Day 47: Little Yellowstone Park, North Dakota to Fargo, North Dakota

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The sun rose at around 07:00 AM and I was ready to hit the road. This campsite had two things that I haven’t seen much of since starting this trip: mosquitoes and humidity. The bugs were trying to eat me alive and everything was soaked.

I was still 18 (30 km) from Enderlin and 73 miles (118 km) from Fargo. Undaunted, I charged ahead and climbed the same hill up from the river and set my mind on making Fargo today. It was already hot and I was wearing sunscreen as the sky brightened.

Arriving in Enderlin, I figured on a quick breakfast. There was the omnipresent gas station next to the highway, or the cafe in town. Deciding I liked the charm of the local cafes, it was into town. I found the Trackside Cafe but wasn’t certain if it was open. This seems to be the case in this area of the world, nothing looks open, even when it is.

I went in and the room was empty save one older fellow sitting at a table. He wasn’t reading a paper or eating or anything, just sitting there. I nodded good morning and took a seat. After a few minutes another older man came out from the back and asked me what I would like. He said the cook wasn’t there yet, but he could get me coffee. My experiences with tea left me no choice, I ordered orange juice.

He went back to the cooler and after considerable hunting found an almost empty jug of juice. The vintage wasn’t apparent, and it didn’t come to a full glass but tasted okay and, I too, started to wait for the cook. The two gents sat at the same table and never said a word. They just stared off into space. After about ten minutes, the one that served me said to the other fellow, “I guess she’s late.” The other nodded and then they went back to silence.

After ten more minutes, the first customer got up and left, nothing said. I waited another minute or two and then explained that I needed to make Fargo today so I would just pay for the juice. The fellow said never mind, I could have the juice. I thanked him and left. Outside, I didn’t see anybody rushing to work. The streets were deserted, although the rail yard seemed busy.

I went back up to the gas station, had a bite to eat,picked up more Gatorade, and headed east.

This morning was a steady wind from the south to southeast. It wasn’t a full-blown headwind, but it was tough to ride against. Where there were open fields and no shield from the wind, I could manage 6-8 MPH, If there were trees along side the highway, I could manage about 12-13 MPH. Eventually, I ended up at a turn that went north for six miles, I now had a tailwind and whisked along at 20 MPH!

Just before turning east again on County Rd. 14, I spotted a ham radio antenna on a tower. I stopped to see if anyone was home. This was my sixth attempt at doing this and I had yet to actually find anyone home. I rang the doorbell a few times and a sleepy-eyed young man answered the door. I explained I was a ham and he told me he was too and that the home was his dad’s. We exchanged greetings and he told me if I hear from W0ZOK, that was his dad. I struck out again.

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Maybe, if there is time, I can get to see the wood chipper from the movie, FARGO.

Back into the headwind, I made Fargo in the late afternoon. I arranged a WarmShowers.org stay in Moorhead, Minnesota, which is just across the Red River from Fargo. Tired, I arrived to three dogs, a number of cats, and a welcoming home. The day ended well.

Author: Dennis Blanchard

Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut. He and his wife Jane moved to New Hampshire in 1980 where he has climbed thirty 4000-foot mountains, biked the trails and enjoyed the wilderness. Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was always aware of the seductive siren’s call to hike it. Dennis is an electronics engineer who has freelanced for amateur radio, technical and motorcycle adventure magazines. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida.

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