Fargo is cool.
Everyone who’s been to Fargo already knows this. Everyone else doesn’t always believe me.
When I think of Fargo-Moorhead, I think of hanging out on our friends’ big front porches and drinking wine. I think of tromping down main street in a snow storm, popping in and out of bars ordering pickled eggs and Chuck Norris shots.
I think of the troll lounge at the Sons of Norway building, cheese plates with slices of cheeses fanned out as opulently as a peacock’s tail feathers at Mezzaluna (half-price at happy hour!), and knoephla soup. I think of overflowing molcajete and ridiculously cheap beer at Mango’s and buttermilk pie at Josie’s.
I think of blowing up Peking ducks with air compressors in M State culinary school and the madness that was German Sausage Chowder day in the Sanford hospital cafeteria.
Disclaimer: Logan spoiler.
Oh, Logan. North Dakota was supposed to have a starring role. The whole film builds towards this majestic moment where all of the little mutants make a grand pilgrimage to North Dakota.
I’ve gone as North as Grand Forks and I’ve driven across the state from Fargo to Medora. The burnt orange, rolling prairie grass and rugged terrain of Theodore Roosevelt National Park left me awestruck. I’m sure the prairie grass is scratchy and thick with critters, when you drive by and see it gently rolling in the wind, you’ll want to pull your car over and take a nap in it.
North Dakota is actually really beautiful. I could see the characters in Logan reaching the fictional destination of Eden in my mind as prairie grass danced in the wind.
If you asked where I could go if I could go anywhere, anytime between 20 years and two months ago, I would say the giant redwood trees in Northern California.
We finally made it.
There are actually ancient redwood trees growing in many places throughout Northern California. You don’t have to drive the Avenue of the Giants to see them, but it’s a good place to start.
“Do you feel like you’re in a Bob Ross painting?” I asked Jake as he steered our vehicle up and down steep mountains thick with towering trees. “I feel like I’m trapped in a Bob Ross painting on drugs,” he replied, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. “I bet the woods are full of bears, too,” he added as we passed a Rock Slide Area sign followed by another featuring a truck tumbling off the side of a mountain.
The waters of Lake Tahoe are crystal clear and the sun beats over the mountains like a flaming, angry saucer.
Early in the morning, the sun rises over Lake Tahoe; it seems to rise much earlier than it does in the Midwest. Before seven a.m., the lake radiated so fiercely with white light that I had to look away.
For two Midwestern kids, the drive to Lake Tahoe felt nerve-wracking. We’re used to driving long, flat distances through corn fields on auto-drive, only pausing it to pass semis. You can’t do that here. The highway winds up through the mountains and around sharp curves hugging drop-offs that make your palms sweat.