Friday, 5 August 2011

August 1 - 4 MB, Minnesota, Wisconsin

Next we found an awesome little campsite in Stonewall, MB just North of Winnipeg and considering it was the long weekend we were fortunate to get the 'last spot' at the Stonewall Quarry RV Park - a former limestone quarry.  The town has done an amazing job of creating heritage / cultural center on this spot and have a guided heritage walk through town where one can see the preserved old limestone block buildings - over 100 years old.  We parked here for 3 nights and enjoyed sights and tours in and around Winnipeg.

First was Lower Ft. Gary just North of Winnipeg - and the  'lower' confused us until we realized that it referred to being 'down river' from Upper Ft. Gary which was near the Forks right in Winnipeg.  The Red River flows into the Hudson bay.  The Ft. is well done with many interpretive characters in period dress.  The day we visited they were commemorating the signing of Treaty One with the First Nations people which occurred back in 1871.

The next day we toured the Royal Canadian Mint and were amazed to learn that they can produce up to 20 Million coins in one day.  Our circulation coin is actually a steel plug which is then plated with nickel and copper.  Collector coins are higher grade silver / gold and are stamped 3 times for with the image as opposed to one stamping for the circulation coins.  Seventy two countries from around the world also contract with the Mint to have their coin made.  Any Canadian can submit design drawings for our coin - and amazingly an 11 year old did submit a drawing once that was selected for a coin issue. The Mint makes twice as many pennies as any other coin because people hoard them for throw them out.  They basically make coin to replace the coin that is taken out of circulation.  Paper money is made under private contract with two companies out of Ottawa.  The Winnipeg Min makes the circulation coin and the Ottawa Mint makes the collector coin.

After the mint we toured the Forks and strolled the promenade along the river where there were many interpretive signs.

We crossed the Border at the Pembina Crossing just South of Wpg.  Had to answer all kinds of questions like where we lived, where are we going, for how long, what are we doing, who are we visiting, how long have they lived in the USA etc. etc.  Lost some citrus of course and then had to have an inspection by an Agricultural Specialist - lost some more produce - tomatoes and peppers and uncooked rice (a new regulation) due to the possibility of Kharpa beetle infestation.  They were pleasant enough and gave us a copy of all the regulations.  Just go with the flow.

After the border we drove through the area where Sandra's Ness ancestors came from.  It is quite marshy and yes we can see why Grandpa Ness considered the land unproductive when he decided to move his family to AB in 1906.  The town of New Folden where he was from was very young at the time.  They just celebrated their 100th in 2004 (1904 - 2004).  This whole area was settled by mainly Norwegian Immigrants in the late 1880's to early 1900's.  The entire state of Minnesota is heavily populated with of German and Norwegian  origin.

Campsite at Ashland, WI on the shore of Lake Superior

Ore dock on Lake Superior in Ashland, WI

Sunset over Lake Superior

Lake Superior sunset.  Kids and ducks swimming, couple of gents enjoying!

One last shot of the sunset - awesome!

Stonewall Limestone Quarry Kiln

Limestone block City Hall - 100 + years old

Limestone Quarry block Post Office in Stonewall - > 100 years old.  Prairie style by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright

York Boat at lower Ft. Gary.  Could carry 2 T of freight

Outer encampment at Lower Ft. Gary

An interesting candle in the Governors house at lower Ft. Gary

Thought it was a book press, but it is how they made "copies" of letters or documents in those days!

Thickness of the limestone block walls!  Cool in the summer but frigid in the winter.  Every room had a stove.

A wannabe Freight Liner - He Barry - just modify Big Blue!

Royal Canadian Mint

Gold weigh scale at the Mint - could not take pictures in the plant!

River almost overflowing its bank at the Forks in Winnipeg

Another swollen river in Morris, MB

One of many sections of 'construction' that we have encountered so far!!
We spent one night in Minnesota then crossed over into Wisconsin at Deluth along the Southern shore of Lake Superior.   We found the most awesome campsite (huge campsite space - they could triple their density if they wanted to)  right on the lake-shore at Ashland, WI.  We are en route to the upper arm of Michigan where we will pause for a day or two.  Enjoyed an incredible sunset over Lake Superior.  Temperatures here were in the 85 F with high humidity.

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