I’m coming to you live from Fargo, North Dakota this morning. First things first – gotta give mad props to both Teri from San Jose, CA and Kelli from Lemmon, SD for explaining the round hay bales to me. The short answer (for those that didn’t know) is the farmers are preparing now for the upcoming winter. And the reason I’m not seeing any animals eating the hay now is because they have plenty of fresh grass to eat in the fields. So there you have it!
Moving right along, my time in Mandan was short and sweet. I took the Trolley to Fort Lincoln State Park and met Cristina, a new friend from AZ. We ended up walking around the grounds together before taking the return trip out of the park.
From there, I drove to Bismarck which is literally across the river. After spending the evening posted up across from Lions Park, it was time to check out the sights. The grounds of the capitol are really nice with a huge expanse of lawn and trees. Juno had a blast running around on the grass. There are also several memorials on the grounds, including the Gratitude Train from France – given to ND after WWI. From there, I visited the ND Heritage Center (which is free!!) They have a dinosaur on display that still has its skin intact and some interesting reenactments of various animals in attack poses. And the gift shop had various bags of animal “poo” for sale. I took a pass…
But the best part of my visit to the Heritage Center was my conversation with Bob. He’s one of the docents and he implored that I ask him a question. So I did. Actually several questions:
- Why is North Dakota’s capitol building a “regular” building and not a dome? A dome wasn’t practical. We needed a building that could house all the government offices in one space. (He also told me that there are only four state capitols that don’t have domes – North Dakota, Nebraska, Florida and Louisiana. Not sure that this is true?)
- Is there a big rivalry between North Dakota and South Dakota? With the exception of sports rivalries, no, there’s no rivalry.
- Why were the Dakotas broken up into two states in the first place? This had to do with voting. Better representation with two states versus one.
- What’s the deal with recycling? I see bins for cans and plastic but no glass or paper? The entire population of North Dakota is 725,000 (this is less than just San Francisco). The amount of work and resources it takes to get one bottle from a small town (of which there are many in ND) to a processing facility is enormous. It boils down to economies of scale. But it is something they are continuing to work on.
The drive from Bismarck to Fargo was 2 1/2 hours and uneventful with the exception of one thing – the “long load” trucks I saw. One truck had 22 wheels and I saw two FedEx trucks with 30 wheels each. Yeesh.
First stop in Fargo was the visitors center. I’m generally not a fan of visitors centers but I had to make an exception in this case. Why? Because they have the woodchipper!!! Of course I had to pop Juno in it and get a few pix. The one out front was the stunt-double but the one inside is the real deal! It’s even signed by the Coen brothers. Gotta love that they have a foot sticking out of the top. I must admit – it was much smaller than I imagined. The “Wood Chip Marge” statue was a bonus – I saw that when I went to the Fargo Theater last night to see a movie.
Fargo is a super cute town and I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying the farmers market and the downtown area later this morning. But the thing that has struck me the most is the sheer number of “No Parking” signs that you see around town. I’m talking thousands. And so many varieties! It was a little stressful trying to find a place to park last night but it all worked out.
Alrightythen… time to wrap it up. In case you’re wondering why this post is entitled “Fresh Meat” – that would be me. The mosquitoes here in North Dakota are having a field day. I have been bitten on my legs, my arms, my back, my stomach, my chest and my face. But the one in the palm of my left hand is by far the worst. I have basically become a walking buffet.
Next post will be coming to you from Minnesotaaaaaaaaahhhhhh…..