- Double Ditch Indian Village (12 miles north of Bismarck)
- Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (Washburn, ND)
- Fort Mandan reproduction (Washburn, ND)
Saya's (age 6) quote of the day: "I blowed the fly away, or else it would have aten our food." Good thing she did...
The Double Ditch Indian Village was populated by Mandan Indians from the late 1400s to the late 1700s. They had a thriving culture based on agriculture, buffalo hunting and trading with other tribes (and later Europeans and the U.S.). At one point, there were around 10,000 people living in earth lodge villages like the one we visited. But by the time Lewis & Clark floated by the Double Ditch site, no Mandans lived there anymore. Clark described the abandoned site in his diary, noting, "About 25 years ago... small pox destroyed great numbers." See pic below of Sho and Saya staring out. This photo reminds me of a poem by the Japanese haiku poet Basho:
all that remains
of great soldiers' imperial dreams
I particularly enjoyed the replica of Fort Mandan, where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the winter of 1804-5. On Dec 17, 1804, Meriwether Lewis recorded the temperature as 42 degrees below zero. In addition to being very cold, the 44 men in the expedition would have starved were it not for the Mandans who traded corn and other food. This is where Lewis & Clark had the good fortune of meeting Sacagawea and her much less impressive husband, the fur trader Charbonneau. Sacagawea stayed in Fort Mandan with the expedition members and gave birth there to Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (aka Pompy) in February 1805. She carried and nursed her baby the entire expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back. See, cycling the same route with my kids isn't that bad.
I'm sick of driving, not just because of the flat tire we got today (see pic below). We're missing too much sitting inside an air conditioned capsule. But the time for driving has come to an end. We start cycling tomorrow! 1704 miles to go to reach the Pacific Ocean along Lewis & Clark's westbound route. If all goes as planned, we should get there at the end of August.
Notice the highway number 1804. That's the year the Lewis & Clark expedition began. There's also a Highway 1806 marking the year the expedition returned safely.
Sho and Saya enjoying the view of the mighty Missouri River from the bluff at the Double Ditch Indian Village
Bug's eye view of the North Dakota sky
Sho and Saya outside the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, ND
Saya with one of her heroes
Outside Fort Mandan
Replica of Fort Mandan, where the Lewis & Clark expedition spent the winter of 1804-5. On Dec 17, 1804, Meriwether Lewis recorded the temperature as 42 degrees below zero.
View from the drive to Williston, ND. The picture doesn't do justice to the broad horizon and big sky that enveloped us. There's an oil boom under way, and we passed many wells beside the highway.
First, we felt the shimmy. Then, we heard the boom as the rear left tire of our U-Haul burst! What a pain. I'm glad we're switching to bicycles tomorrow. They get flats too, but are much easier to deal with.