Day 12: Morris to Grand Forks – change of plans

Distance: 168km

Elevation: 97m

I had wanted to start out early because I knew it would be a long day but it had started raining again. Packing up in the rain would have been a terrible idea. So I waited until 8 when the rain stopped.

I had not slept very much and felt pretty awful. I just wanted to get out of this place.

After my change of plan, I now needed to get across the border into the US and reach Grand Forks where my colleague Barbara had kindly reserved a rental car for me to speed up my trip to Chicago and Detroit.

I had asked upstairs for a safe passage to Grand Forks, not too much rain and friendly winds.

There was no way that I could cycle 170 klicks in one day against a strong headwind, so I felt I needed a bit of heavenly support.

I had breakfast at Tim Hortons and was in the saddle by 8:45am. After 40km I reached the border to the US. There was a long queue of cars representing a waiting time of probably 2 hours. There were rain clouds above us and I decided that the queue was not for cyclists and moved pretty much to the top of the line.

The officer was friendly and wanted to know my story. He was checking for consistency with a few casual questions. He was also inquiring about food I was intending on bringing to the US. I had eaten up all fruit before but had one apple left. Since it had been from Chile I had to hand it over. Pretty ridiculous but could have been a lot worse.

I needed to wait 15min to get my passport stamped and was en route again after 30min. Pretty cool experience after all!

So, I was in North Dakota, USA, now. The 14th country on my tour so far.

On first sight, the infrastructure here was more sophisticated than in Canada. The roads were in better shape and there were bridges here at each exit when in Manitoba it had been a simple 4-way-crossing.

But other than that it looked pretty much the same: huge meadows with hay bales on it for 100km.

I got in my stoic Brokkoli mode, which for me means focusing inside and becoming somewhat empty. I chipped away chunks of 10km, one after the other. There were two gas stations along the way that I used for small breaks and that was it.

I noticed a lot of Hutterites people at the gas stations. This is a religious community similar to the Amish and the Mennonite’s which developed off a radical reform movement against the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. Luther and Zwingli were prominent figures back then.

I had to go through one thunderstorm on the way which was no problem. The winds were gentle overall.

Around 7pm I arrived at an inexpensive hotel in Grand Forks which I had reserved. I had desperately wanted a roof, a shower and a dry bed. As I was approaching, the next thunderstorm was closing in but I got in dry before it started to pour outside.

Rosinante and I were sharing the room. After a quick shower and shave, I went to a sports bar across the street and had an ice cold beer and something unhealthy to eat. Life was so good!

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