Sunday, September 19th - Day 78 - Wind in My Bones

Bismarck Travel Blog

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The ride from Wisconsin Rapids to Minneapolis was a chilly one. And it's only going to get chillier. That's definitely a contributing factor to me being under the weather. Boy oh boy do I miss the days of riding from city to city on the interstate in only my t-shirt and cargo shorts. It's now at the point that in the evening riding a far distance to go out anywhere is nearly not an option. Nearly, haha! I'm sure I can bare it a little bit longer. 

The Twin Cities were quite surprising. Apparently the population of both cities combined is only a few hundred thousand. But the surrounding counties contain some 3 million people or something like that. The buildings although much fewer in number were still very nice, some illuminated in different ways later in the evening.

I arrived in my couchhost's neighborhood and after being guided to a parking spot beside their Kawasaki, was lead inside to find a newly purchased collection of vinyl and two turntables. Very cool... The plan was to hit a place called Lee's Liquor Lounge for the CD release of a local Rock-a-billy group called Reckless Ones preceeded by their fave indie band, Phantom Tails. Also in the mix were the Fuck Knights. We had time to kill which allowed us to venture through the Gardner Outdoor Sculpture Park. Some really good stuff was there. Same with some really stuff. Same with some really crappy stuff. One thing was a bronze statue of a man chocking his chicken... Don't ask questions. A large spoon hovered above a pond with a cherry on it. A section of turf was surrounded by benches, each with their own thought-provoking statement on it. Frank Gehry had a massive coy fish made out of glass panes. I had no idea he was Canadian. Maybe he's not. But the bio said he was inspired by a time he lived in Toronto.

As we crossed the ped-way back over the freeway, the dusk sky was perfect for shots of the basillica, the church, and the city sky line. It was gorgeous right then and there.

I'd read about 112 Eatery downtown in GQ many moons ago in an article on late night dining and where it's best. This was one of those places, open til 1am and serving til close. Of course, we were early, and me slummed up in cargo pants and a hoody really fit the part. Pretentious people filled every chair and bar stool save two. My host and I sat down there. The bartender came up, "Are you the guy that just called about two spots?" Well after being told by the host that there was no room for us for quite some time, obviously my answer was "Yeah, that's us". The food was a la carte, and turned out to be everything I'd hoped for. Still unnamed, I had the bartender make my signature drink... 1/2 oz Galliano, 1/2 oz Cointreau, topped off with half orange, half sprite over ice. BAM, what a drink! The appie was solid, so were the sandwiches, and the dessert, fabu. What a place. Turned out our bartender Jim was a part of a local rider's group, the Moto-Mutz, website by the same name. If you're reading this now Jim, thanks for the great service.

Lee's Liquor Lounge was a divey kind of place where I would fit in perfectly. Well, almost perfectly, had I been wearing 50's era clothing. A couple dozen peoeple filled the place wearing sock-hop-ready attire. It was pretty cool to see. Not sure how many use brill cream in their hair all the time and how many were just dressed up for the Reckless Ones that share the same look, but it was welcome to see eitherway.

Phantom Tails were awesome. Rock, alternative, electronic, no drums, just a drum-machine being manipulated by a dude while another rocked two synthesizers, and the lead singer was on lead guitar all back up by bass. Very sweet. At 10 bucks, the CD was a steal.

Fuck Knights were on next. Pretty decent, sort of a wannabe The Clash sound... but entertaining. Didn't buy the CD.

Reckless Ones put on a pretty good show. Some idiots started romping around and smashing into the sockhop girls who were just doing their swing dancing. Gladly, the lead singer got people to come down, "There's ladies dancing, fellahs", No kidding... And I got a free CD of them just for paying cover. Everybody was getting a ticket stub redeemable at the merchandize table. Sweetness!

Turned out my host was friends with Phantom Tails so after the show we headed over there for a bit. It wasn't a pounding afterparty or anything, just a few friends hanging out and it was nice and chill. At about 3 my host and I headed home where I was shown a brief example of dj'ing with the turntables until the neighbors came and knocked on the door, lol

The next morning I was awoken by the sun laser-beaming me in the eye through the blinds at 9:30. Oi, that's not enough sleep. Oh well, might as well make the best of the day, and my host took me to a braekfast diner. They called it The Greasy Spoon but I think it was called Red Box Diner or something, haha, or maybe greasy spoon is slang for greasy diner? I dunno, but it was pretty damn good!

After discussing Griff the Invisible and the involvment of a cast member from True Blood, I had no choice but to watch episode one on DVD! Well I had some time to spare, and was curious to have a taste of some TV that I may actually tolerate. And truthfully, it wasn't bad. Interesting premise for a show about vampires, that's for sure. I don't think I'll follow it. No time really, but still, cool.

I said my goodbyes and started off for Fargo, nearly plowing into the ground on the on-ramp, lol! I'd taken it too slow and was leaning in on 2nd waaaay too hard. Gave it some throttle and corrected and saved myself from some embarrassing scene. The rolling prairies and low hills westward were charicatures of those in a children's book. Round, flowing, boldly coloured, and pleasant to look at, and although it was a chilly ride yet again, it was a nice enough one. Leading the Audi A4 was fun too. I didn't see a single highway patrolman.. everyone was doing at least 85, clearly, speeding is tolerated in these parts where it's so far to the next city. Fine by me.

Got to my couchhost's place in Fargo and had yet another home-cooked meal! It was vegan, but what mattered was that it tasted alright, haha! I introduced them to the Phantom Tails from the night before and to The Do, and my host, her boyfriend, and I conversed for a while before going out downtown. It was decided that we should just crash at his place so I moved all my gear there. Slumming again (I'm getting really comfortable in these broken-in clothes, lol) we headed out. Fargo downtown IS pretty small, but due to the 2 universities, it's... Well, I was impressed by the numbers of people out. Every venue was packed. The first stop was JL Beers with so many beers on tap.. and some pretty decent burgers too. 

Then it was off to Dempsey's Irish Pub. Coincidentally, it was a dude's birthday from the irish band playing. I helped myself to a piece of cake. Super sugarry! Then I had 3 more pieces. My host's boyfriend had a massive spoonful of icing that other people had been scraping off onto the tray, lol

We needed a place to sit so I introduced us to 3 people sitting in a massive booth and we were in! It was so funny, "Hey Andrea, Yvette, and Jason, I'm Michael, and this is Tiara, and Brad".."Andrew" he says with out skipping a beat, lol "Oh my god man! You said Andrew!? I thought it was Brad! Maybe cause I was thinking 'beard'" as he had one "it's okay man, happens all the time" Well when Andrew # 2 joined us, I wasn't going to forget his name. Soon another of my host's friends joined and we were sorta taking over the booth.... slowly but surely!

The band was phenomanal. Just what the doctor ordered. The fiddler was great. As good as the guy from Green Mill... well... different style of music. Who knows how he could bust it out. But what he did play was really good.

Then we headed over to some massive nightclub. i couldn't believe the place. Just packed... But I refrained from dancing and opted for conversation with my hosts and their friends, and at one point the Bison mascot was making his rounds of the bar. I lean in and pat the mascot on the chest for a pic. There was a BOOB!!! OOPS! lol... Fortunately it wasn't a really hard pat. Explains why the mascot on the TV was like 6 and a half feet tall and was now just over 5 and a half, even with the massive foam head. I guess I shouldn't have assumed it was a guy.

From there we went over to a big sports bar downtown. This place was also packed with people being sociable. Was introduced to a new drink.. "Rootbeer" Nope, no rootbeer. I was amazed! An oz of vodka, and oz of Galliano, and then coca-cola... and it tastes like rootbeer! No booze taste! Dangerous! I took it easy though. It's the home stretch.. I have a cold, no need to get crazy. Well... Maybe in Lethbridge or Calgary... We'll see haha!

After that it was back to my host's boyfriends to wind the night down while listening to some acoustic played by them both.

Another long, cold, ride today. In Bismarck now. It's 9:30 pm, at Starbucks using wifi before going back to my motel. I saw The Town earlier... very well done film... Ben Affleck deserves some recognition. This is not just another Gigli, lol. Nor Mallrats, lol.. Well Mallrats was pretty cool actually. I reneg.

Just to make sure I'm not missing out on anything (Just feel like chillaxing, getting a good night's sleep and shaking this cold actually), googled events for tonight in Bismarck. Nothing is jumping out at me. I'm sure it's a nice town, but this is probably for the best. Hmm, let's check the balance in my chequing account online actually... alright, I'm doing okay, but no need to spend money for the sake of it at this point.

Well, time to upload this and hit the hay. The girls here at Starbucks are giving me evil eyes because it's 15 minutes past closing.. Sheesh!! Some people! Kidding hehe

Take care, Ride Safe

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photo by: X_Drive