North Dakota – Days 1-2: Robot Tours and Other Unexpected Awesomeness

Brittany Swanson   May 14, 2016   Comments Off on North Dakota – Days 1-2: Robot Tours and Other Unexpected Awesomeness

My host in Fargo was awesome. For starters, he had some super great stories from his experiences at Burning Man. Then, he shared this website he made, bertytours.com, that takes people on a scavenger hunt tour of Fargo. I’ve been on the road for eight months and I have to say this is the most unexpected and fun thing I’ve done. Seriously.

To start the tour, I went to the Fargo Theatre which was on Berty’s map. Then I took out my phone and pulled up the website. I won’t lie it took me a minute to figure out what I was supposed to do. The site said something about a code and for some reason I thought that meant a QR code, and I couldn’t find one though I was sure I was in the right place. Apparently I picked the hardest one first…

Do you see that black rectangle at the bottom of the fire hydrant? Fargo Theatre, Fargo, ND.

Do you see that black rectangle at the bottom of the fire hydrant? Fargo Theatre, Fargo, ND.

Eventually I just pulled that black thing from the bottom of the fire hydrant in front of the theatre. Fortunately that was precisely what I was supposed to do. It turned out the black thing was a Berty magnet. And on the back was a code I could type into the website. When I typed in the code Berty popped up on the screen and started telling me about the theatre.

Turns out, this is what that black thing was! I found Berty! Fargo, ND.

Turns out, this is what that black thing was! I found Berty! Fargo, ND.

Berty took me to the Fargo Civic Center and told me about the history of the Ten Commandment monument in front. He took me to Rhombus Guys Pizza and Nichole’s Fine Pastry. He even had me stop by his best friend’s apartment building and wave at the window where he lived, which I thought was pretty funny. All in all, it was an excellent and fun way to spend an hour and I am so glad I stayed with that particular host and got to experience Fargo that way and hope others get to do the same when they’re in Fargo.

Oh, and if you happen to bank at Wells Fargo and need to go into the bank for some reason while you’re in Fargo, be prepared to shake hands with everyone there. No joke. I walked in and there was a greeter who said hello, shook my hand, and introduced himself. The teller did the same. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a friendlier bank.

Next I ventured halfway across the state to Bismark, the capital city. I just barely missed the last tour of the capitol building when I got there so I just wandered around on my own. At eighteen stories high, the North Dakota state capitol building is the tallest building in the entire state! The view from the observation floor was pretty sweet.

View from the observation floor, North Dakota State Capitol, Bismark, ND.

View from the observation floor, North Dakota State Capitol, Bismark, ND.

While up on the observation floor I learned an interesting fact. Did you know that the North Dakota State Historical Society organized a Guinness World Record for most snow angels occurring simultaneously? Yep, they sure did. On the North Dakota State Capitol lawn on February 17th, 2007 8,962 people all made snow angels at the same time. Check out a picture here. North Dakota gets like 100 extra awesome points.

Across the road from the North Dakota State Capitol is the North Dakota Heritage Center. it was free, and I was right there, so I figured, why not? Here’s another North Dakota fun fact: Did you know that at the North Dakota Heritage center you can smell a Buffalo? Yep, true story. It smells sort of like an average barn animal: not terribly pleasant to get a huge whiff of.

The Heritage Center had an interesting exhibit on Native peoples and culture, and one on ancient fossils and specimens which was super cool. I did not know giant turtles were a thing at some point…

Giant turtle recreated at the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismark, ND.

Giant turtle recreated at the North Dakota Heritage Center, Bismark, ND.

My host in Bismark was also hosting a four person folk band called Ferdinand the Bull. They were really awesome and fun to hang out with. They’re on tour, so if you happen to be in any of the places they have yet to play you should check them out.

I spent most of the next day driving, though I did get to stop and check out Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is pretty freaking awesome. I didn’t realize North Dakota also had Badlands. To be honest, I liked the ones in North Dakota better than the ones in South Dakota. I think it was the greenery that made them prettier. It didn’t hurt that there were less people there either. I hiked the Painted Canyon trail and was the only one on it. It was so peaceful.

Badlands, North Dakota style, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND.

Badlands, North Dakota style, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND.