The Enchanted Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore

We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Lyrics by Rascal Flats

Recently the husband and I went on vacation.  It was a wonderful trip!  We seemed to spend most of it on the road, not really stopping long enough to decompress.  It was all go, go, go.  We were able to stop and spend the 4th of July with a dear friend and her family, and we managed to see family and friends in Montana and South Dakota. (That’s always the bonus!)

As you all know I was born and raised in Montana, and my husband was born and raised in South Dakota.  So, this route from Eastern Montana through North Dakota and into South Dakota was familiar to us both.

Along a highway in Western North Dakota is this little offshoot highway called;EH SIgn 02                                                          “The Enchanted Highway”

“The Enchanted Highway begins at exit 72 on I-94 near Gladstone and terminates 32 miles down the road in the small town of Regent”

I have always wanted to tour the Enchanted Highway but never had the opportunity. Same with my husband. So this trip we planned our little tour towards Regent North Dakota.

My question was Why?  What was the reason for these sculptures along this little highway?  I did my google research and this is what I found.

“I saw the town was a dying community,” says sculptor Gary Greff, who grew up in Regent ND., population about 200, and returned in 1989 after working as a teacher and principal. 

I personally think it is a sad reason to have such amazing sculpture, but in turn, Thank You Mr. Greff, for your amazing work.

Sit back and enjoy our little tour down the “Enchanted Highway”

The first stop that you can see off I-94 is Geese in Flight.  The “eye” catcher to the highway tour.

Lines of geese copy                                                    The road is lined with metal Geese

 

And when you get to the top of the road and turn to your left… you see the Geese in Flight

Stop 01

It was pretty spectacular to see up close for a change, instead of flying by it at 70mph.  This was built in 2001 as a billboard to the highway route!  For once a billboard you don’t have to read!

With EGTo show you the size of this “Little Sculpture” I made sure to put our truck up against it.

It’s a not so tiny when you see it against a vehicle.  I would love to see it in the winter with the snow!  However, I’m not quite sure I want to make the trip to North Dakota in the winter.

The second piece of art, is something pretty common to the area.  Something you always have to watch out for.

Stop 2 from hwy                                                                “Deer Crossing”

You can see it from quite aways off the road.  Deer Crossing was built in 2002.

The anticipation of what it really looked like was building.  It was a great representation of what you get on the roads and interstate.  You must watch out for the deer and antelope on the roads!

Stop 2

Also at this site was a metal crafted Maze of Enchantment.

I hope my husband doesn’t get lost.  I am sure it was built for the younger generation, but it was still fun!

The Maze

Amazing Husband                                               My a Mazing husband leading the way.

I think I can do this, however my sense of direction is something to be seen.

Tracy in Maze at E H copy                           Almost to the end! Whew!  (I only went the wrong way once)

It was fun.  I kind of hope there aren’t any more on the road, we will never make it to our destination.

Back on the road we head to the next fun sculpture.  What will it be?

Grasshopper 01                                               Grasshoppers in the Field built in 1999

A not so friendly reminder of where we are.  Grasshoppers can be not so nice when it comes to fields.

The amount of detail and imagination in these pieces is awesome.

Grasshopper 02

How did Mr. Greff ever come up with these ideas?  I don’t know but I am glad he did.

Tracy and hopper copy

I felt very secure under this guy!  Except I might want to re-think that if there was a thunder and lightning storm.  I imagine these metal sculptures are lightning rods!  Wouldn’t you just love to see it though?

The artistic side of me, when it comes to photoshop, kind of wanted to see what one of these sculptures might look like on a cloudy night, with the moon breaking through.

Grasshopper at night bw

It was kind of eerie, but really cool!  I could make some great Halloween pictures with these as a background!

It would be really cool to see these on a dark night with only the stars in the sky.  This part of  the prairie has no light pollution to hinder the view of the stars.  Guess I need to add that to my list.  I wonder where the nearest hotel is.. hmmmmm

Next up on the road is another common site, more in South Dakota that we’ve noticed, but right after we stopped here and were headed to our next cool destination, we saw a rooster on the side of the road.

Stop 04 02                                                   Pheasants on the Prairie built in 1996

The colors in the hen and rooster were so true.  How did he do that? Magic perhaps?!

Stop 05                                                        The little ones are so cute too!

Tracy Shooting Pheasants               Me, shooting the pheasants legally in North Dakota out of hunting season.

What could be around the next corner? Although I must tell you, there weren’t many corners on this stretch of road. Just a lot of beautiful prairie and farm land.

ND Prarie

A lot of tourists to Montana and the Dakotas, love to hunt and fish.  There are so many beautiful lakes and rivers.  Something for every type of fisherman!

Stop 4                                                         Fishermans Dream built in 2006

This was to big to fit in one picture frame.  The sun was fighting with us at the time, but we managed to enjoy the big catch!

Stop 4 02

Stop 4 03

It might be hard to fit those fish in the back of the truck. I might have to get rid of the suitcase. Or the beer cooler.  Um, nope I think we’ll leave these fish right here for the next traveler!

Theodore Roosevelt was a big part of Dakota Territory. Leaving the east coast after losing his wife and mother almost at the same time. He left politics and became part of the “Rough Riders”  The states that were part of the Dakota Territory were Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Our next sculpture was for “Teddy”

Stop 06                                                    Teddy Rides Again, built in 1993

I would love to see this if it were lit up at night!   I did read that Mr. Greff (the sculptor) started a fire on the prairie while welding this in the summer.  He no longer welds in the summer due to the dry conditions.

North Dakota is also home to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  If you’re leaving Eastern Montana into North Dakota, it is well worth the trip!

Our last stop on the Enchanted Highway was to see The Tin Family.

LAst Stop 01                                                           The Tin Family.  Built in 1991

How cool are they?  The curly hair is all wire.  The little boy (Not so little) eating his sucker, and the farmer ready to go pitch some hay!

Showing how big the sculptures are copy                                                       Not so little Tin Ma and Pa (and me)

I was sad that our 32 mile side trip was coming to an end.  I have no idea how long we were, but long enough for the clouds to burn away and the sun to rise higher in the sky.

We ended up in Regent North Dakota.  Regent ND

A quaint little farm town.  We were pretty early, so we didn’t stop at the “trinket” shop, but we fueled up and got some refreshments.  You know, the bad for you food you have to have while on a road trip!

Mr. Greff is working on another sculpture!  We will go back and see that and add it to the photo collection!

We hopped into our truck and headed southeast to our destination in South Dakota.  I only  wonder what else we might see off the beaten path.

Our trip was 3400 miles total, and most of it was on the little highways.  From Eastern Oregon to all over Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada and California.  It was another wonderful trip in our book of road trips.

I know summer is almost over for most of us, and just beginning for other parts across the oceans.

School is back in session, the county fairs are starting up. Enjoy what’s left of summer.

Welcome Autumn with open arms and make it memorable!  Find some really neat fall colors to photograph, pumpkins and scarecrows too!

Vacations don’t always have to be about going somewhere far.  You would be surprised what you can find in your own back yard.  We have some amazing lakes and mountains in ours!

Pick a direction, go 50-100 miles and see what you can find!!

Most of all, capture it, enjoy it and remember it!

Best of all…Have a great day

Have a Great Day doing it!

Happy Shooting

Tracy Lynn

 

 

 

 

Goslings

Following Along

A couple of weeks ago the husband and I started seeing the goslings on the refuge.  It’s almost as fun as photographing the eagles when they started migrating in.

Follow us Kids

The tiny little yellow “fluff balls” are just so stinking cute!Mom Dad and Kids!

We went out to the refuge this past weekend in search of more cute adorable  fluffy goslings.  Boy were we in for a surprise!  They grow fast!  It is amazing to see what a difference a week has made.  No, I do not know if they were the same goslings as the week before, but we can sure see the difference!

The Goslings are getting bigger

3 Older Goslings

One thing we have noticed and learned is they have very protective parents.  The geese were across the canal from us, so we weren’t causing any real harm, other than disturbing their day and perhaps the swimming lesson and other lessons.

Mom and Dad put their heads and bodies down very flat and they remain very still.

Protective Parents

Older Goslings and Protective Parent

As with any youngster, the babies weren’t as still as they probably should have been. I am sure they have a short attention span as do most little ones.

Protective Mama

This mama, kind of resembles a snake that I would not want to mess with!

A couple facts about the newly hatched balls of fluff.

The newly hatched babies are able to swim immediately.  After the babies have hatched, the family moves away from the nesting site on foot toward more favorable feeding areas.  Five weeks after the goslings hatch, the females begin moulting (the males begin right after mating).  During this time, the adults are unable to fly.  The adults regrow their flight feathers and are ready to fly at about the same time as the goslings are able to learn – at nine weeks old.”

Nine Weeks?  Really?  That means before the end of May!  Then what will we photograph?

We’ve only seen goslings, and no ducklings yet.  Hubby and I are really looking forward to seeing little baby ducks! There are so many different species on the refuge right now so I am curious to see what the babies will look like!

I think I should pack a picnic lunch and a couple lawn chairs and find a “good spot” to sit and watch and photograph all of these cute babies!

Maybe next weekend!

Family All in A Row

One thing about where we live and what we get to photograph, is it gives us a chance to not only see some cool birds, but it also gives us the opportunity to do a little research and find out interesting facts about the birds.  It is true, we are never to old to learn.

Never in my life would I imagine that I would be going to a wildlife refuge on a weekly basis, find a bird I haven’t seen before, take a picture of it, and go home and break out the bird book.  I’m not addicted, so I can’t be classified as a true “Birder” but it is fun to try and identify what you saw while you were out for the day!

One thing I will say is this.  Take some time to “unplug” go outside and stop and listen.  There are so many different sounding birds that it is really kind of cool to listen to how many different birds are out there!

Small Goslings on the Marsh

Set up the video camera, find a great spot on the bank of the water that has a lot of birds  turn on the camera, sit back and let the video listen for you.  You can even use your smart phone to capture the sounds!  You won’t be sorry.  Unless the wind is blowing right into the microphone!

Best of all, have fun!  You will fall in love with the sounds of nature.

Until Next Time!

Happy Shooting and Happy “Birding”

T Lynn

Nice day for a swim