07/14/2006 04:51:24 by Administrator
From: Battle Lake, Minnesota
To: Moorhead, Minnesota
Mandy and Mike, you'll love Minnesota! Mandy and Mike are the young couple pedaling from Boston to Montana, read more about their adventure at http://www.pedalingforprogress.blogspot.com/ Minnesota is a great place to cycle!
With tired legs, we are living large here at the Travelodge (pool, spa, with Target, Wal-Mart, and mega retail shopping experiences) about 3 miles from the North Dakota, and about 3 miles from our estimated half way point.
Today's ride was spectacular, at least for most of the day. Rolling hills, marshes and lakes. Temperatures in the am were pleasant since it doesn't seem to really warm up until late afternoon. It was hot , when we pulled into the hotel at 5:00 CST a cool 96-degree temperature surrounding us. We had (dare I say it) tail winds for a good part of the day again, but not all the riding was glorious. Outside of Cormorant on route 4 we had a freshly oiled road for 6 miles. It was not fun at all, and SeeMore finally quit being a nice guy and rode in one of the smoothed tracks on the road. 98 percent of the Minnesota drivers that passed us on route 4, were very kind. Then, Route 10 out of Hawley is a four lane major highway, and we rode it 18 miles (Friday afternoon traffic) into Moorhead; the ride was hot, noisy, and not very fun at all.
Knowing that today and tomorrow were going to be hot, we planned on riding into Hawley and take up lodging at the only hotel. Then a short ride tomorrow into Fargo. But when we finally located the Riverside Inn, we quickly turned around and headed for Dilworth. We got to Dilworth, and the only hotel would not allow SeeMore to sleep in the room, so we did not allow them to have any of our money. Then, after Dairy Queen for fortification and encouragement, we pushed on into Moorhead the big city and retail heaven.
Tomorrow is a day off, SeeMore needs to go to the beauty parlor, the Rear Admiral needs a retail fix, and the captain needs to plan out the next week of cycling adventures.
While having our lunch picnic in the Pelican Rapids' city park, Tom and Dave road up to us, with kind words and bike traveling tales. Tom is 70 years young, and both were on a round trip cycling tour from Winnipeg to Minneapolis. You can read more about their adventures at http://www.geocities.com/tomo105154 I just finished reading about the Alaska trip. . .I'm dreaming again, please don't tell the Rear Admiral.
07/15/2006 04:52:27 by Administrator
From: Moorhead, Minnesota
To: Moorhead, Minnesota
Hot, temperature reach 102 today so we are stayed in. Rode to the bridge that separates Fargo from Moorhead because there was a bike shop. They were backed up at the service department, and we didn't feel like waiting. SeeMore understands, and I gave him a nice cleaning instead. Tomorrow the forecast is for 96 and winds out of the east 10 mph. I can't believe our great fortune!
07/16/2006 05:11:14 by Administrator
From: Moorhead, Minnesota
To: Cooperstown, North Dakota
Shsssh, be quiet and we'll tell you a secret. Make sure no one's reading over your shoulder. All set, is the coast clear? Ok, here it is. . . . TAILWINDS (when heading west) in North Dakota!
The roads are good, smooth and FLAT; the drivers are courteous, and we had tailwinds. Now if we could only get rid of this 100-degree weather. . . . but it only got really hot after 3:00, and by then it is time to seek relief.
One of the activities that we haven't mentioned enough is our pleasure in riding around and exploring downtowns. Most towns we travel in are only 4 city blocks in size, so the adventure doesn't last very long. At this slower pace though, your opportunity to experience each community heightens, which is one of the reasons we enjoy touring by bike. Even though Fargo is NOT a small town, it has that feel to it, at least to us. Riding around at 7:00am on a quiet Sunday morning, we explored the different neighborhoods and business areas that Fargo has to offer. Moorhead has the retail, and Fargo has the charm.
We had breakfast at Mom's Diner in downtown Fargo (yes the Rear Admiral had the lumber-jack special and I had the 3 pancakes with peanut butter). Breakfast is an important meal for us, and it is relatively inexpensive (you get more bang for the buck). We have tried to make breakfast for ourselves or eat the free continental breakfasts some hotels have to offer, but the riding afterwards is not as enjoyable because we both quickly run out of energy.
After breakfast we rode past the train station, and also the downtown (Broadway Street), again. Fargo has statues of different colored Bison all over the city, like Bennington Vermont once did with moose. There is a mixture of open shops, and buildings trying to rebound from the suburban retail craze. After downtown, we rode past the University of North Dakota and finally the airport until we were out into farmland again. This time less cornfields, no dairy farms, and now sunflower fields.
Flat, tailwinds, and fields made up this day's riding experience. We learned that the small town grocery stores are closed on Sunday, but we were looking only for breaks from the sun because we had plenty of water and food with us.
We had lunch at the Page Cafe, in downtown Page (population 248, maybe) with all the citizens of Page, who just got done with church. Main Street was very wide and every one just parked their cars in the middle. If you are ever in Page, try the Cafe! I had TWO homemade chocolate caramel cupcakes!
07/17/2006 07:39:39 by Administrator
From: Cooperstown, North Dakota
To: Tolna, North Dakota
We had a short day today because of the headwinds and the fact that we wanted to get out of the afternoon sun. It was tougher riding today, more mentally then physically, due to the headwinds. At times we were pedaling hard, and only traveling 7 mph. By the time we got to Pekin and had lunch, the winds and Mother Nature were winning the battle.
North Dakota, so far, is beautiful! The acres of farmland are huge, 3500 to 7000 acres of crops per farm. We might have the strongest military and the richest banks, but we think our real treasure and strength is because of our agriculture. We have seen first hand the abundance of food resources we have in the US.
Met two eastbound riders today. Scott and Mike greeted us somewhere in the middle of county route 1. Scott is a fireman from Oregon who met up with Mike (a recent high school grad from New Jersey, taking this opportunity before heading off to college in the fall) in Montana. Both suffered yesterday with the headwind headed east, while we enjoyed the tailwinds. Today was payback; they had done 60 miles when they met up with us (we had done only 30). We traded war (bike touring) stories while the occasional North Dakota pickup truck passed us in the middle of nowhere.
We had lunch at Pekin (population 100, maybe). We entered the "Peek In Bar" and asked if they had any hamburgers. The lady barkeep grabbed a tub of frozen (microwave able) hamburgers and sandwiches from her freezer, and we picked a couple out (just like ordering live lobsters in Maine!). As we ate, she played cards with two local retired farmers.
We are camping tonight in Tolna (population 202, maybe), at the city park. We have the railroad tracks and a large (huge) grain elevator and silos to complete the scenery. The small towns in North Dakota are dying, which will make it harder for us to find simple things like bread. People are shopping in the larger towns, driving 50 miles to do one stop shopping so the in-town grocery stores are all closed up. Fortunately we planned ahead, and have spaghetti for tonight's dinner.
We visited the bar for a drink and to see if there was anyone to talk to. On the way in we met the "Peach Lady" (our name for her) who is a retired farmer's wife. She has given peaches to bicyclist on the road when she sees them. She told us how the grain coop works, and talked to us about how things used to be and how the small towns are changing due to people leaving for the bigger cities. Just a super lady and a pleasure to meet. [Mary] Ok let's be honest here, we really stopped at the bar to procure toilet paper and use the restroom (sorry to the bartender). The facilities at the town park are somewhat limited. They do have electricity but they haven't gotten the showers and restrooms in yet. Everyone in town has promised that there will be showers by the next time we visit. Oh well as one of the guys we spoke to earlier today made the remark "you just can't be picky" I think we have really been learning that lesson first hand the further west we head. This of course has had more of an impact on me then Noel who is truly in his element and gets happier the further we get from modern conveniences. We do have running water, a hand pump, so life is good and the people in this town and through out North Dakota have been super.
07/18/2006 07:46:42 by Administrator
From: Tolna, North Dakota
To: Devils Lake, North Dakota
Happy Birthday Dustin, we love you and truly wish you were here riding with us!
R&J's Cafe did not open until 8:00 today, so we took our time taking down the tent. Last night we heard coyotes howling, and this morning we had tumbleweeds cross our path. Add the prairie dog spotted in Devils Lake, we truly feel we are in the west!
We had a great time at R&J's. The small cafe held about 16 people, and there were 12 of us, all locals except you know who. We were treated to both a great meal, and the people made us feel like one of them. North Dakota is a VERY friendly state, so come and visit!
Yesterday, SeeMore moved like a plow horse tilling the back 40 acres. Today, SeeMore was a wild mustang, leading his pack. We had tailwinds, OH BOY did we have tailwinds; our average speed was 15 mph. Three hours and we were done riding. In hindsight, it was a bit of a shame. We traveled through some of the most beautiful country so far on this trip (and that is saying a lot!). This part of North Dakota is the lakes region, and since 1993, North Dakota lakes have increased and grew larger. Loons, osprey, cormorants, geese, pelicans, swans, and red tailed hawks were found in abundance.
So what do you do in Devil's Lake (population 8,000, plus) with a whole afternoon to spare? Walk downtown, visit the old sections of the town and then take in a movie. We saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean, which we recommend! Tomorrow it is forecasted for headwinds so we will be heading for Rugby, the geographical center of the North America (according to the map). [Mary] Another activity, when you have an afternoon to kill, which Noel did not mention is to visit the local grocery store to see what kind of meal you can create without using refrigeration, stove, or microwave. Tonight's dinner menu consists of Havarti cheese on Wasa crackers, a little wine, and watermelon. As everyone knows Noel and I are not the most creative of cooks (Although you gotta admit tuna on cinnamon bread is pretty creative) so if you have any ideas of meals that can be created right off the grocery shelf please send them along via email. We do have a jetboil and can boil up to 2 cups of water (woohoo). Last nights dinner was pasta and Ragu, yum.
07/19/2006 08:12:09 by Administrator
From: Devils Lake, North Dakota
To: Rugby, North Dakota
Hello from the geographical center of North America, Rugby North Dakota! We rode Route 2 today, the whole time (except our riding around in beautiful downtown Rugby). This part of Route 2 is a 4 lane divided highway, but there is plenty of shoulder and truly very little traffic (for a 4 lane).
Today we saw a new bird, the yellow-headed blackbird, and we are beginning to see fields of yellow canola and blue flax.
We had a strong headwind (notice the flags in the bottom photo), which became stronger as morning turned to afternoon. Again, tough mentally but physically we did just fine. Let's face it, if you're riding in North or South Dakota, you going to have wind so you better deal with it. Even with the wind, the barely busy road; we had a great ride today!
07/20/2006 15:39:45 by Administrator
From: Rugby, North Dakota
To: Minot, North Dakota
Tailwinds!!!! SeeMore was a stallion today! The captain had a semi good day.
I was worried about SeeMore's front tire. It had done a Trojan job, and I cannot be more pleased with the Schwalbe tires. These tires are very heavy, but they are built very strong. The truth is that the tire should have been replaced in Fargo, but the bike store I went into did not have touring tires. Katelyn to the rescue, she mailed us a new tire and camping food via general delivery, to the Minot (pronounced My knot) post office.
Last night, after looking at the tire, it didn't look like it had 74 miles left. So I didn't sleep well, truly silly of me, but things are going so well. . . you just want them to keep going!
[Mary] We rode route 2 all day and would like to send our sincere appreciation to all of the truck drivers who we have shared the road with. They are extremely courteous and go out of their way to get into the other lane when passing us. In fact 99.9 % of the drivers in North Dakota have been super. We did meet up with the one and only rude ND driver today but Noel managed to be equally rude back, so we're even.
Things went well, until the Adventure Cycling map directed us to ride on Broadway through Minot. It truly seemed like the whole state of North Dakota decided to use this road. In fact I'm sure a lot of ND residents are in Minot today as the State Fair is being held here this weekend. It was one of the very few times on this trip that I did not feel comfortable riding. Mary got to be "Frogger" crossing Broadway to and from the post office because we just couldn't get the bike across.
Things have improved! Katelyn's care packaged arrived, the Real Admiral has a new do, SeeMore is now sporting a new front tire; and thanks to Chris at Scheels, a new rear fender, and a tune-up (thank you Chris!). Our bellies are full and we've stocked up at the grocery, where we also received compliments on our amazing tan lines. Apparently those tell tale white stripes down the side of my face are a dead give away of a frequent helmet wearer.
The amazing part of today's ride was the amount of water areas (lakes, ponds, marshes, etc.) that are along route 2. In a car you miss all the birds and action going on, but on a bike (even SeeMore the stallion) life moves by you much slower.