11 July 2004
Against the grain
Jamestown, North Dakota 2337.3 miles
Around the end of May I made some noise about someday driving US 52, an odd diagonal route that slashes across the States 45 degrees out of phase. One end of it is in downtown Charleston, South Carolina: in fact, I used to catch the bus after school from where 52 (which was Meeting Street) crossed Calhoun Street. I've driven it as far north as Florence, which isn't any great shakes, but now I've seen the other end, which is on the Canadian border, separating the town of Portal, North Dakota from the town of North Portal, Saskatchewan. There's not much on this side of the border crossing, and there was no activity this Sunday morning. On the other hand, it didn't look like a really good idea to be seen taking pictures of a border crossing, lest Tom Ridge have to dig into his box of Crayolas.
52 angles southeastward through Minot and joins I-94 at Jamestown, which boasts, among other things, the World's Largest Buffalo, constructed in 1959 for some sort of bisontennial celebration. What I didn't find around here was any mention of someone I assumed would have at least some sort of shrine downtown, the late Norma Deloris Egstrom, who reminds you that chicks were born to give you fever, be it Fahrenheit or Centigrade.
And speaking of the latter, of course Canadian radio gives the specifics of the weather report in the metric system; it was a chilly 12 in Estevan this morning, while over here in North Dakota it was an equally chilly 54 following a brief early-morning thunderstorm.
The definition of "early," I suppose, is flexible: sunrise is about 6:10 am in these parts this time of year, about fifteen minutes earlier than what I'm used to. On the other hand, sunset isn't until almost 10 pm.
And if Montana is sporadically wild and woolly, North Dakota is placid. To those people who demand excitement in their lives, it might even be soporific. But I looked at those mostly-green fields today and I found myself wondering: what is it with these people who want to live their lives in some sort of