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Weather Talk: Anniversary of 'Travels With Charley' in Fargo-Moorhead

Fifty-eight years ago, on an unremarkable autumn day, a small camper-pickup carrying the aging writer John Steinbeck and his standard poodle, Charley, passed over the Main Avenue bridge from Moorhead into Fargo. The moment gets mentioned across a couple of pages in "Travels With Charley: In Search of America," Steinbeck's travelogue of his 1960 journey of reflection on the state of America.

Steinbeck described Fargo as being that place in the middle of America hidden by the fold in the map, known only to the rest of the nation during times of newsworthy weather.

"From my earliest memory, if it was a cold day, Fargo was the coldest place on the continent. If heat was the subject, then at that time the papers listed Fargo as hotter than anyplace else, or wetter or drier, or deeper in snow."

Today, 58 years later, on another unremarkable fall day, we all go about our regular, unnoticed business of being Fargo-Moorhead Americans, even with the instinct that far more newsworthy weather is likely at just about any time.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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