Day 36: July 21, 2016
Lewis, Clark, Welk, & Kevin

Comment via blog

Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

I started today with a thirty mile drive north (i.e., away from home) to visit Fort Mandan and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Of course the fort is a reproduction but drawings and descriptions of the original allow it to be quite accurate in structure and dimensions. Significant guesswork and plain old creativity was involved in setting up the individual room interiors though they are certainly representative of of what once was. The exact location of the original is unknown. When the reproduction was built, it was thought to be located fairly close. However, more recent discoveries indicate that the original was probably several miles away.

This concludes my unofficial quest for Corps of Discovery forts. They built three. The winter of 1803-04 was spent in preparation at Fort Dubois near Saint Louis. I visited there in 2004. The winter of 1804-1805 was spent here and the winter of 1805-06 was spent at Fort Clatsop near Astoria, Oregon. I was there in 2008.

The interpretive center is a couple of miles south of the fort. It is fronted by twelve foot tall statues of Lewis and Clark meeting with Mandan Chief Sheheke and filled with well done interactive displays.

I didn't need this sign to know that Lawrence Welk's birthplace was near by. I'd already picked up on that via the Roadside America Garmin app and had it plugged in as my next stop. The sign is on US-83. The Welk homestead is a couple of gravel paved miles away. I figured the stop would yield a corny joke or two but instead heard a pair of success stories. Ludwig and Christina Welk were fleeing an oppressive Russia when they reached the end of the railroad and bought a pair of oxen to reach this North Dakota homestead. Lawrence may have been fleeing a less than happy childhood when he hit the road with an accordion and little else. By all accounts he never looked back after departing on his twenty-first birthday.

Of course, a failure to find laughs at the farm won't keep me from bringing up that Lawrence Welk show performance of a "modern gospel". Check out One Toke Over the Line.

Crossing a state line is an event worth reporting but it's not nearly as cool as what I learned when I stopped here. Whenever I pull over, I usually check my phone for messages, email, etc. I did that here and found a Facebook notification with a long story behind it. Several months ago I noticed a Facebook post from a former coworker saying that an Alaskan cruise was planned for this summer. I saw no more (Which doesn't mean there weren't any.) but was aware of a knee operation with on-going recovery. I assumed the operation had scuttled the cruise. Then, two weeks ago, Kevin commented on one of my Facebook posts from Anchorage saying that he and his wife, Cheryl, would be in Alaska in a week. They were doing a cruise that would be followed by a four day bus tour. They would surely be in Anchorage. I didn't know exactly where they would stop and couldn't have done much with the information if I did know. It was my last day in Anchorage and I was at my last stop of the day, the Alaska Native Heritage Center. That seemed like a place that might be included in a tour so I scribbled "Hi Kevin" on a businessless card and looked around for a place to hide it. I stuck it behind a sign near the entrance and posted this picture with hints to help find it if they even got there.

On the nineteenth I learned that they would in fact be visiting the Center but now I worried that the elements or a curious tourist had destroyed or removed the card. Nope. Shortly before my stop at the line between the Dakotas, Kevin had reached the Center and the sign and posted this picture.

I realize that a dome is generally wasted space and that domes and columns cost money. I really don't want to criticize North Dakota for being practical and conservative with taxpayer money but the truth is that the South Dakota capitol in Pierre clearly looks the part while the one in Bismarck could be any space-for-rent office building.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]