Charleroi, Pennsylvania

Day 772

     Charleroi, Pennsylvania is located 21 miles south of Pittsburgh. Charleroi was settled in 1890 by Belgian immigrants, and incorporated in 1891. The city got its name from the Belgian city. 

     Unfortunately, we must return home. Our long term tenant in my house located in Parkville, Maryland has left to buy her own home. We have decided to sell the property, and our presence is required to do repairs and upgrades in preparation of the sale. Charleroi, Pa. puts us in a position to arrive home tomorrow. We did not unhook from the Sphinx, and because of the long distance did not get here until late, so we did no exploring. 

Technical Stuff:

Jerome, Michigan to Charleroi, Pennsylvania: 340.4 miles

6 hours 53 minutes

10.8 MPG

Diesel: $ 3.20

Jerome, Michigan

Day 771

     In 1869 the Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railway right-of-way passed over two pieces of vacant land on the western edge of Somerset Township in Michigan. One piece belonged to Jerome Smith and the other to Mary Begel. Filled with ambition as a result of the importance of railroads at that time, the two planned the village of Jerome so that it straddled their properties and the right-of-way. The railroad established its Jerome station before the plat of the village was even filed.

     We visited with friends in Jerome, who have a lake house there.

     You never know what you will see on the lake.

Technical Stuff:

Goshen, Indiana to Jerome, Michigan: 100.2 miles

2 hours 14 minutes

10.8 MPG

Diesel: $3.20

Goshen, Indiana

Day 762

     We are back in Goshen, Indiana (see day 420), for our second Forest River Owner’s Group rally. This is a relaxing week in which we will meet with fellow RV’ers (1600 of them) who own RV’s from the same manufacturer as ours. We will attend seminars on topics related to the Sphinx, and attend numerous events put on by the manufacturer, including 4 ice-cream socials. 

     Since we are in the heart of Amish Country, we decided to venturer out and learn more about their everyday life and how they lived.

     We visited a carriage maker,

     As well as a coffin maker

     Tidbit of Information: The difference between a cemetery and a graveyard: A graveyard is always attached to a church. Since the Amish do not have churches (they meet in each other’s homes), they only have cemeteries. 

     We went and had dinner and saw a show, after which the actors came on the bus and answered questions.

     Of course, you MUST have ice cream every single day, so we went to an ice cream parlor called “Rocket Science Ice Cream”. 

     They take the ingredients of the ice cream and mix it in a metal bowl,

     then they squirt it with liquid nitrogen to flash freeze it,

     and serve it right to you.

     Barbara thinks it is the best ice cream she has ever eaten. 

Technical Stuff:

Elkhart, Indiana to Goshen, Indiana: 28.6 miles

1 hour 1 minute

9.1 MPG

Diesel: $3.00

Hollywood Casino, Illinois

Day 759

     The Empress Casino opened on June 16, 1992 as a riverboat type casino in Joliet, Illinois. The casino is on barges on the Des Plaines River in Northern Illinois. Supposedly, because of the gaming laws in the State of Illinois, you could not have gambling in the State, but riverboat gambling was permitted. 

     Empress was the only casino in northern Illinois to have an onsite RV park. We are now staying in this park. Penn National Gaming acquired the casino, hotel and RV park in 2005. They own the brand “Hollywood Casino.”

     While undergoing a $50 Million renovation, a fire broke out at around 10 a.m. on March 20, 2009. The fire was caused by a spark from a welder’s torch which ignited grease in one of the kitchens. The subsequent fire spread rapidly. The casino was able to reopen on June 25, 2009 as the Hollywood Casino Joliet.

     We stayed here for two days. I was able to win enough at blackjack to pay for Barbara’s losses, and for all of our expenses while staying here. 

Technical Stuff:

Kellogg, Iowa to Hollywood Casino, Illinois: 262.8 miles

5 hours 7 minutes

11.9 MPG

Diesel: $3.00 

Kellogg, Iowa

Day 757

    The history of the town of Kellogg dates back to 1865 when the Central Rock Island and Pacific Railroad arrived. The Kellogg town site was already familiar to stagecoach travelers as Manning’s Station, so named for the depot and hotel operated by Dan Manning. When the railroad made public their intention of proceeding west, designating this as a station, Dr. A.W. Adair, from Ohio, laid out the town and on September 12, 1865, had it duly recorded in the court house in Newton as Jasper City. Later, the post office was established in the name of Kimball, as a compliment to A. Kimball, Esq., the superintendent of the Iowa Division of the railroad. Mr. Kimball protested against this, insisting that the name be Kellogg, after Judge Abel Avery Kellogg. Thus the town had four names since it’s beginning, eight years earlier. 

     The town of Kellogg was incorporated in 1873 and made a municipality in 1874. 

     Today was the Kellogg Fire Department’s annual slip & slide event.  The whole town showed up. 

     Most of the above history was derived by our tour of the Kellogg Museum. Our guide was 95 year old Mary Parsons. She moved to Kellogg about 40 years ago. I asked her why move to this very small town, she responded “I didn’t know any better”.

     She showed us this unusual “iceless refrigerator”.

     The cabinet, with shelves and a hole in the bottom, was placed over a well, with food placed on the shelves. The shelves were then lowered down the well to just above the waterline, the coolest area around.

     A photograph of Mary, at age five, along side of the iceless refrigerator was displayed.

     Mary’s maiden name was Tough. She told us that her name is Mary Parsons, but she was born Tough.  And, as a spry 95 years old, she proved it. 

Technical Stuff:

Ellendale, Minnesota, to Kellogg, Iowa: 194.4 miles

3 hours 36 minutes

10.4 MPG

Diesel: $3.09

Ellendale, Minnesota

Day 756

     Ellendale was platted in 1900, and named for Ellen Dale Ives, the wife of a railroad official. We overnighted at Crystal Springs where the campground had their own pond. 

Technical Stuff:

Maple Grove, Minnesota to Ellendale, Minnesota: 100.2 miles

3 hours 3 minutes

9.5 MPG

Diesel: $1.19 Canadian/liter

Maple Grove, Minnesota

Day 754

     The Territory of Minnesota existed from March 3, 1849, until May 11, 1858, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the 32nd State.

     Tidbit of Information: Both Paul Bunyan and the Jolly Green Giant are from Minnesota.

     The first white man to arrive in what is now Maple Grove, Minnesota, was Louis Gervais in 1851. The city got it’s name from the large stands of maple trees. The city was not incorporated until 1954, therefore it is younger than I am. 

Technical Stuff:

Grand Forks, North Dakota to Maple Grove, Minnesota: 290.9 miles

5 hours 16 minutes

11.6 MPG

Diesel: $1.19 Canadian/liter

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Day 753

     We overnighted in Grand Forks, North Dakota, because there were no campgrounds in Fargo, where I really wanted to stay. Despite the representation of Fargo as a small quaint town in the movie, it is quite a large metropolis. Fargo is the most populous city in the state of North Dakota, accounting for nearly 16% of the state’s population. Of course, the population of North Dakota is 147. Only kidding. 

     Grand Forks is the oldest major city in The Dakotas. It got it’s name because it is located at the forks of the Red River and Red Lake River. Unlike most cities in North Dakota, the city of Grand Forks does not owe its existence to the arrival of the railroad. Instead, Grand Forks was an important steamboat port on the Red River.

     In late 1870, a steamboat captained by Alexander Griggs froze in the Red River at Grand Forks. Griggs and his men were forced to remain there for the rest of the winter. They built a temporary shed to live in and Griggs decided that the area would be a good spot for a town. In the spring, he claimed a nine-acre piece of property that would become the townsite and, ultimately, the town of Grand Forks. Grand Forks was incorporated on February 22, 1881.

Technical Stuff:

Winnipeg, MB Canada to Grand Forks, North Dakota: 161.3 miles

3 hours 30 minutes

11.1 MPG

Diesel: $1.23 Canadian/liter

Lower Fort Garry, Canada

Day 752


   Two centuries before Confederation of Canada, a pair of resourceful Frenchmen named Radisson and des Groseilliers discovered a wealth of fur in the interior of the continent – north and west of the Great Lakes – accessible via the great inland sea that is Hudson Bay. Despite their success, French and American interests would not back them. It took the vision and connections of Prince Rupert, cousin of King Charles II, of England, to acquire the Royal Charter which, on May 2, 1670 granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to “The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson’s Bay”. It soon became known as the Hudson Bay Company. The Hudson Bay Company is still in existence today. We saw some of their stores in the bigger cities in Canada. The charter granted the company a monopoly over the region drained by all rivers and streams flowing into Hudson Bay in northern Canada. The area was named “Rupert’s Land” after Prince Rupert.

     Fort Garry was named after Nicholas Garry, deputy governor of the Hudson Bay Company. It was established in 1822. In 1826, a severe flood destroyed the fort.

     Lower Fort Garry was built in 1830 by the Hudson’s Bay Company on the western bank of the Red River, 20 miles north of the original Fort Garry. Although these trading posts were called forts, they were not in the traditional sense as we think of it today. They were not meant to be places of defense. The interesting thing about Lower Fort Garry trading post, is that all the buildings are made of stone, rather than wood. 

     The troops, used to keep law and order in the area, becoming a nuisance by causing minor disturbances themselves, were put to work at the fort completing the construction of the walls which were finished in 1848. This facility was never attacked, and housed no cannons, or other weapons of defense. 

     On March 20, 1869, the Hudson’s Bay Company reluctantly, under pressure from Great Britain, sold Rupert’s Land to the Government of Canada. The sale involved roughly a quarter of the continent.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Day 750

     Winnipeg, Canada, lies at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, a location now known as “The Forks”. The city is named after the nearby Lake Winnipeg. The name comes from the Cree words for muddy water. And that is exactly what the water looks like.

     Tidbit of Information: a confluence occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join together to form a single channel. The opposite is a distributary, a river that branches off from and flows away from the main river, sometimes referred to as a fork.

     French traders built the first fort on this site in 1738. A settlement was later founded by the Selkirk settlers of the Red River Colony in 1812 (commonly referred to as The Red River Settlement), a colonization project set up in 1811 by Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk. The nucleus of this settlement was incorporated as the City of Winnipeg on November 8, 1873.

     These French traders married the local Indian women. The children of these mixed marriages were known as Métis. By mid 1800’s the majority of the population at Red River were Métis. 

     Louis David Riel, a Métis, was born October 22, 1844 in the Red River Settlement, in what is now Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Riel was educated by Roman Catholic priests at Saint-Boniface, and the convent of the Grey Nuns. He ultimately became the leader of the Métis people here. In 1869 he led a rebellion that took control of the area. The resulting rebellion led to Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province on July 15, 1870. He led a violent political career and was ultimately hanged for treason on November 16, 1885.  His remains were laid in the churchyard of the Saint-Boniface Cathedral. Today, he is considered the father of Manitoba.

     The church of Saint-Boniface was first built in 1819. The convent, which housed the first group of Grey Nuns to come to the west, was built around 1845.

     The church, now called a cathedral, suffered 4 fires over the years, the last on July 22, 1968. Only the facade, sacristy, and the walls of the old cathedral remained.             Inside the walls and facade of the old cathedral, a new, modern looking one, was built. 

     We walked along the red river and saw a gaggle of geese,

     followed by a gaggle of geese poop.

     Do you know what this is?

     It is a tinder box. On top of the box is a piece of glass, like a magnifying glass, you place tinder ( a small quantity of dry, finely divided fibrous matter such as hemp) in the metal box, and shine the sun through the glass, which ignites the flammable tinder, to start your fire. Tinderboxes fell out of general usage when friction matches were invented.

     Because of the two rivers, the Forks had been a meeting place for hundreds of years. Treaties have been signed here, and rebellions started here. In the center is a circle with these devices around the perimeter. You look through the markings at designated times to see a particular star or constellation. 

Technical Stuff:

Sifton, Manitoba, Ca. to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: 152.5 miles

2 hours 59 minutes

11.2 MPG

Diesel: $1.23 Canadian/liter