New Frontiers: Getaway in North Dakota's Badlands
The appeal of the undiscovered
All of it waits like a secret four-plus hours north of Mount Rushmore. Along Interstate-94, bales of hay stretch to the horizon until you reach Painted Canyon, the first glimpse of the badlands. There, endless buttes lord over Medora like a watchful father. On one end of town, a visitors center salutes the Mr. Bubble millionaire who rescued Medora from obscurity during the 1960s. On the other, the Burning Hills Amphitheatre's "Medora Musical" entertains with a folksy mix of country tunes, square dancing, Teddy Roosevelt history and Scripture.
The parts that most appeal to me feel a bit more undiscovered. Western Edge Books, Artwork and Music, one of the few businesses in Medora not run by the Theodore Roosevelt Foundation, could entertain me for hours. I don't think I've read about anything Western since high school. But minutes quickly slip by as my feet shuffle across the hardwood floor, pulled between hundreds of titles exploring Native American history, cowboy culture and, eventually, women who blazed trails long before they clinched the right to vote.
Pictured: Painted rock landscapes stretch in every direction.