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After our dinner in Fargo last Thursday, we headed out to the town of Detroit Lakes, population 8,569, located about 55 minutes straight east from Fargo. We drove through the black of night, the moon illuminating the road before us. A freight train glided by, swiftly and silently to our left, it’s lights illuminated the spindly, bare branches of trees that lined the tracks.

Fargo was incredibly flat, and in winter, it was a barren and wind swept plain.  On our drive, there was almost nothing between it and Detroit Lakes (“DL” to locals and passers-through, alike) aside from a few gas stations and liquor stores.  Our first indication that we were approaching DL was a slight rise in the road and a storefront sign flashing, “Duct Tape. 20 colors. $2 bucks.”  Awesome.

We spent Friday and Saturday in DL, touring the downtown, lakes and surrounding communities.  True to form, in one afternoon alone, I visited two local coffee shops, a bakery, grocer and a pet store (I walked by it on the way to the bakery and had to stop in).  The store service people were generally “eh” (guess they could tell I was not a local), but the rest of the people that we were intentionally put in contact with were very welcoming.  They were polite, genuinely interested in speaking with us and they went out of their way to show us a good time in DL (Zorbaz had a mighty good beer selection).

We were told DL was an awesome place to be in the summer.  They have a ton of races and triathlons, arts-n-craft shows and it’s home to the nation’s largest outdoor country music festival, WE-Fest.  The town’s numbers swell to over 30,000 people.  In November/December, however, the carefree days of summer were a distant memory and the hundreds of neighboring lakes transitioned from boating and swimming to ice fishing.  It was quite a sight to behold – grown men hunkered down on the frozen lakes, sitting in pup tents or on top of overturned plastic buckets, their fishing lines cast down into an 8 inch diameter hole drilled in the ice.  Something tells me that should we end up moving to DL, you will not find me sitting on a bucket in the middle of a frozen lake.

Some DL pics: