A wet Grand Forks — May 15

Grand Forks Red River bridges

It sure can be pretty, the full moon, the still water, and the bridges over the Red River, but as spring 2011 winds down and summer is headed to North Dakota, there is still plenty of water — or as some would say, “water under the bridge.”

Water under the Sorlie Bridge

A stroll by the Red River in East Grand Forks

And indeed there is water under every bridge in Grand Forks in May 2011.  The East Grand Forks Recreation Trail goes now where, suitable only for scuba divers.

The Sorlie Bridge is a landmark in Grand Forks and all of North Dakota. There are few if any bridges like it.  In order to accommodate the freeze-thaw cycle that causes steel to expand and contract, as well as to accommodate the traffic on the bridge, it is built on railroad wheels that move with the bridge in it’s seasonal changes.

Sorlie Bridge

Near the Sorlie Bridge, along the Red River on this spring evening people gather at one of the more popular watering holes in East Grand Forks.  They’re anticipating summer. ready to ride through the bridge across the swollen water on their bicycle.

Or next to the bridge, they park their motorcycles while grabbing a beverage along the river, then heading out for a evening’s chilly ride.  They’re excited to see spring, even if they’re a bit concerned about all the water.  On this particular evening, even the dogs are out, well sorta out.  They’re in their master’s truck while he and his family enjoy a night along the river.  These dogs are particular friendly and have a nose for the camera…well almost, until I stepped just out of the wet sniffer.

I had already eaten and now was wandering the parkway looking for a way to capture the swollen river.  The sun set before I got out of there, and headed back to my motel for the night.  But before I left, I had to capture the image you see at the top of this blog, and the one that ends this blog, the traffic across the landmark Sorlie Bridge.

Have you been to Grand Forks and enjoyed the summer evening next to the Red River?  It’s a nasty beast as residents can tell you, and as you can survey the rebuild from the 1997 flood.  But on this night, though flooding it was peaceful.  How’s it when you are there?

August 28


Big Walter Smith


Blues on the Red.  Grand Forks party on DeMers and Big Walter Smith was there to entertain. Grand Forks puts on the regular event each summer and it’s worth attending.  On this night the electrified Chicago/Delta/Mississippi blues of Big Walter Smith attracted the crowd on a perfect weather night. Motorcyclists joined the eclectic crowd of beer drinkers, bar-b-que eaters and blues lovers for a celebration of summer — one of those rare nights when the mojo is working and the black cat is strutting.

This time of year, the sun is still lingering as it descends in the west, and the crowd packs in to the park to enjoy a brief moment of  those lazy hazy days of summer.

After the Red River destroyed much of Grand Forks in the Big Flood/Fire/Blizzard of 1997,  the city was re-built with a flair and design that is perfect for good easy culture such as Blues on the Red.  A good ride to Grand Forks, a good night of entertainment, good food and good weather made this a memorable trip of 2010 for me.

The music as good as any I’ve heard all year. The photo ops were supreme.  The trumpeter in Big Walter Smith’s band was far more than an accompaniment. He was a show all to himself.

And when the show was over, there was still plenty of energy and opportunity to wander the streets along the Red River in Downtown Grand Forks.

And so wandering was on order for the rest of the night, visiting some of the more collegiate and more cosmopolitan establishments in the rebuilt section of town along DeMers Avenue.


DeMers Ave on a Sat night