Final Day: Prairies, Bison And A Surprise Encounter With a Nuclear Missile Launch Site
The last day on this trip was really only a half day. After doing my usual packing routine, making sure I left nothing behind, I took a look at myself in the mirror – a solo adventurer for possibly the last time in my life…
…and then I was off.
My main target today was the Sully’s Hill National Game Preserve. This had actually been a national park at one time – and let me tell you something – I don’t suppose I’ll be in Devils Lake again anytime soon, but this is one hell of a free experience.
First a couple of stops along the lake. Apparently, the thing about Devils Lake is that it regularly expands and contracts, swamping forests and occasionally houses.
After that, it was on to Sully’s Hill which is effectively a safari exclusively for big plains animals like elk and bison. Back in the early 1900’s, as these giants were being hunted to near extinction, Teddy Roosevelt set up what are effectively safe havens to ensure these species would survive. Now they let you drive around amongst them – for FREE! Ariel and I had been to one near Denver a few years ago and it was really cool. This one might have been even better. It was basically deserted and also included forest drives, a prairie dog town (!!!) and a scenic overlook of Devils Lake.
Really cool stuff.
From there, it was time to head to the airport. With four hours until my flight and only about 90 minutes of driving to get there, I was free to take my time. This meant I could go a little out of my way and stumble randomly across a decommissioned nuclear missile silo.
So so so cool. And more than a little terrifying in our current geopolitical environment. They actually have a ton of these all over the Dakotas, Wyoming and Colorado. I’d been to one in South Dakota on my big roadtrip in 2010. That one was unreal because they let you actually go into the control room where “missiliers” (the guys who actually push the buttons) sat for years waiting for the orders to destroy the planet.
This wasn’t that, but still a cool find in the middle of nowhere. And it was also fascinating that it was right next to yet another sunflower farm.
The rest of the day passed without incident. I stopped a few times to take in the scenery and just appreciate the splendor of this beautiful country of ours.
And then, it was over. I returned my trusty Hyundai Sante Fe to the rental car company at Fargo, went through security, boarded the plane and headed home, to Ariel and Sammy…
Final tally: 3 states, 1 Canadian province, 4 international border crossings, 1,276 miles 1 border incident
Now Ariel and I leave for Alaska on what is OKPROBABLYACTUALLY going to be the last adventure we go on before the baby.
Stay tuned for that as we take one last trip before our family grows.
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