Monday, May 11, 2009

Road trippin' to NoDak

Because getting there is half the fun...

On Friday at about 11:00 AM, I hopped into The Silver Hornet and practically left tread marks in the parking lot at work. I would be heading northwest to Fargo, and I was quite was anxious to get going before a lot of the weekend fishing fanatics hit the road.

The trip between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud was frustrating, as there were a whole number of people insisting on going 67 in a 70 MPH zone, and in the left lane to boot. I am not a big advocate of speeding, but 74-75 MPH on the Interstate is not unreasonable, nor is it too much to ask for (I should be friend who is a Minnesota State Trooper will probably put out an APB on my vehicle shortly after reading this. Only kidding, speeding is BAD, folks! Moving right along...). Once past St. Cloud however, traffic thinned considerably, making for a much more relaxing trip.

Western Minnesota is actually very pretty. Here, you are in prairie country. Lots of farms and pothole lakes, and I saw a number of ducks, geese, egrets, and cormorants en route. It is quite scenic in its own way.

Of course, when on a road trip, it is important to stop along the way to see what can be seen. You just never know what impressive landmarks and monuments you might encounter on your journey.

Taking in some sights in Rothsay, MN

I arrived in Fargo about 2:30 or so. As soon as you approach the Red River, signs of the flood are still all around. The exit ramps along the Interstate have mounds of dirt still piled up, and you could see sandbags in the yards of homes. I can't imagine what this must have looked like last month. The good folks who live here define the word "resilient."

After checking in to my hotel, I wandered over to the Fargodome to pick up my packet. It was an overcast, windy, and somewhat cool day here (47 degrees, as opposed to the low 60's I left in the Twin Cities), so the walk to the dome from the hotel was a little brisk. But packet pickup was fast and easy, so I was in and out of there in a hurry.

Yours truly, taking a clumsy self portrait at the Fargodome

Previously I have explained how my first name has sometimes caused gender confusion. There has been more than one race where I have been incorrectly included in the women's division. However, this one was a first; I got back to the hotel, opened my packet, and saw that I was given a women's shirt!

I have no idea how this could have happened. The volunteer who helped me had to physically put the shirt into the bag. My registration indicated I was a male, and she had to realize that clearly I am a dude. She must have just grabbed from the wrong pile? I don't know. Whatever the case, Mom, you will be getting a women's long-sleeved Fargo Marathon technical shirt as part of your Mother's Day gift! :)

It was time to track down some dinner. And what better place to load up on carbs that at the Speak Easy. This is a dimly lit, old school, Italian-American steak house/red sauce joint located just across the river in Moorhead, MN.

The manicotti from the Speak Easy in Moorhead

I had the manicotti, which was delicious. Actually, rather than using the typical tube-like manicotti noodles, these were prepared much like Giada De Laurentiis' lasagna rolls. The pork and beef filling was simply rolled up in lasagna noodles, sauced, and thrown into the oven. Very nice, and very satisfying.

Following dinner, I stopped at a Target to pick up some snacks and beverages for the hotel room, and then I was going to call it an early night. I found myself incredibly tired from being up so early in the day, working a half day, going on a 230 mile drive, and then buzzing around Fargo to get registered, eat dinner, and shop. The day really caught up with me, and I was hoping to get some sleep so I could be well rested in the morning.

Still more to come. I promise I will eventually talk about the race! :)
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