Michael's Excellent Adventure

Day 14, 6-29-2002

Air

We both slept terribly, as expected, but still managed to pull out of camp at 5:30 am or so, maybe half an hour into the brief dawn stillness. In the quiet, warm morning air, the mosquitos were voracious, so we wasted no time in striking camp and getting on the road. Even in the relative calm of the early hours, we had to work pretty hard to push through the first 22 southbound miles. When we finally rounded the bend we had a real sense of accomplishment. We didn't expect any services for the whole day until just before Fargo, but just north of the tiny town or Ayr we saw a sign for Rosie's Cafe. Breakfast sounded good, so we pulled into a town of roughly 20 buildings and several million cubic feet of grain elevator. Rosie's was an antique feeling joint with just one breakfast option: ham & eggs. Which, I might add, hit the spot mightily. There was one older gent in there with us, and it turned out that he owned half of the buildings in town. And not as some real-estate mogul, either — the buildings he owned were the original structures of Ayr, from the turn of the 20th century. He had gone in and restored them as museum pieces, basically — a whole rural North Dakota main street, right there in the shadow of the mammoth grain elevators, in the middle of nowhere. He also had an amazing fleet of vintage autos, including a 1908 Oldsmobile. He seemed a little bit sad, and we were happy to listen to what he had to say about his collection.

We did have to push on, though, this being on of the bleakest legs of the whole trip. We went through Argusville, where there is nothing, and had one last big push into the fully awakened winds towards Fargo — 14 miles right into the teeth of it. After quite a bit of searching for a motel, we ended with 80 miles for the day and the hope for better weather tomorrow. We later found out that the heat index in Fargo was up to 107, and 30 mph gusts from the southeast.