Big as All OutdoorsWestward Ho, Day 13: Bismarck, ND, to Dickinson, ND
With all the open space in North Dakota, there's plenty of room for larger than life— much larger than life—creations. In searching for letterboxes today, we visited some of these North Dakota wonders. Our first stop was in New Salem (pop. 946) to meet the 38-ft tall Salem Sue.
|Ken stamps in the Salem Sue letterbox.|
Dairy has been such a successful venture in the area that New Salem's high school sports teams claim the Holstein as their mascot. And on a rare North Dakota hill near I-94, the good people of New Salem built what is billed as the world's largest cow. Visible for about five miles, Salem Sue (perhaps named for the Sioux who inspired the industry) was built in 1974 by the local Lions Club to honor and promote the area's dairy farmers.
Today we joined the steady stream of pilgrims from the Interstate who pull off the highway and make their way up the narrow, winding gravel road to Salem Sue's summit on School Hill. Tracks in the snow around the big bovine revealed that we wern't the first visitors since yesterday's snowfall. There was a second letterbox on the other side of the steep hill behind Sue's behind, but the icy wind and slippery slope kept us from bagging that one.
Continuing west on our quest for gigantic things, we came upon the Enchanted Highway, otherwise known as Stark County Highway 4531. What makes this road enchanting is the work of a local metal sculptor. Retired principal of Regent High School and a native of the town of Regent (pop. 160), Gary Greff had watched the population of his town dwindle over his lifetime and wanted to do something to attract visitors, believing that the town couldn't rely solely on farming. Inspiration struck when he observed people drive off the interstate to snap photos of an oversized strong man created from hay bales.
|Geese in Flight|
|Grasshoppers in the Field|
|Pheasants on the Prairie|
In downtown Regent, we saw the Enchanted Highway gift shop, but it wasn't open today, so we didn't have an opportunity to meet Mr. Greff ourselves, but we did play with his 'wirlygigs' near the shop. Perhaps he was busy with his recently opened Enchanted Castle hotel, housed in a converted elementary school. Any town needing a one-person booster club would do well to find someone very much like Gary Greff.
Our day ended at Dickinson, North Dakota, a place to rest for the night. Tomorrow we'll continue west, visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park before entering Montana.
- Miles driven: 202
- Letterboxes: F 4, P 0
- Weather: Snow showers, cloudy, 26° to 33°
- States: 1 (ND)
- Big sculptures: 8
- Tourists in Regent: 2
- Hunters in Regent: 25
- Miles: 3,348
- Gallons of gas: 145
- Letterboxes: F 32, P 6
- States: 11 (GA, SC, NC, TN, KY, IL, MO, KS, NE, SD, ND)
- Coldest temp: 25°, Topeka,KS (Oct. 27) & Bismarck, ND (Nov. 2)
- Hottest temp: 80°, Gaffney, SC (Oct. 22)
- Gas price extremes: $3.30 in Topeka to $3.95 in Lincolnton, NC
- National battlefields: 32
- National historic sites: 3
- State capitols: 3
- State parks & historic sites: 6
More Photos from Today
|Enchanted Highway between sculptures|
|Teddy Rides Again|
|The Tin Family|
|Push the button to see the whirligigs go.|