In 1990, Regent, ND was a town with few options. Located about 30 miles from the interstate, there wasn’t much to bring anyone to Regent to visit or settle.
Enter Gary Greff. A metal sculptor and retired school teacher, Greff decided that he would entice travelers to make the trek to Regent by placing giant steel sculptures along the road from Gladstone (on I-94) south to his beloved town. The road was nicknamed ‘The Enchanted Highway’ and has become quite a draw.
The northernmost sculpture, Geese in Flight, is visible from the interstate and whets the appetite:
As you take the exit, you are led up to the artwork via a path lined with little flying geese…
The sculpture itself is easily 50 – 70 feet tall as are most of the other attractions.
As you head south, the view of the Enchanted Highway is not overwhelming but, rather, a peaceful winding path through North Dakota’s beautiful grasslands:
Before you know it, you are confronted with another bit of whimsy…
And so on…
Mr. Greff does all the metal bending and welding (which limits him during the dry months). Local farmers have leased him the space on their land for $1 per 20 years. A local Boy Scout troop helps with cutting the grass and keeping the areas clean and welcoming.
So, finally, you pull into Regent and what do you see?
So, has Mr. Greff’s efforts paid off for Regent? Well, I stopped here for gas and a sandwich and I noticed several other obvious tourists doing the same so I guess it just shows that there is a fine line between a wacky idea and a visionary one.
Just before leaving North Dakota into Montana, you enter the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Badlands, home of the Painted Canyons.
When Teddy was 24, he made a trip through the area and declared it worthy of protection from developers. You can see why:
The canyons go as far as the eye can see in all directions and their appearance was dramatic. You’re driving along watching seemingly endless rolling plains with grazing cattle when you round a bend and this unfolds in front of you.
There is a little one-mile path down into the canyon that allows you to wander amongst these geological wonders. It leaves you realizing that – we may not know how this world was created, but the artist must have loved his subject.
I always wondered where this place was. I’ve sung about it so many times:
And yes, there were antelope playing there…
Today, Big Red hit the 100K mileage mark.
Today’s Travel: 436 miles
Total Travel To Date: 2960 miles