We are getting a little short of time so after a quick visit to the Mall Of America in Minneapolis, and a lunch with our two favourite Minnesotan bikers we had to make our way to Fargo North Dakota. The last time we had lunch with Kevin and Art, we were dining at a café in Havana, Cuba and they were trying to find materials to build a life raft since they were running low on currency and were getting concerned about being permanent guests of Fidel. It was good to confirm that they had made it out and that they were cautiously planning their next out-of-country experience.
So let's be honest. North Dakota, the least visited state in the Union, is only known for 2 things- the movie 'Fargo’ and the fact that more ducks reproduce in North Dakota wetlands than anywhere in the U.S. (does anybody really know that?). How bad are things for this Rodney Dangerfield of a state- none of the scenes in the popular movie Fargo was actually filmed here. Additionally, the movie was loosely based on two true events that happened in Minnesota, not North Dakota. That said, the movie wouldn’t have been as compelling with the non-existent Minnesotan accent.
Including the ducks, any native North Dakotan would passionately deny that they speak the way they do in the cult movie but…. they do. Because the lead character was a female police officer, the movie sits firmly on DH’s list of greatest movies ever. Her favourite line of the movie was "I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your policework there, Lou". Substitute ‘Dave B’ for ‘Lou’ and you have a line she used a lot very early in her own policing career- usually after Dave returned from an alley with scrapped knuckles shortly after chatting with a suspect.
The folksy use of "yep", “nope”, “youbetcha”,”uff da” and “okiedokie” is more than common, and every now and then we’d be looking around for a translator. If you go to the post office to mail a “paggitch”, if you refer to a snack as a "bunny lunch", if being delayed by snow is to be "snow-stayed"… you must be from North Dakota.
The number one attraction in North Dakota is the wood chipper from the Fargo movie carefully housed inside the visitor centre- complete with a human leg sticking out of the feeder (you have to see the movie to get this reference). The second biggest attraction is the Walk of Fame- unlike most such Walks, since North Dakota is a little shy of local celebrities, this Walk of Fame has the handprints of anyone famous who happened to visit North Dakota either accidentally or on purpose (even that seems to be a relatively short list).
People should know more about North Dakota (after all if ND seceded from the Union, it would be the world's third strongest nuclear power), but it remains a largely unknown land mass. To help rectify that problem I’m providing a list of ND factoids:
- It’s illegal to go dancing in Fargo with a hat on. It is even illegal to wear a hat at a party where other people are dancing. It is also illegal in North Dakota to take a nap with your shoes on.
· The smallest city in North Dakota is Maza, with a population of 5 people. North Dakota does not have towns or villages. Each place is officially a city, no matter how small it is.
· The world’s largest hamburger was eaten in Rutland, North Dakota. It weighed 3,591 pounds and more than 8,000 people were invited to the meal.
· Milk is North Dakota's official state beverage.
· In North Dakota, it is unlawful to serve beer and pretzels at the same time in any bar or restaurant.
· North Dakota is the only state in the nation to never have an earthquake.
· If you are in a covered wagon, it is legal to shoot an Indian on horseback.
· North Dakota grows more sunflowers than any other state.
· North Dakota holds the Guinness World Record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place. On February 17, 2007, 8,962 people made snow angels at the state capitol grounds.
· An average of 21 tornadoes a year hit North Dakota.
· One of the quirkiest sports in North Dakota is lawn mower racing. By the time mowers are customized, they can reach speeds of 60 mph.
There’s not a ton of WOW’s in North Dakota but we had a really good time here- it’s one of the few states with a reasonable number of Tim Hortons coffee shops so there must be good things happening here.