I was slow to get around, sitting with Ken and Jan talking until nearly 11. I saw a donut shop in town and Ken said he would go with me for breakfast. It has been nice knowing that I would be able to stay with someone I knew every week or so. Camping out can be somewhat stressful, being in a strange place with nothing but a piece of nylon between me and the rest of the world. It is comforting when I am with other people and not having to guess at every car that shines their lights on me or every footstep that goes by.
Just outside of Chadron I ran into a small stretch of roadwork. Right where the flagger stopped me, there was a small storage building sitting in the middle of a field with a sign with the words, “Local honey sold here”. It was filled with local made crafts and of course honey! It was $12 a jar, but I couldn’t resist. The coolest part of the store was that it only had a money box and no attendant. If I had not of stopped for the construction I probably would not have noticed it.
Not far after the store I started seeing more landmarks. Large rock structures stuck out of the ground like something out of an old western movie. After seeing corn for weeks and then sand hills for so long it was motivating to see a change in the landscape.
For lunch, I stopped in the town of Crawford. I found a small park to rest, eat, and write some. The park had an old caboose on show. The attendant remarked that it was just like those tiny houses people are living in. It had about twice the living space as my boat and I immediately thought about all that I could do with the space. The attendant was full of advice for the days ahead.
That morning, Ken and I were looking at the map and the elevation change. He used Google Earth to look at the roads and found a steep grade sign. He told me that those signs indicate a steepness of between 6 and 10 percent. I found the hill! It was the first real hill I have climbed in a long time. It was 3 to 4 miles long and took me to the top of a rise. I wish I had a better photo. Not sure if the view was as inspiring as I felt or if it had to do with me conquering it. From the top, it was easy riding to Harrison.
With only five miles to go I could see it raining in the distance, right over Harrison. Wolfgang told me about an A-frame restaurant just as you get into Harrison. He said they had Mexican, Thai, and American food. It was hard to believe that a town of just a couple hundred would have Thai food, but I was excited. If the the restaurant was any further into town, I would have been drenched. So, for dinner I had pad thai and a salsa!
The rain never stopped and it was getting cold. There was a motel right next to the restaurant that I thought about staying in. The only other option I saw on the map was the high school. It faced the road and had no protection from the wind. I rode around town looking for other options when I saw the sign for a park and RV. The park was small, having only one parking spot and hookup, but perfect for me. I set up camp for the night. The wind blasted me all night. I only brought six stakes for the tent and needed another four for the tarp. I made a mental note to grab some tent stakes at the next big town.