Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Jamestown, North Dakota
676 kms, 11 hours (with shopping breaks)
So our brilliant plan to get outfitted with cold weather gear in the US failed. For one, I belated realized that Americans don’t have boxing day, so boxing weeks sales were a bust. On top of that, two separate people at outfitter stores told us that all their winter boots are mostly sold out and in Fargo we were told that the manufacturers, like Sorel, have stopped making them. The footwear section at Steels in Fargo, on the border of Minnesota and North Dakota had a large selection of running shoes and only three types of winter boots in limited sizes. Perhaps in this part of the US they consider late December a herald to the arrival of spring. In fact, despite the -23 C weather most locals were sporting bare heads or ball caps. There was not a toque to be seen on a head during our hour of shopping at Cabela’s Outfitter outside Minneapolis and I spotted only three toques in all of North Dakota.
Questionable cold weather clothing was only one of the many Americanisms I spotted. There was a very nice man at the entrance to Cabela’s whose sole job appeared to be checking in firearms. Americans seem to put a whole lot more effort into their shopping centres than we do. Cabela’s was brimming with stuffed animals and animals heads adorning walls and displays of outdoor dioramas.
The American style of store decor delighted Oscar. Steels in Fargo had an indoor ferris wheel that prompted an awed “Wow” from young Ozzie when he saw it. After being cooped up in a car or motel room for the last few days, Rich and I thought it was worth the $1 to take him on a ride, and he was just barely tall enough.”I love this a lot mummy,” he said as we rose towards the ceiling, “I never want to get down.”
Oscar has been taking the trip in stride. He asks if it’s okay to sleep in the car as he cuddles mousie and bunny (we failed in creativity while naming Oscar’s stuffed animals) and at any opportunity he brags to people that he is in an adventure. I suspect he doesn’t want to rock the boat considering the near unlimited access he’s had to mummy’s iPad. Plus there’s the snacks!
The drive today was fair, dry roads and no wind or snow, despite dire predictions on the news this morning. Fortunately when they gave the temperature forecast in Fahrenheit I was blissfully unaware of the deep freeze we were headed towards. Whitehorse was actually a good 10 C warmer than here today. I drove part way today with no incident other than struggling to stay sharp while driving past a flat white landscape with few trees to break up the monotony.
Fargo was a particular disappointment. I had a vague, no doubt faulty memory of a quaint town from the movie of the same name. Instead, it was cold, flat, treeless and packed with big box stores, power lines and parking lots. The accent was everything I thought it would be though, and the people were super friendly.
Tomorrow we will cross back into Canada where we can use our cell phones, get data services, banish the penny, recycle our bottles and where I assume people will go back to wearing toques. Hoorah!