Holy Cow- I survived our trip to Fargo, North Dakota! First off- Google Maps said it was a 13 hour drive- it was 15! That is a long and exhausting drive but it did have a pleasant surprise. After 11 hours of rolling hills and farmland out of nowhere popped the lovely Badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
I had been sleeping for about an hour and woke up just as we were driving past some bison on the side of the road. I saw a sign for a rest stop and scenic overlook and made Ryan pull over so I could pee and check out this park. It really is incredible.
According to Wikipedia, Roosevelt first came to the North Dakota badlands in 1883 to hunt bison and fell in love with the West. in September 1883. He was a conservationist President and helped form major national parks like Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, etc.
We have the Canadian Badlands here in Alberta and I always opt for the Rockies when I go on adventures. After seeing this gorgeous park and the unearthly beauty of badlands stretch far around you.
We stopped in Bismarck, ND for dinner and I saw a Cracker Barrel next to the highway and asked Ryan if we could check it out. We both love the Netflix show The Ranch and the characters go to Cracker Barrel often.
It’s a very cute Western themed restaurant. I didn’t hate it, but the menu didn’t excite me because it’s home cooking, meatloaf, fried chicken, etc. I opted for the streak which was AMAZING and added fried okra to my sides to try it out.
We rolled into Fargo at 12:20 p.m. Our family rented a house through AirBnB near North Dakota State University (NDSU) campus which was great to keep us all together.
Saturday morning we got up and got dressed up to head to the Fargodome to watch the main event- Ben walk the stage!
Is it cynical that I think graduation speakers need to be more realistic? It was two hours of “the world is yours” “your experiences here have prepared you for life” “go and get your dream job.” I just remember my first year or two out of university being a huge shock because life was so damn stressful! You start off at a low paying job, your student loan payments kick in, and now that you’re out of school there’s all this pressure to get married and have kids- ah! I’m thinking at my graduation, I should try and be a student speaker. I don’t think they would appreciate me splashing cold water on everyone. Ha ha!
After graduation and lunch, we headed to Moorehead to see the replica of a Viking church. Fargo has a large Norwegian immigrant history, in fact, the house we were renting boasted Norwegian decor.
Laura and Leilani talked about seeing REAL Viking churches in Oslo but I thought the replica was a pretty nice substitute.
Afterward, Ben took us to Barb’s Cafe- a Seattle themed coffee shop! So of course, our Seattle-ite family had to go check it out. Everyone ordered a drink and played chess.
We wrapped it up and headed home. Bruce and Ryan went to a movie, the girls headed out with Ben to celebrate his graduation and I hung out alone to do some homework reading and go tot bed early since I had a long run the next day.
I kicked off Sunday with a 10 mile run. It gave me a great chance to explore Fargo-Moorhead and check out more of the downtown and enjoy running along the Red River a little.
We went out for sushi for lunch and as we were leaving, Ben noticed a recycling bin behind the restaurant with lots of boxes. He needed boxes to pack but everyone in my family was too ‘make shame’ to go digging through a dumpster behind a restaurant. Mom sent Charles to do it and my sweet Ryan went and helped. Mom and I were laughing so hard we were crying and mom took a few pictures to remember the moment.
After lunch (and dumpster diving), we headed back to the NDSU campus to rent bikes at the bike rental stations. I’ve seen these before but never took the chance to try them out. For $4/hour, we were able to rent really fun cruiser bicycles that had a few basic gears on them.
Ben took us around campus and pointed out the different buildings. The NDSU campus is HUGE! It’s a village.
The highlight of our biking was when we biked past the school’s outdoor track Laura even said “Oh no! We’re going to be here forever” when she saw it.
Our family is a track family. My mom was a state placing sprinter in high school and Leilani, Bruce and I both ran track for years in high school, Laura did also did a season and Ben did a couple too.
Bruce had a great idea that we should do a 400m bike race around the track and my competitive family was all over it! We each picked a lane, did a staggered start and took off. Ben, Ryan, and Leilani were GONE from the get-go. Bruce was in flip flops and had a rough start and I laughed so hard for the first 200m. In the end the order went; Ben, Ryan, Leilani, Bruce, Me, Laura, and Mom.
My mom was so hyped up from the race she wanted to go again, so she and Ben lined up. He gave her a 100m start and he almost had her at the end, losing by mere seconds.
This is what I love about my mom, she knows hows to laugh, how to be silly, and how to enjoy the little things. We were all having so much fun!
After the biking we had a little work to do, we helped Ben pack up all his things and load it into my parents van.
That night we played a few rounds of Heads Up and headed to bed. Ryan, Bruce, and I were up at 3 am to drop Bruce off at the airport and to get on the road early. Ryan and I pulled in last night at about 6pm.
The drive was brutal but I thoroughly enjoy going to new places. Fargo is a pretty cool little town and I bet the kids who go to NDSU have a lot of fun. And now I have the Theodore Roosevelt National Park on my bucket list!
How do you stay sane on crazy long road trips?