I had returned in April from a 100 day round the world trip in connection with Semester at Sea, so after resting up and thinking about that trip it seemed reasonable to take some more trips in the good old USA, especially along a fairly nice drive near the top of the country. At the west end I would get to see Nick and Zack and their parents, and on the east end I would have a chance to visit with my brothers, see some Badger and Packer football and visit the village I grew up in.
In August I went west.
From Billings one needs to drive north quite a ways before turning left in Browning. I didn’t meet many people on the road except for some very polite Harley drivers, who seemed a little older than the average Harley guy. Browning is a little dusty town with a very wide main street (above) and an odd looking little Catholic church (left) just off the main drag. As you can tell those are smooth rocks that have been tumbled for a long way and a long time. Maybe the next Ice Age will carry them a little further south.
Going toward Browning I drove through the Little Belt Mountains along with a lot of Harleys; some of them accompanied me to Browning. This was a nice part of the drive with the Rockies always to your left.
Highway 2 skirts the southern border of Glacier Park with some nice lodges and a railroad like any civilized place and on through the northwestern corner of Montana, then past Lake Coeur d’ Alene in Idaho, and on into eastern Washington at Spokane, all through some really scenic country.
In September I went east.
I drove up to Malta through the middle of Montana before turning right. One has to cross the Missouri River several times to do this. When I saw this sign the thought jumped out of my brain: “What Would Jesus Do?” Lots of baling going on in the fields along 191 and also along the 2. Fort Peck Reservoir looked a little low at this time in September. Highway 2 in North Dakota is a very good road, often 4 lanes; they keep talking about widening the highway in Montana but so far it is only talk. Fortunately the traffic is fairly light wherever you go in Montana or North Dakota.
Grand Forks, North Dakota is a lovely town with a very good hockey team that also has a university near the rink, on the banks of the Red River, which by the way, flows northward. Cabela’s and Whitey’s are just across the street from each other. What more could a traveler want?
Duluth is fairly picturesque now, at least in the summertime, with all the wide-shouldered stevedores now retired and sitting around the harbor telling their tales to the tourists. I turned right on Hwy 51 and headed straight south to Sun Prairie (SP).
But of course one has to pass very near to Eau Claire (EC) on the way to SP and the historian in me was drawn to the baseball field in EC, called Carson Park. As you can guess by correctly identifying the statue in front of the park this is where Hank Aaron started his professional baseball career in the early 50s. And some Creydts live nearby too. Next time we will visit them. I can vaguely remember a car trip as a child to visit my Aunt Ardis and Uncle Omer in EC. I think he was a student at Stout. Time passes quickly when you are having fun. Visiting relatives was something you did fairly often in the 40s. And celebrating birthdays too. When did we stop doing that and why?