August 22, 2017- Travel Day #19
We are in no hurry to pack up and hit the road this morning. After all we are only traveling a hundred miles……. So off we go before 0800 hours. Man, it seems that we cannot sleep in no matter what. Heading eastbound on I-94 we pass Gladstone.
A planned stop is in the little town of Richardson (pop. 520). The town was founded in 1883 and is home for Assumption Abbey. The Abbey was founded 10 years later by a Swiss Benedictine monk. St. Mary’s Catholic Church is on Abbey grounds and is shared by the monks with the community. We walked the grounds, then entered through a door marked “Information”. We are astounded that we are in the bowel of the abbey.
She meets a Benedictine that has 60 years of service as a monk. We find that he is 81 years old and very spry. He invites us to look around and wander around to our heart’s content. Wow! Another monk opens up the small gift shop for us. As Jil is cleaning the contents off of every shelf to purchase for gifts, the monk tells us that the grounds consist of 2000 acres, most are rented to farmers, many products in the gift shop are hand made here at the Abbey. Several books were written by the Abbey’s monks. Only 28 monks remain at the Abbey so they don’t have a beef herd anymore.
When approaching Hebron we see a sign. “Fort Sourkraut Next Exit”. Fort Saurkraut? Ya gotta be kiddin’ me. No, they are serious. Fort Saurkraut was raised in three days by settlers interested in saving their hides from Indian attack. The fort was built out of sod with (stolen) railroad ties for roof support. It was then surrounded by barbed wire in the hopes that it would deter the rumored attack. The Indians never planned on attacking the settlement, the attack never came. Fort Saurkraut (so ya think there were a lot of Germans in this town?) is the only sod fort ever built in North Dakota. The fort was recreated a few years ago by dedicated farmers in the hope that “If we build it, they will come”. I don’t know how that worked out for them………
Hebron (940 souls), on the other hand is known as “brick city” for its brick factory. It is also the nations top producer of canola, dry peas, certain wheat, dry beans, sunflowers, barley, honey and sweet crude. Not bad for a small town, eh?
Glen Ullin (800 souls) is another town founded in 1883 along the Northern Pacific Railroad in the Curlew Valley. She is on of many farming communities that sprang up along the railroad route. Then we are back in New England passing the town of New Salem also founded in 1883.
We exit the interstate at Mandan. Mandan at 21,000 folks (8th largest in the state) was founded in 1879. She is the seat of Morton County. Her main industry is oil- a Tesoro refinery pumps out 71,000 barrels of sweet crude oil a day. Mandan lies on the west bank of the Missouri directly across from the state capital, Bismarck. We turn south and head for our encampment for two nights Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park.
Fort Lincoln is a treasure of history. This is the place where General Custer assembled the Seventh Calvary and lead them to annihilation at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His house has been recreated as well as troop barracks and a lookout post way up on a hill that offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. The campground is nicely treed with a large mowed grass infield separating loops. We love it here!