Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Weekend in Bismarck, North Dakota

Well, the Memorial Day weekend was pretty uneventful, but despite the long drive from Brainerd, MN to Bismarck, ND, the overall trip out West was great.   Saturday morning was cold, cloudy and rainy when I left Brainerd, and all went well until the traffic was squeezed down to two lanes in the small town of Wadena, MN.  A pickup truck, license number LP8689, was following so close on the pothole ridden two lane road, that I was afraid he was going to hit me.  I  turned around to suggest he back off, and he sped around me right in the middle of the town's streets by passing into oncoming traffic.  He proceeded to speed away at high speeds and endanger his young daughter sitting in the front seat with no seat belt on.   I thought about calling the highway patrol, but the stupid I phone was no help in finding any contact information, and I wasn't going to call 911.  Along with this episode, one thing that is very prevalent on today's highways is people forgetting they are driving while talking on their cell phones.

Hang up and drive is my only message to dealing with all the frustrations associated with distracted and impatient driving.

The speed limit driving across North Dakota is 75 on the interstate, and this helps to make a quick trip, along with little to no traffic to contend with after driving through the Fargo metro area.

Bismarck, North Dakota is the capital of the state, and has calmed down in terms of business after the recent decline in the oil industry.   All of the restaurants and shopping still remain, and the small city is seemingly devoid of business and crowds.  This wasn't the case during the oil boom.  At one time, my relatives waited in a line of 27 cars just to get a Starbucks, but now the city is returning to a slower paced and relaxed vibe.  It is a good place and surprisingly scenic in the spring with the low bluffs, prairie lakes, abundance of pheasants, and the clean and inviting Missouri  River.
It turned out to be a long drive, but it was well worth it in terms of getting to spend some quality time with friends enjoying good food and excellent, sunny weather.

The drive back was uneventful, and we spent the rest of the weekend in the sun and water.