Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th

Winnipeg was disappointing... we arrived early evening and drove through the city. Many parts looked interesting and we wanted to stop, but we found ourselves propelled through the city without direction. We spotted no suitable hotel that looked inexpensive and would allow pets, and so we drove south from the city, through a string of small towns. The only hotel on this route looked pretty seedy, so we asked some kids at a gas station. They said to not go to the hotel across the street. They sent us to Morris, a fair distance across country roads, including a dirt road for several miles.

But, we found a nice Super 8 "Stampede Inn" in Morris, near the U.S. border and had an uneventful night. On Saturday, we crossed the border, drove through North Dakota (past Oslo, ND), Minnesota, and into Wisconsin. My goal was to get to a large small town and find a hotel near where there would be fireworks. Eau Claire, Wisconsin, fit the bill perfectly.

We stayed at the Days Inn, with an indoor pool and hottub. The motel was crowded with loud families and friendly partiers and nervous teens smoking in the parking lot -- a real slice of America. I took the kids swimming while Pam worked on coursework for her second Master's degree. We walked down and got Taco Bell. We arrived at 9:50, and the lobby was locked even though their sign said they were open until 10:00. We had to convince them to sell to us through the drive-through. A passionate oration about our family's "Fourth of July dream of eating tacos while watching fireworks" finally crumbled their will, and we left with bags of goodies.

It was a pretty good show. We got back to the motel in time to catch the end of Star Wars Return of the Jedi. A very satisfying day. Happy Birthday, America!

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