Tour the underground

  It's probably not the first place you might think of for a family vacation, but coal mines and electricity-generating plants in North Dakota have packaged a tour of their facilities as the "Energy Trail." Hitting the trail offers more than authentic coal soot. If you time it right, Thursday at the Freedom Mine in Mercer County is blasting day, and afterward there's a chance to see one of the world's biggest shovels in action. These tours have become popular, says one nearby chamber of commerce, with close to 20,000 people visiting a mine or plant in a year. You can't beat the price: all tours are free.

For more information about the North Dakota Energy Trail or a free brochure, call the Beulah Chamber of Commerce at 701/873-4585 or write to P.O. Box 730, Beulah, ND 58523.

* Stanley Yung

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