In a week, I return to my hometown of Fargo, N.D., for my second substantial visit since May.
I haven't lived away from home ever in my 22 and a half years, and in the 16 weeks since I've moved to Watford City, I think I have an idea of how some of my North Dakota State classmates felt during their freshman year away from home, family and friends.
The hardest part at first was just getting settled. My first four nights I had no bed or couch to sleep on. I had no internet for 10 days, my phone ran out of data and the free internet at the public library was spotty at best. Getting into the groove of work was easy; I'd done it before with The Spectrum, High Plains Reader and Hillsboro Banner: talk to some cool people, write articles, take pictures, edit copy, etc.
So after almost four months here, I'm swinging back to Fargo for NDSU homecoming, a Minnesota road trip and my grandmother's 80th birthday.
It's a long drive that starts to wear on me around Tower City, or mile 332. On my last drive, what really struck me was how the Red River Valley's flatness is so more pronounced driving in from somewhere else, especially after so long between visits. Flat as a tabletop.
I've got meals and drinks lined up with some friends, and my Oct. 1 trip to Bemidji and the Smoky Hills State Forest in Minnesota. I've been intrigued with the North Star State for a few weeks now as I'd like to see what it has to offer since it's a bit of a contrast to flat, treeless North Dakota.
I haven't explored Minnesota since about early 2013 when my travels took me around west-central Minnesota looking for big statues like the Vergas loon and the Frazee turkey.
So I've got three nights in Fargo this next weekend, and I plan to spend that time wisely. My next foray to Fargo may not be until late November or December, so until that time, I'll be watching my hometown from afar while keeping tabs on Watford City with my work for the Farmer.