09 December 2012

Photo blog: My trip to North Dakota

I got the wonderful chance this week to visit North Dakota for the first time, letting me cross another state off my list. Not too many left! Somewhat fittingly, I ended up getting stuck in Fargo, N.D., for an extra day after my Sunday-morning flight was cancelled, but here's a photo blog from my first two days in this cold, cold state:

Friday was a long, long travel day. Shreveport-Fargo is not exactly a direct flight. It took 10+ hours, three flights, and a roughly 40-degree dip in temperature.

7 a.m. flight from Shreveport.

Connecting in Denver.

4:30 p.m. arrival in Fargo.
NDSU is everywhere in Fargo.
Naturally, my first destination was the Fargodome, capacity somewhere upwards of 18,000.
The inimitable Fargodome.

I met up with my partner, Ben Leber, and some of our crew on Friday night, and by airtime on Saturday, we were ready to go.
Former Vikings LB Ben Leber, a South Dakota native
who is well-known and popular in the area.
Almost time for kick-off.

The game itself was low-scoring but intense and highly entertaining. Both teams used a lot of clock with every possession, with Wofford trying to upset the defending FCS champion. North Dakota State's dominating defense (no offensive touchdowns allowed in last 14 quarters of playoff football) made crucial third- and fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter to advance to the FCS semifinals next week.
Noise level upward of 100 decibels at times during
the game, won by NDSU 14-7 behind its top-rated defense.

Afterward, a look at the production truck responsible for making us look good.
Behind-the-scenes magic.

Since it was a day game and I'm a long-time amateur hockey fan, I took the chance to drive 87 miles up to Grand Forks, N.D. to see the famed Ralph Engelstad Arena at the University of North Dakota. Despite some wind and really poor visibility, I'm very glad I went. The arena and atmosphere, with a sold-out crowd of 11,799, were simply amazing, and it was great to see some live hockey. Great end to a very fun sports day.
Yeah, it was snowing as I got to the arena midway through the first period.
As for the game, UND beat Denver 6-3 in WCHA action.

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