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Day 12 - Bismarck, North Dakota

As soon as we arrived in Bismarck, North Dakota, Ziggy had to use the phone. It turns out, she had some friends she had been corresponding with by e-mail in the wee hours of the morning when I was sleeping. So Ziggy demanded that we go there ASAP and we did.

When we got to the house she told me to tell the cab driver, Frenchy, Frys, Andy, Wid, and Ketchup were waiting in the window. They leaped for joy when they saw Ziggy and right away, offered her milk. That's the states beverage you know. They brushed up on a few things and showed Ziggy around their pad. Just outside their window, there was a bird just chirping away.

"That's a Western Meadowlark, our state bird!" Meowed Andy.

"That's cool", I said, "But we have to go Ziggy. We have to go to the Missouri River for a little cruise on the Lewis and Clark Riverboat.

She was happy and we said our goodbyes. As we stepped out the door, Ziggy put her Dakota hat on. It's a cross between a derby and a cowboy hat. She wore it well.

We got down to the river and I took this picture as it was headed back to dock. I told Ziggy, let's go. I hear we can have something to eat on the boat.

I told Ziggy, "North Dakota was the 39th state in the USA; it became a state on November 2, 1889." We got on the boat and looked upon the Missouri River. We tried to imagine what it was like for those early explorers, Lewis and Clark and their men. Then, a bell rang out and announced lunch.

We had an assortment of meats to choose from, but what fascinated me was the bread. I asked the cook what it was and she said, "Dakota Bread. It's as close we can come to of what they ate and from what they found and lived off of the land." Here's the recipe.

North Dakota Bread
Served me and Ziggy

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
2 Tablespoons sunflower oil
1 egg
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 2-1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
cornmeal

Sprinkle yeast in warm water; stir to dissolve. In a large bowl, mix sunflower oil, egg, cottage cheese, honey, and salt. Add dissolved yeast and 2 cups bread flour, beating until flour is moistened. Gradually stir in whole wheat flour, wheat germ, rye flour and oats, plus enough bread flour to make a soft dough.

On a floured surface, knead dough about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Punch down dough. Shape into one round loaf. Place into a greased pie pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Brush with egg white and sprinkle with wheat germ, sunflower kernels, or oatmeal. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Yield: 1 loaf (2 pounds)

Note: If too dark, cover loosely with foil the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking. Remove from pie pan and cool on a wire rack.

Dunk me da Dakota Bread!

_______________________________

I made my way up to the steerhouse and spoke with Captain Pete. I asked him how long had he been a riverboat captain and he told me 30 years. I told him being around all this history must be pretty neat. Then I asked him what it meant for him to be American.

He said, "What Lewis and Clark found here were beautiful and broad plains, abundant wildlife, hospitable natives and a young Indian interpreter and guide who would prove invaluable on their journey. On April 7, 1805, as the last chunks of ice floated away from the Missouri River shoreline, a gathering of Indian men and women bidded farewell to the curious band of light-skinned men who wintered among them. The voyagers eagerly set forth upstream, in the company of a young Indian woman. Carrying her infant son in a cradleboard, she dreamt of returning to the mountains of her birth and to her family. For all but Sakakawea, the Indian woman, it is a voyage into the vast unknown."

He continued, "To be part of this sharing of our history is an honor. To be an American, I really feel transported back into history each time I take a cruise."

I thanked him and enjoyed the rest of the trip down below. After we docked, Ziggy was sound asleep and had to carry her back to the main building so we could rent a car. Ziggy wanted to ride a buffalo and I knew where one she could ride was. It was just down the road in Jamestown. That's her on the top of it.

We're off to beautiful Denver, Colorado tomorrow. Ziggy and I can't wait to see the mountains and breathe in the crisp clean mountain air.

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