The next leg of our journey took us from the southwest corner of South Dakota to the northeast corner of North Dakota, covering approximately 950km from Rapid City, SD to Grand Forks, ND. Grand Forks was our ultimate destination for that evening after a long day of driving as we were going to be crashing for a couple of nights at my friend Jill‘s place.
The day before a friend had asked me if I had seen many “world’s largest” yet and at the time all we had really seen for big things was Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, but the journey from Rapid City to Grand Forks would prove to provide me with an extended list of the “world’s largest” and some other very interesting sights.
Our first notable stop was in the town of Lemmon, which lies on the South Dakota/North Dakota border. Our intent was to stop for supplies for some car buns and a bathroom break, but we had also seen signs for Lemmon’s Petrified Wood Park. Not really knowing what to expect we were surprised to drive down main street and see that the Petrified Wood Park was really a block of town covered with petrified wood sculptures.
The park had a lot of interesting sculptures and play areas. Both museums in the park were closed though so this was a brief pit stop as once you’ve seen some petrified wood, you’ve seen most petrified wood.
We stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break and across the road from it was this cowboy riding a dinosaur. Possibly the weirdest combination of creatures I have ever seen put together in a sculpture. It’s fashioned from scrap metal, bits of old farm machinery, saw blades, etc. Someone went to a lot of work to put this all together!
We had crossed over into North Dakota and were cruising along I-94 when we spotted this giant cow to the south of us. We wondered what the heck!? and then were soon informed by a sign that the community of New Salem was approaching. Their claim to fame? The world’s largest Holstein cow named Salem Sue. We took the exit into New Salem, but sadly this was as close as we could get to the cow. There was a road right up to the cow but North Dakota had been experiencing some weird weather so the road was closed due to mud, snow and rain.
Our next stop was in Bismarck, ND though I have no pictures of this stop. It was raining significantly at this point and we were after a good cup of coffee. Thanks to the guide book we had borrowed from Jill we hit up a little coffee shop downtown called Caffe Aroma. The list of specialty drinks was overwhelming and I couldn’t make a decision so I ended up getting my usual White Chocolate Mocha. We grabbed our coffees and hit the road again.
Our next surprise stop was in Steele, ND where we spotted this roadside attraction from the interstate. Steele is home to the world’s largest sandhill crane. It was still raining when we arrived in Steele so we snapped this picture from the warmth of the Escape and then we were off again. Based on the buildings around the crane we quickly decided that there was nothing else worth seeing in this town.
We stopped in Jamestown for a chance to stretch our legs at the world’s largest buffalo. Based on the sheer size of this creature I do not doubt for one minute that this really is the world’s largest of it’s kind. Apparently it was the first world’s largest roadside sculpture built in North Dakota. The Frontier Village where the buffalo is found provides some nice views of the city of Jamestown, though we were on a schedule and there was no time to explore.
We made it to Fargo with enough time to do a little bit of shopping. Our sights were set on the giant Scheels in Moorehead which meant that we also got to set foot in Minnesota, crossing another of the states off my list. This Scheels is large enough to house a ferris wheel, though it is definitely still no Bass Pro Shop. Kari and I each picked up a few items before venturing out to find the nearest Target. At this point it was close to 9pm and after a long day of driving we were ready to head to our final destination of Grand Forks.