Nightmare in North Dakota

Reviewing my journal for the trip, I can see that I had been fortunate in my meetings with "critters" over the road for many weeks. I had struggled with fire and wind and water. But, "critters" had been at worst minor but recurring nuisances. And up to this time, I had not thought to purchase any repellent or protective gear.

Things were due to change as cloudy and wet days persisted for some weeks. The heat continued and the humidity mounted.

Leaving Jamestown, North Dakota, I turned south off Interstate Highway 94. The drone of trucks and the increasing traffic seemed to tell me to change my route. I also thought I should move in the direction of South Dakota. If I could lure my younger brother in Mitchell to drive north for a visit, he would have a shorter trip for a rendezvous.

(Excerpted from my journal)

July 27, 02 - Saturday - Day 47

Decided that I should get to Edgeley and take some time off rather than try to manage Highway 46.

Made the intersection at dusk and the mosquitoes began to swarm. It was awful.

(It was really AWFUL. I felt at moments that these hordes would surround me, lift me up and deposit my body in another world.)

I stopped a pickup for help. They suggested I go to a nearby farmhouse I had bypassed (to avoid tight traffic at the turn near the intersection.)

No one was home. I wandered around swatting mosquitoes waiting for the moon to rise or the owners to appear. The mosquitoes were still BADD, but not swarming.

I finally spread out my bedroll and sleeping bag. Laid down for just a few minutes. The mosquitoes were yelling in my ears and it was stifling rolled up inside the bag. I did rest my feet for a bit.

Packed up and left @ 1230 am with the moon rising. Hiked with mosquitoes in full attendance until around 315.

Repeated my rest efforts but noted the moon being darkened by clouds from the west (looked like rain was approaching) so I repacked and resumed the march.

Made the rest stop by 430. I was the only soul using the place with mosquitoes and other insects.

Within minutes it began to rain. I parked on a bench under a small pavilion as the rain came down. The trees were swayed by the winds and the mosquitoes disappeared for the time.

I rubbed sore feet. I had walked 32 miles in the previous 24 hours.

July 28, 02 - Sunday - Day 48

Rain stopped around 600 am. But clouds only brok ein north. Rain resumed over Edgeley and at rest stop.

Around 1100 blue began to slowly move in from the west while the rain diminished.

Left rest stop at 100 when clouds finally cleared. Marched 8 miles to Edgeley in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Had a burger and ice cream at Tastee Freez.

Ran into Mike Cuypers who was heading for Rapid City area in his 18 wheeler. We ran up to Jamestown in his Corvette and back to with his rig. (The trip which took me more than a day to cover was passed over in the period of a short conversation.) Took a nap and shower at his house. Watched Law and Order.

Then we drove to a truck stop in Plankinton through the rain and lightning. Arrived at 1230 am. Mike and I had a snack.

He headed west while I wrote postcards and waited until morning when I called my brother who picked me up at 800 and drove me to the Corn Palace City for a vacation.

** Interestingly, I later accidentally erased the digital photos that I had taken between Richardton and Jamestown, North Dakota. Significance?

Fifth Fortnight on the Road

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