Have you ever been on your way to some place in particular and then on the way there you decided that you just must have to stop at a place that you never intended to be in the first place? OK... so Mrs. LZ and I are the ONLY people who actually do that. But the truth is that many of those places were ones that we just luckily ran into on our trips to knock off more U.S. National Parks this last year. One of those surprises (as we sometimes refer to them as) was a place we came across that was right on our way to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. While it was not a very pretty day and in fact was just a little foggy and breezy. But in spite of that, we made our little journey off of Interstate 90 and made a trek down to the city of Regent, North Dakota.
On the way to Regent off I-90 at exit 72 south for 32 miles on what is called the Enchanted Highway you will find the largest collection of the coolest looking characters you have seen in quite a while. Even though the drive to Regent is pretty much straight south, it makes it fun to look over each and ever ridge to see if you can be the first one to spot the next giant sculpture.
The one thing that I found most unique was that each of these sculptures were just huge, but they each one seemed to have their own personality. And strangest of all (at least to me) was the fact that each one seemed to have no relationship to any of the others. Other than that perhaps they could have all been made from the same old bunch of sheet metal.
In fact the Enchanted Highway features the World's Largest Metal Sculptures produced by artist Gary Greff. It is my understanding that Gary is a native of Regent, North Dakota. He was a teacher and a school principal and had never done any art work or welding prior to 1989. They say he then began dreaming of ways to bring people and businesses to the small community of Regent -- fearing the town would someday die if it relied solely on farming.
A hay bale strongman built by a farmer inspired him. He watched people pull off the road to snap photos of the oddity. He wondered how many people would stop for huge metal sculptures. He began designing, welding, and painting. The Tin Family was erected in 1991; Teddy Rides Again in 1993; Pheasants on the Prairie in 1996; Grasshoppers in the Field in 1999; Geese in Flight in 2001; and Deer Crossing in 2002. He worked on Fisherman's Dream from 2003 to 2006and it is also now erected.
I think you can see from these photos which ones are which ones just by looking at the shots, but it was nice that at each one they had a little sign that told about the sculpture. We went into the town of Regent and they were extremely nice folks living there. Although the guy working in the U.S. Post Office there did tell me, that he only had three post cards stamps and didn't know where to find any more of them because it was his first week working there. I just found that a very humorous thing to say. But it fit in with the rest of the trip down the Enchanted Highway to Regent, North Dakota. “I have climbed several higher mountains without guide or path, and have found, as might be expected, that it takes only more time and patience commonly than to travel the smoothest highway.”
~ Henry David Thoreau