In my last post, I promised to reveal the greatest roadside attraction you never heard of. I have always said that all a town needs is a hook and tourists will come. Traveling throughout this marvelous country, Ron and I have discovered unbelievable creativity in the little towns we visit. From the king-of-all tourist traps, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, to the dead horned toad in Eastland, TX, I love them all. From the silly to the sublime, from tiny to huge, I love American ingenuity. Well, get ready to be wowed by a hook on a grand scale born from the creative genius of one man determined to save his town.
This roadside attraction is actually a series of wonderful scrap metal sculptures along a 32-mile stretch of road from exit 72 off I94 south to the town of Regent, ND. I won't post pictures of them all, because you might think you don't need to see them yourself and you would be wrong. They are truly mind boggling.
The first can be seen from I94, but you need to see it up close to appreciate it. Get off the highway and take the dirt road up to the site. (By the way, as Ron can testify, each sculpture has a parking lot big enough to easily turn around a 30-foot RV towing a car.) Geese in Flight was completed in 2001 and was awarded a Guinness World Records Certificate for being the world's largest metal sculpture. It stands 110 ft. tall, 154 ft. wide, and weighs 157,659 lbs.
Each location also has little touches that makes it even more special. At Geese in Flight, the road in is lined with flying geese.
As you take the road south to Regent you pass a total of eight awe-inspiring sculptures. My favorite was Fisherman's Dream.
Completed in 2006, this is one of the newest additions. The 70 ft. rainbow trout is surrounded by various other 30 ft. fish and water plants. All are made out of tin, three dimensional, and realistically painted. Please click on the picture for a better view. (BTW, this parking lot is slightly smaller than the rest and, although Ron had no problem, a 40-foot RV with a car might have a little trouble turning around. However we heard it's due to be expanded.)
Ron's favorite was Pheasants on the Prairie. The rooster stands 40 ft. high and 70 ft. long. See Ron standing next to his foot?
This wooden stagecoach was part of the Teddy Rides Again display. The sun was wrong for a good picture of Teddy's sculpture, but I caught a quick ride on the stagecoach.
The sun was also wrong for a good picture of the Tin Family, but here is Mrs. Tin anyway. I especially loved her barbed-wire hair. In high humidity, I know just how she feels. And the augers for earrings are just priceless.
Tin Family was the first sculpture completed along the Enchanted Highway. (Yes, that's actually its name - it's even on the state map.) Completed in 1991 and built of used farm equipment, the family ranges from the 23 ft. tall son to the 45 ft. tall father. The mother here is 44 ft.
Ron claims he was checking out her support structure. Hummm.
When we arrived in Regent, we happily entered the Enchanted Highway Gift Shop looking for ice cream. We found it and it was delicious, but we also found Gary Greff who is the creator and mastermind of the whole project.
Gary is a retired high school teacher and principal who moved back to his hometown and had a vision to stimulate the economy of tiny Regent. He is wonderfully enthusiastic and obviously creative. Although he gets lots of help from the locals, he is plainly the driving force. He told us he has a total of 11 sculptures planned and is currently constructing number 9. Be sure to visit the Enchanted Highway if you are in southwestern North Dakota.