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Baumgarten: How to survive a zombie apocalypse in western ND

When the lights went out Wednesday night in Dickinson, I was surprised that all hell didn’t break loose. Sure, there was some confusion at the traffic lights, especially whenever I met a patrol car. But everything, for the most part, carried on as usual. It was just very dark.

Almost two-thirds of Dickinson lost its power at 10:20 p.m., making it a very dark and eerie place. I called one of my friends to see if she had power. They were chatting by candlight — how soothing.

That is until she said it was the zombie apocalypse.

My friends and relatives are aware that there is nothing that freaks me out more than the undead walking around, looking for a human snack. I know that they are not real … yet. Still, the thought of them gives me night terrors that are too real. That’s why I tend to stay away from “Resident Evil” and “Night of the Living Dead.”

I did learn a few things from “Zombieland.” The 2009 movie focuses on survival after almost everyone has either been turned into zombies or are eaten by zombies. In this wonderful movie with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and the ever-talented Bill Murray, there was a distinct list of rules to follow. Like cardio, double-tap, check the backseat, beware of bathrooms and don’t be a hero. Well, they changed the last one to be a hero, but only if you have to save a beautiful girl.

As I drove down a dark street, I thought all these rules would apply if the dead became hungry and started to rise up. There are also rules for our little area.

So without further delay, I give you a look at how to survive a zombie apocalypse in western North Dakota.

Grab your gun and ammo: A weapon is very helpful, and chances are your family has some type of hunting rifle since the state loves its guns. If you don’t have a firearm, you may find one on the window rack of your friend’s truck. You could also go to Walmart, but you will have to deal with the Walmartians, only they will be dead and they won’t care if they are wearing only underwear or a unitard.

Find a pickup: There will be thousands of pickups that oilfield workers used to drive. They will probably also have heavy guards to keep the undead from damaging anything. You could also find a semi to drive. Then you can cross that item off your bucket list.

Carry a barrel of crude: It can be useful in starting fires, and zombies make good kindling. Pour, strike a match and watch the light show.

Stock up on non-perishables: As you know, the Hostess bread store is gone, and so are the Twinkies. Go for the wheat, cocoa wheat, beans, pasta, canned goods, peanut butter, coffee and water. Also, don’t forget the toilet paper and bandages.

Don’t go down dark alleys: At least not without a Taser, pepper spray or a set of keys between your fingers. I prefer my five-iron.

Avoid bars: It’s a known fact that zombies like to hang out in places that they frequented when they were alive, due to their faded memory. Shopping malls, amusement parks and schools are also infested with hordes, but bars are where the zombies looking for an easy date in the Bakken go. As soon as you walk in, the heads will turn. They will try to hit on you before they eat your face.

Don’t drink and drive: On a related note, if you do go to the bar, drink responsibly and designate a sober driver. There’s a lot of traffic (zombie traffic) on the road, and if you can’t see straight you won’t be able to plow over the undead with that white pickup.

Take a trip to Medora: Theodore Roosevelt National Park will still be beautiful, the animals are fun to see and the buttes offer a great vantage point for range practice on the walkers.

And finally, if you are not from the area, watch the jokes about Norwegians and the Fargo accent. It’s annoying enough that we have to put up with the Coen Brothers’ take on us. And zombies don’t care if you say “oh yah,” “doncha know” or “ya’ betcha.” We’re all the same on the inside, and we probably all taste the same to them too.

Baumgarten is the assistant editor of The Dickinson Press. Email her at and read her blog at

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.