Thursday, 22 August 2013

Begin Lewis and Clark Trail

Flying from Washburn, ND

Up at first light and unloading aircraft for an early start.  But battery dead so can't start......  Took time to arrange a jump start from the van....

Finally up and away, only to find that the wind up there is 30+mph.... and rough.  So still went and got a few photos of the Old Fort Mandan, but couldn't go all the way to garrison Dam and the big coal-fired power stations along the river.....  It would have meant a return leg at 30mph or less......     At least I did get a bit of a look at the Fort, but couldn't get down low due to turbulence..... Loaded up again....  So an hour of unloading/loading for a 23 minute flight....

This is near old Fort Mandan, where Lewis and Clark spent the first winter of their expedition to be the first crossing to the Pacific Ocean.  I've been fascinated in this expedition for a long time, and long wanted to follow it's route.  So I'll start here and try to follow it up the Missouri River and over the Rockies to the coast.

Ken Burns' documentary on the expedition gives a really good story of the trip.  It's a dramatization, but a good one, as his documentaries always are.

Old Fort Mandan, right beside the Missouri River.
This is a replica, because the original was burnt down, then eroded away by the river.

That's the little 'Fort' where 40 men spent the very cold winter 1804-05. 

Note how the smoke from the tall stacks is blown by the strong wind,
but the steam from the coolers is just wafting around.
So typical for such a morning, calm on the ground but blowing strong just a couple of hundred feet up.

 I guess these wind turbines nearby tell the story.
They built them here because they know it blows most of the time.
So wind farms aren't a good sign for ultralight flight.....

Headed into Bismark and found a muffler shop to replace the broken van muffler that I had wired up with haywire.  While waiting for my turn, got a new battery from Walmart for the aircraft, and hunted out stronger tailwheel springs at Ace Hardware.  These American hardware stores are truly amazing! This one had 200 varieties of springs!  While maneuvering in a parking lot I scraped against a car.....  First time ever.....  Only the lightest of sprapes, on his plastic bumper.  First he was distressed and wanted name and number and insurance and all that complicated procedure.  After I rubbed most of the scuff off, he settled down a bit and I convinced him to take $100 and leave it at that.  As I left, now late for my muffler appointment, he said, "...I hope the rest of your day goes better..", and I sure needed that...

Finally hit the road late afternoon, headed into the westerly sun, but with that wind now giving me a tailwind, and with a rig like this I feel the boost, and with the new glass-pack muffler barking away, the van fairly charged along.....

They don't sell beer in South Dakota gas stations, so pressed on into Montana and found a much needed big cold one just across the border.  Then out a country road and found a nice quiet campsite well away from the roar of the traffic on the interstate.  Not easy to find such campsites with such a trailer in tow, cause can easily get caught with nowhere to turn around.....  Internet wouldn't work out there, but too tired to care anyhow....  And so to bed, hoping for a better day tomorrow....

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