[It’s now the am in Roseau, Minnesota. This is not a photo of a trailer park; this is a picture of a windshield. There is an issue with summer travel the farther north you go – it’s called insectosplatia. In this case, I counted the remains of 42 different species on the windshield. Caribou have been known to plunge over cliffs, sometimes executing one and a half gainers with a full twist, in order to escape the mass assault of these creatures. The natural enemy of the flying insect is the windshield; however, the windshield has not been in existence long enough for insects to have developed an innate fear and to take evasive actions. In our case, the Super’s super-duper diesel VW (a/k/a, bug (appropriate)) gets 46 mpg on the road. She normally has to stop for gas every third year. But in this case visibility becomes a real problem when she’s only down an eighth of a tank. We had to stop regularly at gas stations to double clean the windshield while she put in about a buck-two-eighty worth of fuel! Which of course leads me to the question of why does this happen, in consideration of such things as biology, physics, string theory, Sanskrit, and possibly the capital of Burkina Faso. The Super’s VW travels at highway speed (almost in spite of itself) and in doing so pushes a bow wave of air in front of it. So this air, which has some heft to it, is moving forward in front of the car at, say, 65 mph. The query then is why does this blast of air not move these small airborne creatures over and around said vehicle – they somehow are able to penetrate this shield only to become a globby mess of protoplasm on the windshield. A question for Bill Nye, the science guy, or possibly the Car Talk guys. I took a lot of photos through the windshield on the trip – and while the focus is always on some distant object, you may occasionally notice windshield bug residue in a photo. As for the rest of the car, we dropped it Olav’s Towing & Sandblasting and pick it up again in about a week.]
[Number 2 on the sign is a Bucket List item.]
[Remember the good ole days when this was just a drive-through? Now this? The Canadian guard, whose demeanor was that of a dead carp, for some reason took a long time to review our passports? There were no other cars there or in line so maybe he thought he had the time to review my blog to see if I had ever published anything negative about Wayne Gretzky or, heaven forbid, Celine Dion?]
[But eventually we were released on our travels, through the tundra not unlike what I recall from driving over the top of the Great Lakes many years ago, until we arrived in Sprague . . . at its hotel.]
[In the absence of research, we didn’t realize this would require extensive travel on a gravel road, thus mussing the Super’s vehicle. We did see lots of deer along the way, however.]
And so to the Northwest Angle, the northern most point of the contiguous 48 states.
Minnesota, hail to thee!
Hail to thee, our state so dear,
Thy light shall ever be
A beacon bright and clear.
Thy son and daughters true
Will proclaim thee near and far,
They shall guard thy fame and adore thy name;
Thou shalt be their Northern Star.
Like the stream that bends to sea,
Like the pine that seeks the blue;
Minnesota, still for thee
Thy sons are strong and true.
From the woods and waters fair;
From the prairies waving far,
At thy call they throng with their shout and song;
Hailing thee their Northern Star.
The music and original stanzas were written and revised by two students at the University of Minnesota in 1904 and 1905. The official University of Minnesota song was adopted as the state song in 1945.
[This is not Jake – we didn’t get his name – but I believe he said two generations of “Jakes” have died. He was a nice chap, quite amenable to giving us the story of the area.]
[Sand greens! 🙂 ]
[As in everything up here, the most northern in the contiguous 48 of . . . in this instance post offices.]
[The most northern international airport in the contiguous 48 . . . ]
[And the school tells its own story.]
[A final tour of the neighborhood . . . it’s not really a travel destination area, unless you’re an avid fisherman.]
[Then heading on back, interrupting a heron reverie in the middle of the road along the way.]
[Pay place, dirt road again, didn’t enter.]
[Hadn’t run across this franchise before? 🙂 We’re back to Sprague and wanted to make sure we got a shot of this on the way out.]
[This requires a long story. Look at this place – seems like an entrance to a top secret facility. There are cameras everywhere. We were pulled over here, and questioned by a border guard in full riot gear, minus the Darth Vader helmet. It was embarrassing . . . and incredibly discourteous. Amazingly, in the short time we have been home we have heard several anecdotes of similar nature. My brother this summer at the same crossing point; a friend who told a TSA agent at MSP to “never talk to my wife again like that;” people in Warroad and International Falls who have to deal with it every time they cross the border. Something has really gone afoul here. The U.S.-Canada border used to be the longest unprotected border in the world – there is no reason it shouldn’t be so today (our last conflict with Canada was 200 years ago). Honest to goodness, we had a much easier, and more pleasant, time crossing borders in Eastern Europe, and most places in Western Europe are like it used to be between the U.S. and Canada. I have written on this before – and since now there is talk among some presidential candidates about building a wall on the Canadian border, I give you:
“Good Fences Do Not Make Good Neighbors” – Joyce Marcel (6-21-2007)
The “something” that does not love a wall – Frost impishly suggests “elves” – causes frost heaves to spill boulders. It attracts hunters who tear apart sections looking for a rabbit in a burrow.
Why have the wall at all, Frost asks. He’s raising apples. His neighbor is growing pines. “My apple trees will never get across and eat his pine cones,” he chides. His neighbor just huffs, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Frost wonders, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out/ And to whom I was like to give offense.” It’s a fair question.
When the Chinese built the Great Wall, it was an attempt to keep out marauding Mongols. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.
The Maginot Line was an attempt to stop the Germans from attacking France. Instead, the Germans went around it.
The Berlin Wall was an affront, designed to keep a captive people inside the Iron Curtain. The world rejoiced when it was torn down.
The Isreali-Palestinian Wall, besides meandering here and there to steal a little more Palestinian land, bristles with barbed wire, cameras, electricity, sensors, watchtowers and sniper posts. By building it, Israel is giving the world a lesson in cold brutality.
In the latest issue of The Nation, Naomi Klein spotlights another aspect of that particular wall: it is helping the Israeli economy. The creative intelligence of the country has been poured into “selling fences to an apartheid planet… Many of the country’s young entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, and its occupation of Gaza and the West bank, as a kind of twenty-four-hour showroom.”
During the years since 9/11, the federal government has obsessively focused attention and money on border control. The Canadian-American border is a mess. The American passport system failed this summer. So if illegal aliens are still flooding in, either our government is incompetent or it has an impossible job. Either way, how will a fence help?
Latin Americans are workers, not apple trees out to eat our pine cones – or our lunch.
Who are we walling in, Frost asks? Who are we walling out?
Clearly, it’s ourselves we’re walling in. We’re creating our own jail. We’re walling out fresh people, fresh ideas and fresh labor. We’re walling out the world.
If we let the conservatives win this fight, we turn America into one large gated community. And no matter how we feel about illegal immigrants, we will all be deeply injured by the results.
Frost’s neighbor, clutching his stones, is “like an old-stone savage armed/He moves in darkness as it seems to me/Not of woods only and the shades of trees.”
Walls create darkness. Eventually, they collapse. Historically, when have they ever make good neighbors? They must not be built.]
[Warroad is all about Marvin Windows. I guess you’d say Warroad is Marvin Windows. The business burned down in the old days, as businesses in the old days often did, but the family decided they would rebuild – right there in Warroad. When they had their first profit sharing (the photos), one of the Marvins drove to the Twin Cities to get enough silver dollars to give their employees a bag full of them. When the Great Recession hit in 2008, they never laid off any employees. It’s now an international business.]
[Warroad has a hockey history similar to that for Roseau – home to such as the Christian brothers, T. J. Oshie, Henry Boucha, and Gigi Marvin. Still upset over our border crossing incident, we totally forgot to visit the Christian Bros. hockey stick company! 😦 ]
[Baudette, on the Rainy River, now internationally-known as the hometown of the Carlos Creek Winery owners.]
[After entering Baudette, we back tracked a bit because we had yet to see the big open water of Lake of the Woods. We went out to Wheelers Point where the view of the “big water” appears to be blocked by a barrier island? Oy!]
[So then, why not just a picture of us enjoying a nosh and a brew where the Rainy River empties into Lake of the Woods?]
[We were shocked, if not surprised, to learn that these places do better tourism-wise in winter rather than summer. Something about ice fishing really gets some people’s juices flowing! Full disclosure: I went ice fishing once; once was enough.]
[Back through Baudette, and along the Rainy River, still on Mn11, heading toward International Falls.]
[Then, as if on cue, the Super mentioned something about not seeing fire watch towers.]
[Hay! Hay! Hay!]
[Hay! Hay! Hay! Hay!]
[Bees! Saw lots of these along the route – good sign!]
[Hay-ay-ay . . . ]
[Upon arriving at “The Falls,” a/k/a America’s icebox, we just did a drive through . . . ]
[Just a bit further through Ranier . . . ]
[On the way to . . . the Super, not a fan of traveling without plans, did call ahead from Roseau to make our overnight destination here, on Rainy Lake.]
[Our first sighting on going lakeside . . . all the years in D.C., we always thought a houseboat vacation on Rainy Lake would be the way to go – and here they were!]
[Lake view from the lodge deck.]
[Gorgeously perfect day to sit out and enjoy the view.]
[Our server was from Kansas City – and yes, B’ball Dan, she knew Arthur Bryant’s but had never been to Stephenson’s.]
[I think I’m really getting the hang of this retirement thing!]
[And since dining is right here . . . ]
[Why go anyplace else?]
[And it comes with such a great view – I believe those are bald eagles circling just outside out window!]
[And, of course, we split a two-filet walleye over wild rice dinner, because it’s the Minnesota thing to do!]
There’s only four ways to get unraveled; one is to sleep and the other is travel. ~ Jim Morrison
Up next: While there was talk of going 4 days, we settled on one less.
Apologies to the Super . . .
[I forgot to include her contributions, the first two from the View Point Saloon on Rainy River and the last two from the Thunderbird Lodge on Rainy Lake.]