On the fifth day of our summer road trip across North Dakota, we took a road trip inside a road trip inside a road trip. Starting at Bismarck, we drove to Mandan. We left the interstate at Mandan and continued west on the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway. At Gladstone we detoured south onto the Enchanted Highway, then headed back north to continue on the Old Red Old Ten to its end at Dickinson.
Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway history
The Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway dates back to the 1910s, when it was known as the Red Trail. The Red Trail was the North Dakota portion of a route that ran from New York to Seattle. Later, the road was paved and became U.S. 10 from Detroit to Seattle. In the late 1950s and early 1960s traffic moved onto Interstate 94. Interstate 94 is the northernmost east-west interstate route.
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In early 2006, North Dakota’s Morton and Stark Counties came up with the idea of creating a scenic byway to entice travelers off the interstate once again and through the local towns. We enjoyed not only the towns along the byway but also the scenic country landscape.
Following the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway
As you follow the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway, signs at various points of interest prompt you to call a phone number for an audio description. The audio files and additional information are also online at http://oldredoldten.com/talking-trail/. Here are some of our favorite highlights of the byway:
We started the trail at the Mandan Depot. Formerly a Burlington Northern Railroad depot, today the building houses the Five Nations Art Gallery. Unfortunately, we started the trail early on a Sunday morning, before the gallery was open for business.
In front of the building stands the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider statue. The statue was dedicated to the City of Mandan in 1924. Roosevelt’s second wife, Edith, and his surviving children attended the dedication.
World’s largest Holstein
What’s a road trip without the world’s largest something? Standing 38 feet tall and 50 feet long, Salem Sue is the world’s largest Holstein cow. The Lions Club erected Salem Sue in 1974 to promote area Holstein herds.
Other country sites along the way
We couldn’t resist following the signs to Fort Sauerkraut in Hebron. Named after the stockpile of sauerkraut kept here, Fort Sauerkraut was built during an 1890 Indian scare. The scare turned out to be a false alarm. The fort was abandoned and eventually destroyed. A portion of the fort was reconstructed on the original site in 2004.
We didn’t realize we had crossed from Central Time to Mountain Time when we reached Assumption Abbey in Richardton. We got there before afternoon visiting hours, but it was well worth the wait to see both the inside of the Abbey, especially the courtyard garden, and the Bavarian Romanesque style St. Mary’s Church.
We came across Heritage Hill in Taylor, a small prairie town known for its annual Horsefest. There was no event that day, but we got a kick out of the quirky metal sculptures on the property.
We left the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway at Gladstone to drive down the Enchanted Highway. The Enchanted Highway was metal sculptor Gary Greff’s contribution to save the town of Regent. Speaking of “world’s largest,” Greff has erected seven giant metal sculptures along the 32-mile stretch of road between Gladstone and Regent. The 75+ ton Geese in Flight sculpture holds the Guinness World Record as the largest scrap metal sculpture. Geese in Flight is 156 feet long and 110 feet tall.
I had read that these sculptures were large, but I didn’t imagine them to be so enormous.
Note: There are areas at each sculpture to pull off the road for a closer look or to take photos.
After checking out the gift shop in Regent, where you can purchase your own metal sculptures (on a much smaller scale than those on the Enchanted Highway), we drove back to the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway and continued on To Dickinson, the end of the trail.
We ate dinner at Sanford’s Pub & Grub, a regional chain. I decided to go “light” with a salad. I ordered the Coolest Salad Ever, a.k.a. Bacon Cheeseburger Salad, complete with fries and a pickle. Not exactly light, but it was tasty.
We spent the night at the Ramada Grand Dakota Hotel. Our room was spacious and comfortable. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to use the pool or hot tub, but both looked inviting. We enjoyed the hotel so much that we stayed there again on our return trip. Find the best hotel deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.
Disclosures: North Dakota Tourism hosted our road trip through North Dakota. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a hotel room through the TripAdvisor link above, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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