Friday, October 2, 2015

North Dakota to South Dakota!

September 4, 2015 ~ Today was going to be an adventure! We would be heading from Bismark, ND and ending up in Rapid City, South Dakota and have no idea what we might see between here and there!
They must have know I was heading out here... they put my name on the elevator wall! Sa-weet! 

So normally when we go somewhere we try really hard not to go to chain restaurants however we were trying to get on the road and wasn't sure where we would find something to eat so we stopped at good ol' Cracker Barrel!
 Anyone who knows me knows that I always eat the exact same thing every time I go to a Cracker Barrel... Country Ham on toasted sourdough plain with a side of mayo. Oh and some lightly brown biscuits with blackberry jam and a sweet tea! I gotta say it wasn't nothing like Cracker Barrel's south of here! (FYI...Food up North would be very bland) 

I did however like that this sign across from our table was from Missouri!

After breakfast we headed over to the Bismark-Mandan Visitor Center. I like stopping by the visitors center because you can find stops along your route to see some cool things that you might not have otherwise known about! Just a way to make sure we are seeing most things possible on our trip! 

Inside the visitors center was decorated really cool!

I saw this young man just sittin' with a frown on his face....
So I tried to get him to smile but he wasn't having it! 
It appears he was a pretty cool guy with a lot of history! 

I loved this pottery! I might have brought a couple pieces home with me!

Now that we had a game plan and what we wanted to stop and see then we are ready to hit the highway! (Pretty sure Mommy-Dearest is ready to go too!) 

Our next stop would be to the Harley-Davidson store....
to get a t-shirt for my dad of course! 

Next stop... New Salem, North Dakota....
"Home of the World's Largest Holstein Cow"
New Salem is off Highway 94 at exit 127 and is home to Salem Sue, the World's Largest Holstein Cow and now the legendary "Wrong Side Up" incident took place. 

Wrong Side Up
"Wrong Side Up." Those three words spoken by a Sioux Indian more than a hundred years ago to New Salem's first settler, John Christiansen, set the course for the community's future development as one of the top dairying areas in North Dakota. One day in the spring of 1883, Christiansen was out on his homestead one-half mile east of town breaking the virgin prairie when a couple of Sioux approached and silently watched him plow. Finally, the older Indian stooped down and turned over a piece of the newly-broken sod so the grass was again on top. The younger Indian explained to Christiansen, "Wrong Side Up." Christiansen did not forget the Indian's words. Years later, looking to the grassy hills where the sod still lay right side up, better suited for grazing than breaking, Christiansen helped to form the New Salem Holstein Breeding Circuit, which was instrumental in dairy herd improvement. 
(Story taken from pamphlet in New Salem)

The really cool thing is all the sunflowers here! Fields are full of them as far as the eye can see!

Next up we took a little detour to travel the Enchanted Highway! 
Take exit 72 off Highway 94 and travel 32 miles down the Enchanted Highway to view 7 of the World's Largest Metal Sculptures... A little gem on the North Dakota Prairie! 

Geese in Flight 2001
The Geese in Flight sculpture was raised in June 2001 and is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. It was built of used oil well pipe and oil tanks. It weighs over 75 ton while the sun ray is 156 feet long and 110 feet tall. The largest goose has a 30 foot wing span and is 19 feet long! 

This thing was huge! 
Up and down the drive to this one has metal geese on a post! 
Really cool to see in person! 

The Deer Family 2002
The Deer Family was completed in 2001 and erected in 2002. It was made from old oil well tanks cut apart and welded to form the shadow design. The fit through the streets of Regent, The buck's front leg had to be cut off and re-welded onsite. The buck is 75 feet tall and 60 feet long. The doe is 50 feet tall and 50 feet long.
(Can you see the lady standing next to the doe's leg? Told you these are huge!)

Grasshoppers in the Field 1999
The Grasshoppers in the Field was the fourth site erected and went up in the summer of 1999. They are a reminder of the hardships farmers have overcome while making their living off the land. The sculpture was welded from old fuel and oil well tanks. The large grasshopper is 50 feet long and 40 feet tall.

There's 3 grasshoppers! 
What an awesome idea! 
Fisherman's Dream 2006
This sculpture is a three dimensional sculpture that is made out of tin, to form seven fish. The fish swimming under the water scene include a small mouth bass, walleye, catfish, northern, salmon and bluegill which measure 30 feet long. Jumping out of the water is a 70 foot long rainbow trout.
I can't even tell you how neat these are in person! 

Pheasants on the Prairie 1996
Wow! You can't bag this three dimensional Pheasant that's made of wire mesh but you can admire this art forum that took 3 years to complete. The rooster stands 40 feet high and 70 feet long. The hen is 35 feet tall and 60 feet long. The chicks are 15 feet tall and 20 feet long.
To see the detail in these birds was awesome! 

Teddy Rides Again 1993
Teddy Rides Again is a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt's part in the North Dakota history. The sculpture was built of used well pipe. Teddy and his favorite horse "Mulley" stand 51 feet tall and weighs over 9,000 pounds. It's stands just south of Black Butte which is 3,112 feet above sea level. 

Up until this part of the trip we were doing good. I would jump out of the car and take pictures of each sculpture then jump back in the car and take off again. The really cool part is there was one other truck on this whole route with us and I happened to notice their license plate was from Missouri! So at the next stop I asked them where they are from in Missouri..... you'll never believe it.... Columbia, MO! Crazy! 

Ok so back to the mishap of the trip....
I jump out of the car to take a few quick pictures of this sculpture.... Totally normal right.... I climb back in the car and say "Ok let's go!" These people in the black truck are getting water out of the bed of the truck and as Brandon pulls away Mommy-Dearest is screaming "Hey! Stop!" Seems that Mommy-Dearest got out of the car for a smoke break and didn't tell us. Good thing Brandon had his window down or Mommy-Dearest would have been left in the dust! God we have laughed and laughed about this (and I am giggling like a little girl typing this)! Mommy-Dearest said from now on her ass is staying in the car! Bahahaha! Now that's some funny stuff right there!
Tin Family 1991
The Tin Family was the first sight erected on the Enchanted Highway. Built of used farm equipment that took farmers hours of labor and welding to achieve this inital creation. The Tin Pa stands 45 feet and is held up by 16 telephone poles. the Tin Ma is 44 feet tall and the son is a mere 23 feet tall.  

Tin Pa!
Tin Ma! 
Tin Son!

I'm so glad we took this detour as we saw some really cool art! All of this is off the beaten path but one I would highly recommend! 

I love old barns and saw several of them along the road but not close enough to grab pictures while we drove by. Someone I did manage to capture these two beauties!

Next up it was time to see the Badlands of North Dakota and Painted Canyon! 

Oh boy we are having fun now! 
Mommy-Dearest was waving as I was trying to take her picture... she ain't right! Ha! 
Good thing I remembered to grab a stamp! 
A wild horse hanging around in the parking lot to the bathrooms and visitors center. 

We headed over to the South Unit / Elkhorn Ranch

While in the visitors center this was pretty cool...
Petrified Bald Cypress Tree that's only 65-53 million years old! 

Theodore Roosevelt's old home

Cute little chubby prairie dogs! 
This little feller didn't mind me taking his picture!
Wild Mustangs! 
Wild Turkeys! 

This place was different from other places we have been yet still really neat.

Panoramic view of the North Dakota Badlands! 

North Dakota Badlands Overlook
Pretty yellow weeds.... 
We even found a marker! 

Brandon really wanted to find some bison on this trip so the hunt was on!

Literally just behind the rocks was this little feller resting! 

Brandon got his wish and Mommy-Dearest thought this was pretty cool to see so many bison!

"Well hey there sugar!"
"Girl you better watch that one"
"They are cr-a-zy!"

I am so glad we took a little time going through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Although the landscape wasn't as pretty as other places we have visited it was still really neat to see. All the critters were a great bonus to the trip!

One of my many nicknames is "Boots" and I had to laugh when we passed this bar and grill! 
I do love my cowboy boots! 

In case you don't already know I love me some old barns and windmills....
When I saw this ol' girl in a field I couldn't help but smile! 

So we come rolling up on a little town and this sheriff's car was parked just past the bar....
Well played y'all... well played! 
Oh I love these pretty things....
Jackpot! LOVE!
We just entered South Dakota! 

Oh I like this state already! 
Crazy how different this area is!

 We made it to Belle Fourche, South Dakota....
I really wanted to see the "Geographic Center of the Nation" Memorial so we made a mad dash to see it before it got too dark! We made it in perfect timing!

A tribute to George Freeman Mortimer - Friend of all South Dakota 1999

Really fun old cabin on the property!

Korea War Memorial

Glad we stopped to check it out!

Had to run into Family Dollar to get Mommy-Dearest a pillow (she's short and a booster seat doesn't come in adult sizes) and Brandon a toothbrush. A little girl had to go pee and dropped her drawers and went potty in the middle of the aisle. Clean up on aisle 3.... Seriously had to laugh (I know it's not funny) but get me to Rapid City already!

We wanted to eat a really good steak and found this place....
I was in love with this super sweet bison! I would love to have one!

After dinner we got all settled in our hotel and was ready to get some rest! Tomorrow was going to be another big day!

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