JULY--- Beaver Island, Michigan and North Dakota to Bozeman, Montana

It is July 1 and we are onboard IRISH EYES with friends, Pam and Brian, at the Beaver Island Yacht Dock. Had a shore cookout dinner--the first time in the past three years that we cruised with Pam and Brian to Beaver Island that it was nice enough to grill on shore. The other two years it was just too darn cold. Later that evening, Al, Lauire, Jamie arrived on the island for the holiday weekend--lots of visiting and story telling that night. While on Beaver Island we had a good time with the gang (Tom, Pam, Brian, Al, Laurie and Jamie) doing a variety of activities---the Shea Laurel show at the Beaver Island Community Center; hiking, playing CATCH PHRASE and celebrating the 4th of July.

Below are pictures of the shore cook-out. Yes, the guys (Carl, Tom and Brian) have their jackets on so it was chilly but still nice enough to enjoy dinner on shore. The next picture was taken during our hike on the trail near Potar's Grave---Carl, me, Laurie, Jamie and Pam. Behind us is a huge drainage pipe that you walk through.

Below is a photo of Laurie and I enjoying the Forte's beach at Sand Bay. Not shown is Pam who was the photographer. The second and third picture is of Pam, Brian, Al and Laurie waiting for the Beaver Island 4th of July Parade to start. The fourth picture is the High Island Float---following the SUV is a band of Rastafarians. Picture five is the Ambassador from Hog Island. The float in picture six is a tradition---The Double Decker Patriotic Float which blares out "Born in the USA". Picture seven is the gang at the Beachcombers Bar listening to music. The last picture was taken on our last night on Beaver Island--Pam, Brian, me and Tom at the Stoney Acres Bar.


Al, Laurie and Jamie left Beaver Island Tuesday morning returning to Grand Rapids. On Tuesday, Pam and I went to the grocery store for a few items. While there, I ran into Chris and Diane Hansen on GUNKHOLER. Diane and I worked in the same company in Kalamazoo for 20 years or more. Diane and Chris are on their way to a boatyard or marina near Rochester, NY where they plan to store their boat for the winter. They were traveling with another boat from White Lake--MUTUAL FUN with Randy and Jeannie on board. Randy and Jeannie know several boaters/cruisers that we know but more importantly they are on their way to the Bahamas! Hopefully we will run into Randy and Jeannie this fall/winter on the east coast or in the Bahamas.

Wednesday we said our good-byes to Tom on GORTA MOR and IRISH EYES left Beaver Island heading to Mackinaw City in heavy fog. When we were near St. Helena Island, the fog started to lift so the course was altered and we headed for St. Helena's anchorage. As soon as the anchor was set, Carl and Brian went to the back deck to drop the dinghy in the water. The four of us wanted to visit the historic St. Helena Lighthouse. However, the bugs were so bad the guys wished they had NOT dropped the dinghy. Brian and Carl scurried inside IRISH EYES and closed all the doors to shut the bugs out. Decided to have lunch in the anchorage, skip the dinghy ride to the lighthouse, pull the dinghy back up, raise the anchor and head to Mackinaw City. It was a smooth ride to Mackinaw City where IRISH EYES took a slip at the Mackinaw City Marina. Picked up our car which was in long term parking at Shepler's Ferry parking lot. Carl and I stayed with Pam and Brian for two more nights before heading to East Grand Fork, MN to visit with Carl's brother William and his sister-in-law Shelly.

The first picture shows the fog that we motored through on our way to Gray's Reef. The second picture was taken under the bridge looking up!

Had a beautiful day for driving across Michigan's Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and north central Minnesota to the border of North Dakota. Took us 12 hours so we were happy to finally arrive at William and Shelly's house for the weekend. Saturday Shelly, Carl and I walked to the Farmer's Market. in the morning. Carl'sniece, Rebecca, drove up from Fargo to visit with us. In the evening, William invited neighbors with small children over for campfire for S' mores. Sunday morning, William, Rebecca, Carl and I went for a long walk along the Red River. Sat around visiting the rest of the day.

The next four pictures were taken when we stayed in East Grand Fork, MN. Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN are twin cities separated by the Red River. The first picture is Carl with is sister-in-law, Shelly, buying fresh vegetables at the Farmer's Market. Next is Carl's brother, William, at his grill making breakfast. William likes to cook and really loves his grill. The last two pictures are "flood related". Grand Forks/East Grand Forks had a major flood in 1987 when the Red River crested at 52.04 feet. This flood was a major news story at the time. After this flood, the two cities built permanent dykes. Notice the height of the dykes--gates are put into place when it floods. The last picture is of the Obelisk which shows the water surface elevation during five major floods (1996, 1882, 1979, 1897 and 1987).


Monday morning we crossed the Red River to North Dakota headed to Rock Lake (my hometown). Just a little about North Dakota. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison went through great lengths to OBSCURE the order in which the statehood proclamations of North and South Dakota were signed so the exact order in which these two states entered the union is unknown. Because of the alphabetical position--North Dakota is considered to the be 39th state!! North Dakota is considered to be the friendliest state according to a Cambridge University Study. AAA says it is the most affordable place to travel in the US. Agriculture is the top industry producing enough wheat to make 15.5 billion loaves of bread, potatoes to make 171 servings of french fries and 100 million burgers. The geographical center of North America is located in Rugby. William Lewis and Meriweather Clark spent more time with the Corp of Discovery in North Dakota than any other state along their journey. It was near Mandan, North Dakota that their Indian (Shoshone) Guide, Sacagewea, joined the Corp of Discovery.

Stayed in Rock Lake with my parents for about ten days. Rock Lake's official population in the year 2000 was 474 but it is decreasing quickly. I'd guess there are no more than 200 people there now. So what did we do? During our visits in the past we'd hike for 2 hours in the morning but these hikes came to an abrupt halt two days after our arrival when Carl came down with a bad case of the Summer Creepy Crud. He stayed indoors for the remainder of our stay coughing , watching TV and sleeping. In the meantime, I did things with my parents. and visited with my sister, Cheryl. The talk in town centered around two topics:-- the upcoming closure of the school and the new people in town! School year 2010-2011 will most likely be the last year the school (North Central of Rock Lake) will be open. Enrollment is too low. If it closes in 2011, there will be one school in Towner County. Very sad. Now about the "new people in town"-.--early this summer a van arrived from California. The Garcia family bought a "fixer upper house" on the internet. Upon arrival they found their newly purchased house to be uninhabitable---the basement was full of water and the floors (main and second story) were caving in. This family had been "taken" by some realtor. They pitched their tent in the yard for a couple nights---parents with 5 little girls all under 8 and one of the girls is a baby under 6 months. The good news is they found another house in town (adjacent to the property they had already purchased) so now they own two lots with a livable home and one that will have to be torn down. The Garcia family seem to love it in Rock Lake. The little girls play at the school playground and ride their bikes. They say they are returning again next year.

A few Rock Lake special events: Wednesday night Indian Taco night at the Rock Lake; the town of Hansboro's 105 year Celebration, "Guys and Dolls" musical at Fort Totten Little Theater, Coghlan Castle near St. John and Chinese Food in Belcourt. The Chinese restaurant has a small casino next door where Carl and I played the "one arm bandit"" for 20 minute--won $12.00 in quarters after putting in $3.00.

Attended Hansboro's 105 year anniversary celebration. I lived in a house about 5 miles north of Hansboro from grade 6 until I left for college. Hansboro did not have a school so I went to school in Rock Lake. Today Hansboro has a bar, a hotel and a few houses. They planned a nice little celebration. The afternoon activity was a "Mud Run". The pictures below show how the mud run worked. You may notice that chain behind the vehicle---the chain was loose but connected to a huge tractor that would pull them out after they completed their run.

Wednesday night is Indian Taco night at the Rock Lake Cafe. Basically, an Indian Taco uses fried bread instead of a flour or corn tortilla. One Wednesday afternoon, my sister, Cheryl, was getting together with 3 of her high school classmates at the bar. I went along--yes, the younger sister tagged along. Anyway, Cheryl and I met up with Kay, Emily and Mary Dawn for a few beers before Indian Tacos!


Below is a picture of the Garcia's fixer upper. Can you imagine driving all the way from California with 5 little girls under 8 years of age to find the house you purchased on-line in not habitable?? The second picture is me with my parents in front of their home.

The "Coghlan Castle," (shown below) has a stone turret and tower windows. I used to hang out here just for fun when I was in high school. More about the castle--Maurice Coghlan built the castle of native fieldstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The castle was completed in 1904. Its exterior walls are two feet thick. John Coghlan, brother of Maurice,was a master carpenter and cabinetmaker who did a lot of ornate woodwork on the interior of passenger and Pullman cars for the railroad companies. John was responsible for the diamond inlay in the living room's hardwood floor. Over the years, the castle was trashed. It is currently being restored. The castle was modern for its day including running water, a hot water heating plant, bathtub, inside toilet facilities and a skylight in the upstairs bathroom. There are five large main rooms downstairs, foyer, and a butler's pantry off the kitchen. Upstairs are five large bedrooms, including the turret room with the little dormer windows in the cathedral ceiling adding their light to the space. Besides the grand staircase in the front, there was a back stairs leading from the kitchen.

Spent two nights at John and Suzie Thoreson's home in York which is Carl's hometown. Carl checked out John's shop where John does his metal work. Suzie sorted through a pile a clothes for her new grandchild (coming in November) while I watched. So many cute things. I took a ride around York on John's 4-wheel ATV. In the evening, Erling, (Carl's brother-in-law) arrived late afternoon after attending a birthday party for his Mother. Erling lives, in the St. Paul, MN area. Beth, Carl's sister, could not attend the birthday party because she had made a commitment to watch the grandkids while the parents (Kari and Mike) celebrated their wedding anniversary. Early evening, Suzie and I drove around the Thoreson farmland looking at crops and watching for deer while John, Carl and Erling visited.

Below is a picture of me on John Thoreson's 4 wheel ATV. Yes, that is a gun rack on the side. The second picture shows the Thoreson Family home is York, ND.

The night before we planned to leave Rock Lake, Carl noticed our front tire was flat as a pancake. The next morning he filled the tire with air and drove it downtown to the Cenex station hoping someone was working and they could fix it. Lucked out---the tire was fixed while we had breakfast with my parents and several of their friends at the Rock Lake Cafe. Took a different route to East Grand Forks so we could drive pass the "Pyramid on the Prairie" close to Nekoma, North Dakota. This site was the Safeguard Program. It was developed in the 1960s to shoot down incoming Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles. Built at a cost of 6 billion dollars the site was a massive complex of missile silos, a giant pyramid-shaped radar system, and dozens of launching silos for surface-to-air missiles tipped with thermonuclear warheads. Due to its expense, and concern over its effectiveness and the danger of detonating defensive nuclear warheads over friendly territory, the program was shut down less than one week after it was completed!. Today it is a military-industrial shell in the middle of nowhere. Some describe it as "a monument to man's fear and ignorance."

Stayed in East Grand Forks for two nights. Attended Cabela's friends and family sale where we bought new hiking boots for Carl plus hiking. socks and pole for both of us. . Met John and Suzie Thoreson at Cabela's along with their daughters Emily and Sarah plus son-in-law Jeff. After our shopping excursion we had lunch at the Blue Moose with the John Thoreson gang.

Below is a picture of the "Pyramid on the Prairie" surrounded by wind generators. The second picture was taken during lunch at the Blue Moose with the John Thoreson Family--left to right is Carl, Suzie (John's wife), Jeff (son-in-law), and daughters Emily and Sarah and John.


Left East Grand Forks on July 24 driving 13 hours to Bozeman, Montana. The drive was long (13 hours) but beautiful. The crops in North Dakota look so good--fields of yellow canola, lavender flax, sunflowers, and golden waves of grain. Once you cross the Missouri River, the land changes. It is more rugged--a transition to the mountains in Montana. When we arrived in Bozeman, Anne (Carl's sister) was out for dinner with her friend, Tess. After dinner Tess and Anne stopped by the house to see if we were up to attending a play. We declined their offer opting to eat dinner at the house and stretch our weary bones before heading to bed.

The next morning (after a good breakfast), Anne, Carl and I hiked Drinking Horse which is a relatively new Bozeman trail. The hike is 3.2 miles round trip hike with an elevation gain of 650 feet. The views along the trail are spectacular. From the summit you can see the Absarokas Mountains and many of the Gallatin Valley's mountain ranges. This trail was selected as a warm up hike since we were not in shape for a vigorous mountain hike. Late afternoon we went to the Bogart Farmer's Market where we met Jesse (Anne's daughter), Patrick (significant other) and their daughters, Elle and Lucia. The market was so busy it was difficult to move around. Checked out the alpaca pen and then went out to the playground where Elle could enjoy the play equipment while the adults watched and talked.

Anne and Carl at the start of the Drinking Horse Trail. The second picture shows the view from the summit at Drinking Horse. The last picture was taken at the Bogart Farmer's Market--left to right is Jesse, Patrick, Elle, Anne and Carl.

Wednesday we decided to climb Sacagewea the highest peak in the Bridger Mountains( 9,665 feet). The hike is 4 miles round trip and takes about 4 hours plus whatever time you spend at the saddle and peak. The trail goes up the mountain passing through a glacial cirque to the Bridger Divide between Sacagewea and Hardscrabble peak. Yes, we hiked through snow while climbing the switchbacks. At the Bridger Divide we stopped for a snack to enjoy the view. Then we followed the trail which winds up to the rocky summit for the most fantastic view of surrounding mountains. To sourth are the Gallatin Range (which includes the Hyalites) and the Madison Range (which include Big Sky and Spanish Peaks); the Big Belt Range lie to north,: to the west are the Elkorn and Tobacco Roots; and to east are the Crazies. By the time I reached the peak, I was pretty scared (too much time on the prairie and the sea so the height was intimidating). My preferred position was sitting finding it difficult to stand up or move close to the edge. My brain was so concerned about getting down the steep portion of the trail that it was hard to enjoy the summit. Found the descent to be much easier than I thought it would be--a very good thing. In fact, once I got going I was totally relaxed. Used my hiking pole to help me down the steepest part. So glad we did this climb even though I found it to be a challenge to keep moving up to the top!!! Anne, Carl and I all slept well Wednesday night after the hike.

Below are two pictures taken from the saddle between Sacagawea and Hardscrabble peak.

The four pictures below were taken at the Sacagewea summit.

Below is a picture of Carl and I walking through snow in the glacial cirque and a picture taken at Fairy Lake at the base of Sacagawea.

Thursday morning our muscles were sore from the Sacagewea hike so we took it easy. Hiked Peet's Hill by the Bozeman Library. This is a popular spot for people to get a run in before or after work or walk their dog. Thursday night is Music on Main---Carl, Anne and I met Jesse, Patrick and the girls. Elle had her face painted, the adults (minus Carl) enjoyed a beer and then the music started. This week's band was not that good so we left the Main fairly early.

Pictures of Carl's great neices----Lucia (in her bouncing equipment) and Elle (getting a face painting during Music on the Main)

Friday we hiked Bear Canyon. The trail follows Bear Canyon Creek passing through lush forest below a weathered stone formation on Francham Mountain. We crossed over the creek several times by hopping rocks. Looked for some cabins that marked the way up Chestnut Mountain but we quit before finding them. Our goal was to hike 4 hours and we were out longer than that so we turned around. Made some pizzas for dinner then watched a movie.

Pictures from the Bear Canyon hike---Anne & Carl enjoying a snack on the trail and the open meadows in the canyon.

Saturday was a full day. The morning started with garage sales. Mary (Patrick's Mom) picked Anne and I up. Mary had circled 8-10 sales in the local paper that she was interested in. One of the sales had so many baby clothes--all like new and some never used. I purchased one of those sun screens for the car windshield, a leather purse ($1.00 each) and a tiny little hand knit sweater with matching cap for Lucia. Went to the Farmer's Market at the Bozeman Fairgrounds where we purchased a few itmes and ate lunch. Drove to Three Forks in the afternoon to attend the Antique Airplane Fly-In. Enjoyed watching the planes compete in the Flour Drop and Spot Landing. For the flour drop, the plane has two attempts to drop a bag of flour out of the plane into a barrel. It is said that the safest place to be during this competition is "in the barrel". No one hit the barrel and I think the closest bag was still 6-10 feet away. In the evening, we were invited to Tess and Phil's place in Bear Canyon for dinner. We met Tess and Phil three years ago while visiting Anne. In past years Tess joined us on our float down the Madison River and on several hikes. We enjoy Phil & Tess and love their home that for us is so isolated in the canyon.

The first two pictures were taken at the Antique Airplane Fly-in at Three Forks. The second picture is Tess standing next to her dinner buffet.

July was a great month traveling from northern Beaver Island, Michigan to North Dakota and finally to Bozeman. The weather was great---warm days with rain mostly at night. I wish I could have flown over North Dakota in a small airplane to see the beautiful fields from the air. No picture can capture the beautiful mountains and views around Bozeman. While I miss the ocean and the cruising lifestyle.......being a "Land Gypsy" for a while is pretty good.

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
August 6, 2010