To North Dakota September 1-10, 2006

On September 1st we left Tusen Takk II at Fairview Marina south of Baltimore and jumped on a plane to visit family and friends in North Dakota.  In particular we went to help Chuck's sister Zona celebrate her 60th birthday, to celebrate Zona's and her husband Mike's 40th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate their daughter Jessica's 30th birthday. 

Tropical Storm Ernesto was bearing down upon us as we left Baltimore, but the friendly and knowledgeable owner of Fairview Marina, Marc, helped us "spider web" the boat away from the dock, gave Chuck materials to seal the opening left by the missing port light, and promised to keep an eye on the boat while we were gone.   His wife drove us to the BWI airport.   (And by the time we returned, the port light had been straightened as-good-as-new and re-installed.  And the boat weathered just fine the less-severe-than-expected storm.)  Note to cruisers:  Fairview Marina is a good place to get a slip.

We flew into Bismarck, ND, where we took possession of a rental vehicle and drove to the southern outskirts of the capital city to Mike's and Zona's home for a reunion with them, Chuck's mother, nephew Erik and niece Cathy.  Next day we all drove east down the mostly straight and mostly deserted interstate -- strictly observing the 75 mph speed limit:  these folks up here are of Norwegian stock, and RULES ARE RULES -- to a point half-way between Bismarck and Jamestown, to the little burg of Dawson, ND, which has shrunk to the point of two bars, one occasionally-open produce outlet, and, believe it or not, an excellent massage parlor!   Just a few miles south of Dawson lies Lake Isabel, a natural body of water around which folks have erected cabins, many of which are occupied only on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but some of which, increasingly, are occupied full-time.   Mike and Zona have a large cabin there on the lake.  Lack of rain the past few years has dropped the lake level considerably, but there were still plenty of water for the buzzing jet skis and motor boats.

Good friends and immediate Lake Isabel neighbors, Marvin and Violet Budvig, offered their large and spotless garage as the rain site for the big celebration which prompted our visit.  The big day was beautiful, but the garage was used anyway.  All of Marvin and Violet's kids (and grandkids) were there, as were all of Mike and Zona's children and grandchildren and our oldest daughter, Nellie, and her two girls, Katie and Jessie.  And lots of friends and neighbors of Mike and Zona that we didn't know.  Marvin and Violet we did know -- we had a great time with them years ago when they were also on a tour of Norway with us.   They insisted that we (and Nellie and kids) stay with them even though they were also hosting their own set of kids and grandkids for the Labor Day weekend.   Great folks.  Mike's and Zona's cabin and a local B & B they rented were filled to the bursting with their family.  I must also mention another guest of the celebration:  Nancy Linderman Kernan.  She flew in from California.   Daughter of North Dakota farmers, and daughter of a good friend and second cousin of Chuck's mom.   Good to see her again.  The party was a success with over 70 guests.  Granddaughters Katie and Jessie had a blast using Mike's four wheeler and jet ski throughout the week-end.  Chuck enjoyed running around the lake with Erik, and sidestepped running with Jessica and Drew, since they were in top competitive shape, and he wasn't.

After the celebration we helped Mike harvest his grapes, played some vicious cards, and then moved on down the interstate to Jamestown, where we finally made good on a long-standing promise to paint Mom's house if she just wouldn't cave in to some shyster's attempt to sell her siding for the house.   Well, we didn't really paint the whole house.  Not enough time this year.  The trim on the windows and doors needed attention the most -- and so they got scraped and primed and painted.  The visit allowed us to spend some quality time with Mom -- a lively and energetic person still going strong at 87.   One evening Barb also got together with a couple of high school chums:  Monica, who lives in Florida but happened to be "in the neighborhood", and Lynne, who lives in Valley City, ND.  We also had an enjoyable dinner with Chuck's cousin Karl and his wife Julie.  They had purchased new scooters last summer, and we took them for a spin.  Fun!  Hmmm.  Could be very handy to have for extended trips for groceries in the Caribbean...

And then it was time to drive at precisely 75 mph back to Bismarck, site of the United Tribes Pow-wow.   Chuck grew up on the Sisseton Indian reservation in NE South Dakota, and so he had a special interest in the festivities.  He could even pick up a word or two when the announcer spoke in Dakota (Sioux, to those who don't know what they call themselves).  And he very nearly worked up enough courage to join in when the announcer declared an "open" dance.  But not quite.  :-(  The costumes and dancers at the Pow-wow were awesome.  See the photos below.

When we returned to BWI, we were met by Jack and Patsy McCord, owners of the Krogen named  Honga, who not only graciously provided transportation from the airport but also kindly watched over Tusen Takk II in our absence.

Photos from North Dakota visit with Family & Friends

Chuck's sister Zona and her fabulous grill

View of lake from Mike's and Zona's cabin

Zona and son Erik

Zona's daughter Jessica and friend Drew

Zona's daughter Suzie & husband John

Zona's daughter Cathy, husband Jon and his parents

Barb holding Suzie's son Oliver

Cathy's & Jon's son Cole

Suzie, John & daughter Maddie

Mom watching as Zona opens presents

Barb, Mom, Zona and Nancy

Our daughter Nellie & Mike

Our granddaughter Jessie playing with dogs in Lake Isabel (Suzie & Oliver in foreground)

Our granddaughters Jessie (a bit nervous) & Katie taking Mike's four wheeler out for a spin

Jessie & Allison on trampoline in Lake Isabel

Grand daughter Katie, Chuck and daughter Nellie preparing for party

Katie involved in decorating

Mike, Erik & John

Zona's and Mike's good friend and neighbor Marvin with Cole

Cathy proposes a toast to the celebrants

Celebration for Zona turning 60, Mike and Zona being married 40 years, and daughter Jessica turning 30

Toast presented by Mike and Zona's best man (from 40 years ago) Willie Weimer

Birthday girls make a wish

Celebrating their 40th

Time waits for no one

Long night?

Zona's neighbor and friend Violet with her grand daughter Kelsey

Rules for Marvin's & Violet's hot tub

Displaying Mike's grapes

Chuck helping Mike pick grapes

Mike showing off one of his beautiful flowers

Mom with Nancy Linderman Kernan

The peanut gallery watching the grape pickers

Grapes Mike harvested and will use to make "Grape Crazy" liquor

Mike with Maddie, Oliver and Jackson

Barb with Monica & Lynne, her two good friends from high school

Barb had a mini-reunion with high school classmates while in NoDak (Steve, Jim, Lynne & Monica)

Barb and her brother Tim, who lives in NoDak

Cousin Karl and Julie had us over for dinner

Port made by cousin Karl & Julie

Chuck riding Karl's scooter

Chuck painting his mother's house

Barb helping with the job

Mom supervising

Krogenites, Jack & Patsy McCord, who generously picked us up at the airport on our return to Baltimore


Photos from the United Tribes Pow-Wow in Bismarck, ND

One of many drumming teams

Another team

Outgoing Queen (and mother)

Queen candidate

Another candidate

All five candidates

Braves in "traditional" dance dress

Teen traditional

Teen traditional

Teen "fancy" competition

More fancy

Fancy competitors on grand entry

More fancy

Fancy competitors

"Grass" dancer

Teen woman in grand entry

Teen women in traditional dance

Teen "bird" dancers

Bird competitors

Old brave

Elder brave

More elders

More elders




Women elders

Young brave