Often times when I’m involved with my radio hobby of DXing, I’ll run across a radio station I’d never heard of before. When that happens, I look up the distance between my location and the radio tower. In so doing, I’ve come to realize that we are closer to many places than we realize.
I’m of course, using my home location, which is in Carpio, a small town in Ward County northwest of Minot. So, if you live in Wahpeton and read this, obviously the respective distances will be far different. But take a look at some of these comparisons using Carpio as the starting point; midway between Minot and Kenmare on U.S. Highway 52.
The best example of this is in comparing Bismarck and Devils Lake with the Canadian communities of Estevan and Weyburn, Saskatchewan. We live 90 miles southeast of Estevan, and are closer than our capital city of Bismarck, which is 155 miles southeast.
Likewise with Weyburn, which is northwest of Estevan, between there and Regina. We are 125 miles from Weyburn and are 150 miles west of Devils Lake.
In turn, taking Regina into account and comparing it with Grand Forks, we are actually 20 miles closer to Regina than we are to Grand Forks. Regina, the Saskatchewan capital, is 217 miles northwest, while Grand Forks is 237 miles nearly straight east.
If you use Kenmare as a reference point, Regina is 192 miles while Jamestown, a place we often visit for sporting events or to visit friends, is actually 222 miles.
We travel to Grand Forks much more often than we go to Regina. Whether it’s medical, to see friends, or to attend a hockey game at UND, we’ll go to Grand Forks 10 times for each time we go to Regina, even though Regina has first-class medical facilities, friends and top-notch hockey.
Two other communities we don’t often think about in this part of the state are Brandon, Manitoba and Jamestown. It’s 169 miles driving distance northeast to Brandon, while it is 196 miles to Jamestown. As the crow flies, Brandon is just 112 miles, putting us on the fringe of radio and TV reception from the western Manitoba community.
Another good example of this distance “trick” is that we are actually closer to Winnipeg than we are to Fargo. When you tell people this, most of them don’t believe it. And it seems to be the same mindset as with Regina and Grand Forks. Winnipeg seems so far away, but it is actually one mile closer to us than Fargo is, at 293 miles vs. 294 miles.
However, if you use Minot as a reference point, just 26 miles from here, Fargo is 17 miles closer to Minot than it is to Winnipeg.
Several years ago, before I wrote my first book, I had to make a trip to Medicine Hat, Alberta to interview a nun who had details about the person I wrote about. I was surprised at how close it seemed. It’s 483 miles from Carpio to Medicine Hat, with most of that trip on the Trans Canada Highway.
But that’s actually 42 miles closer than it is to Minneapolis and, this seems really weird, but Rochester, where Mayo Clinic is located, is actually the same distance from here – 525 miles, even though Rochester is 90 miles south of Minneapolis.
Yet another comparison is with Denver and Calgary. We live 666 miles southeast of Calgary but it is 758 miles southwest to Denver, making Calgary 92 miles closer to us.
There could be numerous other comparisons such as us living closer to Toronto than we do to Los Angeles, by nearly 200 miles. And so it goes.
From here, the border is 40 miles straight north, so it’s no wonder all of these Canadian communities are closer.
But, no matter what your location is in North Dakota, check for yourself. You might be surprised at some of the distances to other communities on either side of the international boundary.