Grand Forks Ain’t Nothing

Go to a northern state – say, Minnesota – and tell anyone there you’re headed to Grand Forks, North Dakota and they’ll look at you as if you announced plans to have root canal work done followed by a colonoscopy.

That’s how miserable Grand Forks, North Dakota is thought to be…even by people who live half the year under a blanket of white elsewhere.

It is different.  Grand Forks is possibly the flattest place I’ve ever seen, perched on the edge of a great lake.  The winds race across the water’s surface, pick up it’s moisture, and drop their snow when they reach land.  It’s said that you can be standing a couple feet in front of someone and not be able to see them – the blizzards can be so intense.

imageGod smiled on Brody (from California) and me (from Texas) this weekend on our visit to Grand Forks.  He must have felt sorry for us.  It was a balmy twenty-something.

Actually our entire trip this past weekend – to Minnesota and North Dakota – was much easier than we’d expected.  The hard part was getting there.  The flight attendant prepared us for landing and we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  The pilot finally announced that the Minneapolis airport was closed due to an ice storm, but assured us we had enough fuel to circle for another hour.  Which we did before finally landing on the newly defrosted Minneapolis runway.

Then we rented a very large vehicle, spending the extra cash for an Exterra, which, I think, means “scares other cars” in Japanese.  It got us through snowy Minnesota unscathed.  To quote Brody: “Four wheel drive is rad.” And Brody picked a yellow Exterra – banana yellow – just in case, you know, four wheel drive turned out to be not rad enough and we found ourselves upside down in a ditch somewhere spooning to stay warm. Surely somebody would see us in that thing, we thought.  Luckily we didn’t have to find out.

imageWe were pros at driving on the white stuff and at the whole being cold thing by the time we reached Grand Forks.  I actually started to like being cold, having my nose hairs freeze with every inhale.  Tingly.

All the frightened looks from strangers, all the long underwear and extra pairs of socks packed – for nothing.  We made it in and out with no problems.  And saved another 61 kids from poverty through Compassion International while we were at it.  Worth every goose bump.

Thanks, Minnesota and North Dakota for a great weekend.