Day 35: Fun and Frustration

Day 35 started off pretty well. We grabbed a quick Covid-19 Grab and Go breakfast and then the boys played at the hotel water slide for an hour and a half with the kid they met the night before.

We have a few long days of driving in front of us. We need to be in Ohio by Saturday for a small reunion with my cousins TK and Tim on Sunday. Youngstown is about 1,200 miles from Bismarck.

I generally take a Jazz approach to road trips. I have a vague idea of the key notes I want to hit on the road trip (Upper Peninsula, Badlands, Yellowstone, a Jellystone Campground for the kids, …), but the path we take to them is pretty open ended and free-wheeling. Usually, this works out pretty well. We don’t sweat delays or days where we decide we want to do something different than we planned when we wake up.

A downside of this approach is that I don’t generally make reservations (or even look into accommodations) on travel days until we have been on the road for a while. Given the late start and the long BOE meeting, about halfway through the day I figured we weren’t going to make it much past Fargo. A rest area google search for campgrounds didn’t turn up many good options. The best appeared to a campground at the Red River Fairgrounds just outside of Fargo. From the description, it sounded like there would be a few fair rides for the kids and maybe an event. Perfect for the night. Something for the kids to do for a little while to burn off some energy after a day of driving and then hit the bed for a good night’s rest.

The campground at the fair looked less like a spot for a fun night for the kids and more like a wayward home for retired carnies and drifters. We voted to pass on the campground. After finding a spot to pull over to do a new google search, I found an inexpensive hotel with waterside in Fargo. The Delta in West Fargo.

In contrast to the creepy campground, it looked great. Modern. Nice staff. Very RV friendly parking lot. Several restaurants within walking distance. We lugged our suitcase and swim bag to to the hotel, checked in, and headed to the pool. Closed. In yet another Covid irrationally, the pool was only open Friday to Sunday.

No fair rides + No pool and water slide = 2 * Very Disappointed Boys. As a consolation prize, we headed to the Japanese Steak House next door. For the first time ever, the three of us caught in our mouths the zucchini pieces the chef tossed with his spatula. It was the boys’ favorite topic of conversation for the rest of the evening. It (and a Japanese Strawberry Soda) pretty much erased from their memories the disappointment of no fair rides and no water slide.

When we got back to the hotel, Will finally got to conduct the “Japanese Strawberry Soda” experiment that he has been planning since he first had one of these sodas. The Japanese sodas are shaped so that when you open them, a glass ball drops into the top portion of the hourglass shaped bottle. The glass ball sits between the two sections and prevents the soda from spilling when it is tipped upside down. Will wanted to test Hypothesis I: you can’t refill the bottle because the ball will block the bottom from refilling against it alternative Hypothesis II: you can refill the bottle. Result: Hypothesis II confirmed.

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