Road trip usa_ north dakota’s spartan charms

When North Dakota’s first Capitol building in Bismarck burned to the ground on the night of Dec. Timber suppliers glasgow 28, 1930 — the devilish work of spontaneous combustion — the state quickly sold off half the original property to finance a new one. Fantasy basketball draft Designed by two native sons, the second Capitol stood 19 stories tall and was deemed “the Skyscraper of the Prairie,” but at the height of the Great Depression, the timing couldn’t have been worse. What is irrigation With a budget shy of just $2 million, the architects stripped the exterior of what was intended to be a shining example of the Art Deco movement down to the essentials. Auburn softball coach No statues.


Gardening No decorative etchings. Basketball court size No metalwork. What is the fastest pitch in baseball What remained was a 240-foot limestone slab, modest and modern, the tallest building in North Dakota.

In 2012, Minnesota’s house majority leader compared it to a State Farm Insurance office building and called it “embarrassing.” North Dakota Gov. Facebook login history Jack Dalrymple fired back, saying the very notion revealed his ignorance about architecture.

As my fiancée Mel and I peered out the windows of the 18th-floor observation deck — the green lawn of Capitol Park stretching downtown, the roofs of Bismarck’s modest homes plotted out in a perfect grid, the sun bouncing off a Missouri River racing toward the horizon — I tried to imagine what this building must have looked like when it was first completed. Paving expert With a framed black-and-white photo of the Capitol in its infancy just behind me, it wasn’t difficult. Irrigation association Exposed in every direction, no trees or grass or homes to block the wind and sun, the building looked alien rising from the dirt, as if at any minute the whole thing might rise on thrusters and jet away.

Though neither Mel nor I found much inspiration in the building, the longer we roamed the capitol grounds, the more I wondered if this Spartan building wasn’t a more accurate, if unintentional, reflection of North Dakota and the people who live and work here. Fantasy football team names funny Which isn’t to imply simplicity or dullness or any other pejorative synonym too often deployed in descriptions of the Great Plains. Fences by august wilson I thought, instead, of what novelist Larry Watson ( Montana 1948, As Good As Gone, etc.), whom I’d recently interviewed in Milwaukee, wrote about his childhood home for an essay in Freeman’s magazine.

“I’m not so idealistic or naïve as to suggest that the Bismarck, North Dakota, that I lived in from the age of five to twenty … was a classless society. Little league pitching mound distance Not at all,” he wrote. Uw softball “It was a largely middle class community, and it certainly had people living in poverty, just as it had people of wealth. Pro landscape companion But here’s the thing: While the poor aspired to a middle class life, so did the wealthy.”

Returning to Bismarck decades later, he encountered grand new homes popping up in neighborhoods across the city, the classlessness of his childhood fading away. Gardening tips for spring I have no doubt that is true, though of course that is not unique to Bismarck. Irrigation association show Nevertheless, after traversing North Dakota, I still think of “the Peace Garden State” as a humble one, a state of grass and sunflowers, of main street railroad tracks, of cafes — not bistros or coffee bars. Maryvale baseball park A state of small towns and bigger small towns. Rock garden ideas We arrived in North Dakota via Wisconsin, our 16-foot travel trailer behind us, and though parts of rural Wisconsin look similar, there was a distinct tonal shift between the two states, a shift almost immediately apparent. How to pitch a baseball Populations aside, the difference between Bismarck and Milwaukee, between Fargo and Madison, is night and day. Water garden supplies near me The difference between North Dakota and Wisconsin is the difference between Perkins and Panera.

Well past the halfway point of our yearlong tour of the lower 48 states, Mel and I had recently achieved a level of rubber tramping we’d been reluctant to accept. Evans landscaping Walmart was no longer off the table. Fantasy football 2016 draft We searched for a cheap campground near Fargo, but when nothing immediately suitable popped up, we simply unhitched in the parking lot — our trailer awash in the white fluorescent glow of capitalism — lit up the stove and started cooking dinner — just another night on the road. Japanese landscape painting We pushed through a fitful sleep, the erratic sounds of west Fargo bouncing off the trailer. How to lay a patio on soil In the morning, we rolled out of bed, donned our ballcaps to disguise our unkemptness, and drove into downtown Fargo.

Though Bismarck is the state capital, Fargo — perhaps due to the popular Coen brothers film, or the new FX television series of the same name — is the city most people associate with North Dakota. Youth football leagues near me I certainly wasn’t expecting a chic metropolis, but part of me imagined a changing Main Street. Wild pitch frisco All across the country, we’d stumbled upon mid-size cities undergoing subtle transformations. Pitched roof house New retail. Facebook mobile site A trendy new brewery. Spring training arizona map A James Beard Award-winning chef who’d made a name for himself in the city and returned home to start a restaurant of his own. Pitch meaning in music Something along those lines.

It’s not that Fargo was derelict. Baseball pitcher stats It was clean, and retained much of its original architecture — some great vintage signage — but it was a far cry from anything I would call “up-and-coming.” Walking the streets of downtown Fargo felt similar to walking the streets of any small town in the Great Plains, which is to say: static. Softball clipart It lacked the diversity of a college town like Lawrence, Kan., or Iowa City. Small front garden ideas on a budget It lacked the urban flair of an Omaha or Oklahoma City. Espn major league baseball scores yesterday Fargo was only Fargo, and it had seemingly no plans to change.

There was at least one exception, however. Baseball pitcher workouts On the far end of Main Street, the marquee of the art house Fargo Theatre beckoned to the weary traveler. Francesca battistelli holy spirit We returned that night for a 7 p.m. Irrigation showing of comedian Mike Birbiglia’s latest film, Don’t Think Twice. We arrived early, assuming incorrectly that if Fargo could support a sizable art house theater, a major indie release might just sell out. Softball junk We were the only two people in the theater. Gacebo Perhaps it was an off night in Fargo. Drip drop plumbing I sincerely hope so. Facebook mobile cover photo size The Fargo Theatre would be a steal for any city of any size anywhere.

The next day, we bid Walmart adieu and continued west to Bismarck, now three days removed from our last shower. Espn fantasy baseball keeper rankings (Without an electrical hookup, our trailer is little more than a box with a propane stove.) Halfway to the capital city, we pulled off I-94 at Jamestown, home of the World’s Largest Buffalo, a 26-foot-tall, 60-ton concrete sculpture standing sentinel over a recreated frontier village. Facebook live logo More than any road-tripping retirees, Mel and I are suckers for campy roadside attractions. Evergreen landscaping We parked our rig at the National Buffalo Museum nearby, leashed up Costello, our 75-pound goldendoodle, and moseyed through Frontier Village, poking our heads into the one-room jailhouse and the Louis L’Amour Writer’s Shack, dedicated to Jamestown’s most popular native son, the walls lined with a career’s worth of Western dime novels.

Though we’d been walking towards it all along, Costello — never quite the cerebral type — somehow missed the World’s Largest Buffalo until we were nearly underneath it, at which point he tore back toward the village, twisting around so quickly his rear end dragged on the concrete and nearly yanked Mel’s arm out of her socket. Fantasy football team names 2015 From that point forward, Costello refused to get any closer than its shadow, keeping his eyes trained on the behemoth above him. Usa softball roster Two maintenance men power-washing the sculpture were holding their guts while they laughed and pointed at our special dog. Sprinkler system design We didn’t mind. How to lay flagstone patio Truth be told, the monument was impressive, and we both left Jamestown happy to have stumbled through. Garden city community college Rarely do roadside attractions pan out so well.

Two hours later, we pulled into our campground at General Sibley Park, just 4 miles south of Bismarck. Free indoor basketball courts nyc Though they’re generally cheaper, we’d come to expect little from city parks. Timber merchants near me They’re often too urban to offer any real sense of the outdoors, and the facilities — due to higher foot traffic and day-use activities — struggle to maintain the sort of cleanliness regular campers expect. Peach aviation With the season coming to a close, we had most of the 114 total campsites to choose from. Close out bats Hoping to avoid the day-use traffic, we drove to the deepest corner of the park. Free indoor basketball courts near me It wasn’t until we had unhitched the trailer that we noticed the George Catlin landscape we’d unintentionally backed ourselves into. Softball drills for 8u Our site overlooked a completely undeveloped tributary of the Missouri River, the marsh a palette of green and orange hues, the sky a mobile of feathery, white clouds whispering overhead.

Ever since reporting on the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for The New Yorker in February 2016, I’d grown steadily more fascinated by the genre, and as one might expect, most cowboy poets reside in the West. Football positions We added Bismarck to our itinerary at the last minute, after cowboy poet Shadd Piehl — son of North Dakota painter Walter Piehl, “who singularly pioneered the contemporary cowboy art movement,” according to the North Dakota Museum of Art — agreed to an interview at his home near Mandan, just 20 minutes away.

I met Piehl at a gas station just off the interstate, and followed him the rest of the way to his cabin in the hills. Lattice definition A tall and burly dude with a white five o’clock shadow, he wore stiff jeans, brown boots and a silver belt buckle the size of my fist. Softball nsw When the brim of his hat wasn’t in the way, you could see he was wearing a pair of thick black glasses of the type one wouldn’t associate with a cowboy. Uga softball schedule I suppose the dichotomous look makes sense for man practicing an art as seemingly dichotomous as cowboy poetry. Cobblestone bread We sat in his living room beneath an antler chandelier, the walls covered with his father’s kinetic paintings, bronc riders and Indian chiefs.

“The thing I liked about bronc riding is that you would have a very short duration of time that felt like it was everlasting, never ending, that sense of getting outside of time and space,” he said, sinking into his leather couch. Pitch music “It’s a tough life and a tough sport, and a tough thing to walk away from.”

Piehl is humble to a fault about his own work, often trailing off midway through explanations of his own craft, perhaps a byproduct of living in the rural milieu of North Dakota where art is so often a lonely pursuit.

Today, Piehl works as an academic dean at the online Rasmussen College to pay the bills. Mizzou softball schedule 2016 If he could give up poetry, he said, he might, but that’s now how compulsions work. Fastpitch softball pitching drills So instead, when he’s off the clock, when the cadence of his horse triggers a couplet he can’t forget, an image he can’t vanquish, when the mile markers pass by and his mind begins to wander, he writes it down, a slab of his soul exposed in every direction, stripped down to the essentials.

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