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Archive for the ‘North Dakota’ Category

Minnesota country art.

Minnesota country art.

July 12, 2009: Bemidji, MN to Grand Rapids, MN

We awoke today to heavy rain showers at our encampment in Bemidji, MN. Fortunately, the rain subsided at about the time that we were getting ready to head to Grand Rapids, and we enjoyed a beautiful day of riding.

This part of Minnesota is heavily-wooded with a variety of trees. The farms, sprinkled in between the forests, makes for some spectacular scenery. As we made our way to Grand Rapids, we enjoyed excellent roads for the bulk of the ride and favorable winds. We are currently camped next to a beautiful lake on the fairgrounds in Grand Rapids.

Earlier in our trip, we passed through the town of Esmond, North Dakota. While in Esmond we met a slightly-tipsy gentleman named Gary.  Before Gary went back into the only tavern, and one of the few buildings, in Esmond, he taught Chuck and Mark how to call cows.

Gary claimed that the deep bellowing sound that he made represented a bull call. Naturally, his pupils thought that Gary was pulling their respective legs, until they actually tried it. During our ride today, Chuck and Mark used the call to send a herd of about fifty cows into stampede mode. If Chuck and Mark’s cow-calling proficiency continues, they are considering entry into the cow-calling national championship competition.

Tomorrow, we will make our way to Duluth, MN. While in Duluth, Chuck and Suzi will have an opportunity to visit their daughter and Dennis will rejoin the ride!

Length of today’s ride: 83 miles.

Length of tomorrow’s ride to Duluth: 85 miles

Marshall: Ann and I stopped in Deer River MN on our way to Grand Rapids. The town was having a Wild Rice celebration. We  stopped to view the flea market and ended up staying for 3 hours. Ate lunch at the Catholic church; visited with a family whose father picked wild rice by floating in the rivers and ponds using sticks to beat the rice into the canoe. He gets about 500 pounds per trip. We watched a 1 hour parade, lots of old tractors etc. The highlight of the day was the harmonica band made up of young adults age 80 and older. The oldest member was pushing 90 years young. Of course, for dinner we picked up  some wild rice. A very delightful day.


A Minnesota sized fish

A Minnesota sized fish

Mississippi River in Minnesota.

Mississippi River in Minnesota.

Sue, crossing the mighty Mississippi

Sue, crossing the mighty Mississippi

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Sunset on Round Lake.

Sunset on Round Lake.

July 10: Fargo, ND to White Earth, MN

July 11: White Earth, MN to Bemidji, MN

The weather was beautiful as we departed Fargo and headed for White Earth, MN. The roads through western Minnesota were great and the scenery was spectacular.

As we rode, we went through several small towns. One town in particular, Richwood, was like stepping back in time. The town’s small general store was combination food outlet, post office, bait shop and hardware store. Pete, the owner of the Richwood store, also saved our bacon – as we departed Richwood, Pete casually told us that “he did not want to burst our bubbles, but that we were going the wrong way. Without Pete’s directions, we would probably still be riding.

Richwood store, a step back in time.

Richwood store, a step back in time.

Prior to leaving Fargo, Marshall promised us that we would be camping at a site free from traffic and railroad noise. What Marshall failed to tell us however, is that we would be encamped in Hotel Mosquitoville. The mosquitoes were so thick at the Tamarac Resort in White Earth that they picked Sue P. up and carried her away.  The lake was beautiful, however, and we enjoyed some time at the Tamarac Lodge.

Mosquitoville.

Mosquitoville.

Mosquito-free zone.

Mosquito-free zone.

On Saturday, we departed Mosquitoville and headed towards Bemidji, MN, Paul Bunyan country. On the road to Bemidji, we stopped at Itasca State Park, home to the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Following a lunch break at the park, we continued on to Bemidji, where we are staying at Royal Oaks RV park, aka Mosquitoville East.

Headwaters of the Mississippi.

Headwaters of the Mississippi.

The crew with Paul and Babe.

The crew with Paul and Babe.

Sunday’s ride will take us over an 83-mile route to Grand Rapids, MN.


Chuck's yacht

Chuck's yacht

Sue and Debbie on the Mississippi River.

Sue and Debbie on the Mississippi River.

Suzi finds a friend.

Suzi finds a friend.

Tamarac Lodge on Round Lake.

Tamarac Lodge on Round Lake.

Viking ship, Fargo

Viking ship, Fargo

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Sent via text message – the Internet connections in White Earth, Minnesota are lacking, evidently…

Mark: Rode from Fargo ND to White Earth, 78.6 miles. Pretty day, beautiful country. Will ride [tomorrow] to Bemidji, Paul Bunyons town, about 75 miles.

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A quick evacuation from the KOA

A quick evacuation from the KOA

July 9, 2009: Moorhead, MN/Fargo, ND

We were awakened at our campground in Moorhead, Minnesota this morning by a strong storm – high winds, rain, thunder and lightening. We decided that today would not be the best day to bike, so we abandoned the KOA camp in Moorhead and checked into a motel across the river in Fargo.

As it turned out, this was a good choice for an extra layover since Chuck and Suzi Wood are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary today. We celebrated the joyous occasion with an excellent meal at the Old Broadway Grill in downtown Fargo. Please join us in sending your congratulations to this special couple.

Happy 43rd, Chuck and Suzi!

Happy 43rd, Chuck and Suzi!

After we settled into the motel, we spent some time sightseeing around the area and getting geared-up for tomorrow’s ride. The weatherman promises better conditions tomorrow as we head towards the White Earth Indian Reservation.

From Sue P. to the Parkinson’s Group

Hi guys, I sure miss all of you. I hope that you are continuing to meet regularly and are keeping-up with your exercises. I am really enjoying the ride across America; I have seen some great sites from the saddle of my bicycle and I have met some interesting people. I will look forward to visiting with all of you about my experiences when I get back.

A special thanks to all of you who have contributed to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation on behalf of this ride. Be assured that the lion’s share of your contributions will go towards the support of Parkinson’s patients.

Thanks and love to you all,

Sue

Entering Minnesota...however briefly

Entering Minnesota...however briefly

Aftermath of the July 9 storm.

Amidst the July 9 storm.

Sue finds a friend.

Sue finds a friend.

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Taking a break from the wind on the way to Arthur.

Taking a break from the wind on the way to Arthur.

July 7, 2009: Cooperstown, ND to Arthur, ND

The original plan for today was to cycle from Cooperstown, ND to Fargo, a distance of about 85 miles. The wind conditions forced us to revise our plans, however. Headwinds gusting up to 20 miles per hour persisted through most of the ride. Amidst the howling, we decided to shorten the ride and set up camp in Arthur, ND, a town located about 60 miles from Cooperstown.

Tomorrow, we will continue on to Fargo and use the day as a partial rest day, catching up on washing clothes and performing bicycle maintenance.

Tiring stuff today.

Tiring stuff today.

Chuck: Our ride today was once again into a stiff headwind. 62.8 miles and 674 feet of climbing. This was what I was afraid all of eastern Montana and North Dakota would be. Flat, intermittent shoulders, some traffic, windy and not much to look at. Thank goodness all of the other days in the prairie were not that way.

We have seen an incredible diversity of landscape these past few weeks, giving me a full appreciation of the beauty of this vast open land. This has been punctuated with thoroughly charming little communities such as Cooperstown (Pop. 1,053) where we stayed yesterday afternoon and evening. Norman Rockwell could have easily used the community as a model for any number of his illustrations.

Cooperstown's oldest building.

Cooperstown's oldest building.

Page (Pop. 225), a Norwegian community where we had Knophea soup and homemade wheat rolls for today’s lunch, and Arthur (Pop. 402) where we are camped on the baseball field for tonight, with free showers complements of Mary at the only grocery store in town, located in “The mall.” She has the key to the health club – also located in the mall – which is closed today, but has gladly given us fee reign to the locker rooms.

Home for tonight.

Home for tonight.

The bucolic and friendly landscape is contrasted with the Minute Man missile sites that still exist on the peaceful farmland. Last evening Suzi and I were lucky to catch an impromptu tour of one of the 15 command stations that controlled the 150 ICBM’s built in the mid 1960’s during the peak of the Cold War. A photo of the above-ground portion of the facility is included, but the real interest was the launch station, located 60 feet below ground in a 4 foot thick egg shell hardened to take a direct hit from a nuclear warhead and launch our own weapons of mass destruction.

A view of the end of the world, circa 1966.

A view of the end of the world, circa 1966.

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Your garden-variety North Dakota barn.

Your garden-variety North Dakota barn.

July 6, 2009: Fort Totten, ND to Cooperstown, ND

The skies were cloudy and a little rain fell as we departed from our encampment at the Spirit Lake Resort and headed to Cooperstown, North Dakota. The clouds faded and the temperatures rose as we continued to ride through the countryside. It is amazing how weed-free the hay- and grain fields of this area really are; we have seen no occurrence of Russian thistle or puncture weed, to name a couple of old nemeses from back home.

We took our lunch break today in the town of Pekin. A town literally in the middle of nowhere, Pekin is trying to survive economically by advertising itself as a destination for art shows. Locals told us that they hosted a large show just last month.

Buffalo sculpture at Pekin

Buffalo sculpture at Pekin

Today’s ride proved to be a bit challenging because of headwinds early, but was otherwise pleasant. We are currently encamped in the lovely town of Cooperstown.

Tomorrow’s ride will take us to Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo is right on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, meaning that we will soon bid goodbye to another state.

Distance ridden today: 78.3 miles. Elevation climbed: 1,351 feet.

An artsy bench in Pekin.

An artsy bench in Pekin.

Setting up in Cooperstown.

Setting up in Cooperstown.

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A scene from today's riding.

A scene from today's riding.

July 5, 2009:  Rugby, ND to Fort Totten, ND

As we attempt to return to normalcy, we rode today from Rugby, ND, to Fort Totten, a distance of slightly over 80 miles. The route finally took us off of Interstate Highway 2, in favor of the more friendly confines of some very nice smaller, less-used highways and side roads.

Today’s weather was perfect and the scenery through this part of North Dakota was spectacular. Were it not for the absolutely brutal winters that this region experiences year in and year out, North Dakota would probably have a larger population, because parts of this state are truly spectacular.

We are currently encamped near the Spirit Lake Casino on the Fort Totten Sioux Reservation, (We obtained some passes that allow us to use the swimming and shower facilities at the casino’s resort, so we feel very special) which is just adjacent to Devil’s Lake. One old rancher that we met claimed that Devil’s Lake was a dry hole back in the early 1990s. In the mid-90s the water table in this area began to rise for some reason. Devil’s Lake is now a body of water covering about 10,000 acres and is 20 feet deep in places.

Tomorrow we will cycle from the Devil’s Lake area to Cooperstown, ND, a distance of about 75 miles. We are all happy to be on our bicycles again, resuming our journey. That said, we continue to miss the spirit and resolve of Howard and Chicken, and surely will do for the remainder of our travels.

Total miles ridden today: 82.8 miles. Elevation climbed: 1867 feet.


Traditional July 4 in Minot.

Traditional July 4 in Minot.

The Fantastic Four at the center of the continent.

The Fantastic Four at the center of the continent.

Please interpret, Howard.

Please interpret, Howard.

Trying to get regular again.

Trying to get regular again.

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