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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bemidji MN, True North

      Bemidji or Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indian words Bay-me-ji-gamuag, meaning lake with water flowing through, which is the Mississippi River where it's headwaters start in Itasca State park, and is about 5 paces across and clear, is the Beltrami County seat. Nice clean small town with many antique stores, restaurants, many metal sculptures, and a darn good craft beer brewery.  There is the sprawl out of downtown, but we don't care.  We are staying in Royal Oaks CG a nice clean quiet place to chill and a short 4  1/2  mile ride mostly on trail into downtown. It's a short and safe enough ride which makes it possible to do it several times a day if desired.  Like today for instance, we rode in to get breakfast at Bemidji Nice Cafe' and then hit the farmers market for some veggies and bison burgers.  Later we'll ride in for a cold one at the brewery where there is a creamy porter calling my name.  Of course you can't not take a picture of Paul and Babe that is said to be the most photographed historic figures next to Mt. Rushmore.  The statues were constructed in 1937 and Paul is 18 ft. tall and weighs 2 1/2 tons. The statues are on the National register of Historic places.
As said many sculptures abound this one across the street from the brewery. I'm sure you can see pictures of many of the over 50 sculptures and 8 murals throughout downtown online.
     We've gone into town for coffee every morning and one morning we talked to a couple traveling by rail and on foot the hobo way.  Very interesting do it your self types, taking odd jobs on the road, traveling simply. They go by Possum and Flora.   Been reading William Least Heat Moon's book, "Blue Highways" where he is traveling the country in a 1975 half ton Econoline van he calls Ghost Dancing.  Very inspiring book on traveling simply,
although not as simply as Possum and Flora with all they carry on their backs.

     The other day we rode the Paul Bunyan trail from Bemidji to La Porte.  All the trails are paved by the way and in very good shape aside from a few frost heave patches.  38 mile round trip with a stop at the La Porte grocery for a couple of grass fed fillets that I cooked over the camp fire.  Melt in the mouth good.  Lunch was at the Dugout Bar and Grill, wings, fries and pork tenderloin.  Pictures on the wall of guys with cars on the winter ice doing a Northern winter sport of ice racing. Kind of like demolition derby but you're racing and skidding around on the frozen lake, banging into one another.  Looks like fun.  I spied this old jeep pickup rusting away in the weeds, might make a good painting one day.
     All good things come to an end as must our visit to the charming area of Bemidji. Tomorrow we head for the Root River trail for another visit to see if it's as splendid as we thought the first time we were there.  And yes there is pie!

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