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Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

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Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Will be heading to Bismark mid Jan 2014 and would appreciate any hints or heads ups or tips for this route. Will be in 4WD with the missus !

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Saint Paul...
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1. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Tough time of the year to be driving through that part of the Dakotas. Keep an eye on the weather - even blue skies with strong winds can be treacherous due to blowing snow/ground blizzards. Assistance, if needed, will be tough to come by and cell phone coverage can be spotty. You'll also have less then 9 hours of daylight that time of year.

US 85 up to Interstate 94 (by Belfield, ND) then I94 to Bismarck is the quickest. It's pretty unpopulated north of Belle Fourche, SD until you get to Bowman, ND. There might be two gas stations in that stretch (Buffalo, SD, and Ludlow, SD). And I mean unpopulated by North and South Dakota standards - the stretch from Bowman to I94 doesn't go past many towns or maybe you mgiht see 10 places/houses where somebody lives. People will be friendly along the way (if you actually see and meet someone).

If you do take US 85 north, you'll pass by Slim Buttes in SD and White Butte in ND. Unfortunately, you won't be able to explore them in winter. Slim Buttes are visually interesting and you can see them from US 85. White Butte is the highest point in ND. The landscape is stark and striking along the route. Once at I94, you can easily detour a little west to visit the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Medora, the touristy gateway town for TRNP, will be mostly shuttered up for the season - which makes it much more quaint in my opinion. If weather cooperates, you can see the park as even very few Nodaks do and along the car tour road the bison, wild horses and deer might be quite a treat. You'll literally have the park to yourself if it's a weekday.

I think the US85 drive goes past some beautiful rugged open vistas. I like the emptiness and isolation. You could also take SD79 north from Sturgis, SD, until you hit US 12 in ND and then work your way up to I94 by Dickinson via ND22. That route is even more empty but, given the time of year, I wouldn't recommend because of the potential of blowing snow and tough travel and lack of quick help. The scenery isn't much different and maybe less interesting - not quite as many rugged areas, more rolling grassy hills.

Dickinson, en route, on I94 has a good dinosaur museum if that interests you.

If you take SD 79, you can weave your way over to the Enchanted Highway (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2155). You'll miss Teddy Roosevelt NP and Dickinson taking that route. If you take US 85 and then I94, you can still sample the highway from I94 but that will add hours to your trip and, depending on the road conditions, you might not have time.

Not much else for diversions along I94 between Dickinson and Bismarck other than New Salem Sue, the world's largest holstein. The views are wide open rolling hills and ranch lands.

There can be quite a few semis on I94, which can kick up a lot of snow if there has been drifting and blowing snow and that can temporarily blind you. Most likely won't be an issue but, if you can watch the weather, hopefully you can move your departure up or back a day or two if needed and stay safer.

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2. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Hi David T, Every time I think I can't be suprised by these Forums I am ! First up let me "Thank You" for a brilliant heads up , Mate, you have surpassed yourself. After looking through the AAA road map I think you have nailed it. Had not seen the Teddy RNP but will be doing it for sure after hopefully seeing the various Buttes ! I love open rugged vistas and for a while , solitude and I love the NP system of the US , we have seen a great part of your country and some wonderful sights/memories. Everyone likes a Dinosaur ,right ?

From Bismarck we are heading towards Billings MT to eventually Jackson WY. If you have any hints for that route it would be appreciated ! Hope I can return the favour one day , Cheers & Thanks again , Skeney.

p.s. I assume Holstein is a cow farm/ranch ?

Saint Paul...
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3. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

You've certainly picked some rather non-traditional places to visit and certainly at a very non-traditional time. I much prefer traveling that part of the country in mid-April to mid-May. Vibrant greens contrast with the reds, yellows and browns of the landscape, there's newborn wild horses in TRNP, lots of migrating waterfowl, and the park is still empty. I camped there last April and was one of three in a campground with 70+ sites.

Apparently the Dickinson Dinosaur Museum closes from Labor Day to May 1st, so you're out of luck there.

A Holstein is a black and white dairy cow and New Salem Sue is a huge fiberglass statue that you can see from miles away on the Interstate.

Don't know much to say about the route from Bismarck to Billings - it's all Interstate and when I've gone that way it's been to get to Red Lodge or Missoula as quick as possible. Prairie Fire Pottery in Beach, ND, on the border with MT does some nice work but I doubt they're open in January. Makoshika State Park by Glendive, MT, is another version of the badlands, somewhat similar to those in TRNP but also different.. You should be able to drive thru in January.

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Memorial is about an hour southeast of Billings and you can detour down there before you hit Billings. The real impact is walking the battlefield, so I don't know how it's like in winter. You could drive down to Ft. Lincoln State Park south of Mandan while you're in Bismarck to see General Custer's home before he left for the Little Bighorn to tie the two places together. There's also some rebuilt Mandan Indian earth lodges there as well as rebuilt stockades from the fort..

Not sure how you're going to get to Jackson, WY, from Billings in winter. The Beartooth Hwy (US212) is closed west of Red Lodge, MT. US20 west of Cody, WY, is closed at Yellowstone. US89 south of Livingston, MT, closes at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. You might even have to go down to Casper, WY, before you head west again. Not a bad route as you go by the Bighorn Mts which of course you probably can't explore because the roads will be closed for winter. You need to post on the Montana and Wyoming boards for guidance.

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4. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Thanks David ,

Little Bighorn was on the agenda and the timing is strictly down to a wedding in Denver in early Jan ! Have had some advice on the Jackson trip as we did Keystone SD to Jackson via Casper 2 years ago during major snow activity and the route was forever changing. Even had to wait on a snowplough on one leg ! Our eventual destination is Vancouver BC and we have over 6 weeks so want to experience as many different places as possible given weather restraints etc. Will post on the other sites to make sure. Thanks heaps once again , Cheers , Skeney.

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5. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Apologies for butting in on the conversation, however my wife, & I plus 12 year old nephew are travelling Fargo to Winnipeg to visit friends in July 2014. Time is a bit tight as road trip has to be a one day event.

However, I'm hoping you may be able to give some ideas on points of interest along the way.

Looking for something other than the asphalt of I-29 to see on our trip.

Thanks

Kevin

Saint Paul...
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6. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

You'll be traveling along the bottom of ancient Lake Agassiz and this is one of the flattest areas in the world. There's not much for points of interest along the way, especially if you're tight on time. And, because of levees and distances from the Red River, you don't even get views of that.

Nearby state parks and places like Pembina Gorge are a bit too far from I29 for a tight schedule. Grand Forks is really the only place where it's convenient to stop, eat and stretch legs. You could take US75 on the Minnesota side but it's not much different other than it's slower and you do go thru some small towns.

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7. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Hi David, Skeney's misses here. I don't like travelling on same road twice, if possible, so i was wondering if driving highway 34 from Deadwood to Fort Pierre then US83 to Bismarck was a suitable route? Would appreciate knowing what to expect on this route. Then we will travel on I-94 to Medora and Billings. Thanks.

Saint Paul...
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8. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

I've never been on 34 between the Black Hills and Pierre (pronounced "peer", not the French way) but I doubt the scenery is much different than that stretch of I90 that parallels it. You'll have to drive up to Helena in Montana to add to your collection of state capitols. I've never explored the SD capitol, but I bet that might be worth a stretch of the legs.

US83 between Pierre and I94 to Bismarck is farmland - lots of rolling hills. Not too many towns on the way either. Linton, ND, is the biggest at around 1000 population. Strasburg, ND, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church is an interesting Romanesque church with Gothic altar, statues, stained glass and painted murals on the ceiling and worth a stretch of the legs. The cemetery has some old iron crosses over some of the graves. The little town of Hague, a few miles east, has a similar but smaller Catholic Church and iron crosses in the cemetery.

The area (Linton/Strasburg/Hague) is ethnically Germans from Russia. My folks grew up there. I wish I could tell you where to stop for some good German food but I haven't been there in a long while. Linton would be your best bet. There used to be, and could still be, a restaurant just a block east of 83 across the train tracks on Broadway. Had good knoephla fifteen years ago and some great cream chicken and dumplings. Hague used to be the place to go in the area for good sausage but Linton's wasn't bad.

Kroll's Kitchen in Bismarck is supposed to have some good German from Russia food too but, in my experience, not as good as my mother's. There's one just north at the 83 Bismarck exit.

Long Lake Wildlife Refuge would be a lot more interesting in spring when 10's of thousand of snow and Canadian geese flock there during migration along with multitudes of other kinds of waterfowl.

If the sky is sunny and the roads are good when you go in January, there's 1804 on the east side of the Missouri and 1806 on the west side. Don't know if either is paved the entire way. They're very meandering and you won't find a gas station along either stretch. The views are more rugged as you're along the bluffs of the Missouri but that route will add a lot of time and way too risky in marginal weather as there will be no where to stop or anyone to help. They're named 1804/1806 after Lewis & Clark - they went one direction in 1804 and returned in 1806.

Edited: 27 October 2013, 22:33
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9. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Thanks David, see , I go away for a w/end and the wife takes over !! But as usual she has come up with a twist and going thru Pierre does give us the option of not backtracking and your spiel on Linton , Strasbourg etc gives us a better idea. My friend in Denver is originally from a small town on the Rheine near Mainz and I love German food as well , so it could be a great detour plus we still get to see TRNP & Medora and other sights on the way to Billings. Don't know about Helena because I didn't realise we were doing so many State Capitals in our travels? I'll have to read up on L&C as I know very little bar they were early explorers who opened up West of the Missouri ?? On a different note , our Mothers are always the best cooks , Right ? But THANKS for the hints ,and I'll get back to the AAA road atlas , Cheers , Skeney.

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10. Re: Most Interesting route Deadwood SD to Bismark ND

Kevin, Never apologise , this is exactly how you and me find out cool stuff from knowledgable locals ! You can be sure that you'll pick up a great hint/tip that makes your day. And these great folks love to help & advise us travellers. I won't be going near Fargo so unable to give you any tips, Sorry , but have a great trip !! I've done the Kokoda Trail twice so know all about your 'Wantok' and still keep in touch with a porter and his family from the first trip !! Would love to visit PNG one more time , Cheers , Skeney

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