Monday, June 21, 2010

Fargo Adventure Ride 2010: Part III

This will conclude my report on the Fargo Adventure Ride 2010. Once again, these will be photo highlights of the ride with a concluding commentary at the end.

After leaving the U-More area and doing some more traditional gravel sections, we pulled into Farmington, Minnesota for a re-supply and rest at about 30 miles. We invaded the convenience store, and the, (for me), usual stares from the locals started in earnest. Women hurriedly shuffled children by us before they could ask questions. Grown men stared at our "outlandish" dress. Had we ridden up in leathers on Harleys we would have garnered little attention, but you'd have thought that Marlon Brando was staging a ghostly reprise of "The Wild One" by the looks on the faces of the townspeople.

Actually, I find this sort of reaction almost anywhere I end up with a bunch of cyclists in a rural convenience store setting. I find it rather humorous, and I'll admit, it appeals to a certain facet of my weird personality. It may not be for everyone!

After the lengthy stop in Farmington, and a nice roll out into the countryside, Jason led us down some two track leading to a turn into this farm field and what amounted to an access road. Grass overgrown and barely recognizable as two track in many places, this path wound up, down, around, and over the contours of the Minnesota farmland in a serpentine fashion. I was losing my sense of direction in this twisty, turny track, and getting my kidneys punched out by the unseen potholes, horse hoof tracks, and general bumpiness of this section. What I wouldn't have given for a dually about right then!

By now it was hot and humid. I was getting cooked down in the valley where there was no breeze and our speeds were pretty low due to the bumpy track and, by now, the sandy traps that started showing up. It was pretty obvious that these hills were sand dunes at one time or another back in history.

Jason told us that these hills and vales were XC ski territory during the winter months and horse trails during the rest of the year, for the most part. He said he'd never seen another cyclist out there since he had discovered the place. Hey, maybe we were the first group of cyclists to ever have ridden those hills. Who knows for sure? It was certainly beautiful out there, and definitely very brutal! I suffered the worst during this portion of the ride, that's for certain.

 Immediately after leaving that sector, one of the riders with us named Josh had recollected that there was a big rock outcropping not far off the other side called "Lone Rock". He said it would be fun to check it out, but we'd be obliged to hike to the exact spot, if his memory served correct. I think we were still too whacked from the previous beat down we'd all just survived to say yes or no, and before I knew it, here we were parking our bikes in the remote woods and hiking up some steep, sandy trail towards what, I had no idea.

Hey, they don't call it "adventure" for nothing! So I figured it fit into the game plan alright. We probably hiked in about a half a mile at most, and then we found what Josh was looking for. I climbed up to almost the summit, but being a person that doesn't take kindly to exposed high places, I went down and around the base for.......

.........the shot from the bottom!

It was a pretty tall feature out in the middle of nowhere. I suppose at one time, before the trees got so tall, it was much easier to spot this landmark. Given about another 15-20 years though, with no fires to threaten them, the trees will have pretty much taken over this spot and finding this rock will be even more challenging!

One of the benefits of this side track was finding wild raspberries growing all over the place. They were just shy of primo, and in a couple of weeks, these all will be ripe for the taking, but we still managed to find plenty of tasty, sweet treats.

Someone mentioned that there had been a bear sighting just south of here around Northfield, Minnesota. I can't imagine a more "bear friendly" place than this one, and if that bear finds it, I bet it won't be moving anytime soon from it!

After getting back on track, two track, that is, we were heading north with a tail wind. The road here we had ridden in on, but since we had been on it, the moisture content had gone way down, and the sandy, loose nature of the road was giving us fits. It was making riding much more difficult!

We then went by these installations which were connected with the abandoned munitions plant. They were shelters where shells were filled with gunpowder and armed. If something went wrong, the concrete walls prevented the blast from causing any further damage outside of the barriers. Funny thing was that all of these installations were never put into production or used at all. Now they stand as silent reminders of a World At War.

Not long after this, we hit some grass covered two track that was shoulder high to us on our bikes! You couldn't see the ruts or holes, so a couple guys went down in this section, albeit softly! We also had some fun trashing our bikes in some big mud puddles here and there as well.

The wind sort of shifted around from the Southwest, which ended up being right in our faces most of the way back in, but still, we persevered to our appointed finishing spot, the Lebanon Hills Campground. Approximately 60 miles, and many a laugh and good times were had by all.

We had six Fargos on the ride and they showed why they are the perfect all terrain adventure rig. We had everything from pavement, gravel, grass, dirt, a wee bit of mud, and water thrown at us and we made mincemeat of all of it aboard the Fargos we had. Kudos to Salsa Cycles once again for making the Fargo and opening up a whole new way to explore the world by bicycles.

A big shout of thanks to Jason Boucher also for taking the time to scout out a really challenging, fun, interesting, and flexible course. Thanks for setting up the structure for all of the Fargo Adventure Ride and your efforts were appreciated by all in attendance. Super job of hosting!

I was supposed to travel up to the Chequamegon area that evening, but I had forgotten about Father's day, and I was beat by the Fargo Adventure Ride, so I decided to be with my family instead. Good thing too, because Saturday I was in a zombie-like state from the effort on Saturday.

The Fargo Adventure Ride never fails to disappoint. If you ever get a chance to join one, make time for it! Thanks to everyone on the ride for making it a great time. See ya down the trail!

1 comment:

Jerry said...

GT-it was great to ride with you Friday. the grass trails did me in as well. I tumbled. though, I might head back and see if I can harvest some of those raspberries in early July.

Nice write up and pics.

take care.