Friday, 28 August 2015

Fargo; A True Story

Location: Fargo, ND, USA
This is a true story about Fargo. Ever since seeing the Coen Brothers film many years ago the place has always held a certain allure, though with it being stuck on the edge of North Dakota and not overly close to any famous attraction that I'm aware of I wasn't too sure I'd ever make it there. But that's the magic of the cycle detour, because here we were two days ride out of Winnipeg on our way to the fabled city. The wind had died down a smidge and switched to a westerly, sometime north-westerly which was a vast improvement on the previous day and the temperature had dropped significantly. Phil, our host, rode into Crookston with us and waved us on our way and after a short battle where the road turned west for a few miles we found ourselves in the excellently named Climax where we fuelled up on coffee and breakfast buns.

We rode down some great back roads with barely any traffic through endless fields of corn, wheat and soy. Before long we were into Moorhead, Fargo's twin city on the Minnesota side. We crossed the river hopeful for a North Dakota sign, but since the two cities have merged into one urban area there was nothing to welcome us to the tenth state of our trip.

As soon as we'd decided to try to re-enter the States we'd contacted Alex to see if he'd be around. We met Alex in Sheffield back in 2011 when we hosted him and his friend Kyle through Couchsurfing and were excited to meet someone from Fargo. Luckily he was in town and kindly offered to host us at the flat he shares with his girlfriend, Kyla and their 6 month old son, William. They have a great spot right downtown and after dinner we went for a little stroll about town. Incredibly outside their building was a whole set load of people, cameras and props as they were shooting a commercial for North Dakota with the state's biggest star, Josh Duhamel (he's in the Transformers films). 

I think we inadvertently ruined a take by walking down the street (sorry) but weren't as disruptive as some of the other bystanders. One rather inebriated lady tried, unsuccessfully, to get Kyla to hand over her phone so she could get a photo with Mr Duhamel and then screamed 'Josh I want to get a picture' which he sportingly replied 'ok come over here and do it' then she screamed 'but I don't have a camera' so he shrugs and says 'not my problem'. We were all laughing and trying to make it obvious she was not with us. As an aside, Fargo is the drunk capital of the U.S. 

Following all that excitement we checked out the town some more. It has a really nice, funky vibe to it. There's cool places to eat and drink, a boutique hotel, friendly people, a good bike shop and a map showing the bike friendly routes around town. But, very sadly, they don't all talk like they do in the film, ya?! Nonetheless you have to love a city whose tag line is 'North of Normal'! We decided to take a rest day so we could spend more time exploring and hanging out with Alex, Kyla and William. So the next day after mooching about, having a few beers in the bier hall and not much else we went out for some of the best pizzas we've had at Rhombus Guys. 

It was so great to see Alex again and so nice to meet Kyla who is just lovely and totally messed with our preconceptions by not conforming to stereotypes; she was Miss North Dakota 2013 but currently works for Microsoft as a cloud business analyst. Boom! Love it! And William is a delightful, happy baby that I enjoyed cuddling immensely. Nevertheless we needed to keep moving as we were expected in Shakopee at another friend's house by the end of the week so we reluctantly bade farewell to Fargo and set off south east with no destination for the night in mind.

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