Enchanted Highway, North Dakota.
On North Dakota’s section of Interstate 94, stop at exit 72, turn northbound, and take the first right on a gravel driveway to get up close and personal with the giant metal sculpture named “Geese in Flight.” You will see the sculpture before you get to the exit. At 110 feet (34 m) tall and 150 feet (46 m) wide, it was given the honor of the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2002.
When you leave the sculpture parking area, turn left back toward the Interstate and head south on the overpass over the Interstate. “Geese in Flight” is but the first of many sculptures built along the road by Gary Greff, a longtime resident of Regent, North Dakota, some 32 miles (51 km) down the Enchanted Highway.
The larger-than-life sculptures were designed to attract visitors to Gary’s hometown of Regent. What would make people drive all that way to visit Regent? Truth be told, the drive is worth the time just for the rolling hills and natural beauty of the area. The sculptures are just icing on the cake.
A bridge at the south end of the town of Gladstone gives travelers a view of the Heart River as it travels eastward and eventually joins the Missouri River at Mandan. You won’t find any other towns until you get to Regent, but there are plenty of stops along the way to view Gary Greff’s sculptures.
Some of the sculptures are relatively simple, but they are all certainly big. You can gauge the size of this family by the surrounding fence in the background. It is not the goal of this post to share with you every sculpture along the way but to simply share a few to entice you to take the detour off I-94 to drive the Enchanted Highway.
One of the most complex structures is this giant aquatic scene. A fisherman is trying his luck at capturing one of the many fish below the surface as a “lunker” leaps from the water to capture a dragonfly. On the lower left is a small boat that is accessible for people to “climb aboard.”
To help you gauge the size of this display, I happened to catch all six-foot-plus of Gary, (not the sculptor, but one of our traveling companions), as he explored the boat.
Another sculpture features this large family of pheasants. This is only part of the family. The point of all of these displays is to feature sights that are familiar to North Dakotans.
A large silhouette of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback is near a stagecoach where kids can climb aboard and relive a part of the old west.
The final image in my series features the giant grasshopper that I recently shared in a Cellpic Sunday post. What I find most interesting about this sculpture is its layers of sheet metal stacked to make a 3-D grasshopper. It truly is beautiful work with scrap metal.
For those traveling the Interstate and taking the trip to Regent, you might consider stopping at the Enchanted Castle Hotel, enjoy a meal at the Excalibur Steakhouse, or hoist a brew at the medieval tavern. As this is being written during the Covid-19 pandemic, the facilities are all still open, but it would be wise to check availability in advance if you decide to stay.
Returning to the Interstate for eastbound travelers is best accomplished by backtracking along the highway to exit 72’s on-ramp. Westbound travelers along I-94 have another option. Instead of backtracking, from Regent, simply continue west on highway 21. At the “T”, take a right turn onto highway 22 to Dickinson where you can rejoin the Interstate.