We hit the road early, heading to Regent, ND by way of the Enchanted Highway – so named for the huge metal sculptures that a local sculptor created. The Enchanted Highway was the reason for the trip. The highway ended in Regent, so that is where we planned to stay.
As we came out of the mountains, we began looking for a gas station. The only thing we founds was a 24-hour unattended fuel station that took credit cards. First time I have seen anything like that, but it makes sense in the area we were traveling through.
The country-side is mostly wide-open, with ribbons of two-lane highway that go to the horizon, mountains (and hills) in the distance, and lots of grazing land. In a couple of places, we saw deer grazing with cattle.
We pulled off the road for lunch and fuel in the small town of Jordan. There wasn’t much there, but at least they had fuel. We looked for a rest stop or park, and finally pulled into Karlotis Park, made sandwiches, and ate while stretching our legs and enjoying the sunshine.. The park was right by a clinic an emergency room, which also turned out to be a nursing home. I found this out when I looked up and saw an older gentleman watching us. I waved, and he came over to say hello and chat a bit. A nice nurse in the facility let us use their bathrooms before we got back on the road.
We were back on the road for quite some time before needing fuel again. We saw an interesting lawn sculpture in Wiebeaux where we stopped for gas.
We were making good time, so when we saw a sign for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park we detoured for a visit, where we saw TR’s first cabin, and read info on why he designated so much land to be national park. After leaving there, we stopped to see the Painted Canyon, which was not far down the road.
We found our way to the Enchanted Highway, and began the final leg of our trip to Regent, SD. The huge metal sculptures led us to our stop for the night – The Enchanted Castle Hotel. No one was at the front desk when we arrived at about 6 pm. I was looking forward to a hot meal, shower, and relaxing. The manager somehow forgot to mention that their restaurant –the only one in town - was closed on Sunday. I was disappointed, but the place was clean, and the manager said we could use anything in the breakfast room, and that he would even throw a pizza in the over for us, if we wanted.
As it turned out, we were literally the only people in the hotel. The hotel is between seasons – busy times being June/July/August for weddings, and October/November our hunting season. That explained – mostly – the abandoned look to the town.
The manager told us that the building was a school that had been closed down, which explained the gymnasium and single-floor layout. The new owner added hot tubs, a fitness center, and a breakfast room, and turned each bedroom into a small kitchenette/suite. The metal sculptor who created the pieces on the Enchanted Highway was working on huge knight with dragon for out front, and the owner plans to add a moat.
While I was figuring out dinner (tuna on toast was our hot meal), Bill had gone to the car for a couple of things. In the lobby, he ran into some people who assumed he was the manager (they could not reach the real manager at home, as we had done). The couple had a room in Mott, 35 miles away, and were looking for something better. The manager had left his passkey, and Bill told them they could stay, but they decided not to. Maybe Bill and the hotel were scarier that Mott.
With the hole place wide open. I borrowed silverware, napkins, and glasses from the restaurant to us for our dinner. I had pre-mixed a dirty martini with the last of the Blue Water gin (better than Bombay Sapphire) and olives, and had stashed it in the cooler. Tonight seemed like the appropriate night to enjoy it.
The Enchanted Castle Hotel was clean and comfortable, and the rooms were spacious. The manager could not have been nicer, and we had complete run of the place. I doubt I’ll ever find myself in Regent, ND again, but if I do, I will stay the Enchanted Castle.