Day 40 — East Grand Forks to Fosston MN

July 22, 2021. Having gone to bed super early the night before, it was easy to get up early and start riding in the dark. The weather report was not good, with hotter and windier conditions predicted. But I only had 71 miles to go to my destination, my friends Todd and Nancy Pearson, who live outside of Fosston, MN.

The wind was again right in my face, which slowed my pace to 9–10 mph, but beyond that, construction was a continual problem, with 2 of the 4 lanes under construction virtually the whole way. In some places the construction was completed but the lanes not opened, which allowed me to ride on them all alone, which would have been great if it weren’t for the relentless wind. Other times I could ride on the right shoulder. But in some sections the traffic was shifted to the west-going lanes, which meant I had to ride on the left shoulder, into the oncoming traffic. That was not at all fun. I found myself just putting my head down, listening to books on tape, and letting my mind wander.

Which reminds me. Here is the view that I am stuck with when the wind is blowing — my crowded cockpit.

You can see my bike computer, GIS tracker, water bottles snacks, ear buds, and front pack. I’d like to be able to say I always have my head up and am enjoying the countryside, but honestly my head is often down, just grinding through it.

But I finally made it to Fosston, MN, where Todd and Pearson offered to put me up. Todd and I first met 40 years ago working at Camp Buckskin in Northern Minnesota, and a few years ago we reconnected through Facebook. Todd just retired from a distinguished career as a Minnesota State Trooper, and Nancy from a career as a music teacher for the Crookston School District. We had lunch at A&W, and then headed out to their lovely house south of town overlooking Sand Hill Lake.

We hung out and talked, especially about our future travel plans, our kids, and retirement. Then Todd took me for a drive through the Mahnomen County Country side. Back at their place we had an amazing dinner of smoked chicken and pork ribs, that Todd made in his smoker. Todd also called one of his buddies in Cass Lake, my next stop, to arrange a place for me to stay for my next-to-last night on the road.

Overall it was a great way to end the day. Thanks Todd and Nancy!

Professor and Dean: Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. Founder: McCall Outdoor Science School and the West Virginia Land Trust.