Tips on traveling to North Dakota

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The following is from notes scribbled recently concerning a road trip to Devils Lake, North Dakota.

Avoid the shortest route shown on GPS which takes travelers through the city of Chicago. Traffic is brutal and if paying by cash, so are the charges by live toll takers who may or may not go by a standard rate.

Most of the major routs around the city are now toll roads so count on paying but do it by E-ZPass. Paying electronically will save time and enough to pay for itself.

Best route around town is 355 which goes north from Interstate 80 to Route 88 West to 39 North. Highly recommend the Davis Motel and the Cedar Inn, both of which are located near launch ramps on Devils Lake.

The Davis Motel is very 1950s, but clean and affordable. Best features are the parking lot where one can park a boat and vehicle right in front of the room door and the “fish and hunt” attitude of the management and staff.

Meals at the Cedar Inn are all about home style cooking plus puddles of home-brewed gravy.

Amazing lake

Devils Lake is huge, maybe bigger. It’s a natural lake that keeps on taking. In years with sufficient or surplus rainfall, the lake covers additional acreage, sucking up farms, buildings, and roads that haven’t been raised to higher elevations.

Devils Lake has no natural outlet and just keeps growing in size. The good news is that it is one of the nation’s premier fishing lakes and a major waterfowl stop- over.

Devils Lake launch ramps are few and far between. Suggest buying a Hot Spots lake map before going, a detailed map that shows ramps, and lake depths.

Also suggest hiring a fishing guide for one day. That alone will put visiting anglers in line to have a successful fishing experience. Pro walleye guy and local Devils Lake fishing guide Johnnie Candle is recommended if he’s in town. Find him and other suggested services online.

Holiday wish

Make this Thanksgiving the best ever.

Give thanks for being an American. In this world of turmoil, we are truly blessed. As Americans we are blessed to be free in all we do, think, and say.

We travel across the nation without restriction. State to state, region to region, we can just pack up and go.

We can worship when and where we want, live where we want, work where we want, and achieve whatever we are willing to earn.

Yes, there is much wrong with our nation. The list is long, ugly, and unsustainable. But we have the ability and freedom to change things if we really want to. Even as loud and often as we complain, we are blessed to live in this nation of ours. Be thankful that we live in the most generous nation of people in the world. We give to others in need and for the most part without expectations of recognition or benefit.

There is so much we can be thankful for and each family that celebrates this season and holiday should take the time to share their thoughts and talk about our blessings.

We are so very fortunate to have this Thanksgiving Day to bring our families together, a perfect occasion to do what we should do every day.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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