After sleeping on an air mattress in the back of a Chevy truck last night, I was greeted by this:
A full rainbow never fails to impress.
I slept pretty well, despite the fireworks. People were likely getting ready for the upcoming holiday.
Due to it’s proximity, McDonalds provided breakfast. Hotcakes, eggs, sausage, and a biscuit are pretty cheap here and there are plenty of calories which is exactly what a cyclist needs.
Around 8:00 a.m., I departed “The Buffalo City” and also the birthplace of the novelist and short story writer Louis L’Amour (for more info on either check out the links here: http://www.jamestownnd.org/ and http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_L%27Amour )
The weather was favorable and my time was good, making for a good morning ride. I decided that Valley City would be a good place to have lunch.
Valley City, a college town, was aptly named. I approached the city from the west going downhill, able to see the uphill climb on the other side of town, but I decided to worry about that after lunch.
Roby’s treated me well with a quality burger and fries, but the reason I chose this place, from reading the online google reviews, was the free ice cream bar with every visit. The well-deserved (at least I thought well deserved) ice cream made me happy before I continued back on my way.
The gradual climb out of town wasn’t bad. After awhile, I noticed a cemetery/memorial just off the upcoming freeway exit; it would be a good place for a break.
And it was. The trees offered good shade. I looked at some of the grave markers, watched some of the traffic go by on the interstate, and moved on after taking a picture or two:
Fargo had a couple possibilities as far as hosts were concerned. I called one individual in West Fargo, but he was in the process of moving and had to be up early in the morning.
I messaged the other prospective host, but she was out of town and unable to help. One other message that I sent went unanswered all day.
There still remained one option however. A bike shop in downtown Fargo along with a community partnership of cyclists had a hosting description for cyclists. The phone call there went unanswered, but the description said to just stop by, even on weekends. So I figured I would do that.
Hunger pushed me along the West Fargo bypass to another Pizza Ranch. It was busy, but the food was fresh and once again did not fail to impress.
Ahead of me, I had what I knew would be one of the busiest areas of traffic volume on the entire tour. Rambow led me back along I-94 heading east, through the road construction (Which is much easier to go through on bike than by car. Biking past cars provides one of the most gratifying feelings while on the road). I-94 interchanges with I-29; I took that north until taking the exit to head into downtown Fargo.
After about 40 blocks, I found the bike shop. But, much to my dismay, I found the bike shop empty and locked.
A new predicament arose.
Because the bike shop was my last resort, the hopes of finding an arranged place to spend the night were growing dim along with the daylight.
After attempts at contacting 3 of the local hotels and motels, only to find them fully occupied (this was a Saturday night after all), my attention turned to campgrounds. Lindenwood Campground looked to be one of the only ones, so the trek began another 30 blocks or so south.
Two stops for directions and many views of the Red River later, Lindenwood Campground, and the line of campers waiting to find a camping spot in the campground was in sight.
Because of the location right on the river, and due to the healthy rainfall in the last month, many of the campsites here at Lindenwood surrendered to the unusually high waters of the Red River, unfortunate timing for the campground because of the peak camping season and ideal weather conditions.
Stealth camping immediately entered my mind as there were no camping spots left, with the exception of a single site but it contained a reservation slip on it. “No camping” signs dotted the areas and trails leading out of camping area “A”, the only area high enough to avoid the floodwater, giving me reservations on doing that however.
The darkness began to cast itself; I decided to ride along the river and consider my options.
Scouring the areas for good stealth camping spots, I pedaled Rambow around a picnic shelter. Abruptly, a man, coincidentally wearing the same Minnesota Wild hockey shirt I was (it was the only time I wore a t-shirt on my bike the entire trip because I figured it would be a short jaunt after the Pizza Ranch), stepped out from the picnic area.
He seemed a little surprised to see someone, let alone a touring cyclist. After some time, and finding him to be a fellow Minnesotan here for a hockey tournament with his daughter’s team, we continued a good conversation. Before telling him about my predicament, he asked me if I needed a place to stay.
As it turned out, he and his family ended up switching campsites with another family. Due to some unforeseen circumstance, they were unable to show up and the campsite (the one with the reservation slip I immediately concluded) was vacant.
This man told me he would consult his family and see if they still had the campsite, if so he would let me have it for the night. If not, they would let me camp on their site.
Relief poured inside of me, flooding me like a campsite along the river.
Minutes later, I found myself as the center of attention, surrounded by the family and a few members of the girls hockey team. The openhanded generosity continued after a donation and a campsite reservation slip that they refused to take payment for.
Someone was watching over me again this evening.
While setting up my tent, an older couple in an RV next to me offered something to drink. They wouldn’t let me refuse, so I enjoyed a nice Coke while preparing camp. But, before the tent was set, an RV pulled up and a guy, who looked to be in his younger 30’s and slightly stressed, understandably, opened his window and asked if he could park his RV on the concrete pad.
I felt bad only using the grass portion of the campsite, so I willingly agreed.
He, and his family, were grateful, and they even offered to make me breakfast in the morning.
The day ended with a shower and a few mosquitoes in the tent, but it was alright; I had a place to stay :)