Bismarck and Mandan are both fantastic communities for a great number of reasons, I'd suggest sharing the vibrant Missouri River is near the top of that list.

Got room for more on your pontoon? Discuss candidates with your partner and be prepared for occasional guests to liven up your trips!

There are some places you can bring the kids down to the water and stake your claim on a stretch of beach, but access to those areas often means a bit of a hike or a steep climb down the riverbank. Yet on the river, there are near endless stretches of pretty pristine beaches along with small bays where the water is much warmer and the current won't carry you to South Dakota. But, you'll probably need a boat to get to those areas.

You, my friend, need a "Pontoon Buddy"!

For the record, you could also have a boat buddy or a Jet Ski buddy. Me, I just enjoy the peace and serenity of puttering up and down the river on a pontoon. Pull up to a beach or sandbar, haul out the grill and games, and let the good times roll. It's a real taste of summer and it only takes a couple of trips out on the water to ease that FOMA feeling (Fear Of Missing Out).

Everyone driving over the bridge in July feels like they're missing out....and they are.

I moved here in 2001. I went 10 years before finding a pontoon buddy. In that case, the pontoon owner was a girlfriend of a coworker and seemed to tolerate me just fine. They broke up when he moved away for another job. I was a casualty of that divorce and it would take nearly 10 more years before I "buddied" up again.

tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?

Skipping the details, pontoon owner Cassie is a friend of Dawn, who is related to my girlfriend Brenda. So we get an invitation to spend a few hours out on the river. Heck yeah!

Our company must have been acceptable enough as we were invited back out again! Heck yeah! THANK YOU CASSIE!!

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Ziggy the dog having fun.

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So how can you find a pontoon buddy? I'm sorry to say it has to happen organically.

If you try to insert yourself on the boat, you may risk being seen as a pain in the butt and lose your buddy card.

I'm really writing this as a suggestion to pontoon owners. Invite someone you know out for a ride on the river. You may discover they have enough "river-rat" in them to make your afternoon a more enjoyable experience.

If not, vote 'em off the boat- but at least you gave someone a shot at enjoying one of Bismarck/Mandan's greatest treasures.

ps...Cassie, me and B are up for a call this summer!


Top 10 Scenic Views In Bismarck Mandan

North Dakota, Let's Take A Cruise From St. Paul To New Orleans!

Starting in June, Viking will begin cruises on the Mississippi River

LOOK: The story behind every NFL team name

Stacker delved into the story behind every NFL football team name. Overall team records, also included, are reflective of NFL regular-season games. There are some football teams with well-known nicknames—the Jets, for instance, are often referred to as Gang Green—but we also divulge how some teams’ official names are sparingly used (the Jets’ neighbors, the Giants, are actually known as the New York Football Giants). Sometimes a team name can tell you a lot about local history: The Vikings of Minnesota draw upon the area’s strong ties to Scandinavia, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are dripping in local legend related to Florida’s pirate past.

Let’s kick off the countdown with the folks who earned their nickname by buying boxes of used team jerseys.