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Good-bye North Dakota; Hello Minnesota!

November 15, 2013

North Dakota/Minnesota – Tuesday, November 5

I had a vet appointment for Tula first thing this morning, so I found the clinic and they did a check-up on Tula. They could see her hobbling, and the vet did range-of-motion checks on Tula’s legs and felt her back, and her knees, and said everything felt strong and good. She wondered if there might be a soft-tissue injury and gave me some pain medication for Tula to take for a week, and if the hobbling continues, she said I might want to think about getting some x-rays when I get home.

I had about a mile and a half left of walking in North Dakota, and finished it off in downtown Fargo. Since this is buffalo country, the town had various buffalo statues placed all over town, and painted in a variety of colors and designs.  Then all 56 miles of walking were done, and all 7 North Dakota donations had been made – Safe Shelter, Heaven’s Helpers Soup Kitchen, Welcome House START program, Seeds of Hope, Scandinavian Heritage Park Gol Stave Church, Dakota Prairie Food Pantry and North Dakota Veterans Home.

I said good-bye to North Dakota, drove across the Red River of the North, and crossed into Moorhead, Minnesota. I found a park right by the river and got Tula out for a half mile – I’m still going to have her take it easy today. Then I stopped by the Dorothy Day food pantry, which just so happened to be open on Tuesdays at 1:00, and that was the time I got there! I stopped in to ask if they would prefer a financial donation or a food donation, and I met an enthusiastic older gentleman named Jim who took me inside the pantry to show me a poster of how much farther they can stretch a dollar than I can. So I made a financial donation.  Jim showed me all around the pantry area, and explained their system. They use a color-coded system, and when the clients come in, they are allowed to “shop” for the items they need, based on their family size which determines their color. Then, even if there is a language barrier, the people can choose the foods their family will enjoy. There was even a kids’ shelf where the kids could each choose something.  And there were plenty of volunteers on hand to help out too – it was a busy place!

Then I found the Red River Trail, and it passed by the Hjemkomst Center, which I planned to visit when I was done with some walking. I followed the river trail, and enjoyed a long 4 1/2 mile late-fall walk. Then I went into the Hjemkomst Center, which is another Scandinavian place to visit, and one of the volunteers took me out to an exact replica of a stave church, and we were able to go inside. The wood work and carving was beautiful. The inside of the stave church isn’t as big as the outside appears because of all the ornate woodwork. Benches were apparently not used, and anyone who was ill had to stay outside and listen to the church service through the “leper window.” Back inside the center I watched a video about a man who built a replica of a Viking ship in the 1980s (a project that took years to complete) to fulfill his dream of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to Norway. He started from scratch – cutting down trees and sawing the planks. He died before the boat was finished, but his kids carried on, and eventually they were able to put together a crew, and they successfully sailed the boat from Duluth MN to Norway. The actual boat is now in the center, and it is kind of a broad, shallow boat, and I can’t imagine sailing it out on the open ocean – it just didn’t see like it was big enough to go against the waves and bad weather. But they made it, and fulfilled their fathers’ dream. The video was really good, and to be able to see and touch the actual boat was pretty amazing.

I went back outside to do a little more walking in Moorhead before it got dark, and Tula went on part of the walk too.  I covered 2 1/2 miles in a pretty neighborhood area as it was getting dark. Then I returned to the Hjemkomst Center (conveniently open late on Tuesdays) to look at the museum area. They had some nice displays – an old loom which was weighted with rocks, a Norwegian tent and clothing displays and various old tools and weapons.  It was also the grand opening of a Sheep to Shawl exhibit, and I wandered through that. There were displays of different kinds of  wool, spinning and knitting.

By the time I was done there, it was late. I had made my first Minnesota donation and done 8 miles of walking without getting more than a few miles into the state! So I got in the van and drove about 40 miles to the town of Detroit Lakes, where I stopped for the night.

 

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