North Dakota

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A special thanks to my good friend Rick Melbye of Moorhead, MN

Starting on August 01, 2002, 4:21:40 PM

I arrived into Fargo, North Dakota directly across the border from Minnesota and immediately went through town and found the Kinko's. This one was only open till 10:00 so I quickly got to work on updating my web site and replying to emails.  
Fargo was actually a lot larger than I had anticipated. With all the conveniences of any large city there was lots to see and do and plenty of places to eat. I actually stayed at a motel that night to get cleaned up since I was feeling a little grungy and probably smelling pretty bad. Yeah, I can now tell that when the mosquitoes start biting that its time to get cleaned up. On the next morning to head across North Dakota and then south. 

Stopping at rest areas are a great way to stretch and relax. Of course as soon as I get there and try to relax I look around and have to go back to the bike to get the camera. Some of the rest areas had nice little nature trails around the park.

There was some really pretty wild plum trees there. The plums were very tiny and actually taste really bitter so I didn't eat any of them. All the leaves were a deep red color except for this one little sprig that had green leaves on it. I couldn't understand that but it definitely stood out against the dark red background.

Then there were some wild onions with blossoms on them. I actually pulled and ate some of these. The blossoms themselves actually were quite tasty as well.

 

Several places along the trail ended up at this small lake that was a nice peaceful surrounding to relax in.

Along the trail I found several different types of mushrooms. This small white one popping up through the dirt and the little, bright red one was attempting to fight the environment. No, don't worry, I didn't eat the mushrooms.

 

I always love these types of little seeds that drop off of many different trees. I use to play with them when I was little and pretend that they were little helicopters. Always fascinated with flying, I would pretend that I was on these little wings and going different places and seeing different things. Of course, always a little discouraged when I finally crashed to the ground in a bloody gruesome explosion. (Well, that's what I saw in my head.) IT still does fascinate me how these things have grown naturally and appear so much like a wing and can be carried so far on the wind. 

Yeah, I think at this point I was getting a little annoyed by the photographer.

And boy did I find "flat". I cannot emphasize or begin to explain to you how flat "flat" was. About an hour or so before I reached Fargo, still in Minnesota, the whole landscape went from low rolling slopes to extremely flat. It was actually kind of a pleasant change to be able to look and see for so very far. 

In cutting across North Dakota I decided to head to South Dakota via highway 83 that headed down to Pierre. In looking at the road below, was that a mistake? As far as the eye could see there was nothing. However, in nothing, there is always something. Obviously we just have to look at it from a different perspective. To clear your mind and see the beauty in some of the smallest and simple things. Maybe I'm just easily amused. However, sometimes we have to stop and admire so much of the nothing that we take too much for granted.

Stopping at a small gas station/convenience store, I see this in the window, "CRAZEE SALE". I couldn't contain myself and had to go inside and ask, "So, how much is insanity going for these days?" Hoping that they would catch on, appreciate the humor and go along with the joke. Surely they would offer me some "Crazee", and I would then decline for the fact that I apparently have plenty. Well, the roll didn't play out as I had hoped as they just all just looked at me as if I were an alien or something. I had to go on to the rest room to make sure that I didn't have some big ugly something hanging off my nose. I didn't.

Along with all the corn, beans and various other crops, I began to find fields and fields of sunflowers. Now we all know that sunflowers are suppose to follow the sun as it moves across the sky. Well, this one field must have had stupid sunflowers growing in it because they were all facing the opposite direction as the sun. It must have been cloudy there for most of the day and had just recently cleared off. They obviously hadn't had the time to turn around and face the sun.

Well, the day had gone by. I stopped into a small diner not too far from the border to South Dakota and talked to some of the friendly locals. Some very wonderful people. An elderly gentleman kept warning me of the rain that they were suppose to have that evening. Well, I figured that I'd be long down the road before that came and arrogantly assured him that I'd be fine and that rain wasn't a problem.

I headed back on the road just to get some shots of the sunset. I thought that the farm in the background of the one image made for a nice shot while at the same time the little gravel road made for another. Then of course, the wide open shot.

 

A few more miles down the road I had passed under this eerie looking cloud layer. I was amazed at the shape and structure of the clouds and stopped to take a few pictures. I was hoping that the camera would be able to capture it some as it was so dark. After analyzing the clouds I realized that I maybe should get down the road before I got into what looked like the front of a storm. So I did, but I was surely not prepared for what append next just into South Dakota.

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