Day 35: Nelson, MN to Fergus Falls, MN

Monday, July 13, 2009

Nelson, MN to Fergus Falls, MN

We rode on the trail for a long time and came across other bikers who encouraged us on our way.

First we met two Canadians who had been bike touring together for decades. One was from British Columbia, the other from Ontario, and they were on a tour from the west coast to the east coast. They really looked like they knew what they were doing, which made their encouragement and praise of us all the more impactful! They said we looked like we were seasoned and experienced, and did a great job of packing light. They liked our modified back racks (thanks, Mr. Reeves!) and were very encouraging (did I say that already?).

We also met this really cool biker family traveling from Spokane. Imagine traveling with two teenage girls. Right, but these girls rock. We had some funny conversations about killer grouse and whose trip had been harder into the wind and up hill. They’ve done about 1500 miles so far and are heading to Maine and will take the train back. We were very impressed with this family and their spirit of adventure!

The girls are blogging about their trip on and posted a picture of us on their site.

As the clouds continued to gather, the SSW wind continued to blow us toward the end of the Central Lakes Trail. As we found out later, and you already read about, wind from the S or SW might be a good thing if you’re traveling NW in Minnesota or North Dakota, but it also means that bad weather is coming! We made it to the end of the trail after passing a very stinky processing facility / wildlife management area (I didn’t really understand how those things went together) and then the trail just ended. No clear road or path or “welcome to Fergus Falls” at the end; it just ended. We were looking for a park at the end that was supposed to be relatively cheap and good to tent camp at, and it wasn’t there. We figured it must be the park we had passed a little over a mile back, so we turned around, back into the wind and backtracked a mile or so to DeLagoon Park.

The park was really beautiful, with a lake, wide open grassy areas, lots of trees, pavilions, etc, and hardly anyone was camping there. We said hi to a family as we picked a site, dumped our stuff, and refueled and planned for the evening and the coming rain. Pretty soon our neighbor came over and offered us some cold pop, knowing that we wouldn’t have ice or a cooler on our bikes! We set aside the soda for later and took a little exploratory walk over to the pavilion. It started to sprinkle a little bit, so we decided to go back to the campsite, pitch our tent, and move our bikes and the rest of our stuff under the pavilion, where we also planned to cook and eat dinner.

Amy bumped into the family again by the bathrooms, and asked them if they had change (we needed some to pay for the campsite in the drop box). They did, and so when we headed back to our campsite we walked back with them, and chatted about our trip and theirs. They quickly invited us over to their spot to share some drinks, snacks, and hang out, which we gladly accepted, and ended up hanging out and talking with them for a few hours. I can’t remember their names right now… maybe Amy will later, but if you guys are reading this, thank you so much for your hospitality and the good conversations! [Amy remembers their last name was Samcoff, strangely similar to Selikoff! The mom’s name was Crystal, and one of the two young boys’ names was Christian].

It didn’t rain overnight, though the radar showed green all over us (thus leading us to mistrust the radar, leading to poor decision making the following day). A great day full of new relationships with fellow travelers!

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