Saturday, August 22, 2015

The 2015 Adventure Begins: #North Dakota

From Saturday, August 8

After all the last minute tasks were completed . . . house sitter arranged, Gambler care arranged, to do lists mostly done, I got off on Friday to join Henry in Minneapolis to head west.  Our first target was to explore parts of North Dakota. We made it to Fargo last night. This morning we headed to explore some of their official "scenic byways." Here is a link to their official information Scenic Byways and Backways Information Guide. The first one we chose was the Rendevous Region Scenic Backway.

First stop was Icelandic State Park. The Pioneer Heritage Center has a lovely visitor center and several restored buildings from the homesteading era.

This church was beautiful. I wish it had been open to see the inside.

I've been paying more attention to native grasses the last couple of years. I loved this exhibit in the Pioneer Heritage Center showing how deep the roots are in prairie grasses.

One of my goals for this trip has been to get more exercise and lose more weight. There were several hiking trails. I took the one through the forest.  I saw a strange woodpecker. I wish that I had gotten a photo because I thought it was an American Three-toed woodpecker.  I use BirdLog to enter my bird lists to keep records of what I see and my life list.  Whenever you get a "square" next to your bird, you know you may be in trouble with your identification.  The kindly ebird reviewer told me there were NO records for that species in North Dakota.  I still think the bird I saw matches the description, but I will be content with hoping to see that species another place.
The next part of the Rendevous Region Scenic byway was a little more challenging.  It started off on a dirt road that said "Dead End."  After looping the highway a couple of times we took the road and it WAS the correct turn. The route us through the countryside through wooded areas and sunflower fields. 

The road also led us past several areas that were filled with antique cars. I wonder what the story is behind the cars. Do they let photographers visit?

For future travelers, I would suggest getting a good route written down before trying this section of the back way. It was beautiful, but it was easy to miss the signs for the turns. This North Dakota Map will show the names of the roads when you zoom in. Cellphone signal comes in and out, so I would recommend writing down the road names while you have strong cell signal. The dirt roads were easily passable even with my low ground clearance car. Here is more information about other things to see and do on the Rendevous Region Scenic Byway.  

The section between Walhalla and Vang was beautiful. The Tetrault Woods State Forest overlook was well worth the stop.

This overlook over the Pembina Gorge had lovely metal sculpture decorations and a lovely place to sit and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. 

Henry propped his iPhone on one of the rails to get a shot of the two of us using an app on his iPhone.

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