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First off, I found out that Fargo is in the Red River Valley.  So without further ado....

*puts on cowboy hat and pulls out a 12-string guitar*

Everybody sing!

From this valley they say you are going
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you have taken the sunshine
That has brightened our pathways a while

For anyone that doesn't know what I'm talking about....or just likes Arlo Guthrie, check this out:

I figured if I wanted to add North Dakota to my states list, I had to go to Fargo.  Partly because of the Coen Brothers, partly because of Fargo North (points to anyone other than mezzolibra who get that reference) and partly because it's fun to say.  The perk of traveling alone is I can plan my itinerary based on stupid reasons like these.  You figure I went to Dodge City just because I wanted to say "Time to get the hell out of Dodge!"

Fargo has been the absolute whitest city of my trip.  It even beats out Salt Lake City.  There are so many melanin-deprived people with blonde hair, I'm amazed they can find each other on a snowy day.  Other than that, I just spent an hour or so trying to find something uniquely Fargo.  They do have a nice old movie theatre they use for showing indie flicks.  I also got a kick out of....you know how every city has their animal figurine around town?  Washington D.C. had elephants and donkeys, Chicago had cows, Minneapolis has Peanuts characters.  Fargo has buffalo....at least I found one.

With that, I left Fargo without any unfortunate encounters with Steve Buscemi or a woodchipper.  Although, they HAVE said that I've taken the sunshine that brightened the valley a while.  Sorry about the bad weather, Fargonauts!

I then headed northeast to Lake Itasca, source of the Mississippi River.  I always assumed that Itasca was a Native American name.  Turns out it comes from the Latin "Veritas caput" or "true head."  But as you can probably surmise, I had a different nickname for it before long.  The Lake Itasca State Park has a path where you can see where Lake Itasca ends, and the Mississippi begins.  At that point, there is a large set of rocks that you can walk across.  I, of course wanting the full experience, I decided to walk across the rocks myself.  Fortunately, because there were several small children around, my teacher language filter was in full operation.  So the first time I slipped and fell in, all the came out of my mouth was the sound "Ffffffffffff...."  By the third time I slipped, a nice man was there to help me up.  Because I have no shame, I then asked him to take my picture.  If I'm stumbling my way across the Mississippi I want photographic proof, dammit!  On the way back, I opted to walk across at a slightly wider part of the river, and didn't fall down at all.  But the source of the Mississippi will always be known to me as "Lake I-Fell-On-My-Ass-Ca."

I'm currently in Bemidji, "hometown" of Paul Bunyan.  I had a bit of an Abbott and Costello moment trying to get directions at the gas station.  Apparently the way to get to my hotel was on highway 2.

LADY: So then you take another left.


LADY: That's right!

Although nothing will top the unintentional Abbott and Costello routine my mother and I once did.  My mother was telling me about a church children's choir called "The Little Bitties."  I misheard her and thought she said "Little Biddies", so I'm picturing little old ladies.  So when she talked about the Little Bitties getting into animal costumes and singing about all god's creatures, I started howling with laughter and my mom couldn't figure out why. My dad just sat between us knowing exactly what was happening but having too much fun to clear things up.

Tomorrow I go to Hibbing, hometown of Bob Dylan.  And then Duluth....long-time home of my crazy Croatian great-uncles.....from the stories I hear, it sounds like they would have fit in well in Deadwood.



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June 2012


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