Wednesday, June 25, 2008

North Dakota - Land of Strange Scapes

Lots and lots of miles and miles today - from St. Cloud, MN to Dickinson, North Dakota.

Minnesota is agriculture, agriculture, agriculture - ag, ag, ag. Huge, big storage silos by every farm. The farms are all beautiful and lush looking. It's amazing to see. It makes Michigan farming look a little hard-scrabble.

North Dakota is different - bigger farms - probably owned by corporations, fewer trees, less livestock, and strange, strange terrain. Some of it is flat, some is rolling hills, and then all of a sudden you see pyramid shaped rock formations!

There's an old movie called Sea of Grass, and we saw some of that today. The grass along the fence rows is sometimes higher than the fence. When it blows in the breeze it really does look like waves. I-94 runs pretty much straight through the center of North Dakota from Fargo to Bismarck to Dickinson and beyond. It seems ironic to me, since we spent 1957-1991 never living more than 3 miles from I-94 - it always has been our main artery.

We filled up in Jamestown, N.D. - unleaded with ethanol - $3.99/gal. When the speed limit is 55, we are getting 28 mpg. Speed limit of 70 - only 22 mpg. In N.D. the speed limit is often 75! It'll be interesting to see what effect the ethanol has on the higher speed limit.

Staying in Dickinson, N.D. tonight - nice place. For some reason, all of the local motels are filled up and so we were glad we had reservations! Can't imagine what the occasion is for so many people to be in Dickinson - maybe it's because towns along I-94 are few and far between in these parts!

Dick found 4 geocaches, and we visited the "Enchanted Highway". Check it out at and scroll down to see the pictures - it's unbelievable!

If you look closely, you can see Dick at the base of the sculpture waving his arms to provide some scale:

We have seen farm equipment so humungous that it belongs on a set for Star Wars. At many of the exits, there's a single sign that says No Services.