of a farm was measured in acres. In this area, the size of farms is measured by quarters of sections (160 acres).  Here is some of the equipment used in the big operations.




Here is the tall sprayer with the heads neatly folded in for traveling on the road to the field. Its wheels are about 7 feet tall. A tank is pulled behind it containing the product to be sprayed.

Newer ones are GPS and computer controlled so all the operator has to do, after necessary programming is put into the computer, is to turn the machine at the end of each pass over the field.


Before planting, the bare fields are sprayed with a herbicide like Roundup  to discourage the weeds. This is the truck which takes the mixed  Roundup to the spraying machine working in the field.



Here are three of the larger John Deere tractors used primarily for planting and fall tillage. The largest has a diesel engine developing 620 hp. (Our motor home has a 300hp diesel engine.)


The machine behind the smaller tractor is the grain cart. It is pulled beside the combine going down the field to receive the grain (corn, beans or wheat) from the combine and to carry the grain  to a semi trailer in the field The toothed things left of the tractor are the heads for the combines – one head for corn and the other for soybeans for each of the two combines.




Here are two combines, without the heads. When Jo and I go the the Quad Cities in the summer we sometimes visit the John Deere showroom where machines like these are on display. The list price for one of John Deere’s new combines, with a head, is about $500,000!


When the wings are folded down in the field, this seeder delivers the seeds and fertilizer pellets for planting. The seed and pellets are in separate bins in a trailer pulled behind the seeder, and through a GPS and computer system the fertilizer application rate can be varied to fit the varying nature of the soil in the large field.



And this is the seeder for the corn.


This is the truck with the hopper for the seeds to be fed into the bin on the seeders.



The red machine is called a Joker and is used for spring tilling, just before planting.

(I wonder if there is a Batman machine!) The blue machine is a large disc for fall tillage of corn fields after combining to break up the stalk and leaf debris. The large tractors are needed to pull these.



And after the combine transfers the grain being harvested into a large cart or buggy to travel with the combine, the buggy is taken to a semi  truck such as these in the field to transport the grain to  storage bins or the to elevator for sale and shipment to market.



 Here is the fuel station to dispense the farm diesel for the tractors and combines, the road diesel for the trucks going over the roads, and gasoline for the pickup trucks.



Some of this field of winter wheat was harvested. But it rained that night, so the equipment just sits until the field dries out sufficiently to continue the harvest. Left to right is the combine, with head at its right and chute to the left, the semi truck, and the cart or buggy with its chute out to discharge its load into the semi trailer.

Monday, August 18, 2014



AJ and Morry Hodges have lived in Minnetonka MN from upwards of 40 years. A couple of years ago they decided to move to a senior development to be built near  their home. Finally the construction began in earnest  several months ago. They hope to move in next fall. We arrived at their home on my birthday, and AJ remembered it with a decorated cake for me to my great surprise.



Morry and AJ at the construction entrance of the large project on its north side in the site plan shown below.


Their two bedroom apartment will be on the fourth floor of the building to which the black arrow points.



This is a view of the site from the south side.




This framing appears to be for the health center.


On our last night in Minnetonka, we went out for dinner with the mayor of Minneapolis. Betsy Hodges is the daughter of AJ and Morry. She served on the Minneapolis city council for several years before stepping up.


The first week of August found us at a Corps of Engineers campground near a lake on the Eau Galle (“smelly water” in French) River. The dam was built in 1965 – 1968 to protect the village of Spring Valley from periodic flooding. Much of the shoreline was developed into parks and boat launching areas. Our campground  is  a couple of miles from the lake on a ridge out of view to the right. This is the first COE campground we have been in where the campground is not on the body of water. It has 38 numbered sites, and perhaps 60% are appropriate for type A motor homes.

These few pictures were taken  by the 10 mp camera in my smart phone.


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After leaving the Twin Cities, on Aug. 11 we stopped to see Orlando and Joanne Klassen at their new assisted living quarters at Mountain Lake MN where they farmed for many years.They had a winter home in our subdivision in Mesa where we became acquainted with them at happy hours and holiday dinners.





The outside of the Klassens’ new home, built three years ago.

Saturday, August 16, 2014



We spent the last week of July in a Coast To Coast campground at Eagle River WI visiting cousins Martha Rosenthal and Ken and Linda Strong.


Our first night there we found a restaurant  which served smelt, a small fish caught in nets. After deheading and gutting, the rest of the fish is coated in a batter and deep fat fried. I was the only one at the table enjoying the delicacy!



Cousin Martha took us for a ride on three of the Chain of Lakes in  her pontoon boat, with Cousin Ken, Linda and grandchildren. From left – Linda, Martha, Ken, Alex, Emily, Jo and Ellie. Linda is  at the wheel at Martha’s request  as Martha is recovering from an arm injury.



Seagulls like to hang out on channel markers



This is one of the larger mansions on the lake.




At the end of the ride Martha took us up the channel to the dam separating the upper and lower lakes. At left is the boat lift, used instead of locks.






When a boat arrives to go to the upper lakes, a rack on the lift (yellow structure on the far right)  is dropped into the water between the posts, the boat is driven in, and it is raised by the lift. The lift proceeds on rails to the upper channel where is is dropped in the water to go up the channel to the next lake.




Our last night there, the senior citizens got together for dinner at a restaurant, followed by live entertainment.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Whenever in Monroe WI, I plan to have lunch at Baumgartner’s Tavern of a simple swiss cheese on rye with mustard. YUM! (These shots are in my cell phone 10 mp camera).

The front of the store is a cheese shop with a few eating tables. An archway leading to the tavern in back modestly proclaims;

Through The Portals you can get the finest cheese sandwiches in the world .


Sign for the store on the square.



This is the view after passing through the “Portal”. Jo is at the left. We arrived about 11:30. By noon there was a waiting line for tables.


Here is the menu. At the left the sign reads ”You don’t eat it  LIMBURGER with your nose.”



The fancy county courthouse is across the street from Baumgartner’s.  It is still in use by all county offices.



The downtown area is decorated with painted statues of animals found on local farms.


This is the main stained glass window in United Church of Beloit, formerly Second Congregational Church in which I grew up.


We visited June and Goron Myse in Appleton. Gordy and I went through Beloit College together and roomed together for our first semester of law school at the University of Michigan. His legal career included 25 years as a judge.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


On July 25 I visited the National Railroad Museum. It features a short train ride, lots of  steam locomotives, including a Big Boy, a few Alco switchers and other diesels, maintenance of way equipment, and interesting cars. It even had a Shay narrow gauge locomotive, unfortunately in sad (unassembled) condition.

As usual with railroad museums not supported by government funds, much of the equipment has not been restored. The best items are displayed  in the building behind that containing the gift shop and include the Big Boy and Pullman car shown below and a Pennsylvania RR GG-1 electric loco. The Dwight D Eisenhower locomotive, used in England by Ike during WW II, was just returned to the museum after two years on display in York, England. The museum is located near Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. It was well worth the $10.00 price of senior admission which included a two circuit ride on its loop track. Photos were taken in the Canon A1100 IS 12 mp point and shoot camera.

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The red building houses the cream of the museum’s collection of restored equipment.



The train rides depart from this depot.


The 2:00 PM train ride was well-attended with parents bringing their children. The loco is an Alco. The  passenger car reminded me of the cars on which we rode during WW II from Beloit WI to Madison or Chicago.


Nicely restored Pullman car. The signs tell the story of colored porters on the Pullman cars gradually obtaining better working conditions through a union. The union excluded colored female maids who also served on the Pullman cars.



Here is a lower Pullman bed made up, and below is an upper. I have never ridden in a Pullman car, but they have been on trains on which my mother took me (coach class) on trips in the 1940s. Perhaps in place of a future cruise, we will take a roomette on a Canadian VIA rail from Vancouver east.



This 0-4-0 switch engine has the water tank mounted around the boiler to keep  it short for tight turns and poor clearance in switching cars at plants.


The Big Boy articulated locomotive is the largest built in the US. It pulled heavy loads in the mountainous west. A few of the myriad of valves to be set in its operation are shown below. It was a real treat to be permitted to go into the cab of the loco.





A star of the displays is one of the two remaining lightweight Aero Train units built as an experiment by General Motors in 1955.

The locomotives reflected automobile styling of the era. The passenger cars were based on bus bodies built by GM and had one axel at each end. At  speed they were uncomfortable for the passengers, so after experimenting with them on various runs, the three made ended up in commuter service around Chicago. One was junked and the other is in a museum at St. Louis.


This is the interior of  RPO (rail post office) car on which workers sorted the mail as the car was speeding to the next town.



Here is a brawny wrecking crane and boom car with a lifting capacity of 80 tons. It was built 110 years ago to lift cars and locomotives involved in wrecks.


This Milwaukee Road 1000 hp switcher was built by Fairbanks Morse in Beloit WI.