We wound through a scenic byway / scenic backway from Valley City past Fort Ransom to Lisbon, following the Sheyenne River through southeast North Dakota. Built of black iron in a triangular grid, the railroad bridge passes high in the air to stay away from flood waters Railroad bridge, Jamestown, ND The weather was sunny and grew steadily warmer -- it hit 83 today.

The Dakotas, Montana, and Washington were admitted as states in 1889. Elsa's great-great grandfather Aaron Bell came here to farm; he died near Andover or Groton, South Dakota in 1894. We're working on the genealogy, which is an irregular sort of activity -- no leads for a while then all of a sudden you find something out.

Elsa's great aunt and uncle also lived near Groton, South Dakota, and died in 1939 and 1938, respectively. We're guessing that they worked the same farm that grandfather Bell homesteaded, but it's all speculation (so far.) We do know the railroads came through in the 1880s and sold land (which they got from the federal government) to people to provide towns, farms, and, of course, passengers and freight for the railroads.

We got our exercise walking through cemeteries looking for gravestones, The pioneer cabin is made of logs with plaster chinked in between Pioneer cabin and through the Dakota Museum in Aberdeen, where we are staying. It's the home town of Senator Tom Daschle, and the biggest town in northeastern South Dakota. It gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter, but the people are really nice, and the cities clean and the motels and restaurants inexpensive.

Last night we woke up to hear the siren. If it keeps on wailing, that's a tornado; this time it just wailed for a while and then stopped. That's a severe thunderstorm. A big wind came through, lightning was flashing constantly in the sky, the rain poured and we had a few pieces of hail. The storm passed through in a couple of hours. This morning the sky was crystal clear blue just as if it had never happened. More thunderstorms are predicted for the next four days.