Our North Dakota Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 940 miles, and drove for 14 hours and 58 minutes during our week in North Dakota while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory Tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in North Dakota over the past week.

Famous person: Roger Maris, Louis L’amour

Famous food: Knoephla Soup, unfortunately no vegetarian variations available

Roadside attraction: Enchanted Highway, Polka Dot House, World’s Biggest Buffalo

State Capitol/Museum: Bismarck

National Park: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Historic Location: Sitting Bull's Surrender, Red River Flood

Can't miss attraction: Frontier Town

Made in the USA Factory Tour: The Dakota Gasification Plant

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in North Dakota.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 245.00

$ 2.05 gal. in West Fargo, ND was the lowest price paid.

$ 2.39 gal. in Bayfield, ND was the highest price paid.


This was most we spent on gas in any state so far due to the wind and Rosie’s mechanical issues.

Groceries: $ 103.00

Walmart $30.00

Costco $54.00

Natural Grocer's $19.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $ $108.00

Pizza Ranch $11.00 (Pizza on the go)

Diner $10.00 (2 slices of cake)

Mall $7.00 (2 hot pretzels)

Starbucks $3.00 (A hot tea for 5 hours of free wifi)

Pizza Hut $18.00 (Pizza on the go again)

Ruby Tuesdays $33.00 (Average salad bar and pasta)

Pizza Ranch $23.00 (Pizza on the go yet again)

DQ $3.00 (Unbudgeted, 2 Small soft serve cones)


We did better than usual. However, we are not stopping to cook often enough. There were no vegetarian restaurants in ND, so pizza had to suffice. We are eating out too much and less healthy than we want to.

Entertainment: $14.00

Redbox $4.00 (Moviesx2)

Fort Buford $10.00 (Budgeted admission x2)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $50.00

Walmart $ 0.00 (Slept in parking lot x5 nights)

Hotel $40.00 (Budgeted hotel once every 6 weeks)

Tent site $10.00 (Unbudgeted but no Walmart’s around for 100 miles)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous: $0.00


Of course, we did great in this category

Other: $755.00

Bismarck Dodge $755.00 (Oil pressure sensor, tune up, and air filter)


Car repairs are not part of our regular budgeted expenditures, and come out of our emergency fund.

North Dakota Expenses Grand Total: $ 520.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is North Dakota Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 9

“North Dakota is one of 8 states to have a budget surplus, and the only state thus far to have created a rainy day fund”

Lori: 9

“The state has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.6%, which is half of the national average”

Economy score: 9

Cost of Living:

Nate: 7

“With a base sales tax 5%, and an 2.27% income tax, this is one is one the most tax friendly states we have visited”

Lori: 7

“Due to the high winds on the prairies, we went through more gas in North Dakota than in any other state”

Cost of living score: 7

Quality of life:

Nate: 7

“6 months of the year it is extremely cold, and the only natural disaster the state is at risk for is blizzards”

Lori: 6

“North Dakota has an extremely low violent crime rate, due to it's low population density”

Quality of life score: 6.5


Nate: 6

“Outside of the 3 main cities of Grand Forks, Fargo, and Bismarck, social outlets and entertainment options are limited”

Lori: 4

“As the energy industry booms, North Dakota is adapting their infrastructure including wind turbines”

Culture Score: 5


Nate: 7

“The vast rolling prairies of the state, along with the impeccably maintained highways made North Dakota the most enjoyable state I have driven through”

Lori: 7

“With the exception of energy and farming, you need to live near a city for other sector jobs”

Environment Score: 7

The verdict is in:

The final score for North Dakota was 6.9, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

North Dakota 6.9

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9