Internet is quite spotty where I am tonight, so you may have to come back to view all of the pictures.
Day 3 was the drive from Parker’s Prarie, Minnesota to another vineyard, this time in Miles City, Montana. What I quickly came to notice was how much the landscape changed as I exited Minnesota, drove through North Dakota, and into Montana. The crops and trees in Minnesota were such a deep, lush green, but with each mile I drove west, I noticed everything becoming lighter, and lighter in color (yes I realize the very light green is something meant to be that color), eventually giving way to mostly brown.
Here is where I pulled over to enjoy a spot of lunch in North Dakota. There was a little spot along the road designated as a place you could pull over to enjoy the view so I decided to open the side door of the van, fix some lunch, and watch an eagle soaring effortlessly over the lake below.
This view is from the vineyard where I stayed the night. While there I learned that they typically only see about 10″ of rain a year which would certainly explain the change in the landscape. That said, they certainly make up for it with their irrigation plan as they are able to grow the most amazing fruit to craft into wine.
After trying several options I “settled” on the Le Crescent, a refreshing white with apricot and red grapefruit (seriously, it is amazing), and Sweetie Pie, a cherry wine infused with almonds and cherry brandy! There are no words to adequately describe the decadent delight that is this wine. I cannot wait to pair it with some dark chocolate when I get home. Who wants to apply to be my partner in indulgence?
They grow their sour cherries on bushes! When I think of all the hours I spent on a ladder harvesting cherries as a kid, and all the times I fell, I could have been spared a sprain or two had they been on bushes. The nets are in place to protect the bushes from the birds, and they also have to have a high fence around the grapes to keep out a brazen young buck (is there any other kind?) who doesn’t seem to understand the grapes aren’t just being grown for him.
On my way to the winery, it struck me how much portions of North Dakota reminded me of my 1999 trip to England where we drove through the southern Pennines. All that was missing was a herd of sheep crossing the road.
I cannot forget to mention my brief stop to take in the views of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There was a long section nicely fenced off at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center where folks could stop and safely gaze into the canyon. There was also a section beyond the fencing that people were exploring, so I figured, why not?!?
Uhm, yeah, this might not have been the smartest thing I have done. That pipe down below? It wasn’t the only one down there that had previously been attached at the left!
Perhaps I should have taken note of this sign before walking out there. Sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed!
All in all, it was an excellent day on the road filled with lots of amazing views and great phone conversations with friends and family.
What a great adventure so far. It must be hard ro keep moving through some of these beautiful places. I’d spend way too long at every stop.
It has been tough! I will have a lot more time after I spend some time with my son next week. The trip west has been more focused on getting out to him, the trip home will be more about exploration.