Theresa and Karen's adventure to North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Friday October 18, 2002

We made it! Theresa's flight was delayed by 2 hours due to lightning and rain in Dallas/Fort Worth but finally Karen and Theresa got together at Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. We drove to our hotel, a Hilton Garden Inn in Eagen, with a stop at Wal-Mart for 2 six-packs of water and a cassette-CD converter for the rent car.


Saturday, October 19, 2002

Breakfast was included with our hotel, so we had that (eggs, hash browns, and other hot stuff in addition to the usual continental stuff) and then hit the road for Fargo about 10:00 am.

Albany was a picturesque town on the side of the highway, so we exited, drove around, took pictures of the golf course and Seven Dolors Catholic Church (and cemetery with all drak headstones and an old orphanage and convent).

Then we were back on the road to Alexandria.
We went to the Carlos Creek Winery (in spite of the backwards set of directions Theresa got on the phone) where we shopped and took a lot of photos.
We stopped in town at the Old Broadway Food and Spirits. The food was decent, the setting quite picturesque, but our favorite part was listening to conversations of the people at other tables and marveling at the Minnesota accents!






  Next stop was Brandon (A town, A town, now B town, hmmmmm) for gasoline and a bathroom break. It, too was another cute little town. We made one more pit stop at a Citgo station (A, B, C, . . . ). You could see it right off the highway, but they were replacing the bridge and so we had to go WAAAAAYYY out of the way to get there. About 3 miles down the road from there we crossed the river and made it to North Dakota. We did a U-turn to come back in again and take pictures of the "Welcome to North Dakota" sign.

Finally we arrived in Fargo and headed straight to the Civic Auditorium for the last hour of "The Big One" -- a really nicely done little craft show. We spent way too much money on stuff we didn't need and had a blast doing it.

Checked in at the Radisson downtown. We made reservations for dinner and the theatre and then set out for dinner. The restaurant we picked was in "modern" Fargo (that was our term for it) as opposed to the old downtown where we were staying.

It was a good 30 minute drive (including the short detour in the wrong direction). We got to the restaurant and realized it was just the lobby restaurant of a chain hotel. Yuck! So we called from the parking lot and cancelled our reservation and then went back to old downtown and drove around. In driving around we crossed the river and drove a little in Moorhead, MN before returning back to Fargo and the theatre.



The Fargo Theatre. Ahhhh. As it says on the postcard: "Built in 1926, this fully restored 870 seat Art Deco theatre features classic and first run film, live theatre, and a four manual Mighty WurliTzer theatre pipe organ. The Fargo theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places."

What a show! The first half of the show was a re-enactment of a night at Hollywood Canteen during World War II complete with an Armed Forces Radio announcer, 25 piece big Band, singers, celebrities (Abbot & Costello, Humphrey Bogart), and dancers. The second half of the show was the 1926 silent movie "Orchids and Ermine" starring Colleen Moor, a native of North Dakota, and accompanied by the WurliTzer theatre organ! The movie was Mickey Rooney's debut at age 6. Theresa called Mother and Daddy and left messages including a long one of the theatre organ playing in the background.
It wasn't too cold, or at least it didn't feel that way. But it was definitely cold weather when the show got out. We drove back into Moorhead to the Red Bear Grill and Tavern for dinner.


There was karaoke in the bar in the front of the restaurant but we were seated in the back overlooking the Red River of the North. The WPA built it with donated local granite. It was an American Legion Hall for ~50 years and is now a national historic landmark.
The food was pretty good, too. ;-)


Sunday October 20, 2002

We drove around town for a little bit and took photos, but finally had to leave.




We made stops at a grocery store,


 the information center at the state line,


a truck stop (that had been closed a LONG time), a truck stop in Rothsay, the Big Chief truck stop (by now it's snowing),


Fergus Falls (we only stopped long enough to take pictures out the windows),


and finally at Keely's house in St. Paul.
However, we must comment on Rothsay where we were greeted by a VERY large statue of the prairie chicken. It was quite a surprise to see this giant fowl on the side of the road. )


The sign proclaimed Rothsay as "The Prairie Chicken Capital". So glad we stopped at the truck stop. And yes, they had postcards of the Prairie Chicken. ;-


Karen dropped Theresa off at Keely's house and then went to the Mall of America. We met Paul on the street as he was leaving with the four older kids to take them to the indoor arena at St. Thomas University (where he teaches) because they were getting cabin fever. That left several hours for Keely and I (with baby Lucy sleeping in Keely's papoose) to visit and yack while making a 3 layer pumpkin spice cake for her church group that evening. The kids and Paul came back and I broke out the package of dominos that I had brought (and the book which I had purchased). I then taught Clare and Paul how to play. Matthew was my partner and sat on my lap the whole time. He kept helping me by picking out new dominos from the stockpile. He liked the ones with lots of dots (pips as they're officially called). That really helped Paul and Clare's scores! Katie joined us near the end and she sat on the other half of my lap. She liked to pick one and just hold it, asking each turn if she could play her domino yet.


Mall of America
Three hours flew by quickly and soon Karen arrived and we were off to Elaine's house. Upon arrival she introduced us to Lucy, her cute dog, and her 3 new kittens: Chip, Augie, and Gus.
We toured her beautiful house

and then went to Broder's Pasta Bar for dinner. It was quite yummy, especially dessert. Elaine gave us a driving tour of the very nice homes on the lake front before taking us back to her house,
where we tried to teach an old dog (Lucy) some new tricks. Well, actually, "Bang" and "Say your prayers" are old tricks, but they were new to Elaine and to Lucy.
Monday October 21, 2002

Lucy spent the night with Karen and Theresa on the sofa hide-a-bed. Kittens slept with Elaine. Theresa got up early to chat with Elaine before she left for school. Then Karen and Theresa showered, took pictures of the kitties,



 and packed and left for Wisconsin.



We had breakfast at Arby's in Hudson, Wisconsin (the modern part of the city). Theresa got free postcards at the travel center as well as directions to the Cady Cheese Factory.


We drove 30 miles to Cady and saw the cheese factory through the glass window.





Next it was on to Menominee where we drove around and walked around and decided not to stay for lunch. We did stop at the Mable Tainter Memorial building
because it was a warm place to get a break from the cold outside and it was a fascinating looking building. Theresa picked up some literature about Laura Ingalls Wilder and Caddie Woodlawn, both of whom lived in the area.

We also saw the University of Wisconsin Stout at Menominee which was named for a Senator Stout.




We drove back to Hudson and this time found the old downtown. We enjoyed walking around and then eating lunch at Barker's Bar and Grill. Theresa had a bison burger--quite yummy. We walked down the main street, went to a tourist/antique shop where we didn't find any tourist items we wanted (or any antiques for that matter), a local pharmacy (where we did find souvenirs we wanted), a quilt store that turned out to be more antiques than quilts, and Alley Jax -- "an infiusion of art and whimsy". It actually was quite a fun toy store/ children's clothing store.

Then we had to hurry back to the Minneapolis St. Paul airport. We checked in both our bags and got boarding passes, then drove (forever, it seemed) to the nearest (????) gas station and filled up the rent car, and then drove back to the airport and turned in the rent car. Our concourses weren't very far apart so we looked around at a few shops and then made plans to get to Oregon in the summer of 2003 so that Theresa could obtain (attain?) her 50th state.


Prose by Theresa, Photos by Karen