Friday, May 28, 2010

North Dakota and Montana

Today was a ride through North Dakota and into Montana. North Dakota's rolling prairies were a welcome change from the urban sprawl of Minneapolis. The state is famous for being flat and windy. I also think that people in North Dakota really must love having giant statues of animals, because we kept encountering them as we went along the freeway.

Some giant goose sculpture... I think?

A giant bison statue!

If you zoom in and look close, you can see the giant cow statue on the top of the hill across the road. I kind of wish lasers had been shooting out of it's eyes and maybe it was attacking the nearby town like Godzilla, but alas, it was not to be.

There are dips in the middle of North Dakota's landscape that are left over from the glaciers that used to rest here during the last ice age. A bunch of them turn into teeming, lush marshes for white pelicans, gulls and other birds. In the wind they kind of looked like a turbulent sea, which I thought was pretty cool.

As we drove there was a cross wind from the south that was blowing well over 30 miles an hour against my sleek aerodynamic Honda. But despite it's generally kick ass design, the car still felt like it was flailing in the wind against the current. The people I find really bad from were those driving RVs or giant semi-trucks. Some of them with blue, green, and black tarps being unfurling like a sail in the wind and trying to cause the trucks to blow away in the wind.

One group of people who appeared to be hauling there things out of state as well (familiar story) were towing a car that had two giant stuffed bears set in the front seat. One of the tan, the other white. The drivers side bear had a pink bow around it's neck. Obviously it was there to ensure the truck wouldn't crash, or maybe it was magic. Yes, magic... makes sense.

Near the end of North Dakota the land gradually gets drier and hillier. We stopped off at a place near the North Dakota badlands called Painted Canyon. The name really says it all, well, that and a few photos. I enjoyed getting out of the car and stretching a bit.

I've discovered that the best kind of mention for tag team road tripping is to switch out about every hour with the person you're driving with. It just keeps both of you less grumpy, more alert, and strains your hamstrings and nerves less by the end of the day. I recommend this method to anyone taking a more leisurely type of road trip anywhere.

There was a group of people at the rest area in cowboy geddup who looked as if they'd just finished a good cleansing ride through the valley. I was fascinated by the horses and tried to take some video of one women who was loading her horse back into her trailer. Basically I need a better camera to take better video for this and to actually, you know, zoom in. Apologies if you can't actually see the horse here.

Next we crossed into Montana. The land gradually getting cloudier, cooler, more mountainous and rainy. I generally don't mind the people in Montana I've met, but the endless desolate landscape gets old to me after about five minutes. It's beautiful country, but there's so much of the same my add, new agey artist brain needs more variety in my climate zones, granite and rolling hills. I need some beaches and rocky mountains, deserts and rattle snakes. You know... Oregon.

Regardless we made it to billings and on the way here passed a couple oil refineries. One for ExxonMobil and the other for Conoco. I took some pictures because I thought the architecture was just post post-apocalyptic and neat. Check it out.

Tomorrow I head to Yellowstone National Park! I just hope the weather is compliant and I see a few Bison up close.

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