Kentucky to Montana: Random Shots from the Road

An Old Truck by a pond in North Dakota
An Old Truck by a pond in North Dakota

I have been on the road to Montana (chiefly along US Route 2) for the past three days now.  I will be writing detailed bogs about the trip, but wanted to post a few random shots from the drive.  The weather has been awesome the entire trip (May 20-22, 2014).  Following are just a few shots from the trip…..

Ran across this old piece of Americana in El Paso, IL
Ran across this old piece of Americana in El Paso, IL
On I 39 North near Bloomington, IL.  Looks like we will drive right into the wind turbines
On I 39 North near Bloomington, IL. Looks like we will drive right into the wind turbines
Beloit, WI Smiley Water Tower
Beloit, WI Smiley Water Tower
The famous pink elephant of DeForest, WI
The famous pink elephant of DeForest, WI
This was actually funny... a giant cow in front of Burger King and the sign is advertising chicken.  Shades of Chick-Fil-A
This was actually funny… a giant cow in front of Burger King and the sign is advertising chicken. Shades of Chick-Fil-A
Grampa's Swamp Side Cafe...sounds yummy.  Seen in Endeavor, WI
Grampa’s Swamp Side Cafe…sounds yummy. Seen in Endeavor, WI
Amazing Clouds seen from the highway in northern Wisconsin
Amazing Clouds seen from the highway in northern Wisconsin
A sign from the past...Ironwood Motel in Ironwood, MI
A sign from the past…Ironwood Motel in Ironwood, MI
Wood Carving of Iron Workers in front of Ironwood Station in Ironwood, MI
Wood Carving of Iron Workers in front of Ironwood Station in Ironwood, MI
A portion of a mural honoring 100s of iron workers in downtown Ironwood, MI
A portion of a mural honoring 100s of iron workers in downtown Ironwood, MI
The start of US Route 2 heading west out of Ironwood, MI
The start of US Route 2 heading west out of Ironwood, MI
Another vintage roadside motel sign on the outskirts of Ironwood on US Route 2
Another vintage roadside motel sign on the outskirts of Ironwood on US Route 2
A couple of old cars near Hurley, WI as seen from Route 2
A couple of old cars near Hurley, WI as seen from Route 2
Antiques or old junk? Hurley, WI
Antiques or old junk? Hurley, WI
US Route 2 rolling hills in eastern Wisconsin
US Route 2 rolling hills in eastern Wisconsin
Miles of birch forest line Route 2 in eastern Wisconsin
Miles of birch forest line Route 2 in eastern Wisconsin
Part of the front display of a "collectibles" shop west of Odanah, WI on US Route 2
Part of the front display of a “collectibles” shop west of Odanah, WI on US Route 2
Two gulls look at the view of Lake Superior in Ashland, WI
Two gulls look at the view of Lake Superior in Ashland, WI
One of a number of colorful murals in Ashland, WI
One of a number of colorful murals in Ashland, WI
A large mural depicting actual veterans from Ashland, WI
A large mural depicting actual veterans from Ashland, WI
Gulls relax on the beach of Lake Superior near Ashland, WI
Gulls relax on the beach of Lake Superior near Ashland, WI
An old Standard gas sign at Pagac's Bar west of Ashland, WI on US Route 2
An old Standard gas sign at Pagac’s Bar west of Ashland, WI on US Route 2
Sign on an old antique store in Blueberry, WI
Sign on an old antique store in Blueberry, WI
US Route 2 sign in Blueberry, WI
US Route 2 sign in Blueberry, WI
Giant wood carved grizzly head at Grizz Works in Maple, WI
Giant wood carved grizzly head at Grizz Works in Maple, WI
A Catfish monument in Floodwood, MN where they claim to be the Catfish Capital of the World
A Catfish monument in Floodwood, MN where they claim to be the Catfish Capital of the World
A great northern carving on US Route 2 in Deer River, MN
A great northern carving on US Route 2 in Deer River, MN
Old Neon sign for Bahr's Motel outlived the motel, which is no longer in Deer River, MN
Old Neon sign for Bahr’s Motel outlived the motel, which is no longer in Deer River, MN
Big Fish at Big Fish Restaurant
Big Fish at Big Fish Supper Club in Bena, MN
The famed Paul Bunyan and Babe statues made in 1937 in Bemidji, MN
The famed Paul Bunyan and Babe statues made in 1937 in Bemidji, MN
Crookston, MN Wall Mural
Crookston, MN Wall Mural
The Smiley Water Tower of Grand Forks, ND
The Smiley Water Tower of Grand Forks, ND
US Route 2 sign west of Grand Forks, ND
US Route 2 sign west of Grand Forks, ND
Crossing the tracks in Petersburg, ND
Crossing the tracks in Petersburg, ND
An old barn on ND Hwy 1 heading north
An old barn on ND Hwy 1 heading north
A colorful duck in the rush as seen along ND Hwy 1
A colorful duck in the rush as seen along ND Hwy 1
A colorful bird rests near a pond on ND Hwy 1
A colorful bird rests near a pond on ND Hwy 1
Hundreds of ponds line the roads in ND, like this one on ND Hwy 1
Hundreds of ponds line the roads in ND, like this one on ND Hwy 1
A duck enjoys a swim
A duck enjoys a swim
The famed North Dakota pyramid, a vestige of the cold war, as seen from ND Hwy 1 south of Nekoma, ND
The famed North Dakota pyramid, a vestige of the cold war, as seen from ND Hwy 1 south of Nekoma, ND
A silo and wind turbine coexist near Nekoma, ND
A silo and wind turbine coexist near Nekoma, ND
Th North Dakota Pyramid in the distance north of Nekoma, ND
Th North Dakota Pyramid in the distance north of Nekoma, ND
A nice rural scene on ND Hwy 5 west of Langdon, ND
A nice rural scene on ND Hwy 5 west of Langdon, ND
Trees along ND Hwy 20 south of Langdon, ND
Trees along ND Hwy 20 south of Langdon, ND
Randy's Revival Church in Cando, ND
Randy’s Revival Church in Cando, ND
Now this is a police crew that Can Do the job in Cando, ND
Now this is a police crew that Can Do the job in Cando, ND
Grain elevator rural scene along ND Hwy 17 west of Cando, ND
Grain elevator rural scene along ND Hwy 17 west of Cando, ND
Driving south of ND Hwy 3 heading towards Rugby, ND
Driving south of ND Hwy 3 heading towards Rugby, ND
The Rugby Geographical Center of North America monument juxtaposed with the HUB Motel sign in Rugby, ND
The Rugby Geographical Center of North America monument juxtaposed with the HUB Motel sign in Rugby, ND
US Route 2 west of Minot, ND
US Route 2 west of Minot, ND
Boomtown distress ran rampant in Williston, ND
Boomtown distress runs rampant in Williston, ND
Grain elevators and a barn with a collapsed roof in Bainville, MT on US Route 2
Grain elevators and a barn with a collapsed roof in Bainville, MT on US Route 2
A lovely view of the Big Sky in Montana as seen from US Route 2 west of Bainville, MT
A lovely view of the Big Sky in Montana as seen from US Route 2 west of Bainville, MT
Shaded hills on US Route 2 as the sun lowered in the sky east of Wolf Point, MT
Shaded hills on US Route 2 as the sun lowered in the sky east of Wolf Point, MT
An old church on the horizon east of Wolf Point, Montana
An old church on the horizon east of Wolf Point, Montana
A Lonely Tree basks in the sunset east of Wolf Point, MT on US Route 2
A Lonely Tree basks in the sunset east of Wolf Point, MT on US Route 2
Trees silhouetted in sunset east of Glasgow, MT
Trees silhouetted in sunset east of Glasgow, MT
Sunset east of Glasgow, MT on US Route 2
Sunset east of Glasgow, MT on US Route 2
The roof of a barn is silhouetted in the sunset east of Glasgow, MT on US Route 2
The roof of a barn is silhouetted in the sunset east of Glasgow, MT on US Route 2

Watch for detailed writeups in the next few days!

 

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Traveling the Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway in Western North Dakota

If you are at all interested in the whimsical, unique and humongous roadside attractions of this great country, then a drive down the amazing Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is a MUST!!

On April 2, 2013, I finally had the opportunity to drive one of the “Bucket List” trips for me in all of my travels across the country.  The 32 mile drive features a number of pieces of the amazing artwork of retired Regent, ND school teacher Gary Greff who has taken on this effort in order to keep the small dying town from becoming a ghost town.  I hope to have a pretty comprehensive overview of the entire route, including the map below and detailed directions, mileage, photos and even some details about each stop along the way.


The Enchanted Highway – from I-94 near Dickinson to Regent, ND

GEESE IN FLIGHT – STOP #1

To get started you must get to Exit 72 on I-94 east of Dickinson, ND.  You most certainly cannot miss the first stop, which is called “Geese in Flight” and has been listed as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world by the Guinness World Book of Records.

"Geese in Flight" - Stop #1 on Enchanted Highway. Off of I-94, Exit 72
“Geese in Flight” – Stop #1 on Enchanted Highway. Off of I-94, Exit 72
Sumoflam at Geese in Flight
Sumoflam at Geese in Flight

“Geese in Flight”, in my opinion, not only has the geese, but the giant backdrop appears to look like a giant eye looking out towards the Enchanted Highway. For my trip south on the Enchanted Highway, this is Mile Point 0 (zero).

The road to geese in flight, lined with dozens of metal geese
The road to Geese in Flight, lined with dozens of metal geese all the way to the top of the hill
One of the dozen of small geese lining the road to Geese in Flight
One of the dozens of small geese lining the road to Geese in Flight

This piece was erected in 2001 and weighs over 78 tons.  The main structure is 154 feet wide and 110 feet tall.  The largest goose has a wingspan of 30 feet.  On a clear day this structure can be seen from nearly 5 miles away (it was a clear day for us – thank goodness!!).  Gary Greff used oil tanks and oil well pipe for the materials to construct this humongous piece of art.

Giant Goose on the Structure - 30 foot wing span
Giant Goose on the Structure – 30 foot wing span
Close up of Geese in Flight
Close up of Geese in Flight
Geese in Flight from Google Maps satellite shot
Geese in Flight from Google Maps satellite shot
View of "Deer Crossing" from "Geese in Flight", about 3 miles away
View of “Deer Crossing” from “Geese in Flight”, about 3 miles away

DEER CROSSING – STOP #2

The drive from Stop 1 “Geese in Flight” to Stop 2 “Deer Crossing” is about 3.4 miles.  As shown above, you can see Deer Crossing and the Enchanted Highway from the top of the “Geese in Flight” hill.

Enchanted Highway Stop #2 - 'Deer Crossing"
“Deer Crossing” – Stop #2 on the Enchanted Highway
Sumoflam at Deer Crossing
Sumoflam at Deer Crossing

“Deer Crossing” is one of the newer works by Mr. Greff.  It was erected in 2002 just a bit south of the small town of Gladstone. The jumping buck is 75 feet tall and 60 feet long.  The doe is 50 feet long and 50 feet tall.  Mr. Greff used oil well tanks for the material to construct this.

Geese in Flight as seen from Deer Crossing
Geese in Flight as seen from Deer Crossing – over 3 miles away
Deer Crossing as seen from Google Map Satellite
Deer Crossing as seen from Google Map Satellite

GRASSHOPPERS IN THE FIELD – STOP #3

The next stop on the trek south to Regent is “Grasshoppers in the Field”.  It is about 12 miles down the road from “Deer Crossing”.  You must pass the small — nearly ghost town — of Lefor, ND before the giant grasshoppers appear on the right side of the road.

First sight of "Grasshoppers"
First sight of “Grasshoppers in the Field” as seen coming south from Lefor, SD
Giant Grasshopper
Giant Grasshopper

Unlike the first two on the drive, “Grasshoppers in the Field” was a complex set of sculptures.   There is one large grasshopper and a couple of smaller ones.  As well, Mr. Greff had added large strands of wheat to the sculpture (made of metal of course!!).  The design of the grasshoppers was similar to the Balsa Wood animals and insects that can be purchased at hobby shops.

Medium Grasshopper
Medium Grasshopper
Wheat and Grasshopper
Wheat and Grasshopper
Closeup of Giant Grasshopper
Closeup of Giant Grasshopper

All of the grasshoppers have stringed lighting so I am assuming they can be lit up at night as well.  This work was completed in 1999.  The Giant Grasshopper 60 feet long and 40 feet tall.  The Medium Grasshopper is 24 feet long and 12 feet tall.  Some of the wheat pieces are well over 40 feet tall.  Fuel tanks and oil well tanks were the predominant materials used for these pieces.

Sumoflam with Giant Grasshopper
Sumoflam with Giant Grasshopper
Grasshoppers in the Field looking north
Grasshoppers in the Field looking north
Grasshoppers in the Field as seen from Google Maps Satellite view
Grasshoppers in the Field as seen from Google Maps Satellite view

FISHERMAN’S DREAM – STOP #4

Fisherman's Dream
Fisherman’s Dream

The next stop on the Enchanted Highway is the newest of Mr. Greff’s creations.  Called “Fisherman’s Dream”, this complex and beautiful work is 14.8 miles south of the “Grasshoppers in the Field”.  Greff completed this work in 2007.  It includes 6 large fish of different sizes including a 60 or 70 foot leaping trout going after a giant dragonfly.

60 foot tall trout - centerpiece of "Fisherman's Dream"
60-70 foot tall trout grabbing dinner – centerpiece of “Fisherman’s Dream”
Fisherman's Dream as seen from "underwater"
Fisherman’s Dream as seen from “underwater”

I must say that I was most impressed with this stop more than any of the others.  All of them are impressive, but the use of colors, the variety, the complexity of the fish scales and even the use of the small fisherman in the boat was just fabulous.

Giant Catfish at "Fisherman's Dream"
Giant Catfish at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Giant Blue Gill at "Fisherman's Dream"
Giant Blue Gill at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Another fish
Another fish
Happy Fisherman at "Fisherman's Dream" floating on the lake
Happy Fisherman at “Fisherman’s Dream” floating on the lake
Another view of "Fisherman's Dream"
Another view of “Fisherman’s Dream”
Sumoflam at "Fisherman's Dream"
Sumoflam at “Fisherman’s Dream”
Fisherman's Dream as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Fisherman’s Dream as seen from Google Maps satellite view

PHEASANTS ON THE PRAIRIE – STOP #5

Pheasants in the Field as seen approaching from the north
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen approaching from the north

Continuing south for about 4.5 miles from “Fisherman’s Dream” is the next stop, called “Pheasants on the Prairie”.  This is also a quite impressive work of art with a giant rooster and hen and their three chicks.

Pheasant Chicks as seen from the Road
Pheasant Chicks as seen from the Road

This work was erected between 1996 and 1997.  The pheasant rooster weighs over 13,000 pounds and is 70 feet long and over 40 feet tall.  The hen weighs 12,000 pounds and is 60 feet long and 35 feet tall. Each of the chicks are about 5000 pounds and are about 20 feet long and 15 feet tall.  Greff used pipe and wire mesh to construct these.  Ironically, the mesh construction was conducive for numerous birds to build nests in!!

The Hen at Pheasants on the Prairie - over 12,000 pounds of bird
The Hen at Pheasants on the Prairie – over 12,000 pounds of bird
The Rooster at Pheasants on the Prairie weighs over 13,000 pounds is over 40 feet tall.
The Rooster at Pheasants on the Prairie weighs over 13,000 pounds is over 40 feet tall
Chicks looking down - make you feel like you are bird food
Chicks looking down – make you feel like you are bird food
Sumoflam at Pheasants on the Prairie
Sumoflam at Pheasants on the Prairie
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Pheasants on the Prairie as seen from Google Maps satellite view

TEDDY RIDES AGAIN – STOP #6

Teddy Rides Again as seen approaching from the north
Teddy Rides Again as seen approaching from the north

The next stop is quite different from most of the others.  It is about 2.2 miles south of the “Pheasants on the Prairie” and honors the inventor of the National Park System in the United States. This is more like a giant wire sculpture of Teddy Roosevelt.  Erected in 1993 out of well pipes, it is 51 feet tall and weighs over 9000 pounds.  This little park also includes a small wooden stage coach being pulled by horses.

Closeup of Teddy Roosevelt
Closeup of Teddy Roosevelt
The Wooden Horses at "Teddy Rides Again"
The Wooden Horses at “Teddy Rides Again”
Another view of the Stagecoach
Another view of the Stagecoach
Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again
Sumoflam at Teddy Rides Again
Teddy Rides Again as seen on Google Maps satellite view
Teddy Rides Again as seen on Google Maps satellite view

THE TIN FAMILY – STOP #7

The Tin Family as seen approaching from the north
The Tin Family as seen approaching from the north

The last big stop on the road to Regent is the Tin Family.   It is about 3.4 miles south of “Teddy Rides Again” and can be seen for a distance before you get there.  This one has a Dad, a Mom and a son. The Dad is 45 feet tall, the Mom is 44 feet tall and the boy is 23 feet tall.  Mr. Greff used farm tanks, telephone poles, barbed wire and augers to make these, the first of his sculptures.

Mom and Dad and "Tin Family" Kiosk
Mom and Dad and “Tin Family” Kiosk

As can be seen in the photo above, each of the sites has an informative kiosk that notes the name of the work, notes the names of donors and other information.

Mom Closeup
Mom Closeup
Mom's Flower Bouquet
Mom’s Flower Bouquet
Dad Closeup
Dad Closeup
The boy and sucker closeup
The boy and sucker closeup
The whole Tin Family
The whole Tin Family
Sumoflam with Mom and Dad
Sumoflam with Mom and Dad
Tin Family as seen from Google Maps satellite view
Tin Family as seen from Google Maps satellite view

REGENT, NORTH DAKOTA – STOP #8

Welcome to Regent and Enchanted Highway Road Map
Welcome to Regent and Enchanted Highway

Continuing south from the Tin Family about 1.9 miles you pull into the small town of Regent.  Though we arrived around lunch time on a Tuesday (April 2), the town was pretty much dead.  There was a gas station (and believe me…you better fill up here!!) and a small grocery store.  We inquired about cafes and there were two and both were closed.  Even the Enchanted Highway Visitor Center was closed.  Off season I guess.

Enchanted Highway art in downtown Regent, ND
Enchanted Highway art in downtown Regent, ND – whirlygigs and more
Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent, ND - closed the day were there
Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent, ND – closed the day were there
More Enchanted Highway Scenes in Regent, ND
More Enchanted Highway Scenes in Regent, ND – the bison are all fabricated metal
End of the Road - Enchanted Hotel in Regent, ND
End of the Road – Enchanted Castle Hotel in Regent, ND – even has a Drawbridge!!

After filling up with gas, we meandered our way to the end of Main Street to see the Enchanted Castle Hotel, which was apparently built from an old school.  We didn’t have time to stop there as we continued to head south.

Enchanted Highway Kiosk
Enchanted Highway Kiosk

The Enchanted Highway makes for a great diversionary trip, especially if you plan to head south to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills.  Definitely one of the Dream Places!!

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