You know you have an aggressive schedule when you have to pedal your fully loaded bicycle 65 miles and everyone is excited for a short day.

20120625-141641.jpg Here we are crossing the Sheyenne River as we leave Little Yellowstone Campground, the days first climb looming in the background. The nice thing about hills is that they protect us from the headwind. But this area of North Dakota quickly became pancake flat with maximum exposure and we were trying to echelon get the most benefit from the rider in front. An echelon lines the bikes up in a diagonal line across the road to offset a headwind that is slightly to the left or right. We used this method two days ago for the last 26 miles into Napoleon and it is how we survived that day. But there was too much traffic today so we just tried to tuck in behind each other as best we could. Once in a while there would be a stand of trees that would break the wind but they were few and far between.

We would get excited whenever the road took a turn left or right. It seems to take forever when the road arrows ahead in a straight line for 20, 30, or 40 miles. As we got closer to Fargo the turns came quicker and the sense of achievement as each intersection is reached makes the trip seem faster.
The boys had a host family so I left them 5 miles out and continued on into Fargo. The Red River separates Fargo from Moorhead, Minnesota. I saw a bridge and immediately headed to Minnesota to get a photo of the state line sign. There was none. I found two more bridges and crossed them both, still failing to find a welcome sign. But I did find wonderful bike trails on each side of the Red,loaded with parks, people fishing from the shore, and a huge and popular frisbee-golf course.

Fargo/Moorhead is the largest metropolitan area between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Spokane. I’m sure the locals can tell a difference, but they seem joined at the hip to me. I noticed that Fargo seems to be spread out and not up. The roads are all numbered and if they run north/south they are called “Streets”; those that run east /west are called “Avenues”. There are no diagonals. I
get totally confused and lost in a couple of minutes, I hope I can make it back to my hotel tonight.

We have noticed that eastern North Dakota is fantastically fertile. I believe this is due to the 100′ of sediment left by Glacial Lake Agassiz as it melted 9,000 years ago (they found an old map and that’s how they know the name of the lake). The remaining terrain is extremely flat and the Red River seems to have a hard time figuring out how to flow north into Lake Winnipeg in Canada. It twists and turns and loops back on itself because it only drops 5″ per mile. The Red often floods catastrophically.