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

Sifton, Manitoba, Canada

Day 749

     Sifton, Manitoba, Canada, really doesn’t exist anymore. We are here to spend the night only, as it is too far to drive from Indian Head to Winnipeg in one day.

     Large influxes of Ukrainians settled this region in the mid-1890s, part of a mass immigration undertaken by the federal government. Sifton is named after Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, who viewed farmers from Eastern Europe as ideal for settling and opening the Canadian West

    Sifton is also the birthplace of Canada’s iconic fashion item of the 1950s, the Mary Maxim sweater. When the company relocated to another area, the town dried up and blew away.

Technical Stuff:

Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Ca to Sifton, Manitoba, Ca: 144.8 Miles

2 hours 56 minutes

10.8 MPG 

Diesel: $1.23 Canadian/liter

Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Canada

Day 747

     Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Canada, began in 1882 as the first settlers, mainly of Scottish origin, came into the area to farm the rich soil. 

     According to legend, in 1837 an epidemic of smallpox struck the Assiniboine Indian Village here. According to their custom, those struck climbed the highest part of the land to die. Their skeletons remained there for many years and because of this they called the hills “Skull Mountainettes”, which developed into the name Indian Head. Hence, the name of the town. Only thing is, when I look around, there are no hills, only prairie. 

     William Robert Bell was born May 28, 1845 in Brockville, Ontario. He was a militia officer, farmer, and businessman. He is mostly responsible for the settlement of Indian Head as a result of his experimental farm for growing wheat and other grains. He arrived here in 1882 to build this farm. The most notable structure remaining is the round horse barn, now referred to as the Bell Barn.

      From it’s copula, Bell had a view of his entire farm (see, no hills).

     Although a small town, it’s main industry is still agriculture, mostly wheat and other grains. Grain elevators sit at the head of the town’s main street. 

     Their mall consists of 2 stores, a hardware store, and a convenience store.

Technical Stuff:

Saskatoon, Sk to Indian Head Saskatchewan, Canada: 208.6 miles

4 hours, 13 minutes

10.7 MPG

Diesel: $1.19 Canadian/liter