Northern Tier 2010

July 31, 2010

Devils Lake

Filed under: North Dakota, Section 04 — Henry Scott @ 8:00 pm

As planned, the new tire was waiting for us at the tourist bureau in Rugby early this morning, and we were up and running in no time. Unfortunately, the winds shifted again, so we did indeed miss the tailwind we would have had yesterday to the next town on our route, Esmomd.

Instead, we had a hot and humid headwind on a foggy morning, but we made it tp Esmond without any trouble. We took a brief break before continuing on for a longer stop in Minnewaukan on Devils Lake, were we met Tom, an entertaining and incredibly friendly westbound cyclist from Ohio. He has been altering the Northern Tier route to hit organic food co-ops, and he carries large quantities of produce to keep himself going on high-quality fresh vegetables before he resupplies. We swapped stories about where to camp while eating and learning about Devils Lake from the locals.

Notably, the lake level is rising rapidly, threatening roads and towns. Minnewaukan is in danger in the immediate future, and FEMA is already buying up particularly vulnerable homes. From what I understand, the key issue is that Devils Lake doesn’t have any outlets. I don’t yet understand what has changed to cause the rising lake levels.

Despite readily available camping in Minnewaukan, we decided to continue to where our map said we could camp a little northeast of Fort Totten, but we were crushed to find that tent camping has been discontinued as of this July 1st. The “campground” is actually a casino / resort on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. I suspect tent-camping cyclists don’t spend enough in the casino to justify maintaining outdoor restroom facilities. Although we were both physically and mentally ready to stop for the day (the humidity had taken a toll), we pushed on.

As a pleasant surprise, some locals pointed us to an RV park near Tokio not listed on our map. Getting there, however, was a convoluted process because the main road continuing along our route has been closed due to the rising waters, and the road surface is currently being raised. I ended up riding the entire closed section (it has already been raised, just not paved), and it was fascinating to see the obvious signs of ongoing flooding such as tree stands surrounded by water.

We arrived at the South End R&R RV Park near sunset exhausted and parched, but we were greeted with tremendous hospitality: no charge for pitching a tent, free cold beer and funny stories. Definitely a nice end to a long day!


1 Comment »

  1. Just saw where you were on the Northern Tier map. Looks as though
    Devil’s Lake is half way through Section 4. –Very interesting
    about the rising lake problem. Glad you found such a nice RV park.

    Comment by Celinda Scott — August 2, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

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