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We stayed in three different motels on our trip from Rochester, MN to Fortine, MT.

Sculpture outside Rochester, MN

We ate takeout sushi in Fargo (terrible, don’t ever do that). We didn’t get sick, we just found the sushi to be inedibly dry, cold, and hard. We ate leftovers that we had with us for dinner in Williston (after the night of terrible sushi). We bought a rotisserie chicken in the grocery store in Havre.

Fargo, ND: Residence Inn by Marriott Fargo was very clean, as were all the places we stayed. Most people wore masks going in and out, but not everyone. Staff was behind a plexiglass sheet. They were helpful, for example, giving us the extra packet of coffee we requested. Coffee maker was in the room already. There was supposed to be breakfast, but we decided to visit Starbucks instead.

Williston, ND: Winterton Suites. Like most of these motels, Winterton was unprepossesing, painted in an unfortunate shade of slightly mustard-tinted yellow that seems to be popular with motels and rental properties this year. The bathroom was very clean despite decor approximating a gas station restroom. On the bright side, the managers were very cheerful and readily available, and the price was right, $100 a night. This was less than our other stops. We didn’t investigate breakfast options. The motel rooms faced a parking area, and not all rooms were occupied. We wore masks going in and out, but didn’t see other people except from a distance.

Havre, MT: Best Western Plus Great Northern Inn. This motel backs onto a BNSF railyard that emits lots of huffing and puffing, like a very loud AC unit, but inside our room we heard none of it, so I’m not sure it matters. The pool was open here and I couldn’t resist taking a dip–no one else was in it at the moment. The breakfast was limited to non-existent, though there was supposed to be something. I got an apple wrapped in plastic that tasted fine (I washed it again). Most people wore masks in the indoor spaces, but not 100% of people.

406 Coffee Roastery and the red caboose in Havre, MT, next door to the Best Western

Next door to the Best Western was the highlight of our trip in culinary terms. The 406 Coffee Roastery in Havre had good coffee, and exceptional baked goods. The crumb cake was dense and delicious, with lots of crackly topping. The lemon poppyseed muffin was flavorful and large sized. We spent half as much as we had at the Starbucks in Fargo, to boot, including our big coffee drinks. There is a small park next door with a red caboose parked in it, very apropos for this town along the rail lines.

We chose places to stay that had a kitchenette and refrigerator so that we could renew our cooler each night. It proved useful when we found that eating in was preferable to eating out.