So last week we had to make a unexpected trip to North Dakota. Fargo to be exact. It was quite the drive. It took about 12 hours to get there and closer to 14 to get back. Let me tell you about the drive
The trip started out early Wednesday morning. I filled up the gas tank at my favorite Shell station, which is the one at Fuller and Michigan. After filling up, we stopped at Starbucks to get Shereen a coffee. Then it was to McDonald’s on Michigan St to get some breakfast, because I can’t be driving on an empty stomach. Now, it’s important to note that it’s important that I mentioned specifically which McDonald’s we went to. There are a couple in the near area that I could have gone, but I went to that specific one. Mostly because of the easiness to get on the highway afterwords. I got my normal McD’s breakfast which is a sausage, egg and cheese McMuffin (with folded egg, because that other egg is gross) and I got a large iced coffee. After getting some breakfast it was off to the races and we headed off into the wild blue yonder. Driving through Michigan was pretty standard as I’ve been along that route several times before.
Once we started to get closer to Chicago, I started to notice a feeling in my tum tum. That “feeling” lasted for about 2-3 hours and required about 3-4 stops if I recall correctly. I can only blame it on the McDonalds that we had for breakfast, especially considering the location. I hold that location in high regards (low) as the worst one in the city. It generally takes forever to get your food, and most of the time the order was wrong. Wednesday morning was no exception as they tried to give me iced tea instead of coffee!! Anyways, several gas stations, and rest stops later my stomach finally settled down.
We stopped in the Dells at Wisconsin and visited this pizza place for lunch called the Pizza Pub. They had a lunch buffet going on so we decided to check it out. Honestly, I was kind of surprised because Shereen isn’t really a big Pizza person. Especially compared to me. I could literally eat pizza every day if I could. We got there right as they were opening and they didn’t quite have pizzas out yet, so we had some salad and pasta to start off. They brought out the pizzas and I dug in. They didn’t have a huge selection, but the things they did have were really good. It was pretty much at this point, that the trip to North Dakota started getting slow.
Now, when I say slow, I don’t mean in terms of speed. What I’m talking about is the sheer flatness of Minnesota and North Dakota. There are no hills. I mean, like no hills at all. The only hills you see are the sporadic hills that are man made so that a road can cross over the highway. There is also a weird lack of trees. Now that’s not so say there are NO trees. There just isn’t very many, and they’re always clumped up. Like 10-15 of them randomly and then no trees in sight. Which brings me to the next point. I would have loved to see MN and ND. However, it was eerily foggy. Or cloudy. Or foggy and cloudy. I couldn’t tell where the fog began and the cloud cover began. Or if it was just all cloudy. Or if it was foggy into the sky. You picking up what I’m laying down? You couldn’t really see anything more than like a half mile in any general direction. And let me tell you, that really makes the trip feel slow because you feel like you’re just seeing the same thing over and over.
We got into Fargo North Dakota pretty late. I think it was about 9pm or so when we checked into our room. Fargo is pretty unremarkable save for its mind boggling highway infrastructure. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place that had such confusing entrances and exits to the highway / freeway / expressway. Even the layout of some of the roads was just really weird. A lot of times I felt like we were going in circles around the city to get somewhere because it was in the middle of one of those like garden mazes. At first I thought it was just the exit that had to get off on, but after driving to a couple different places here and there over the course of the couple days that we were there. Fargo is a pretty big city in North Dakota. In fact, it’s the biggest city in North Dakota. So when I learned this information pre-trip, I was excited because I thought that it was going to be pretty big. But come to find out, Fargo is about the size of one of Grand Rapids
The funeral was at this church in a little city called Hillsboro in North Dakota. It was 2 older buildings that had been combined to become one building. It was very beautiful as far as churches go. All brick with large open interior, and lots of wood. It even had a pipe organ in the service area. The pipes were very nicely decorated and I had to catch my self a couple of times from exploring around the place and getting nosey. The service itself was very nice. It wasn’t terribly long, but wasn’t short either. It really, to me, felt like the perfect length. After the church service we all went outside for a military salute and taps. Man those guns are super loud. After the service there was a luncheon. Now, lets talk about that.
So, of course when you go to different cities, things are different. The same goes for when you go to different states, and of course, different parts of the country. I really had an eye opening experience with this at the luncheon. They had a lot of the same types of stuff that we have here, but many of them were just slightly different than the usual that we have here. The first thing that really caught my eye is apparently a North Dakota “specialty”. It was hamburger buns with cheeze whiz spread on them and then topped with green olive slices. (Credit to https://dullumfile.areavoices.com/2016/09/24/funeral-food/ for the image). I was a little nervous to try them because I’m not a huge cheeze whiz fan, and I’m generally pretty particular about the cheese I eat. But I grabbed one and come to find out, it was pretty good. It was like nothing I had ever had before. There was also a couple different types of pasta salads that were, again, mostly similar to what you would expect from Michigan, but with just the slightest variations. The other thing I noticed was there were a bunch of dessert bars. And they called them all bars. Like kinda how the south calls pop “Coke”, even if their having a Pepsi. I don’t know why I found it so fascinating, but just the way they walked around and talked about the “bars” was weird to me.
The trip back from North Dakota was a bit more interesting than the trip up. The roads were pretty bad for quite awhile as it was snowing from North Dakota well into Wisconsin. Once we finally got through all that, we were lucky enough to get into Chicago around 6pm (on a Friday). And by lucky, I do of course mean, not lucky. It took us quite a bit of time to get through all of that and put us quite behind on our timeline. Probably better timing and thought consideration of where we were going to be on the trip would have been better for sure. We finally rolled into town way later than we planned even after having left earlier.
This week, it’s back to the grind as I’ve missed a LOT of work lately because of stuff going on. Also, after having read this entire post about Fargo… I’ve never seen the movie. Or the series.