Throughout our military career friends and family come to visit us — usually on their way to somewhere else. Georgia — on the way to Florida. Same with Alabama. Hawaii and Alaska speak for themselves. California — either to go to wine country or visit LA. People came to Oklahoma City for Mrs. Staff Sergaent’s wedding. But when we lived in Minot, we knew they were coming to see us.
Really, there isn’t a whole lot to see and do in North Dakota. A few touristy type places exist, but for the most part, you have to make your own fun. I found a book called “Day Tripping North Dakota” that was full of quirky, off-the-beaten-path places like the oil can tower in Casselton or Salem Sue the giant fiberglass Holstein cow in New Salem.
And then there was my favorite, an old-fashioned soda shop in a town west of Minot. We took Dave’s brother and his family there for ice cream. Our family of four got three hot fudge sundaes and a banana split for $6! Amazing.
North Dakota does have its charms. Medora, on the edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, is pretty cool. I remember driving west on the interstate seeing signs for the Painted Canyon. I didn’t know what that was. We rounded the bend in the road and I thought we’d left the planet! Ahead were the most spectacular rock formations and canyon I’d ever seen. I thought we left the planet, let alone the state. I had no idea North Dakota had such a beautiful place.
North Dakota also has the geographical center of the North American continent and the Turtle Mountains, if you can call them that. Having just come from Alaska, I referred to them as the Turtle Speed Bumps, but they were pretty and offered some recreational opportunities.
All-in-all, North Dakota was not a bad place to visit. You just have to take the time to make your own fun.