Painted Canyon in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park
“Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess, it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so.”
Expect the unexpected
After riding into this rocky, hillier terrain a return to climbing was expected and it was indeed a climb out from Medora back to I94. The day had dawned clear and calm but by the time I left Medora (I’d wandered around the town a bit before leaving), it was overcast and the wind had picked up. It had shifted directions as well and was now a headwind. After the hills outside of Medora was the Painted Canyon info center and overlook. I pulled over and got a tiny taste of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The canyon was miles of wrinkled landscape with rust coloring amidst the browns and greens. Really looks worth a full on visit.
Painted Canyon looking northeast
Setting off from the info center the route pretty quickly left I94 and was back on Old Hwy 10. This was now quite rolling, almost always going up or down though pretty stretched out. The final 15 miles into Dickinson were pretty tortuous – the headwind had all picked up as had the hills. They were still rolling but now climbing steadily upwards. There was more traffic too as I got into town. This is the end of this section of the route maps and also during this ride I rolled over the second thousand miles of the tour. I’d intended to take a rest day here even stay at a hotel but everything was booked. The shale gas bubble that forced the change of route has extended even down to here. So camping it was and I rode toward the nearest ‘ground which was only a couple miles sways. After stopping at a grocery store for supplies a lady suggested I not ride at this point as a storm with 50 mile an hour winds was on its way. I set off to the campground and as I arrived the storm broke. I paid for my site and the rain, wind and lightening was intense. The lady offered to let me stay I one of their small cabins at a discount but I didn’t have enough cash on hand for the deposit. So I hung out in a little kitchen at the laundry room waiting out the storm. While there one of the owners came up and said he’d let me stay in one of the cabins without the deposit if I kept it clean. I accepted and was able to not tent in this storm.
Rain bounces off my hat;
head bowed I press on