Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Rothsay, MN to Fargo, ND (43 miles into the wind)
The inn at Rothsay was a lifesaver, as nearly everything was dry by the time we woke up. It took awhile to pack everything back up, as it was strewn all over the room, but we managed to do it, going over our checkout time by a little bit (no problem with the innkeeper, just an opportunity to jest with us once more).
Normally, we start out the day swapping the lead every 5 miles. Today, the nice strong breeze (25-30 miles per hour) that had blown away the storms and blown in the nice weather was right in our faces, so we started out swapping the lead every 2 miles. We had about 40 to go, so you can imagine that it was slightly demoralizing to go just 2 out of 40 miles and be tired enough to have to swap.
Unfortunately, swapping every 2 wasn’t good enough, and we quickly cut it down to 1 mile. Every single mile was grueling, as we averaged between 6 and 7 miles per hour. As we neared Moorhead, the city in Minnesota right across the Red River from Fargo, North Dakota, the terrain completely flattened out and opened up into prairie (the Eastern ND / Western MN version of prarie that has been developed into farmland). This essentially meant no hills, trees, or other structures to break up the wind for the vast majority of the time. I’m sure if I were the wind I would love the prairie, with nothing to stop me from gaining and maintaining strength and speed.
We made many stops and eventually made it into Moorhead, exhausted. We made a mistaken turn and ended up heading back south for a mile or so; we were just fried and navigating took too much brainpower. Eventually we figured out where to cross the river, and connected with our Couchsurfing hosts over the phone, who gave us directions to their house. We made it there without too much trouble, and were greeted by another Couchsurfing couple Zsusy and Casey, who were staying there as well, and who gave us the tour since Steve and Sarah were at work. The house was beautiful and we felt welcomed and right at home, with our own room and an air mattress, and three cats, Boots, Kim, and Harvey.
Steve had made some taboule and had some hummus for us to eat, which we did (first dinner), then after recharging for a bit and unloading the bikes, I went back out to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for pesto pasta (second dinner) and a bottle of wine, which we all enjoyed sharing when Stephen and eventually Sarah got home, sharing stories and getting to know one another.
More to come on our time with Steve and Sarah, Fargo part 1.