Day 13: Grand Forks to Chicago – riding a childhood dream

Distance: 1,170km (by car)

After a great sleep in clean and dry sheets, I had breakfast in the hotel. Everything was self service and the amount of plastic waste that I created was just sad.

Around 9am I started cycling to the international airport of Grand Forks. It was really small and I wondered how international it really was.

There was one single hall for departures, arrivals, luggage and rental cars. I wheeled my bike to the Avis counter and the young man there had been clearly expecting me.

I was nervous if they would have a big enough car available and had asked upstairs for support. A year earlier, on the tail end of Covid, this attempt had not worked out which had forced me take the train. However, also this had become an invaluable and wonderful experience for me.

“We don’t have the type of car available which you reserved so we will have to give you an upgrade” the young man said. That was a promising start. “You can have a Ford Mustang (2-door sports car) or a Ram Pickup”. He looked at my equipment and said “I think I know your choice already”.

Riding a pickup truck had been on my bucket list for a long time. Within five minutes I had located the car and put Rosinante onto the truck bed. I hope she would not be too jealous.

The truck had an insanely big engine of close to 5 liters. When you hit the gas pedal it would charge forward like a predator. Classic big boy material.

I thanked the heavens for their support and guidance. Since everything had worked out so smoothly, I decided to push for reaching Chicago in one shot today.

I had some calls on the way and a couple of short breaks but other than that I was driving for 12 hours straight through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois with 110 km/h (i.e. 70 mph).

Over time, the landscape became a little more hilly and was genuinely beautiful. Driving was easy because the roads were not busy.

Thanks to a lot of Coke, Red Bull, coffee, and my favorite podcast OMR, I was able to pull through. I managed to reach the northern suburbs of Chicago at 10:30pm.

My longtime friend and business partner Kathy Green had been waiting for me with some food. We had a quick chat to help me decompress and then around midnight I faded and went to bed.

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