North Dakota Day

Completed 8/21/2011

Finally getting down to the final few states to visit in the lower 48, we just never seem to get to North Dakota.  We fly over it a lot when we go West, but there's rarely a reason to actually land there.  They have higher fuel prices, and depending on what you're into, less things to do than many other states.  South Dakota has some great sights, by contrast, so we always end up there instead.

With the idea of just getting to North Dakota in mind, we headed Northwest to Fargo, just to spend a day....but the day ended up being more fun than we figured.

We landed at West Fargo airport (D54) which was a very nice little airport on the outskirts of Fargo.  They were actively having a big day of skydiving, which was great to see.  We were greeted by a couple of the locals, who were extremely friendly, and hooked us up with the FBO's courtesy car.  The terminal was simple yet comfortable, and it ended up being a fantastic choice for landing for a GA airplane.  Great people!

Heading into town, we stopped by a local old-fashioned diner...the kind that is all silver aluminum on the outside, and decorated 50's style inside, where we had some food and some great Malts.  Our plan was to get a bite to eat and then head to "Bonanzaville USA", one of the local attractions.  Fargo does have an air museum that is rumored to be fairly nice, but I didn't want to turn this day into all-aviation, so we headed for something different.  What we got was a bit of a surprise!

Bonanzaville was a pretty cool museum, that had a lot of people there and tons to see.  There were many old buildings that were authentic and dated back to the 1800's, along with a steam locomotive.  You could view actual buildings and settings from a few various eras.  As we toured around the many buildings, one was full of aircraft, and you could go inside a DC3, and see an actual Stits Playboy...just like what Van modified and started the whole "RV" generation!  Moving on from the aircraft hangar, there was a police museum that was full of Police memorabilia and weapons and anything associated with Law Enforcement.  There was and old fashioned bakery, there was a boat engine museum which was full of dozens and dozens of old fashioned outboards.  There was a farming museum full of old tractors.  One of the more impressive ones to me was the Telephone museum that was full of almost every generation of telephone switching equipment ever made.  You could actually USE the phones to dial other extensions in the building and watch as the mechanical relays and switches clicked and clacked and connected you. They had a nice man on hand who had worked in that industry and he could explain it all in detail.  It was fascinating!  There were many other buildings too, but I won't go into more details'll have to go and see it for yourself.  Suffice it to say, it was a really cool stop, and it turned North Dakota from being just another quick destination to something that really was interesting to see.  If you're ever in the area, stop in for a 2 or 3 hour stop and you'll be impressed!


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