August 5–7: The Schlep to Fargo Continues

The Great American Deli Schlep
4 min readAug 19, 2021


By: Steve Goode

Edited By: Judi Goode

Outside BernBaum’s Deli in Fargo, ND

August 5th – The Ride to Fargo via Minot, ND

When I entered Montana, I also entered the BIG SKY country. It’s called Big Sky country because there aren’t any large trees or big buildings to block your view and you feel like the sky goes on and on forever! To give you a bit of perspective, Montana has approximately 2.87 people per a half mile. I was going to be traveling 422 miles on back roads, mostly in Montana and it was going to be a lonely journey.

Driving through this sparsely populated state the landscape recalls images I have seen of the moon. Try and picture a two-lane road on the moon, without any trees, rolling hills for miles and miles, and no traffic to navigate. The only signs of life are the black cows that dot the horizon. The cattle own this area of the country! After 30–45 minutes of riding and not seeing a house, barn, or building in sight you begin to question how many miles you can travel on your tank of gas.

I would have provided wonderful pictures of the area; however, the two-lane roads don’t have any pull-offs or even pavement to park a bike. There is no safe way to stop along this road for photos especially with everyone doing 70MPH+. I passed two 10-point bucks lying dead on the side of the road that got my attention. They were obviously killed in an accident with a car or truck.

This ride brought up one of my personal dilemmas that I have struggled with on many of my long-distance rides: I love the solitude and quiet of the country and this is truly the most peaceful riding you can imagine. However, after a few hours of seeing virtually nothing at all, almost like sensory deprivation, I begin to look forward to seeing anything that looks like civilization i.e., a mailbox, a house, or a barn. Once in the city I can’t wait to get back out to the country and the quiet. The Yin and Yang of motorcycling.

After a couple of hours on the bike and realizing that my gas tank is not unlimited, I began to focus on every hint that I could find that a gas station may be on the horizon. With 50 miles left in the tank I pulled into Jordan, MT, to the only gas station within 100 miles. Crisis averted, I filled up and headed east toward Fargo.

As soon as I crossed the North Dakota state line, I felt like I was back in civilization. Homes started to appear, traffic picked up and every few miles I saw a mail box, which means there is a home back in the hills… somewhere.

August 6th – Riding into Fargo, ND

235 miles of uneventful riding this morning. However, I did hit a sparrow that made a bad decision. I was hoping he would fly to my left, but he chose my right and I caught him in the grill of my bike. I had to pull over to make sure he wasn’t attached to the bike, which he was. He was inside the cowling in front, up against the radiator. After pulling the poor guy out, I continued onto Fargo. I felt bad but there are literally thousands of birds swarming the cars/bikes on these roads and it was just a matter of time that I would hit one of them. The scene in the movie “Wild Hogs” is accurate – if you ride enough, you will hit a bird or the bird will hit you.

August 7th – Lunch at BernBaum’s Deli in Fargo, ND

Outside BernBaum’s Deli with Brett Bernath

No one would think that there would be a Jewish deli in North Dakota, but here I was about to enter BernBaum’s, located in the heart of Fargo. Brett Bernath came out to greet me and take the obligatory photos. The deli was packed with patrons, both inside and out. He and his wife grew up in the Fargo/North Dakota area and after traveling the world they decided to make their home in Fargo. He told me his wife, Andrea, is the chef and driving force behind the deli. She is from a Scandinavian heritage and has blended a lot of the Scandinavian recipes into the Jewish deli cuisine. Brett and his wife started their deli in a corner of his used furniture store, and within 6 months, they needed to move to a new location after the restaurant virtually took over the entire store. The rest was history, as they say.

As I have said before, each deli that I have been to on this trip has its own personality depending on which part of the country the deli is located in, the history and backgrounds of the owners, and the people who patronize the restaurant.

We discussed the dwindling Jewish population of Fargo and the fact that when he was growing up there were two synagogues, one Orthodox and one Conservative. The Orthodox shul closed down and the remaining Conservative shul has a small congregation. BernBaum’s is doing a wonderful job, though, of keeping Fargo and the surrounding towns connected by providing award winning Jewish cuisine and a place of gathering for the Jewish community.