Days 38-40: Fargo Part I

Thursday, July 16 – Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Fargo Part I with Stephen and Sarah

That last day of wind was enough for us. I threw the idea out there, and Amy came around to it, that Fargo might be a good place to stop biking and continue our journey via other means of transportation. So here it is, the end of the biking road for us, Fargo, North Dakota! We added up our mileage, and we biked over 1000 miles this summer!! We feel great about our accomplishment.

We really enjoyed our time with Stephen and Sarah, who hosted us at their lovely home for our first three nights in Fargo. We cooked food and ate together, ran errands together, and talked and laughed together. Sarah took us to her favorite coffee shop, Babs’, and across town to buy some camping supplies. They were very generous with their time and space, as their house was Couchsurfing central for awhile – us, the couple from Madison who greeted us when we first got there, and another Nathan, a friend of a friend who was in town to play some shows and promote his film company, and who also was very helpful with taking us around when we needed it.

Stephen and Sarah are cat people, like ourselves, and we had fun being in a house with cats again. Kim and Boots are Siamese cats, mother and daughter, and stay inside, while Harvey goes in and out and likes terrorizing baby bunnies and bringing them to the doorstep.

For the first few days we had our bikes, and biked around town, running some errands, sampling the local cafes, and getting our bearings in Fargo, which has some beautiful neighborhoods and a really cool downtown. We made many trips to Scheels, a local chain of stores with camping and sports type clothing and equipment, as we thought about what we needed for the rest of our trip. For instance, we realized that we each only had one non-bike-clothing outfit, and we were also a little short on warm clothing, and it was getting cold… down to the low 50s overnight.

We also spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to get our bikes and excess gear home, and get ourselves to Banff. We really wanted to ride a train, but the train doesn’t go to Banff, or even to Calgary; it goes to Edmonton, which would necessitate another long bus ride after getting off the train. Eventually we settled on Greyhound from Fargo to Winnipeg, plane from Winnipeg to Calgary, and shuttle or bus from Calgary to Banff.

Stephen took us around one day to run some errands, including looking for bike boxes to ship the bikes home. We could have paid one of the local bike shops to pack and ship our bikes, but I decided to do it myself for a few reasons… 1) I figured we had the time and could save some money, 2) we had some miscellaneous gear (e.g. racks) that I would have to take off anyway, and 3) I like learning how to do things.

So, as we explored Fargo and got to know our hosts, a lot of time was spent refactoring for the rest of our journey. I definitely felt some restlessness and withdrawal as we transitioned from the pattern of biking all day and camping in a different spot every night, to an extended stay in Fargo. Our patient hosts helped a lot, and there was stuff to do in the city, including a big street fair with kettle corn, arts and crafts, and some live performances.

Of course, packing the bikes ended up taking more time than I expected, so we only had one bike packed by the time we transitioned from Steve and Sarah’s house to our second CS host in Fargo. It also took awhile to figure out what we wanted to keep with us of other gear, and what we’d have to ship home or give away that might be an issue getting on the plane. Nate the musician/filmmaker helped us out Saturday evening, tossing all our stuff in the back of his truck and taking us to the apartment where we stayed in Fargo, Part II…

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