This past summer, we took a route along the northernmost edge of the American prairies, a line on the map that has appealed to us for a long time, and this was the year to follow it.
What in the world could possibly be of any interest up there in the flat “emptiness” of the north, you wonder. Well, perhaps in the winter, when it’s all covered under several feet of snow and the land stretches out in miles of white, there is less to see (though I doubt it), but in the summer, all you have to do is open your eyes and be mesmerized.
Blooms from crops burst color all over the countryside, in mid-July. We were surrounded by millions of acres of these vivid yellow fields where a crop duster kept buzzing us:
As the yellow seemed to fade, we started seeing a pale blue across the land:
Over breakfast in a small town cafe, we sat at the counter where the locals chatted with us over their coffee.
“What are the yellow crops?” we asked.
And the blue? Flax.
I don’t know about you, but we love finding out what we’re seeing out the window, especially in agricultural areas. Maybe it’s because we grew up in the farmlands of Ohio, surrounded by corn, wheat, and soybeans.
Being away from those hearty crops for awhile before seeing them in these orderly farms has made them beautiful. Even the rows of silos looked more photogenic than they once did:
… but they were harder to spot than I would have guessed, leaving us to admire the more picturesque views we had along ND Route 5…
… and to discover some hidden gems in the small towns along the way:
Taking our time, we relished the wide open spaces, long stretches of highway without other vehicles, and local restaurants and shops kept in business by loyal customers and neighbors — authentic America.