11.07 Miles / 1863.31 Total Miles
141 Ft. Elevation Gain / 70,299Ft. Total Elevation Gain
We got a pretty early start, today. We hated to leave the comfort of Shawn’s home, his hospitality, Major Taylor, and the lovely town of Fargo, but first, there were a few sights left to see on our way out of town. The train cars with murals, near the university, and the Veterans Memorial Bridge. We had to go off route to take them in, so Ed found us a shortcut that knocked 4 miles of our day, and we needed to be saving miles. We had a persistent, painful 8-9 mph headwind the entire day. You know, Sunday is a day of rest, but for us, not only did we miss church, but we also didn’t get rest. I think God is punishing us.
Do you can remember the Statue of Liberty in the Veterans Memorial Park of Lewistown, Montana? The one that was donated to the town by the Boy Scouts of America, back in 1950? Well, Fargo also received one of those statues, and the builder of the Fargo-Moorehead Veterans Memorial Bridge had a larger replica of that statue made for the bridge.
Half way across the bridge, we arrived MINNESOTA!!!!! We were ready for a change in scenery, and we found it. Still riding through endless farm land, with tiny towns intermingled pretty frequently, and new crops being farmed: soybeans, sunflowers and sugar beets, we still passed loads of hay and livestock.
Early in the day, we ran into Ryland, a college student on summer break, who decided on a whim to cycle from Boston to Seattle. He has no plan and no route. He figures that as long as he is heading west, he can’t go wrong. Sorry, but I think he’s out of his mind! I didn’t tell him that, but there are so many ways things could go wrong. Some roads have water and food along them, and others don’t. Some roads have a lot of traffic; others don’t. Some roads have good pavement and shoulders; others don’t, etc. I wouldn’t roll the dice and hope to get lucky
We passed through a bunch of little towns, today. It’s going to be like that for the next few days, actually. That’s how Minnesota is. Lots of little towns with farms, granaries, silos, banks, and a few other businesses.
In Rothsey, there is a large monument to the Greater Prairie Chicken. When the land in the area was first plowed, the population of prairie chickens increased, but as more and more land was plowed, the population started to decrease. Now, the only places Greater Prairie Chickens can survive, are areas where grassland and prairies have been preserved and maintained.
The never ending headwind wore me down, and I was exhausted the last 20 miles of the ride. In contrast, Ed was a cycling powerhouse, and I couldn’t keep up. I monitored my heart rate, and it was a steady 125, just trying to catch up to him, so I gave up on that and slowed down to a pace that kept my heart rate at 110-115, which is actually sustainable. Then I turned on Pandora, to drown out the heavy breathing with music. Actually, singing along drowns out the heaving breathing and takes my mind off the grind.
It was so good to finally make it to Fergus Falls. Right off the bat, I was impressed with how well maintained the houses and buildings were. It is a cute little town., with an abundance of interesting public art and loads of historic sights.
There is a dam close to our Warm Showers host’s house, with water falls that would have cascaded down, like a mini Niagara Falls, if there weren’t a drought and the water level of the river hadn’t been so low. The power company owns 5 dams along the river and provides electricity to 422 communities and 70,000 square miles of land, and I’ve never even heard of it before. Otter Tail Power Company. Sounds like a business from a Disney movie.
,Jake, our host, has a beautiful house and the garage of my dreams. We were able to park our bikes in the garage, unload our gear, and take what we needed inside. Our sleeping accommodations were in a cool, refreshing basement. After showering and getting settled, we rode our bikes downtown to get some amazing Mexican food. Then Jake took us on a walking tour of the flower garden across from his house.. We sat out in his yard, snacked on blueberries, brie and lavash, and talked for several hours, before turning in for the night.