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Enchantment

So you live in a tiny small farming town in North Dakota. You worry that like a lot of small towns in America, relying just on farming that business may fail as the world evolves and changes, what do you do?

In Gary Greff’s case, the answer is “You sculpt bloody great metalwork objects and stick them by the side of the highway”, and then people like me come by and take photos of them, and then spend money in the gift shop. Which is what I did yesterday – well, the photo taking part anyway.

Regent, in North Dakota looks like it’s not going to become another Monowi – where the population dwindles down to a tiny size.

In 1989 he picked up a welder and started sculpting large metal scenes and stuck them on a 30 mile stretch of highway between his hometown, and Gladstone further note just off the interstate. There are seven of these intriguing art installations for you to stop at, take photos of, and marvel in the huge amount of attention to detail that is at each one.

It’s called the ‘Enchanted Highway‘, and late yesterday evening as the sun was setting (actually quite a bonus in terms of photography in turned out in the end) we cruised up snapping pictures at each one.

Having just squished a pheasant on the highway about an hour before, ‘Pheasants on the Prairie’ was my favourite. “No chance of you running one those over” observed Nik slyly as we approached it.

There’s a donation box at most of the installations, or a friendly sign say that you can “Donate money at any local business in town”. We got to Regent just after seven o’clock and was slightly disappointed to find that no business at all were open anywhere! No cafe for a drink, not even a gas station.

Gary’s ruse of getting me to come off of my route to his local town worked, but failed in that I wasn’t able to spend any dollars which I readily would have done as everything was shut for the day – including the Enchanted Highway gift shop, and other such business such as ‘Metal Magic’ which have obviously jumped on the bandwagon.

North Dakota is barren. I know I keep saying “It’s so empty!” and other such phrase – and there are only so many ways that you can word that – but that’s because – well, it really is.

Tiny towns, separated by long stretches of straight roads dipping up and down amongst the farmland, grain elevators breaking the monotony every so often, or perhaps a cow swishing it tail at you as you pass by, and I’m still lovin’ it.

Enchanted Highway official website

• Those nice people at Google were good enough to make sure that they got this stretch of road in on Streetview. Why not treat yourself to a virtual tour, starting at my favourite – the pheasants.

3 responses to “Enchantment”

  1. Raineth says:

    *scribbles importantly in her “Someday See” notebook*

    Oooh, some good pictors. The region really is desolate & strangely beautiful at the same time.
    I do enjoy metalwork… I love that this gentleman is still creating these sculptures! .

    I LAUGHED when I saw the pic of the pheasant sculpture. That whole bit is going to be one of those things you stifle guffaws over, you know?

    Cheers

  2. MumTina says:

    I think this place looks wonderful, I didn’t know it existed. Makes you look at the U.S.A. in a different light doesn’t it. I thought Stephen Fry’s filmed’Visit to America’ was different, but I think we have seen quite a few weird & wonderful places care of Geoff in the last few weeks that are much better. Makes you want to go there.

  3. geofftech says:

    @mum – fry was good. but think of this: they had a nice big BBC budget and production team and staff of people that researched all these things for him months in advance and set things up. he had a complete crew following him around, and he did NOT do the whole country in one ‘chunk’. he made several trips back and forth to the USA to do what he did, and they stayed in nice hotels all the time. then they came back with all the video tapes and spent months editing it together nicely.

    I am on the road +1 companion, editing as I go, staying in a tent, and did all the research myself with help from friends. am i doing a good job all things considered (including the robbery?). yes i bloody am! so thank you. 🙂

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