Thursday, August 18, 2011

Along North Dakota's Enchanted Highways

During our first morning in Medora, we received an email from Mark and Renita Brackin, 07 mates who we last saw in Texas two years ago. They were in the nearby national park campground and wanted to get together. Once again, seeing friends along the way is one the the greatest things about this lifestyle. We have been amazed at how green North Dakota is at this time of the year. The picture below will help explain why. From the last post you can see that here in North Dakota they are really serious about there BIG highway art. We continue to see some great examples of this as we travel.

This year has been one of the wettest in North Dakota in many, many years. They had a huge snow run off in the spring and a lot of rain this summer. There were three places along I-94 that were down to one lane because of water. Here the right lane and the road into the rest area are still flooded. From all the equipment we saw it looks like they are going to raise the road above the "new" flood level.
This is typical of what you see along the road. Great fields of wheat, miles of prairie and a big sky. It is not usually this green but the ranchers are all happy because they have been able to cut so much hay for winter feed.

There are also many fields of sunflowers. Sometimes they all seem to be ignoring you as they are turning their heads into the sun. It is neat to see them follow the sun across the sky.

We were driving to the campground to see Mark and Renita when we saw the white truck with their signature red canoe. We stopped at a pullout and talked for a while. They invited us to dinner, which was great, and to get caught up on our adventures. We do follow each other's travels closely via our blogs. Make sure you check out Mark's blog, he is a great storyteller. Mark and Renita often write about their rock collecting and I kid him about weighing down the rig with stones like Lucille Ball in the movie, A Long Long Trailer. That said, they shared the results of their collecting and jewelery making with us and we were very impressed. Duh, I did not get any pictures but here is a link were you can see and buy their work. After not seeing them for a couple of years, we will see them in a couple of weeks in Gillette and again this winter in Q. They are also planning to do Alaska next summer so we are looking forward to crossing paths more often.

More North Dakota "LARGEST" sculptures. Since 2001 "Geese in Flight" has been the world record holder for the largest scrap metal sculpture as recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records. There are seven sculptures, with four more in the planning stage along the Enchanted Highway between I-94 and Regent, ND. They are the work of Gary Greff, a teacher and principal, who was looking for a way to bring people to the town of Regent. He put up his first work in 1991. You can see Nanc standing in front of the sculpture to get an idea of how big it is. The largest goose is 19 feet long with a 30 foot wing span.

The Deer Family was added in 2002 and Grasshoppers in the Field in 1999. You really have to see them to understand the size. The deer is 75 feet tall and the grasshopper is 50 feet long.

Fisherman's Dream includes a small mouth bass, walleye (almost as big as mine), catfish, northern, salmon, bluegill and a 70 foot rainbow trout coming out of the water. Pheasants of the Prairie has a 40 foot high rooster, a 35 foot tall hen and three chicks.

Teddy Rides Again is a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt's role in the history of North Dakota. It is made of 9000 pounds of used oil well pipe.

The Family was the first work Gary put up in 1991. Pa is 45 feet tall. We were lucky to meet Gary at the Enchanted Highway Gift Shop and Ice Cream Parlor where we stopped for a cone. He told us the whole project is about bringing visitors to the area and is funded by donations. The final four are a web with a spider and fly, a 102 foot Harley-Davidson, an American Indian and a huge Enchanted Highway sign on the interstate. He did say he has a couple more sites available for anyone who has a theme in mind and a $100,000 to donate. If you are crossing North Dakota a trip down the Enchanted Highway is well worth the time to see all the works of art made of scrap material. It certainly makes you appreciate how BIG everything in the west really is. While we did the drive in the CRV each stop has a parking lot that can accommodate any size vehicle.

1 comment:

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Nice images and a good post Wish we could have seen more while we were there, but it was great hooking up! Clear skies