An Overnight in North Dakota

After a fun-filled week in the Mount Rushmore State, we headed north for a single night in North Dakota. Clearly, that is not enough time to explore the state or see all there is to see, but our goal was to get to Alaska by July 1st so we had to keep moving. However, we did want to at least see North Dakota while we were so close. One day, we will return and explore, but for now, here are the few things we saw in our 24 hour visit.

The Capitol Building & Hall of Fame

As we’ve mentioned before, we are on a quest to see & photograph the Capitols in the states we visit. (We started this project a little late – we’ll need to go back & re-visit most of the southeast again!). Since we were heading to North Dakota for only one night, we figured staying in Bismarck would help us on this quest.

The North Dakota State Capitol is unlike any other we have seen. It doesn’t have a dome. Instead, it simply looks like an office building (though a very nice one!). But at 19 stories, it is the tallest building in the whole state!! Thus why it is called the Skyscraper of the Prairie.

The ground floor of the Capitol houses the North Dakota Hall of Fame. It is a gallery of portraits showing some of North Dakota’s famous residents, with plaques explaining their connection to the state. Some of the notables are President Theodore Roosevelt, Peggy Lee, Louis L’Amour, and Lawrence Welk.

12,000 Pounds of Fiberglass Beef

One of the best parts of our journey is the random stuff we see along our drives. Sometimes it is abandoned buildings & cars. Other times, it is wildlife we’ve never before seen outside of zoos. Best of all, however, are the Americana oddities. And Roadside America is great at helping us find those along our route.

If you are traveling westward across the state from Bismarck to the North Dakota-Montana border, you will likely cross through New Salem. A small town of under 1000, it still attracts visitors thanks to Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow. At 38 feet high, 50 feet long, and 12,000 pounds, Sue is a big hunk of beef. [Look for Scott & Knox in the picture to the left to get an idea of Sue’s enormity!]

Since Salem Sue was along our path through the state, we figured a short visit was worth it. Apparently, we temporarily forgot Knox’s extreme aggression toward statues…but luckily, Salem Sue survived!

A Rough Rider’s Park

Another North Dakota attraction that’s hard to miss on a westward drive from Bismarck? The Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It encompasses more than 70,000 acres in the western portion of the state.

Once we caught a glimpse of the beautiful landscapes in the park (they may be more badlands but they’re breathtaking!), we wished we had more time to explore the area. The views are incredible; you feel like you are staring straight into a painting! We’ll just have to come back to visit and explore this area again one day.


Despite Edie’s ability to take an insane amount of pictures, we didn’t end up with too many from North Dakota. Below is a gallery of the few shots we got in our 24 hour visit.

If you’re wondering about all the Lawrence Welk photos, those are for Edie’s Dad. Note from Edie: Dad, we got to the Welk Homestead after 5 p.m. and couldn’t visit…but don’t worry, we imagined we heard the Champagne Music anyway!