Visiting my 50th state

Bison in Fargo
Bison in Fargo

There’s beauty in flat land.

This may be a weird thing to say from someone who hikes in the mountains of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee all the time.

But now I’m in the so-called fly-over states with gently rolling hills. In the land of 10,00 lakes, I felt that I passed over a thousand already.

It’s a cool 75 degrees during the day. I took a fleece jacket as an afterthought, but it doesn’t seem so crazy now. It might get down into the 60s in the evening. What a change from the sweltering heat of Asheville.

Emma Krumbee's
Emma Krumbee’s

First stop – Emma Krumbee’s for lunch in Albertville, MN. It’s just a midwestern diner, like Cracker Barrel, which serves fried potatoes instead of grits. It’s a great introduction to the culture of the upper midwest – yes, friendly, open and nice, just like the stereotype.

I learned that when you order iced tea, it comes unsweetened.

But oh those pies!

I’ve already accomplished my first goal of this trip, to get to my 50th state – North Dakota.

Driving from Minnesota to North Dakota, you enter the state through Fargo. You remember the 1996 movie with Frances McDormand? It was set in Brainard, MN but mentioned Fargo.

In Fargo
In Fargo

“You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear this,” a gallery owner on Fargo’s main street tells me.

“That North Dakota is their last state to visit. They figure why would I ever want to come here? But they’re pleasantly surprised when they get here that it’s so nice.” Yes, nice.

Like many mid-size cities, Fargo must have suffered a decline. Its downtown seems to be waking up, with restaurants, clubs, an art gallery and offices.

Hendersonville and Cherokee, NC have sculptured bears all over its downtown streets. Fargo has a bison. So far, I’ve just encountered one. See above.

But you know there’s got to be a park or two involved in this trip. So stay tuned.




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