Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 4: Clintonville, Wisconsin to St Cloud, Minnesota

Late start in Clintonville as we are due at the FWD Museum at 10:00. We get there early and I can see the Butterball Special, formerly the AJB of Archie Butterworth, through the window. I can tell that the original Steyr engine is still in situ. Bill Hupke, a 46-year employee of the company, shows up. He is vastly knowledgeable on the history of the company - four generations of his family worked there. We photograph this historically significant racing car, two-time winner of the Brighton Speed Trials.
Legend has it that an owner of a 1906 Reo struggled on the dirt roads of Wisconsin and suggested four-wheel-drive as the answer. By 1908 they were making FWD vehicles, cars and later trucks.
We hit the highway heading west. A quick stop in Chippewa Falls yields a Pyrex lid at the Salvation Army store. There are crackheads smoking on the pavement so we move on to Menominee, for lunch in old train depot. Menard's, the hardware store, are running TV and radio ads featuring a sale on American made goods. High time the US woke up to spending their dollars at home. We take diesel in a BP station at Mahtomedi in the suburbs of St Paul. The manager says they have taken flak over the oil spill and I say we have called in to show solidarity, to the delight of the staff. Also cheapest diesel so far at $2.81.9 cents per US gallon.
We are running in the rush hour traffic and are diverted off the highway due to a wreck. We reach St Cloud at teatime. Quick stop at Goodwill, then Aldi for grocery. Spend the night at the Quality Inn, $83.93 incl tax. Watching the Tour de France on TV.

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