Went to Fargo, North Dakota for a quick business trip. It was a week after the temperature had reached a low of –36 degrees Fahrenheit. The joke around town was that the low in Fargo was lower than the high on Mars at the time.
As the plane descended to the airport through the nighttime sky, all I could see was an endless canopy of gray, broken up by lonely, isolated streetlights. It looked like we were landing on another world.
Getting a direct flight to Fargo from either seaboard is difficult. I flew Northwest, who has a hub in Minneapolis, which is a huge airport. The Fargo (Hector International) airport is quite small and is located near an AFB. You can sometimes see Air National Guard F-16s 119th Fighter Wing (the "Happy Hooligans”) streaking into the sky.
Stepping out of the airport into the arctic wind was incredible – like getting hit by a 2x4. Breathing was difficult, but I made it to a cab owned by the “Lucky 7” cab company, which seems to have a monopoly in the Fargo area.
The driver and other passenger (she was kind enough to let me share the cab) were both very nice, and we had a pleasant conversation, naturally enough about the weather. Through the dim light of the headlights I could see the wind blow snow across the road in big wispy clouds. It was kind of eerie.
I stayed at the Wingate Inn Fargo, which is listed in the AAA guide as a three-star hotel. Actually, I would rate the accommodations as excellent. As with all the Wingate’s I’ve stayed at, the rooms were spotless and very well maintained. Others might view Wingates as sterile and monotonous – but I really like them. The only minor drawback I found is the lack of facilities for lunch or dinner (A fine, free breakfast buffet is provided.)
So, since I arrived at night, I inquired about nearby restaurants at the front desk. The front desk told me that a Bennigan's was nearby. “How close?” I asked. “Across the street”, he said. I glanced outside at the raging snowstorm. “I’ll never make it… ” He laughed and said, “Ok, what about Space Aliens, they’re pretty much in the same parking lot.”
So I managed to stumble over to the Space Aliens Bar and Grill. It’s a nice place that’s decked out in a kitschy 1950s alien invasion motif. There’s an area full of video games and a central restaurant area and bar. It must be a really fun place on weekends, and was still pretty full at 10pm on a Tuesday night. The food and service was excellent. I’d recommend the grilled chicken sandwich. You’ve got to try their fries as well! It comes with three different sauces.