16 Farmers in Garrison North Dakota – Day 112

16 Farmers in Garrison North Dakota

Day 112 – July 21, 2003 – Monday

Our day began in the capitol of North Dakota — Bismarck. We visited the capitol building and the governor’s residence. Eleventh capitol we had seen in 31 states.

From Bismarck to New Salem. Home of the World’s Largest Cow — Salem Sue. Sue is 38-feet tall, and as world’s largests go, she’s a mighty impressive statue. Salem Sue stands on the highest hill in the town of New Salem, North Dakota. Salem Sue is so large that it can be seen from over five miles away. Erected in 1974 by the New Salem Lions Club to help promote area Holstein herds, Salem Sue was the second giant roadside animal sculpture built in North Dakota. The idea to erect such a large cow came likely from the popularity of North Dakota’s first giant roadside animal – the World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, North Dakota that was erected in 1959.

From New Salem, we wound through a variety of country roads with Minot as our ultimate destination.

In Beulah, we were unable to find the “Bale People” — some art made out of hay bales. We stopped at three places to ask, but the Civic Center and newspaper offices were closed, and no one at the gas station / convenience store had any idea what we were talking about.

When you are traveling and looking for information, there are now two places never to stop: one is a convenience store and the other is a surveyor. Surveyors never know where they are and they’re never from around the area. We believe one of the prerequisites for being a convenience store worker is to be from another country and commute at least 50 miles from another state.

When we saw the town of Zap on the map, we just had to go. Small town in a picturesque setting. The postmaster’s car is a PT Cruiser with the license plate “ZIP ZAP.”

From Zap, we went to Pick City to see The Dam Bar. The Garrison Dam is just a mile or so away.

In Garrison, Walleye Capital of the World, we saw Wally Walleye, the World’s Largest Walleye. Garrison has quite a sense of humor; the twin water towers are labeled “Hot” and “Cold.” As I headed back to the car after the walleye photo, Boz said some men inside the cafe were waving for us to come in. I went in and met 16 nice, nice Garrison folks. Karen, Richard, Spanky, Don, Ron, Steve, Jerry, Blaine, Larry, Don, Randy, Delores, Edna, Joanne, Cindy, and Mark. I joked that I was sorry I had walked in during a town meeting, and they said I wasn’t far off.

I told the entire cafe group a little about the trip, and they provided a number of ideas on sights to see in North Dakota. Steve asked about the beads. I told a short version of the Floating Neutrinos story, and when I left, half the farmers in Garrison were wearing lucky beads. I wish we hadn’t been short on time, as it would have been great to just sit and talk with them about Garrison and North Dakota. Garrison also has a giant that greets visitors to the local golf course, but we missed it.

Barbara sat out in the car while I was in speaking with the 16 folks in the town cafe. She said the farmers came out one at a time wearing their beads, and she was holding her sides from laughing so hard. Big ole guys in jeans and T-shirts with a string of Mardi Gras beads around their neck. She could just imagine the reaction when these guys walk back into their kitchens and see their wives.

When I told the story about the lucky beads, one of the farmers said he could use all the luck he could get. I asked why, and several of his neighbors said he was getting a divorce. He got two strings of beads.

Down the road we went to Parshall, North Dakota — home of the Paul Broste Rock Museum. The museum is made of rock — uncut granite fieldstone held together with cement. The collection within the museum encompasses much more than the name implies. Mr. Broste was a grassroots artist as well as a North Dakota farmer, and he saw his museum as a way of displaying his paintings, conceptual sculptures, pen-and-ink illustrations, poems, and philosophies, as well as his rocks. Mr. Broste was born in a one-room log cabin with a sod roof in 1887, and he didn’t complete the museum until 1964. He asked the town of Parshall to preserve what he had so painstakingly created after his death, and the museum has been preserved and improved.

We met Coby at the gas station in Parshall. The beads.

New Town provided a real laugh! The Earl Bunyan Statue. Not PAUL Bunyan, but Earl. Earl was “dreamed up by Fred and Berd LaRocque” in 1958. Earl stands about 20-feet tall — a string bean with a mustache. He stands atop a pile of rocks, wears a cowboy hat, boots, and tight-fitting jeans. The story they created is that Earl is Paul’s brother. Fred and Berd are buried beneath the statue.

We visited Stanley, North Dakota to have a Whirla-Whip at the Dakota Drug Store. A Whirla-Whip is a mixture of ice cream with any of a variety of fruits and/or candies. The machine whips the ice cream and additives together, and the end result is a thick blended cross between a milk shake and ice cream. Boz had Vanilla with Butterfinger, and I had Maraschino Cherry with Vanilla. Very tasty! Dakota Drug began using the Whirla-Whip machine in 1949. The machine was manufactured between 1937 and 1942. Whirla-Whip was really popular at Dakota Drug, and the owners of the store had the foresight to begin purchasing Whirla-Whip machines from small town stores in North Dakota in the early 60’s when many of them were remodeling and removing soda fountains from their stores. As a result, the store now has several Whirla-Whip machines, and Dakota Drug is the only place in the world where you can get a Whirla-Whip. Ellen prepared our Whirla-Whips, and we met Nina there as well.

As we were leaving Stanley, I spotted an old building out of the corner of my eye, and we turned back to investigate. We found Flickertail Village — a museum of old buildings. Out front, we found a unique display of fire hydrants painted to represent some of the most notable North Dakotans — Roger Maris, Lawrence Welk, Sakakawea, and others.

When we reached Minot, we met Julie and Katie at the hotel. We asked Julie about the restaurant recommended to us — Ebeneezer’s, and she said it was her favorite place. Louisiana Tiffany took excellent care of us at Ebeneezer’s, and we met the manager, Gary, and he gave us red-white-and-blue beads! Tiffany gave us American flags. They had no idea that beads and flags are so important to us — that we give beads to everyone we meet and photograph flags every day. Quite a coincidence.

We covered a lot of ground in North and South Dakota. If you eliminate the world’s largest statues that we’ve seen across North Dakota, South Dakota clearly has more to see…but we found there to be no comparison between the people. The folks we’d met in North Dakota were much nicer and much friendlier than most of the people we had met from South Dakota.

I’m afraid we’ll have to add a category for time, and give North Dakota the “worst time” because they make it really confusing by allowing the different counties to determine what time zone they are in. You can be much further east and still be in Mountain Time and vice-versa. It’s a mess.

We were reminded again today, as we learned and have been reminded so many times on the trip that there is a kinder and gentler America, and it is alive and well in small towns like Garrison North Dakota.

Random Comments:

We will be at the North Dakota State Fair in Minot tomorrow, and we plan to try to get in to see the Underground Missile Silos in Minot. It should be an interesting day. We have to be in Minnesota tomorrow night.

We are very sorry that we were unable to meet up with a couple of wonderful email penpals in North Dakota. We cannot thank Marilyn, Joanne, and Sonia enough for the wonderful invitations; we just wish our route could have made visits possible. We hope they’ll give us a raincheck. We feel TERRIBLE that we can’t meet up with these especially nice folks!

The Daily Journal of Round America:

Each day, we collect our thoughts on a web page just like this. We drop in some of the photos from the day. Our goal with the Daily Journal is to write about the towns we visit, the sights we see, the people we meet, and the pie we eat. We write about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we are going, but we also make observations about what we’ve seen and done as well as about life in general.

You can follow our travels from the Daily Journal section of this web site. Other pages of interest include the running report of “vital statistics” on the Trip Scorecard, our nominations for the Best & Worst of the trip, as well as a rating of the pie we eat. If you’d like to see information for a specific state or town, click here, and then click on the state of interest and the full itinerary is shown.


More Information on the Sights Visited Today: 
World’s Largest Cow — Bale People — Garrison North Dakota — World’s Largest Walleye — Paul Broste Rock Museum — World’s Largest Earl Bunyan — Dakota Drug Store — Flickertail Village — Ebeneezer’s