Alaska 2008

Portage La Prairie, MB to St. Cloud, MN

439 Miles/702 Km

3 August 2008

Route Map

Destination Map

Route Information


Points of interest

Distance From





Portage La Prairie, MB Miller's Camping Resort Home
St Cloud
49.974 N
98.136 W
MB 1
Assiniboin, MB
(Winnipeg area)
Portage La Prairie
St Cloud
49.880 N
97.329 W
MB 100
MB 427
MB 75
US/Canada Border   Home
Portage La Prairie
St Cloud
49.000 N
97.238 W
MB 75
I 29
Grand Forks, ND   Home
Portage La Prairie
St Cloud
47.933 N
97.094 W
ND I 29
Fargo, ND   Home
Portage La Prairie
St Cloud
46.847 N
96.841 W
ND I 29
I 94
Fergus Falls, MN   Home
Portage La Prairie
St Cloud
46.290 N
96.121 W
MN I 94
St Cloud, MN St Cloud Campground & RV Park Home
Portage La Prairie
45.567 N
94.108 W
MN I 94
SR 15

Photographs and Commentary
Click on pictures to enlarge

We left Portage la Prairie under partly cloudy skies and light winds. We traveled east on TransCanada Highway 1 for about 40 miles and then turned south towards the US Border, another 70 miles away. The roads and weather were good and we made good time into the US customs facility on I-29. That's when our luck started to turn.

As we were pulling into the Customs station, there were four lanes open and I picked the extreme left lane because it seemed to be moving the fastest. It did until we go there. We got a friendly Customs officer who asked us the routine questions and was ready to hand us back the passport when another officer came in and said, "we'll take this one." We were directed to move a bit further on for an inspection of the truck and trailer by two armed officers. When I stopped, I told one of the officers, "it must be my day." I told her that I have come full circle in customs inspections and told what happened going into Canada in June. She laughed and said, "it must be your day." They looked in the trailer and in the tool box in the back of the truck and then handed me our passports. I know that many of these inspections are random and not because I fit a terrorist profile. Even though I know that the statistically probability for us to be picked for a more thorough inspection twice in four border crossings is not astronomical, I did start feeling a bit paranoid. On the other hand, I do feel a little better about the increased level of security in the US. It is still not high enough as far as I'm concerned because while I was going through this inspection, down the road, in a little border town, with a dirt road leading to the border, there are people crossing without being inspected. Don't you think the terrorists know that?

Coming out of the Customs station, we pick up I-29 south. I had planned to stop at a truck stop on the first exit south to fill up the tank. I don't know why I went past the exit but I did. The next place that was anywhere near the interstate that had fuel was in Grand Forks, ND, about 75 miles south. I guess on every one of our trips I have to pull into a service station with a minimum amount of fuel in the tank. Hopefully, this was it for this trip. After refueling we continued south on I-29 and then the rains came. We skirted a number of thunder storms heading into Fargo. We got light rain and some wind and could see lightening in the distance.

We turned east in Fargo onto I-94. Within a few miles of making the turn you cross the Red River into Minnesota and that's when the next fun phase began. We again skirted some thunder storms but the rain was heavier, but still nothing too bad. What was bad was the wind that seemed to come from all kinds of directions, mostly from our front. The winds gusted and I could feel the resistance to our forward motion and almost feel the fuel being sucked out the tank to provide the power to fight the winds. All in all, it was still not too bad (if you don't mind seeing a 25% increase in fuel consumption).

When we got into the campground in St Cloud, MN, I was greeted at the door and told you don't need your sunglasses because we don't have any light in the office. It seemed that around 11:30 this morning, nearly three hours before we arrived they lost power during a very strong thunderstorm. I told them that I skirted a few storms and was glad I didn't encounter anything like what they described. I also told them I am not stopping in St Cloud again. WHen asked why, I told them the last time I was here, three years ago, we spent the night worrying about the tornadoes that were all around us. They proceeded to blame me for the bad weather and then told me, "welcome to a midwestern summer." They said this was one of the worst summers they can remember.

Fortunately, it was calm where we unhitched the trailer and set it up for the night. After setting up the trailer we headed about a mile into town to refuel the truck. While I was refueling, a thunderstorm struck the area. The rain came down like a waterfall and the lightening strikes seemed very close (when the llightening and thunder occur simultaneously, you know its close). We drove back to the campground in this downpour and were happy to be in the trailer where it was nice and dry. The rain continued to come down heavily for another half hour before abating. I just hope that this is the end of the storms for today, but I have a feeling it is not.

As I write this, the power has been out for over five hours and I wonder if we will get it back on tonight. Not having electricity is an inconvenience, but not necessarily a problem. Most of the electrical systems work off an internal 12 Volt battery. The refrigerator switches to propane when 110 Volt power is not available. So the only things that don't work are the air conditioner, which I doubt we will need, and the microwave. The other thing that doesn't work is the campground's WiFi which will prevent us from uploading today's and yesterday's pages to the server. If power and the WiFi are not restored by tonight, I will have to upload the pages tomorrow.

Written later. Power came back after 7 1/2 hours. Hopefully it lasts. After the storm finished with us, the sun came out for a while and all was good in the world of St. Cloud Campground. As evening came, the clouds started moving back so we may see more storms before the night is out... or so the Weather Channel tells us. The forecast for tomorrow morning is good so maybe we can make our next stop before the afternoon storms hit,

Robin with prize worm

This robin was just standing on our picnic table staring at us. The robin took advantage of the fact that the rains has saturated the ground and drove the worms to the surface... a true early bird. This also represents the most dangerous animal (other than man) that we encountered today.

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