Day 18: Fargo, ND - Alexandria, MN
Distance: 112 miles
Vertical: 1,293 feet
Biking Time: 6:00
Day 19: Alexandria, MN - St. Cloud, MN
Distance: 86 miles
Vertical: 358 feet
Biking Time: 5:20
Now as you can see from the last couple blog posts, things have not really been going our way. We've been struck with headwinds, bike malfunctions, sheer boredom of going through the same flat area and Matt's continual complaining (maybe it's that time of the ride when the saddle sores really start acting up... poor guy <3). But, it's time for a change and time to bring about some more positivity because we are out of North Dakota and the plains and into Minnesota, which may be the greatest state (besides Washington of course) in this country.
On top of the fact that Minnesota seems to have finally developed a firm grasp of having more than one tree every 30 miles, unlike some other states..., the state itself is beautiful to say the least. Everywhere you look there are forests and lakes galore, and I mean everywhere. You can't go a mile of riding without seeing at least a couple lakes. Apparently it's got more shoreline than Florida, which is hard to imagine until you see Minnesota for yourself. Slowly but surely Josh and I, Matt probably will still find something to complain about, have fallen in love with Minnesota and the kind and generous people that live here.
For our 18th day of riding me and Matt departed Fargo and headed across the border to the land of 10,000 lakes. Matt of course managed to "miss" the road signs and got slightly lost multiple times during the ride, but we made it to Pelican Rapids, MN alright. While there we decided to lube up our chains a little bit and while we had our bikes upside down a man walked up and asked if we were alright and if we needed any spare parts for our bikes. The first of many generous gestures we encountered here. The rest of the ride continued without a hitch, well besides Matt's inability to follow directions even with a map, we arrived to Fergus Falls and jumped off the main roads and onto the Central Lakes Trail which was amazing to finally be away from traffic and the possibility of being bulldozed by a semi. Things couldn't have been more perfect the weather was around the mid 70s, we had a strong tail wind, and the trees kept us shaded from the sun. I also managed to see my first animal that wasn't "asleep" on the side of the road! We finished our ride in Evansville and headed to the home of Scott and Renae Deitz.
I cannot begin to say how generous Scott and Renae have been, they took us out to dinner (where Josh ate enough to feed a whole village), then to DQ, and topped off the night watching the Tour de France with us. The next day Scott, an avid cyclist, rode the first 30 miles with us to Jake's Cycling and while there bought us all new cycling jerseys. All of this and we had never met the couple before this trip. In fact we were set up to stay with them when Linda Kolodziejczyk (who not only found us a place in Alexandria, but also put us in an amazing hotel room in St. Cloud THANK YOU SO MUCH!) called Jake's Bike Shop to find someone who could take us in and Scott and his wife agreed to do so. So, thank you so much to both Scott and Renae Deitz and Linda and John Kolodoziejczyk for making the last two nights some of the best nights of the trip!
The next day of riding, from Alexandria to St. Cloud, furthered my belief that people from Minnesota are some of the best on this planet. We accumulated $90 in cash donations from people we simply talked to while riding. $50 of that came from a place called Just Like Grandma's where the owners gave Josh and I $25 each after hearing our story. If you are ever in Osakis, MN try the place out the food is delicious and the owners are incredibly kind! Besides a little bit of headwinds and Josh trying to kill me with his bike, okay mutual accident we ran into each other, we made it to St. Cloud unhindered. The last two days have been near perfect and I'm actually going to be pretty sad when we end up leaving Minnesota.
Dad, Minnesota would be a great place for a lake cabin ;),