I haven’t been avoiding you, North Dakota. I’ve just had some bad experiences with bears in the recent past.
Sunday, July 23
A boring day! It was awesome!
My friends and I said our goodbyes and everyone was on the road by about 8:30….except for me. The cabin had great internet and I intended to use it! We had the place until noon, so I lingered until then.
I wanted a day to catch up and take it easy. My next destination would be the two North Dakota stops I had bypassed a couple days prior. The time with friends was worth the backtrack.
Annie was rolling effortlessly with her new chain and sprockets. It almost felt like riding a different bike. I stopped to camp at a city park in Hendrum, MN. They had a nice shelter where I got a lot of writing done.
I’m trying to make an effort to take some pictures of the boring, everyday stuff too. 🙂
I had a chance to talk to both my parents and my grandma. It was great to catch up with them.
Monday, July 24
Fargo (Verse 1 Line 1) and Larimore (Verse 4 Line 3)!
First up would be Fargo. I made an internet stop at a Starbucks before starting to check out the town. I stopped into a AAA office to grab some maps and asked the guys there about some good places for Fargo pictures. They recommended the old theatre downtown and the “woodchipper” at the Fargo visitor’s center. The woodchipper is from an iconic scene in the movie “Fargo.”
The movie’s portrayal of northern folk is somewhere on the spectrum between satirical and patronizing. It seems that some in the Fargo area are beginning to embrace the film due to its potential for tourism. Others I talked to were a bit more reluctant.
The lady at the visitor’s center also recommended getting a picture of the Fargo Theatre. (As had a guy on a KTM near Bismark a couple of days earlier.) I guess I knew my next stop.
I had to wait a bit for a FedEx truck to move out of the way. Then I waited for the shirtless guy in the background to move. It seemed like he really wanted to be on my blog, so I took the picture anyway. 🙂
It is kind of a shame I did not get a picture of it at night. A neat old place.
Fargoans are also proud of their North Dakota State University football team. Go Bison! I got a picture of the FargoDome on the way out of town.
It is hard to know how much to do in some of the bigger cities on my list. I could have spent days in Fargo and still not have seen everything. For now, I’m kind of just relying on “feel.” (A terrible, terrible thing for a scientist to say!) I felt that I had seen enough in Fargo and decided to move on.
I headed north to Larimore. A town of about 1,300. I knew there was a museum there so I made that my first stop. Unfortunately, it is only open on Sundays. I was one day late.
I drove up and down almost every street of the little community. The thing that kept popping up was their school’s mascot, the polar bear.
I stopped into the store on the edge of town and asked a bit more about the community. The two ladies there were very helpful.
Larimore was one of the first communities in the area to make a real commitment to building shelterbelts. Like many places on The Plains, there were no trees whatsoever when the first European settlers arrived. Shelterbelts helped to protect the soil from wind erosion.
It is a nice little community, which seems to be healthy despite its small size. I enjoyed learning more about it.
Back to Minnesota:
I headed back east towards the Bemidji area. I found a free campground listed to the NE of town. I maybe haven’t mentioned yet: I rely heavily on the website freecampsites.net to find my campsites. It is a community maintained resource which has already been a huge help on this trip. Unfortunately, it is not perfect.
When I got to my site for the night, there was a sign stating “no camping or overnight parking.” I did not have any other places on my radar and I was running out of daylight. No one was around so I decided to set up regardless. At some point I’m going to address the morality of these sorts of decisions. In this instance, the site was so beautiful that it probably would have been a greater injustice to not camp there.
Tuesday, July 25
A travel day….where I did not travel too far. I’m trying to be sensitive to how my body is holding up and adjust mileage accordingly. Some days I just don’t have it.
The next place on my list was Ombabika, Ontario. I had a couple of different routes to choose. I decided to head due east and ride along Lake Superior for awhile, which was the right decision.
There have been some wonderful gravel roads in Minnesota:
In Big Fork, MN. I really like this:
I always find it interesting to travel through the Great Lakes states. For someone from Nebraska it is a mix of familiar and foreign. One moment you are on a dead straight road with a cornfield to your right and soybeans to your left, the next moment you are winding through a coniferous forest interrupted frequently by lakes.
First glimpses of Lake Superior:
Beautiful, rocky beaches:
The library in Grand Marais had wonderful internet. I stayed there until they closed. I found a nice campsite and got set up early, allowing me to pamper myself a bit. Tonight we dine like kings!
These days were remarkably unspectacular. I’ve been struggling to write this post because of the lack of natural drama. I want to be true to the experience and define it as accurately as possible, so humdrum days should inspire a humdrum blog post, right? Don’t worry though, I’m sure I’ll make some terrible decisions in the near future. 🙂