It’s a Dam Big Country — Day 4

From Roundup, MT to Mobridge, SD.

Not much hap­pened today. I got up. I had break­fast at the local din­er. Sat at the counter and talked to the locals. Two of three had fam­i­ly in Seat­tle and envi­rons. Fun­ny old guys. 

Put gas in the Shark. Drove. East­ern Mon­tana, a chunk of south­west­ern North Dako­ta, and a lit­tle slice of the very north­ern bit of cen­tral South Dakota.

It’s all pret­ty much rolling and full of cows. 

Oh, and birds. Damned birds. I could have quite a nice col­lec­tion of pheas­ant tro­phies if I had­n’t been afraid of the dam­age the bug­gers would do to the front grille.

And a seag­ull. Swear to god — right out there in the mid­dle of Mon­tana. A seagull. 

Okay so the seag­ull was weird but then I found this. The Van­dana School. There used to be a town of Vanan­da but it’s been gone a long time.

vananda school
vanan­da school

Even­tu­al­ly I start­ed to see trees that had some new green on them. Every­thing has looked so dead since I left Idaho. 

About 35 miles west of Bow­man, ND I stopped at Mar­marth and took pic­tures of a large met­al cow­boy sil­hou­ette on a hill. At the oth­er end of town there is an equal­ly large dinosaur. In between there’s not much of any­thing left. I sup­pose I could have stopped and tak­en pic­tures of the aban­doned brick build­ings on Main street and the rot­ting Rail­road Depot but some­how I did­n’t feel right tak­ing pic­tures of a dying town when the few res­i­dents were walk­ing to and fro on a Sun­day afternoon.

cowboy sillouette says 'C7-' if you look really closely
cow­boy sil­lou­ette says ‘C7-’ if you look real­ly closely 

Short­ly after the town of Bow­man I start­ed to see the first crop­land since the Palouse in east­ern Wash­ing­ton. Looks like they’ve been hav­ing a very wet spring in the Dako­tas as well.

water lying in the low ground
water lying in the low ground

To make your Sun­day com­plete­ly sur­re­al I offer this charm­ing bit of amer­i­cana. The scrap met­al dinosaur out­side of the Grand Riv­er Muse­um on Lem­mon, SD. High­light of my day.

scrap metal dinosaur
scrap met­al dinosaur

Today’s Route:

View It’s a Dam Big Coun­try — Day 4 in a larg­er map

About the Author

Lara Harriger


  1. jearls

    I bet you were too ear­ly in the sea­son for the “Uff Da Days” week­end in Reed­er, ND.

  2. lara

    I do seem to have missed that. Per­haps on the return leg…

  3. Thank you for your men­tion of Lem­mon, SD! And you are exact­ly right that it has been a cool and wet spring around here! The farm­ers are in the fields and it has been great to see all over the state. This week espe­cial­ly with warm temps, low winds and lit­tle chance for pre­cip will be a great oppor­tu­ni­ty for them to get some work done. Come back and vis­it any time! Emi­ly from the South Dako­ta Office of Tourism

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