Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

The Toy Train Barn, Argyle Wisconsin

THE Toy Train Barn

I mentioned The Toy Train Barn in my introduction (September 9, 2012).  I’ve been waiting to write about it ever since I started the blog.  It was the first thing I researched after I started planning the actual Big Ball of String Tour.  I found it on roadsideamerica.com.

Now that it’s time to write about it, I’m a little at a loss at what exactly to say.

I mean – the place pretty much speaks for itself.  Well, not exactly – you HAVE to meet Buck and Jan, the owners, and their very pleasant and friendly dog – because THEY have stories!

But, we didn’t know that when we decided to go there. We just went because – IT’S A TOY TRAIN BARN!! Who wouldn’t want to go!?   I convinced everyone else to go by using the “we are on a roadside-attraction-biggest-ball-of-string” trip, and we have no time schedule, but really – we were travelling with 2 little boys and 4 children-at-heart who all wanted to see the “choo choo trains”.

That being said…we got lost on the way. We took the wrong road (thank you, Jennifer, the GPS voice, who decided that the shortest distance in miles was the shortest distance in time.) To be fair, she couldn’t possibly have known that THAT particular road had a speed limit of 20 mph, and hay wagons occupied the road.  (NOT just hay-moving vehicles, but also horse drawn wagons!)

We had 2 hours to get there, and after the back road (worth it if you have time) route, finally made it to the turn off.  At that point, we re-evaluated. We have 15 minutes to get to the Toy Train Barn before it closed and 10 miles (according to Jennifer and Google maps) of Another scenedriving – and NOT on a Freeway.

In a tearful-arms crossed-foot stamping-pouting “discussion” (me vs. the other adults), I said, “We have to have to have to have to go! We’ve come this far! We HAVE TO GO! This is the entire reason we came this way!” we decided to make a run for it.

We took that turn off, and I was so anxious to make it to the Toy Train Barn before it closed, I completely was unprepared to take a picture of little Swiss Miss that we passed, out in the field, in her big “Little House on the  Prairie” blue dress, and wearing her milk maid bonnet!  And, not in costume! just out in the field!!  (She goes on my “pictures I’ve missed but committed indelibly to my memory” list.)

We pulled in to the Toy Train Barn driveway, and it was quiet.  I could see the two husbands make eye contact, which involved eye-rolling.  I resisted reacting, and went to the Barn door.  It was dark.  It was closed. I knocked anyway.

THEN! the door opened and out came Buck! the owner, and my hero of the day! I quickly spewed out my story about getting lost, the bumpy roads, the hay wagon. He said, “Well! we can’t have you coming this far and not let you in! Come in! everyone come in!”

YAY! The second Jack (the youngest of us – I think he was 3) came in, he was shrieking – so excited! and he wasn’t alone! you should see all there is to see!

There are so many little worlds of trains, and all different scales, too!  Buck has it set up to run the whole thing with a touch of a button.  (The face of what used to be Jan’s microwave – that’s what happens when she goes to town and doesn’t leave her stuff under lock and key).Train scene

I forget everything they’ve done, but what I do remember is that Jan’s chicken rotisserie mechanism is now flying the airplane in circles around one of the train scenes, and the springs from her toaster are now bouncing little figurines of children on pogo-sticks.  She also mentioned that she only buys towels that have bright colors and stripes because her green towels became “grass” and the blue is covering … something.. I want to say “mountain tops”.

Buck’s a genius. Every single thing works.  Even the little house on “fire” has a little fire engine spraying water into it, while the train circles around.

Jan is brilliant too – she is responsible for the little tiny figures – the people, the boxes of fruit, etc., that she has sculpted to scale. I told her she was a genius, too, and she said that she’s “supportive”.

Buck & JanYou’ll LOVE The Toy Train Barn, but you’ll love it even more when you get to visit with Buck and Jan.

We arrived late, and we stayed late.  We overstayed our welcome, but Buck and Jan never let on.  The nicest people ever.

Don’t miss this! You must go!  It was a real highlight, for sure.

(Sunday, we’ll be enroute to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park.)

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“If you build it, they will come”

“If you build it, they will come”.

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Field of Dreams – “If you build it, they will come”

Annie Kinsella: If you build what, who will come?
Ray Kinsella: He didn’t say.
……
Ray Kinsella: I think I know what “If you build it, he will come” means.
Annie Kinsella: Ooh… why do I not think this is such a good thing?
Ray Kinsella: I think it means that if I build a baseball field out there that Shoeless Joe Jackson will get to come back and play ball again.
Annie Kinsella: [staring in disbelief] You’re kidding.
Ray Kinsella: Huh-uh.

The “Field of Dreams.”  (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097351/)  It’s a fictional story that includes real historical baseball characters (Shoeless Joe Jackson and Moonlight Graham, for example).  The book from which Field of Dreams was adapted is called “Shoeless Joe”, written by W.P. Kinsella. (I’m going to read it, now that I know.)

Shoeless Joe’s real name was Joseph Jefferson Jackson, and he got his nickname because he once ran bases in his socks, thanks to blisters on his feet.

In 1919, a scandal (allegedly accepted a bribe, along with 7 others, to throw the World Series) got him banned from playing Major League Baseball (forever), but many of his records still stand! (Apparently, even Babe Ruth claimed to follow the technique that Shoeless Joe used for hitting).  In 1921, Shoeless Joe was acquitted (evidence seems to point to the fact that he was accused without cause), but because of his tarnished name, he still was banned from baseball.. Despite the many, many records that he set, he is still on Major League Baseball’s “ineligible” list and so far, cannot be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame…  Sad story…no wonder W.P. Kinsella wanted to give him another chance…

After Shoeless Joe left his professional baseball career, he moved to Greenville SC. where he’d lived as a child.  As I was reading his story (just now), I was thinking: I wished I had’ve known he was in Greenville sooner – I could’ve gone to see his memorial while I was there visiting my Grampa years ago (my Grampa lived in the neighboring town of Easley)… and then I started thinking… that sounds kind of familiar…so I went through some old pictures, and sure enough! look what I found! (He’s wearing shoes…)

Moonlight Graham’s real name is Dr. Archibald Wright Graham. In the movie, he is also a doctor, and lives outside of the field, but is given the opportunity to come play inside the field, too.  In real life, he did play right fielder for the New York Giants, from the bottom of the 8th inning, to the bottom of the 9th inning, one game. He never got to bat. It was his only game in the Major Leagues.

He completed his medical degree and became a doctor in Chisholm MN for 50 years.  The movie includes this quote:

Ray Kinsella: Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within… y-you came this close. It would KILL some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it. God, they’d consider it a tragedy.
Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham: Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes… now that would have been a tragedy.

I’m not sure if he said anything like that in real life, but I bet he at least felt it!  He was an actual Do-Gooder. For example, one expression of his Do-Goodness was that – not only did he serve as a doctor as his career, he also worked free of charge, helping children of the miners come get fitted for glasses (which were donated), on Saturdays.

He passed away in 1965 and his buried in Rochester MN.  (Wished I had’ve known THAT earlier, since we were just in Rochester –see this past Sunday’s blog – October 28th). His legacy of helping people continues – there is still a scholarship set up in his name in Chisholm.

So – the Field! You can actually visit there – it’s a real baseball field – maybe not exactly how the movie portrays it…then again – maybe it is! I’m not the one who’s going to confirm or deny someone’s “dream”, that is for sure.  You can go there….and see for yourself.
(http://www.fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com/)

While there,

  • you can sit in the bleachers and watch a game;
  • you can play in the game if you want;
  • and/or you can “disappear” into the corn, if you want.  (For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, this is not a creepy disappearing-into-the-corn like some other movies – it’s not scary.)

    Ray Kinsella: This is my corn. You people are guests in my corn.

    It was ridiculously hot the day we were there, so we opted for walking in the corn and watching other people playing baseball.  As it was, it was a long, long way out to the edge of the cornfield, too. (I’m telling you – it was hot! we had to stop 1/2 way across the outfield and give the puppies water!)

In the movie, Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham says, “We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, “Well, there’ll be other days”. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

Daisy, stopping to smell the roses…I mean lilies

Maybe that’s true. I mean, there’ll be other days- but not another day, just like today. THAT is why it’s important to pull over on the side of the road and look at things we’re passing by! A “stop and smell the roses” sort of thing.

That is why we went out of our way to go to the Toy Train Barn, and that is why, even though we arrived after they closed, they let us in anyway.

Wednesday – Toy Train Barn.

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Rochester, Minnesota

THIS blog is about Rochester Minnesota, NOT Rochester NY, which is what everyone (including me) thinks of first.We went to Rochester for a Convention, and didn’t really expect too much from the little town. But, even if I had researched it and heard all about it, I probably wouldn’t have believed it anyway.

It’s one of those places that’s “too good to be true”. If someone told me: “wait till you go there – EVERYONE is nice”, I would’ve been skeptical.

And, granted, I didn’t meet all of the something-close-to 108,000 people who live there, but the ones that I did meet, lived up to the hype.

Well, I made up the hype. I’ve just never been any place like it – a town filled with nice, friendly, helpful people.

Apparently, Rochester has been included on Money magazine’s list of “Best Places to Live”, and has even been #1 on occasion!

Good for them – they deserve it.

For example: part of the City’s services include “Vacation House Checks.” Going on vacation and don’t live near friends who can check your house? Or maybe your friends are coming with you? You can contact the City of Rochester, Public Safety Communications Center, and they have a program in place, for your security and general peace of mind.

We stayed at the nearby KOA Kampground – less than 10 minutes from the Mayo Civic Center. We didn’t believe that either. From the KOA, there is absolutely no sign whatsoever of any town, let alone a thriving metro area of approximately 108,000 people. To get from the KOA to the Mayo Center, we drove passed a winding river, wetland areas, cow pastures and then BAM! Right into the city! (You can tell you are close when you see the looming Corn Water Tower.)

We saw so much corn paraphernalia on this trip, you’d think we wouldn’t care about the Water Tower, but I took a picture every time I saw it. (Yes, yes. I know – the pictures all look the same – it’s not like the Water Tower has different poses.)

OK. So, the Mayo Center has a LOT of great venues – everything from “The Price is Right” to Bob Dylan concerts (which was happening right after we were leaving).
http://www.mayociviccenter.com/

There are, I guess, Mayo Centers all over the USA, but this one in Rochester is the original. History shows that in 1883, there was a Great Tornado, which demolished a large part of Rochester – 37 people died, and about 200 were injured. Since there was no medical center, Mr. Mayo and his two sons cared for the wounded.

In 1889 (thanks to donations, the Sisters of St. Francis, and Mr. Mayo) St. Marys Hospital was opened. Wikipedia (under the subject “Rochester MN” subheading “History”) tells us that “The Mayo practice grew and is today among the largest and most well-respected medical facilities in the world.”
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rochester,_Minnesota, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Clinic)

The same Wikipedia article mentions that some of the Rochester buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and then lists the former Chateau Theater, which is where Barnes & Noble bookstore is now. I didn’t know that when we were there, but the building was so beautiful and the setting was so serene, I actually did take pictures of it anyway!

Speaking of “theater” and acting – there’s a list of famous people who are from there – Lea Thompson (remember her – primarily (in my opinion) of Back to the Future fame) and a list of others includes Dan Bakkedahl, Warren Skaaren, John Towey, Sheree J. Wilson and Emily Sandberg, along with many sports figures, etc. (I didn’t really know most on the list, but I didn’t want to exclude anyone either…just in case…no hurt feelings…heh)

I’m sure there are many fine places to stay while you are in Rochester, but if you are camping, I recommend staying at the nearby KOA. I’ve never experienced such warmth and hospitality from ANY accommodation – let alone campground caretakers/owners. KOA’s are general good, anyway, from a security and amenity point of view (which is why we like to stay at them), but THIS one (family owned and operated, as many are, I think) was BY FAR the most pleasant, most accommodating, friendliest place I’ve ever been.
(http://koa.com/campgrounds/rochester/)

I could go on and on, but one of the things that stands out most – that puts them right over the top – is that: We were travelling with our two little dogs, Daisy & Coco, and since we were in Rochester for a Convention – 3 days, most of the day. Our plan was to attend the convention during the morning, come home for lunch, let the puppies out (by the way – they had air conditioning), go back for the afternoon sessions, and then rush back afterwards.

But! Katie (the daughter of KOA owners – Roger and Barb) offered to walk Daisy & Coco during the day! Well! That was an unexpected and brilliant surprise! Daisy & Coco loved their walks and loved Katie – when we got “home”, they were asleep – no barking, no accidents, no stress! It was the greatest thing ever!

Despite the fact that we were there for a one-time plan, we have decided we would go out of our way to go back to that KOA, and to that town, just because of the friendliness and the hospitality of everyone we met. Everyone.

One more thing that Rochester had to offer – FIREFLIES! THEY HAVE FIREFLIES!!!

Sunday, we are going to the place that promised “if you build it, they will come” and it’s true. They built..and we went.

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We’re off to the Guggenham err Porkopolis err …SPAM Museum…

Everytime we go to Hawaii, Peter eats SPAM®.    Apparently, it’s a Hawaiian Staple.  You can even order it at Burger King and McDonalds. They love it there. It’s in “local” food – Peter eats it for breakfast in something called musubi…which is kinda like sushi, but with SPAM instead of raw fish… I haven’t tried it… My imagination doesn’t allow it…

 When Rich comes with us to Hawaii, he eats SPAM too (not sure what his habits are when he’s not with us.)

SO, I thought it’d be REALLY funny to take them to the SPAM Museum, in Austin MN.

We all knew except Rich, and that was half the fun!  He didn’t see any of the billboards (which was shocking, but we know he didn’t, because there’s no way he could’ve seen them and not made a sassy comment of some sort.)

Well! the joke was on me! The whole place was completely fascinating!

 It was educational, historical, and fun! There’s a hall of history, a theater, a diner, a children’s educational center, a grocery section and a gift shop… and probably even more to offer.Hormel Foods produces SPAM, and the company was started in 1891 by George A. Hormel. George was so respected by the community that, years later, when one of his employees embezzled over $1,000,000 (and this is back when that was a lot of money!), the bank quickly loaned him the missing money, to keep his business afloat.  (I read that it was $1.5million, but I can’t remember if that’s what the sign at the Museum said…)

I had NO IDEA that SPAM was so important in history.  Did you know that more than 100 million pounds of SPAM was sent overseas to feed allied troops during WWI, between 1941 and 1945? 
 

Also: Did you know that they sponsored a Nascar car?

And that Doc (from The Love Boat)

and Brett Favre (of Green Bay Packers fame… mostly)

have advertised for them? (That IS Doc, right?)

I really thought we’d be there 10 minutes and leave, but we were there a long time! I definitely recommend going!

In the Gift Shop, they have all kinds of fun things – I think we all got SPAM shirts (mine is tie-dyed and everyone thinks it says “Spain”), one of the kids got a SPAM piggy (stuffed animal) which literally saved his hands and knees at least twice, when he tripped and fell and landed on it (I’m sorry – it gave me giggles – you know, after I was certain he was ok)…we got bandages that look like SPAM (all bandages kind of do), a SPAM fishing lure… I can’t remember everything – but they have so much! games, dishes, toys, dog accessories, and, of course SPAM and SPAM Cookbooks!

GO! such an unexpected surprise!!

See you Wednesday!!

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Mr. Jolly Green Giant

In 2005, we took a long roadtrip from Calgary to Halifax NS, through the States, one way. We bought a disposable car, drove one way, and flew home. I’ll tell that adventure later.

 BUT, I bring it up now because, at that time, we had the choice of going either through Minnesota, and seeing the Jolly Green Giant, or through Iowa, and seeing the Bridges of Madison County near Winterset. We chose the Bridges of Madison County and it was so worth it – so beautiful! so historic! Plus, I had recently read the book, and was enthralled. (Didn’t see the movie, so I don’t know how it compares.)
Since then, though, I have always had the Jolly Green Giant in my mind, and this was the trip that was going to fix that!

The Jolly Green Giant (this is tedious – I’m going to start calling him just “Jolly” or Mr. Giant…or Jolls) is in Blue Earth, Minnesota, at the half-way point of Interstate 90. (Blue Earth is named for the nearby Blue Earth River, and the river is named for the blue clay found in the bluffs along the river banks.)

He is the symbol of the Green Giant Company (famous for canned peas and corn). The company started in 1926 as Blue Earth Canning Company, took the name Green Giant in 1950 and has since been bought out by General Mills.

 Jolls is 55’ tall (17 meters). I mean – that SEEMS tall, but what’s a good point of reference? Well, look at this picture. We are standing by his 6′ long feet (size 78 shoe) and you can barely see us.
His Giant smile is 48″ wide!!

I  don’t know how Daisy & Coco knew he was a giant and not just a huge hunk of metal (fiberglass, actually) but they were crazy when they saw him-running at him, barking and snarling, grizzly hair up on their backs, tails in the air, then running away madly, for protection! (They are, after all, only about 8″ tall..) They did NOT like him at ALL! (We were a little bit proud of them-so feisty! 😀 ) 

They keep a guest book there, and the lady there was telling us that since they’d opened for the season, they had someone from every state already in to visit, except Virginia. And wouldn’t you know it? The girl beside us was from Virginia, so we all had ice-cream sandwiches to celebrate.  (Incidentally, Blue Earth is proud to be the birthplace of the Chocolate Dream ice cream bar, which is now the Eskimo Pie. We didn’t have any of those handy, so ice-creams sandwiches substituted.)
Mr. Giant’s little (10’ tall) pal, Little Sprout, has taken a job at a nearby local gas station and convenience store, advertizing Jelly Bellys and homemade fudge!

After we left Blue Earth, we continued east.

We had a secret destination
– well, we all knew, except Richard.

Secret Spot to be revealed Sunday.

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Minneapolis, FINALLY!

WE MADE IT! FINALLY! We made it..

I had a list of things I wanted to do and see in Minneapolis, if we found ourselves needing things to do and see.

I wanted to go see the Mary Tyler Moore statue, which is in front of Macy’s. I wanted to visit the House of Balls (before you think bad thoughts, the artist sculpts using bowling balls).

I debated whether or not I wanted to see The Shoe Tree, which also has a couple of bicycles hanging in it, along with hundreds of shoes, but then decided to just keep my eye out for it, if we were in the neighborhood anyway, but not go out of our way for it.

I really did want to see Spoonbridge and Cherry – it’s a sculpture of a gigantic spoon holding a cherry…in case that wasn’t clear. It’s in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center.

I also wanted to go to this Italian restaurant, called Trattoria Tosca, because, so it’s been said, not only has super yummy food, but has dishes for you dog, too! I even bought Daisy & Coco pretty little “dress up” collars, so they could go out on the town!

There are no pictures, because we didn’t go. I’m actually not disappointed – but these places are on my list for “next time” if ever I find myself in Minneapolis again.

(Oh, I forgot to mention The Mall of America. We did consider going (but didn’t) – but mostly for the air conditioning…)

It was HOT! SO HOT!

AND we were very busy visiting with friends we hadn’t seen for – it seemed like FOREVER! 8 or 9 months for sure. So, we scrapped the “to-do” list and stayed around the campsite and visited, which, really, is the best way to spend time, isn’t it?
(This is the only way to travel with friends – a list of things to do, for just in case, and the flexibility to do none or just some of it, without stress.)

The one thing that mattered, though,
was the Minnesota Twins game!

Fortunately, that mattered to all of us!
We bought our tickets on line (http://minnesota.twins.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=min),

and somehow managed to pick the EXACT right location!
I mean, not just that we were right off of First Base,
but our seats were just out of the sun, the entire time!

Don’t you just love baseball? The whole event just feels like …summer. Who doesn’t feel like a little kid, when you are singing out “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks”?

The only thing missing was “The Wave”. I assumed there’d be a Wave (which was first done at a Mariners’ game, by the way – Woo Hoo Mariners!!) but nope. Maybe it’s ONLY done at Mariners’ games…? Now I don’t know. Who knows this answer? Anyone?

I didn’t have Cracker Jacks…or peanuts,
but I did have a footlong ballpark hotdog, cotton candy, a cooler of some sort, a sip of beer
and LOTS and LOTS of water.Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins

Twins were playing the White Sox, and White Sox won. The game was still GREAT! With some out-of-the-park home runs and some base stealing (all the great plays were done by the Twins – so even though they didn’t win, the game was really exciting!!)
___________________

We’re off to see the Jolly Green Giant on Wednesday!

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Alexandria’s Runestone

Sick of being in the car, I convinced Peter that we should go into Alexandria MN and take a look at this ancient runestone they have there (another find on http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2607)

Previously, the only experience I had with runestones was the brief lesson found in the introduction to The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien.

From The Hobbit, Second Printing 1977

Tolkien explains:

“Runes were old letters originally used for cutting or scratching on wood, stone, or metal, and so were thin and angular. At the time of this tale only Dwarves made regular use of them, especially for private or secret records. Their runes are in this book represented by English runes, which are known now to few people”.

The explanation goes on to discuss how they are used, how they compare to modern English, and how they can be translated…

Therefore, having read this when I was 10 or 11, and having done no further research, I assumed runes and runestones were products of the imagination…

 Until I read about this particular runestone on roadsideamerica.com.

Replica, 5 times the size of the original

This one (called the Kensington Runestone, after a nearby settlement) is not Dwarvish, but Viking, and is dated 1362. A farmer named Olof Ohmandug it up in a field in Minnesota, in 1898.

 9 years later, Hjalmer R. Holand (a University of Wisconsin history major), translated the Stone, and it says something like:

” 8 : göter : ok : 22 : norrmen : po :
…o : opþagelsefärd : fro :
vinland : of : vest : vi :
hade : läger : ved : 2 : skLär : en :
dags : rise : norr : fro : þeno : sten :
vi : var : ok : fiske : en : dagh : äptir :
vi : kom : hem : fan : 10 : man : röde :
af : blod : og : ded : AVM:
frälse : äf : illü.”

 (As per Wikipedia, The Kensington Runestone, Historic Mysteries (the Kensington Runestone,and other reports.) 

OK. Fine. The translation of that translation is something like:

“8 Goths and 22 Norweigans on exploration journey from Vinland over the west. We camp by 2 skerries one day-journey from this stone. We were and fished one day. After we came home, 10 men red with blood and tourtured. Hail Virgin Mary, save from evil. Have 10 men by the sea to look after our ship, 14 day -journeys from this island year 1362.”

It sounds like a terrible journey, but that’s all that’s reported. Or, if there’s more, it’s on other runestones buried here or there. We did go TO the Runestone Museum, and I saw Ole the Viking across the street, but…didn’t actually go INTO the Museum! Why? I don’t remember.

Oh! That is SO NOT TRUE!! We didn’t go in because: Well, first of all, Alexandria wasn’t right beside the road, but a tiny little detour. Second of all, I hadn’t really written down instructions on where the Runestone was, so I was guessing it could be at the Museum…so, third of all (and in summary), we were arguing by the time we got there, and it didn’t seem as much fun…Now, I regret not going in. (Life lesson for next time.)

We did, however, track down the larger-than-life runestone replica on a nearby highway (see above picture) – a monument actually, on the side of the road – it’s 5x bigger than the original!

 Some people say it’s a hoax or forgery. Lots of studies have been done. How would I know if it is or not? Either way, it’s intriguing…

(As far as hoaxes go.. It seems to me that there could be easier hoaxes to pull off – ones that didn’t take as much work and wouldn’t be examined so
carefully..like…the corn flake that looks like a saint…or whatever…)

Oh goodness! Didn’t make it to Minneapolis! (In real life, we went from Fargo to Minneapolis in a few hours.) Sunday, for sure!! (I’m practically positive…)
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Fargo, North Dakota

Whenever I think of Fargo, I think of the movie (which has, coincidentally, been on TV all week) – I’m not  recommending it.  And, I haven’t seen it this time around and I don’t remember if it was a good (“good”) movie or not – I  only remember two things: the accents of the people and the wood chipper. I saw  it on TV (so, edited) but IMDb says it’s rated R, and from what I can remember of the wood chipper scene, that’s a good rating…and apparently, (again,  according to my memory) they weren’t strict with their editing…  Blecht.

The Wood Chipper is on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors  Center. Roadsideamerica.com says,

“While the wood chipper’s time on-screen was brief, its use as a  body-disposal device made for a disturbingly memorable scene.”

True.

I couldn’t view the wood chipper (which, yeah, I know – movie prop, not covered in blood (or at least not real  blood), but still grosses me out), so we walked around the Fargo Walk of Fame, which is also at the Visitor’s Center. Started by a local business man, Mike Stevens, the Walk  includes a variety or random celebrities – from Toby Keith to Bill Gates, George  Bush to Burt & Ernie, Aerosmith to Art Linkletter, and many many more! (I’d  list them all, but you should go see for yourself!)

We stayed at a nice campground (Lindenwood Campground in Moorhead-Fargo) right along the river, and  conveniently beside the Interstate. It’s surprisingly quiet, though – there’s a  noise wall and lots of trees, so the whole scene is very serene.

 The campground has alot of recreational things to do – fishing, biking, a  playground.

According to their website, you can rent surrey bikes, fun cycles, tandem bikes and  handicap bikes at their Information Center. I saw people circling on their  surrey bikes and it looks like so much fun!!

Instead, we settled in at our site beside the river and watched the guy  across from us trying to fish. I thought he was living in his tent and trying to  survive by fishing with his pole, string and safety pin, but Peter went to meet  him, and apparently, he was just there for one day, but hadn’t brought any food,  thinking he’d just eat the fish he caught … He looked like he lived there..

Imagine the scene: he baits his hook, tosses it in the water, props his  fishing pole up with some twigs, and goes about… 20 feet away, lays down on a  blanket, hands behind his head, feet crossed, staring at the sky. .. very  relaxed…but if he caught something, he’d never get to it in time to reel it  in.  … … ….

Ok – so, he caught something… but didn’t know what to do and was running  around with a fish on a line – Peter had to go help him.. I don’t know what  happened next.


Other things (besides the surrey bike) I would put on my “to-do” list for  next time in Fargo, will include the Air Museum & Rocket and the Space Alien  Bar & Grill…not the wood chipper.. Not ever… not even next time.

Tomorrow (oh, well, in blog time, Wednesday), we’re meeting Richard, Shannan  and the boys in Minneapolis! YAY!

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The World’s Largest Buffalo

 

I just looked down for maybe a minute
(doing a puzzle – Hidato),
and almost missed –

DOG RIVER, Saskatchewan!

I didn’t know it was there!  If you don’t know Dog River, you must not have seen  “Corner Gas“, which is a funny, happy, quirky Canadian sit-com…try to find it on re-runs! (The real town is Rouleau, SK, but the sign on the grain silo is “Dog River”. Google map)

OK – on to the Tallest Stalks of Wheat!

I’m not totally sure these are the record holding Tallest Stalks of Wheat, but, even if they aren’t, they  are really pretty, and make driving through Weyburn, SK that much nicer. (Google map).

It’s amazing what qualifies  for a roadside attraction! What I love is that some of the “attractions” are so  crazy, you have to really admire the person who said, “Let’s build the World’s  Largest Mosquito so people will stop in our little town.” And it works. (“Mossy  the Mosquito” is in Rainbow Lake, Alberta. I don’t know where that is, but if  I’m ever there, I will be sure to stop.)I’m browsing the  roadsideattraction.ca site and am finding out that, in Calgary, I should be able  to see: King Kong climbing a building, a giant rooster, tulips and beetle, and  an upside down church… I haven’t seen these things… I might need to go on a  local field trip…

Which is totally off the subject- we’re on a roadtrip!

We didn’t go through Weyburn  to see the Wheat – we went there because it’s enroute to Fargo ND…Yeah, that’s  right! You heard me – Fargo ND.

Jamestown ND is also enroute, and home to the World’s Largest Buffalo.

There isn’t a sign (or if  there is, we missed it) for “World’s Largest Buffalo”, so we took a guess that  it was at the National Buffalo Museum. (It’s actually just passed there at the  Frontier Village http://goo.gl/maps/j1ZdB).

First of all, the Village is  a cute little old-west street, with stores and buildings rescued from various  places around North Dakota. There, you can take a stagecoach ride (we didn’t – we usually travel with two little dogs, Daisy & Coco, who don’t love  horses), visit the little house dedicated to the works of Louis L’Amour (who is  apparently from Jamestown), and go for a drink at the local  saloon.

We didn’t do any of that – I  just wanted to see the World’s Largest Buffalo. And it was HUGE!! Gigantic!  Totally worth it! I thought it’d be a plastic looking thing, but it looks just  like a giant buffalo! (That’s Peter, Daisy & Coco standing in the buffalo’s  shade.)

From there, you can  see a couple albino buffalo, too. (In fact, that’s how I convinced Peter to go  visit.) They were far away, and at first I thought one was a white rock, but  THEN! It got up and started walking. My pictures aren’t great (I didn’t have  “the big camera” with me at the time), and by “not great”, I mean “terrible”,  but here they are anyway. (You can Google for better picture OR, even better, go  there and take your own!

Next time, I’ll bring the big camera.

There was more to do, more  to see – we could’ve stayed longer, but we had to get to Fargo… to be  continued Sunday.

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