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A Journey West


Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Monday, September 3, 2001

June 1975

The northwest wind, gusting to 30 miles an hour, brought tears to my eyes as I concentrated on the road ahead. Huge cumulus clouds drifted across the blue skyline, playing tag with the sun. We drove in and out of clouds that first day, bucking the wind every step of the way.

The spokes of the wheels and the rubber meeting the road gave off a buzzing sound that, mixed with the roar of the wind, made it nearly impossible to carry on a conversation with Bruce and Steve, who were less than 10 feet away from me.

We had left Austin, our hometown, at 6:30 in the morning on 10-speed bicycles, panniers packed to the gunnels with a limited supply of food, camping equipment, clothes and essentials. We camped that night at Beaver Lake in Ellendale, a mere 30 miles away. A rut on the shoulder of the road near Hollandale sent me flying ass over tea kettle into the gravel. That night I nursed my bruises and bandaged my cuts.

Discovery begins with a simple cell of an idea that multiplies, with neurons firing and protons bursting, into some greater quest for truth.

And all adventures contain an element of discovery, whether you end up finding out more about yourself, or the world around you.

The three of us, all in our early 20’s, had set out on a journey without a set destination; we were vaguely heading west, maybe to Canada, or the Rocky Mountains, or maybe even as far as the west coast. And we had no timetable to guide nor limit our travels.

We traveled what William “Least Heat” Moon would call the “Blue Highways”. Those secondary roads marked blue on the highway maps, that take you along the rolling country roads, through the small towns with their seed stores, elevators and noon lunch specials. Over the next six weeks, we traveled as few as 10 miles in one day and as many as 135.

From the eastern edge of the great plains, we traveled northward with a hint of a westerly direction, through LeSeur County, where the Jolly Green Giant has vast fields of peas, to the Lake Country of Kandiyohi County and on toward Alexandria and Detroit Lakes.

We camped in city parks, on church lawns, and in the outfields of baseball diamonds. We began every morning with a cup of instant coffee and a bowl of oatmeal cooked on a mountain stove. A real breakfast would be our motivation for riding to the first town, usually 10 to 15 miles away.

We entered Canada at .....
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Foods Weekly Ads

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Submit a Letter to the Editorhere

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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To the Editor,
Monday, September 3, 2001

After reading the Fillmore County Journal and River Valley Reader concerning our public libraries I was compelled to write this letter. The comment made by Paula Michels (Fillmore County Commi ..... 
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Vernon H. Vigeland

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Vernon H. Vigeland, 77, of LaCrosse, Wis., formerly of Mabel, Minn. died March 12, 2001 at the Green Lea Manor Nursing Home in Mabel where he had resided for only a week.

Vernon was born September 5, 1923 in Preble Township, Fillmore County, M ..... 
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Gladys Judith Swain

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Gladys Judith Swain, 93, of Rushford, a homemaker, died March 7, 2001 at her home.

Gladys Judith Williams was born May 15, 1907, on the Humble farm at Highland Prairie, moved to North Dakota with her family when she was 3 months old and retu ..... 
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Ronald Thorson

Fri, Sep 7th, 2001
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Ronald Thorson, 65, of rural Mabel, a retired Lockheed Corp. employee, died April 28, 2001 at Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital in Decorah, Iowa.

Ronald was born Aug. 28, 1935, in Decorah to Levi and Esther (Rotvold) Thorson. He graduated ..... 
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