If you read Eric's blog, you'll see he's already described our harrowing trip to Minnesota through a North Dakota blizzard. Yes, we had checked the weather prior to leaving, but it seemed the blizzard would be in southwestern North Dakota. As we left Canada, the US border patrol officer warned us that conditions weren't great ahead, but we figured we'd just be careful. All was fine until our car skidded off the road into a ditch in the highway median just outside of Minot. We were thankful that none of us were injured, the car did not need any repairs, and a local resident stopped immediately to help us out. It became clear through making some cell phone calls that it would be a long wait for a tow truck (we probably saw at least 10 other cars in ditches on this trip), so our Good Samaritan drove us to a hotel in Minot where we spent the night. I called the CAA (Canadian equivalent of AAA) and was pleased to find out we could use their services while in the US. The next morning, a tow truck driver came to pick Eric up and brought him out to the car. We hoped to get to Minnesota the following day. But after driving slowly in blizzard conditions that second day, and having to take a long alternative route around a closed section of 94, we stopped in Fargo as darkness fell and stayed in a hotel there. Once you go off the road once, you're keenly aware that it could happen again! And how much worse that could be in the dark. I met a young man in the elevator who had come from out of town to help with sandbagging the Red River. As we passed over the river on the way to and from Minnesota, we could see the high level it had risen to already.
So we arrived in Alexandria, Minnesota the next morning, and had a wonderful time! Eric's mother, Jani, flew up from Nashville to join us all. We stayed with Eric's Aunt Pati and Uncle Darryl (Jani's sister and brother-in-law). His grandparents, Jerry and Jeanne Giles, live in a retirement village in town. His cousins Jenn and Joelle drove up from Minneapolis to spend time with us. Everyone rolled out the red carpet for us! Here are some photos:
Kate with her great-aunt Pati Knappen
Will with Mayme. The Knappens have horses, and Will was constantly running to the window saying, "See horse!"
Kate with Grandma and Grandpa Giles
Will loved this big truck, a gift from his great-grandparents
Eric and Grandma Giles
Making magic fairy cookies with Mayme
We celebrated Grandma Giles' 87th birthday. And she is still going strong! She is the primary caregiver for Grandpa Giles.
Mayme helps Kate brush the horse down
Will could not get enough of the horses!
With Great-Uncle Darryl Knappen
Kate bonded right away with Eric's cousins, Jenn and Joelle
It was a short trip, but so worth it! Eric drove into Minneapolis one day to read a paper at a regional meeting for the Society of Biblical Literature. We also got to have lunch at Grandma and Grandpa Giles' retirement home and see where they live. We did the drive back to Saskatchewan in one easy day, which was a welcome contrast to the outbound journey. Fortunately, our permanent residency cards came in the mail on time, and it was a great feeling to flash them as we cruised through the Canadian border at North Portal.
Doing the impossible
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