We Need Color!
Late March. We were coming out of a long, taxing winter. A late spring snow storm had turned the landscape white in central North Dakota. We wanted to escape west, our favorite direction! And we wanted color, a sunrise!
An Early Start For A Stunning Sunrise Over Sentinel Butte
Our goal was to drive west for a Stunning Sunrise Over Sentinel Butte in western North Dakota, to arrive early enough to see the sun rise behind it. The drive to our destination was more than three hours long. In order to beat the sun to Sentinel Butte, we left our home at 4:00 am. We wondered if awaking at 3:30 am would be worth the effort.
We Raced the Sun and We Won!
After a drive which was a bit out of the ordinary, darkness all the way, we finally saw a glimmer of light when we turned south, off of Old Highway 10 (The Old Red Trail) not Far East of Beach, North Dakota. We made it! We won the race! The sky began to warm from darkness to dark gold, to yellow! Sentinel Butte was a stunning model! We found the Stunning Sunrise Over Sentinel Butte.
Thelen, North Dakota
We were headed south on Highway 16, which at one time was a major road extending to the South Dakota border. The silhouette of an old grain elevator to the east (south of Sentinel Butte) peaked our interest. We explored! Thelen, North Dakota. Not much remains of this once thriving western North Dakota town.
After our side trip to Thelen, we continued down Highway 16. These days it remains paved only from Beach to the Golva area. South of that, Highway 16 is no longer a highway, but a red ribbon of gravel and scoria which goes through some of the most scenic areas of the state!
Not To Mention the Raging Little Missouri River!
Later in the day we found a safe place to pull off the muddy road and discovered what spring is like for the Little Missouri River! Read about that here: Journey Down Old Highway 16
Dine in Marmarth!
After, we dined at a surprising eatery in Marmarth, North Dakota, before heading back east and north to complete our 18 hour spring road trip in western North Dakota. Check out that story here: This Little North Dakota Just Rocks!
Our verdict? This road trip was worth the 3:30 am wake up time!
You’ll find more videos of Our Western Explorations here: Join Us On Our Explorations
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