Looking for GNR advice coming from Colorado

Team 1339 and our buds 1619 will be traveling to North Dakota for the Great Northern Regional. I’m looking for advice. Should we fly or drive? If we fly, should we come straight into Grand Forks, get a shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and hoof it to the event center? Or, should we fly into Fargo and rent vehicles? What hotel(s) should we book? Are there good places to eat near the venue? We’re from the Rocky Mountains so we can deal with cold, but can we really?

Anyway, all advice is appreciated. Thanks very much.

I really wish I could answer that question well. Flying certainly seems like a better option if the weather is going to be like it was last year, but it’s hard for me to say what’s going to be more reliable since if your flight ends up significantly delayed or cancelled, you’ll be both be up-a-creek without a paddle.

What hotel(s) should we book?

The Canada Inn connected to the arena seems like a good option, but I assume it fills up quickly. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, and it was alright. They didn’t have a continental breakfast option, though, so we had to provide that ourselves.

Are there good places to eat near the venue?

We ended up eating at Olive Garden, Noodles and Company, Five Guys, and Pizza Ranch. You might be able to find more local places if you look a bit closer, but it seems to mostly be chain restaurants and fast food.

We’re from the Rocky Mountains so we can deal with cold, but can we really?

If a team from California could make it through last year, you can too. Be sure to dress for the weather and be prepared to drive in the snow, and you’ll be fine!

I’m looking forward to seeing you guys there! There was speculation that 1619 would drop out of GNR like they did Northern Lights last year. I’m really glad we’ll get the opportunity to play with both of you this year!

I’ve been to GNR one time as a volunteer but never as a competitor. I commuted from Fargo as I was attending college there at the time. The drive from Fargo to Grand Forks isn’t bad at all depending on the weather… a big if that time of year. Last year I was unable to volunteer there due to a blizzard.

My only concern with flying would be cancellations/delays due to weather. The 14 hour drive would also be pretty brutal… I can say the Fargo airport is solid! Never been to the Grand Forks airport so I can’t speak to what the best option would be in that regard… there are plenty of places to eat nearby. There is also food available inside the venue if I remember correctly.

Can you deal with the cold? Ummm… bring a coat. And another coat to go on top of that. Minnesota is cold. North Dakota is another level of cold. But really it’s only cold when it’s windy :wink:


as a Grand Forks native…

It is going to be cheaper to fly from Denver to Fargo on AA than to fly into GFK. This is probably a the best option as far as air travel goes. Not sure about the best way to get the 70 miles North to GFK as a team. There are buses (Not frequent). You may be able to work something out with one of the FRC team’s from Fargo. Or rent vehicles, forks is not cheap to fly into and the flights are not always at the most convenient times (although a lot of the hotels will run shuttles).
As for Driving… once you clear CO it is smooth sailing driving from Denver to GFK in the summer. Probably not the best idea in Feb/march time frame if you can’t tolerate delays.

There are a LOT of hotels within a 4-6 block radius of the venue (not just the canad inn). The hotels in this area are all pretty good and deal with teams all of the time (lots of hockey tourneys in GFK)

I wouldn’t worry too much about the cold, just bring your normal Colorado winter stuff so long as it is wind proof (i.e. bring a ski jacket, gloves, hat and such)

Team 8 and 141 (I think) reached out to 876 to deal with some shipping stuff for robots last year, just a heads up.

As for food: there are the regular fast food/chain options. If you rent a van or two for the weekend and drive up from Fargo this buys you a lot of leeway for eating out for dinner. I would entertain the possibility of cattering in qudoba or something for the venue (someone doublecheck me here, I should know this because I am still technically on alerus payroll, but i think it is ok to bring food into the concourse area), another option if you have vehicles is to make a grocery store run for sandwich stuff.
Restaurants on that side of the river that are going to be good:
Fuji Japanese Seafood and Steakhouse
Rhombus guys (amazing but a little pricey pizza)
The truckstop on the corner of Gateway (US2) and I29 will feed you at any hour of the day
… and Red Pepper/Deeks pizza if you want “college drunk food”.

In East grand:
Blue Moose
Mikes Pizza
Mamma Maria’s


You could take Amtrak to Chicago and then take the Empire Builder to Grand Forks. It takes 87h 57m each way and there are usually delays. So leave the day after kickoff and you should be fine. You will also probably make it back in time for the Colorado Regional. Also you can probably bring the robot on the train! Only $800 round trip to sit in a chair for 4 days. $2000 if you want a bed!
Sorry if this is not serious.

Psst. Dont bash train travel ( it is an amazing way to travel if you have the time :slight_smile: :wink:)

(also the HI in downtown CHI is AWESOME if you are traveling by train thru chicago and have a night layover)

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I’ve been the LRI up there the past two years, so ask any questions you have!

The first year, I stayed at a hotel across the street… and ended up driving over every day so I wouldn’t have to walk over. So last year I stayed a little further out and paid a little less. The cold can be impactful, and the road the venue is on is fairly busy, so you could wait a bit for the light to change so you can cross. For lodging options, check out the list here: https://firstuppermidwest.org/the-great-northern-regional/great-northern-lodging/

There aren’t terribly many options for food real close. Plenty within a 10 min drive, but not much in a 5 min walk.

This wouldn’t be a GNR thread without a plug for the Railcar competition.

It’s a fun side project, and they have a working engine the MC drove last year, trailing everything behind it. The specs for this year haven’t been released yet, but should be pretty similar.

For consideration next year: Duluth. Tons of hotels and food options in walking distance. We take a bus up Wednesday, drop at the hotel, and it picks us up on Saturday - we walk everywhere. Aside from the weather some years, it’s just about the perfect set up for a regional!