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JULY---North Dakota to Pentwater, MI

Weird Things:

Early in the month, the Honda was on a "Wildlife Killing Spree". I was driving down Polk Road heading toward Highway 31 when the "Mother of All Raccoons" came out of the ditch. Could not swerve to miss it because a car was in the other lane. Thunk! Pulled over.....the plastic shielding under the car on the passenger side was dragging on the ground. The passenger fender was hanging down too but not all the way to the ground. Off to the body shop outside Mears. Within 5 minutes the crew was working on the car.....tied everything up with plastic wire ties. Only Carl and I would notice the "quick fix". Returned to the body shop later in the month to have the final repair. After that incident, Carl decided he was the better person to drive. About 3 days later, Carl was driving and came upon a bunch of crows munching on road kill. One crow stayed for that last bite. That crow wasn't high enough in the air......wham, it hit the windshield. Yes, it was time for Carl to eat crow.

Speaking of animals.....this incident involved domestic animals. Driving from Grand Forks, ND to Rock Lake, ND on US Highway 10 when we came upon a herd of cattle standing in the right lane. Of course, Carl provided his advise, "Slow down". Crawled by the herd hoping the huge semi truck behind me would slow down in time. Wish I would have taken a picture with the cellphone camera.

Still on the subject of wildlife. When visiting Carl's brother, William and sister-in-law, Shelly, a group of us were sitting on lawn chairs enjoying the evening when we noticed a rather loud, good sized bird in the pine tree. Shelly worked with someone who has a friend who is a Urban Raptor Specialist. The next day, the Urban Raptor Specialist showed up with a Merlin Falcon call. The call attracted the birds back into the pine tree. The Specialist said it was a Merlin Falcon mother with two young ones. The mother was teaching the little ones to hunt. Shelly and the Specialist walked around the neighborhood looking for the nest and found it (whitewash all over the tree and sidewalk below plus lots of bones from small birds). The Merlin Falcon were popular in falconry in medieval Europe--they are sometimes called a "pigeon hawk" though they are falcons not hawks. Trivia .....a group of merlins is known as a brace, leash and illusion of merlins!

It was very weird NOT the be on Beaver Island for the 4th of July. It has been the tradition for years to meet friends--Pam & Brian, Al & Laurie and Tom on Beaver. Usually stayed there a week or so. This year none of us made it to Beaver Island for Independence Day. : (

More weirdness.....Carl and I grew up north of Devils Lake, North Dakota. After a severe drought during the 1930's, Devils Lake had nearly evaporated. Today, the ever expanding Devils Lake a slow growing monster. The lake has steadily expanded over the last 20 years swallowing up thousands of acres, hundreds of building and two towns in its rising water. The water level has risen about 25 feet since 1993 and is still rising. The lake covers over 315 square miles (1964 it covered 30 square miles). Portions of US Highway 281 are now under water forcing the relocation of the highway to west. Miles of country roads are under water .....sections that farmers depend on to get to their fields have been raised 2-3 times. The railroad tracks for BNSF and Amtrak have been raised with some sections under threat for a second time.

Found some photos online that demonstrate how Devils Lake has grown. The first photo shows Devils Lake in 1984. Compare it to the second photo of Devils Lake in 2009---look at the lower right corner where Stump Lake is. Devils Lake has spilled over into that lake. The graph on the bottom shows how the lake level has risen.


Last weird topic......the cool Michigan summer. One day only did the temperature rise above 80 degrees to a high of 82. The mean high temperature was 73 degrees. One day the high was 63 degrees. It was also very dry.....0.06 inches of precipitation. Just for comparison, June's high was 88 degrees and precipitation was 0.67 inches.


Carl's High School Reunion:

Carl and I attended his 50th High School Reunion in Leeds, North Dakota. Carl tells every one..."My classmates were born in 1946. Had 46 classmates that graduated in 1964". Thirty three classmates attended the reunion (5 classmates had passed away). Name tags had their graduation picture on it. Two maps were set up......one of the US and one of the world. Each classmate was given 4 pins (with a number that correlated to their name) that was used to mark the places where the classmate lived. There was a table recognizing classmates who served in the military along with a small ceremony. After lunch, a slide show---photo of each classmate along with quotes from the Annual (Year Book). Carl really enjoyed the reunion. My favorite part of the reunion was watching classmates "eye each other over" when they met. You could see the wheels grinding in the brain trying to recall who the person was. Recognition would finally click but for some it took time.

On the left--Carl visiting with classmate Gary Larsen. On the right--members of the Leeds Lions Basketball Team and Cheerleaders.

Map of the US with pins showing where classmates lived since graduating. On the right the group photo (need a better camera).

The food table---the desserts were so yummy.


Visiting the Thoresons:

Stayed with John and Suzie Thoreson in York the night after the reunion. John and Suzie live in the "old family home" in York. John has been renovating the old house and it is looking good. Enjoyed a good night's sleep....did not even hear the trains passing by during the night (the railroad traffic way up with all the oil coming out of western North Dakota). The next day, John, Suzie, Carl and I went for a drive to look at the country. So many roads closed because of high water. Carl and I enjoy driving around to see the countryside and our farm land when we are back in ND. Suzie showed me some of her treasures from Alaska (John and Suzie where teachers in Sishmaref, Alaska)....Suzie gave me several pieces of ivory and bone for a jewelry project.

Photos taken when driving around the countryside. On the left is Anne Thoreson's corn (my sister-in-law in Bozeman) and on the right is our soybeans (planted late due to heavy spring rainfall).

Stayed with William and Shelly Thoreson . Had a family dinner one night---nieces and their husbands (Rebecca & Randy Scofield and Emily & Shannon Kliniske. William made an Alfredo pasta with grilled chicken and shrimp followed by key lime pie. After dinner we sat around a campfire and visited. The next day, walked to the Farmer's Market. William made ribs for dinner which is pretty much an all day project. Rubbed and smoked them for hours then finished off with just a little barbeque sauce. Shelly made rhubarb pie.

Family dinner photos. Left--William and Shelly (host and hostess); on right--Rebecca and Randy. Middle left--Emily and Shannon; middle right--the two of us! Bottom left---Grand Fork's Saturday morning Farmers' Market. Bottom right--photo of canola field and wind generators taken between Rock Lake and Grand Forks.


One afternoon while visiting William and Shelly, we drove down to Fargo to visit North Dakota State University Campus. Stopped at the Alumni Center, the Pharmacy building where we visited with old time friend, Wanda Roden, for a few minutes. Visited with the Dean of Engineering. Lots of construction underway on campus. The enrollment continues to increase. Plans underway for a NDSU reunion for everyone graduating in the 60's---fall of 2015. Carl wants to attend.

Rock Lake, ND:

Rock Lake is where my parents live and where I graduated from high school. My parents are doing well considering their age and medical conditions. What is there to do in this little town of 100? We mostly ate ......first breakfast followed by lunch with the Senior Citizens then dinner in the evening. Forgot to mention there was always a pan of bars on the kitchen counter. Carl and I managed to walk an hour between breakfast and lunch. My sister, Cheryl, who lives in Rock Lake joined us in the evening for dinner. One night Cheryl and I meet our cousin Kernis at the bar for a couple beers (Carl declined our invitation).

With my parents in front of their house in Rock Lake. Feel like I need to explain....my Mom has Parkinson's Disease so she lacks facial expressions. Take my word for it....she is the sweetest thing next to honey.

Back in Pentwater:

Returned to Pentwater via "The Badger". Caught the red eye which departs Manitowoc at 1:15 AM (central time) and arrives in Ludington at 6:15 AM (eastern time). Our stateroom was hot and stuffy when we arrived. Opened the window and it .cooled down right away. Comfortable crossing in 2-3 foot waves---according to forecast but don't know for sure because we were asleep.

Another trip on The Badger.

Only made it to the Artisan Center one Tuesday afternoon in July. Continuing my knitting project on my own which could be dangerous. I am trying to follow the directions and realize my work may need to be taken apart. Made a necklace and earrings for a cruising friend.

Carl is busy at Patterson Marine where he is learning to splice braid on braid line and other activities. Jack Patterson, the former owner of Patterson Marine, passed away this past year. A hand full of guys bought the business and are building a reliable small marine business. Carl enjoys being involved in this operation.

Drove over to Chase, MI to met cruising friends, Karen and Chris for lunch. Great barbeque restaurant. It was good to catch up with all the happenings. Plan to get together again in August when we return from Florida.

Carl had been looking for a used, low mileage Town and Country mini-van. Found two to look at in Holland at Crown Motors. With all the rebates Chrysler offered .....decided to purchase a new one! Sold our Toyota Camry on Craig's List.

Grand Rapids, MI:

Drove down to Grand Rapids to visit Al and Laurie Forte who were staying with Pam and Brian. Jamie (al and Laurie's daughter) joined us for dinner. Brian grilled brats and hamburgers. It was great seeing Al and Laurie again (haven't seen them for a year). Watched the Grand Budapest Hotel which is an odd movie. Both Carl and I liked it.

Returned to Grand Rapids for some shopping with Pam. Staying overnight so we could leave early the next morning for Canton, MI. After dinner and watched the movie "Gravity". Next day, Pam and I drove the IKEA store in Canton. Decided that the corner red leather sofa that I dreamed about owning for close to a year just wasn't comfortable to sit on. Oh it looks good but the seat was too deep for me (my feet were at least 8 inches off the floor when I put my back against the backrest). What a let down. Walked through the rest of the store then had lunch in the cafeteria. Back to Grand Rapids then home to Pentwater.


Submitted by:

Marilyn Thoreson
August 01, 2014