Skip to main navigation.

Editorial: May 2019

Goodbye, Big Blue!


Josh Kramer, executive vice president and general manager, NDAREC

Goodbye, Big Blue! Big Blue is the name my kids, my wife, Sarah, and I had for our 1990s model motorhome. It wasn’t all that pretty, but it was spacious and got the seven of us around to enjoy many of North Dakota’s 13 state parks.

Camping and visiting state parks are some of our favorite summer pastimes. However, on our drive home from beautiful Fort Ransom State Park last year, I realized that the time may have come for the Kramers and Big Blue to part ways.

Let me explain. Our kids were especially wild, loud and rambunctious on our Labor Day weekend return trip. I, of course, politely requested – or yelled, hollered and pleaded with them hundreds of times – for them to sit in their seats and be quiet. (God bless you, school bus drivers! I don’t know how you find the patience.) Seconds after my final plea, a wrestling match broke out behind the driver’s seat. I clenched the steering wheel, and my teeth, as my stress level began to rise, and I quickly lost any relaxed state of being that the weekend provided.

As we returned home, my 6-year-old, Carter, asked me, “Dad, why do you always have a mad face after you park the motorhome?” It was then, in that moment, when we all realized the time had come to say goodbye to Big Blue. While it might be legal for a family of seven to travel in a motorhome, let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend it.

Rest assured, the Kramers will get along just fine without Big Blue. We’ll find another way to take in the wonderful parks and attractions that our state has to offer, and hope you do, too.

“Explore North Dakota” is the theme for May’s issue of North Dakota Living. You’ll find tourism-focused stories with notes about milestones, celebrations, events and destinations. But more than that, you’ll meet North Dakota’s official greeters. You know, the gal who pours the traveler’s morning brew at the local coffee shop. The husband and wife team who invite diners to their farmyard table. The family who is sharing, and preserving, their ancestral heritage through song and dance.

I hope you use this month’s magazine to discover, or rediscover, the many treasured places North Dakota has to offer. And if you happen to come across Big Blue while on your adventure, give it a wave for us.

Enjoy our North Dakota summer and be safe!

Josh Kramer, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727; email to