Courtesy of Alf L. Elden, Oslo, Minnesota 16 Hp. Minnesota Giant Steamer, built about 1881.
As I was mentioning in my previous column that we might have a flood after that big snowstorm, and it did come, the third highest in history according to the Grand Forks weather station. The next higher was in the year 1882 and the very highest was 1897. The water did not get into our buildings as we have a dyke built encircling all the buildings. This was built in 1960. Our basement was one of the few in this community that remained dry during the flood, not even seepage. There was quite a little water in low places inside the dike from the great amount of snow, so we pumped a lot of that over the dike. We had to do some sand bagging in a few low places on top of the dike or the water would have flowed across. We also had to plug some pocket gopher holes as they had tunneled thru, a distance of 20-30 feet.
Eight years ago this spring (1958) we, that is my wife Hulda and three of our six children Irene, Karl and Ole and myself took a trip to Norway and Sweden, driving our car to New York we went by way of Enola, Pa., where we visited our good friends Elmer and Mrs. Ritzman. After a delicious lunch, we headed for New York where we arrived the next day, June 1st. On the 3rd., we left on the Liner Oslofjord. Our car together with 20-30 others were loaded in the hold of the same boat. Our first stop was Bergen, Norway June 10th., where we went ashore for a sightseeing trip of the city, and out to the nearby Fana stave church and over to the home of the famous music composer Edvard Greig, and also Greig and his wife's burial place in the side of a mountain. The next stop was Stavanger, then Kristiansand, in both these towns we also were a-shore looking around.
June 12th. our boat docked at Oslo, the end of our ocean trip, so after getting our baggage and car unloaded and clearance papers on the car we drove over to the Ansgar Mission Hotel, stayed there 3 days then started North on highway # 50 which leads from Oslo in the South to the Northern part of the country - way North of the Arctic Circle. After making several stops visiting with friends a-long the road we arrived in Namsos, halfways North in Norway, 360 miles from Oslo. We made Namsos our headquarters as most of my relatives in Norway are in that locality.
On July 1st., we filled the gas tank of our car with 46.3 liters bensine which cost 50 crowns, and struck out for the Northern part of Norway along Route # 50, scenery very beautiful and interesting, passed thru Mosjoen, Moi Rana, crossed Salt Straumen and the Saltfjel Mountains, came to the city of Bodo, drove to the top of a mountain and saw the midnight sun. There was a parking area and a restaurant where we had our supper after 12 o'clock in the morning, the reason for our late supper was because we found no eating place for a long ways before arriving in Bodo, and there we first tried several hotels for lodging but no luck. Then we went to a taxi office where they had a list of private homes who take in tourists, so we got a place to stay in a nice new home. There were many people from several countries on the mountain to see the midnight sun, and as there is a lot of cloudy weather up North, we were lucky to see at least part of the sun between clouds. While we were on the Saltfiel Mountain, before coming to Bodo we crossed the Polar Circle, (Pol Sirkel in Norwegian), there was snow patches laying along the road, some places big drifts left of the winter's snow, and this was July 2nd. The sun was real warm but cool in the shade.
After a day's stay in Bodo we went North again. Along the road we saw many farms where all the buildings had been burned down by German soldiers in the second world war. When we came to Narvik we saw the hulls of several boats and submarines in the shallow water along the coast. There was heavy fighting at Narvik because of it being an important seaport, and the Germans suffered heavy losses. From Narvik we continued North to Sorreisa and over to the home of Gotfred Gulbrandsen, who is a cousin to my wife's father.
Before leaving home I planned on trying to get hold of an antique threshing machine, so here was one up in the hayloft of Gulbrandsen's barn, owned by four of his neighbors, so I went over to one of the owners and asked if it might be for sale. He said it was all right on his part and he would talk to the other 3 over the phone so I could come over the next day, so I went there again he told me they all would sell the machine but they wanted 100 crowns for it which is $14, which I thought was very reasonable. This machine was built about 1880 by Heinrich Lanz Mannheim, Regensburg, Breslau Germany.