The desire to travel has no correlation with positive impressions despite the travel industry’s ardent efforts to convince us otherwise. I’m often moved to action by emotional responses that would have the experts gnashing their teeth (in which I happen to take a bit of pride).
National Geographic ran “The Emptied Prairie” in January 2008. From the title down, there was nothing on pages 140 – 157 that remotely resembled the enticingly glossed travel magazines in the same row of offerings that day in the book store. I could have been transported to any number of magical destinations, delivered there by the heady claims of paradise and rejuvenation, discovery and adventure. Instead, I plucked the mundane. The Emptied Prairie left me morose. And hell-bent to see North Dakota exactly as Nat Geo had depicted it – gray, cold, forlorn.
Our backgrounds dictate how we receive input and mine told me there was a “spin” on this story. I too live in a prairie state. Signs of human migration wrought from disappointment dot the landscape here as well. My hometown of Soper, Oklahoma has a population of 300; the High School serves 85 students. The town is in the most impoverished county in the state. On a gray, rainy day it too appears to be on its last leg and a sense of melancholy and abandonment strikes the bone.
As much as the Nat Geo article and photographs smacked of gloom and despair, my life has proved the glamorous to be at times a bit rough around the edges and the forlorn to be enticing.
The photographs that follow are what I found (Nat Geo eat your heart out). I have only one thing to say; I want to go back.
These two scenes of structure were on the way to Fargo. I can feel the cold and bite from the wind as I look upon them now. They both captivated me.
North Dakota became the 39th state admitted to the union on November 2nd, 1889. AAA has named the state the most affordable state in which to vacation. And explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis, along with the Corps of Discovery, spent more time in (what is now) North Dakota than any other place on their journey.
Want to see North Dakota for yourself? Check out these links. Or simply, hit the road and wing it!