I just ran the Fargo Marathon and this is the related trip report. I love road trips and running a marathon in Fargo, North Dakota was a good reason to hit the road again. I had several options to choose from in regards to which route to take and I opted for one that I felt would be the more interesting drive. While the route I chose was about 50 miles longer, I am sure it was the better way of getting there. Google Maps reported a distance of about 921 miles between my home and the Fargo Dome in Fargo and an estimated travel time of about 14 hours. When going on road trips I usually get a rental car as it is often cheaper compared to wear and tear on my own vehicle + I have roadside assistance build-in as I would only have to call the rental company to get a replacement car if it would break down.
I left for Fargo on Thursday around noon heading up straight north on Interstate 25 towards Cheyenne in Wyoming. From there I continued on I-25 for a couple more hours before leaving the Interstate to drive on regular roads and highways. I followed Highway 85 for most of the time until I hit I-90 in Northern Wyoming. From there I headed East into South Dakota and again merged onto Highway 85 to go north towards North Dakota and Interstate 94 near Dickinson, ND.. I would then stay on I-94 all the way to Fargo.
This route took me through quite a few remote areas of the United States. I passed through small towns and villages made from just a couple of houses in some cases. Highway 85 in South Dakota is often just a straight road through a beautiful landscape. And with “straight” I really mean “straight”. I forgot to accurately measure the distance, but at one point I remember going for over 5 miles without seeing the slightest curve or turn. No matter how often I have seen these type of roads already, for me it never gets boring. It’s a major reason why I love road trips so much.
I did not see too many cops along the way, but especially in North Dakota I mainly saw them within in towns or cities and they seemed to be particular ready to bust speeding drivers. Speed limits in towns and cities – including Fargo – are very low compared to where I live. 55 Miles per hour on inner city highways (Fargo) was as good as it gets and I barely saw anyone going much faster. Smaller towns posted 25 miles per hour speed limits and that felt really slow and tempting to go just a bit faster, but I stuck it out. I do admit I went a little bit above posted speed limits on remote highways with no traffic near me and it helped to make time go by a bit faster.
One reason I like road trips is because I am away from heavy traffic most of the time. It felt so relaxing once I made it out of Cheyenne not having to deal with traffic at all. Traffic here in Denver (and other major metropolitan areas) is horrible and stressful and so it really feels like a vacation when being out on the road.
Who Ordered the Snow?
While the way to Fargo was an easy drive the trip back home was the complete opposite. When I left for Fargo on Thursday the forecast called for some rainy conditions, but that changed into a Winter storm along the way. I left Fargo on Saturday around 1 PM driving west on I-94. It was dry, a bit windy though, but nothing bad. Once leaving I-94 heading South into South Dakota the weather changed from dry to rain and then later on from rain to a light snow fall. Once I reached Wyoming the temperatures were below freezing and the weather was getting worse quickly. I changed my plans from taking highway 85 south and instead I drove to Gillette, WY. staying on I-90. I was hoping for better driving conditions + I needed a place to stay for the night. If I would have gone South on 85 my options for an overnight stay would have been almost non-existent while Gillette had plenty of options for me. Now, mind you , I did sleep in the car on the way up and on the way down, but when I do so I’d like to park in a safe area. When I drove to Arkansas a few weeks ago I slept in my car at truck stops – parked right next to the big semis. This time I actually parked my car at hotel parking lots, but there was not much of either thing along Highway 85, but plenty of hotels in Gillette.
I fell asleep quickly and by the time I woke up in the morning a couple of inches of snow were on the ground. I was nice and comfy in my sleeping bag inside the well-heated Ford Edge that I had this time. I had kept the engine running all night to a) keep the ice and snow off the car because I did not have an ice-scraper and b) I did not want to freeze either. At 5.00 AM I was wide awake. I cleaned up the car, washed myself and brushed my teeth and then grabbed some breakfast from a nearby McDonalds before heading South on highway 59 and later I-25. Road conditions were bad almost all the way to Cheyenne, but from there roads were finally in good shape again.
Anyway, I love road trips and a little adventure is what makes them so special. This trip was right up my alley and I really enjoyed it. Below are more pictures from my trip.