Road Trip Bucket List #2

U.S. 83 - Road To Nowhere - This one was so close to being number 1 on my list! One of the longest north-south highways in America at 1,885 miles, it begins in Brownsville, TX at the Mexican border and ends in Westhope, North Dakota at the Canadian border and in-between, it rarely is other than a 2-lane route through small town after small town and open spaces. Photography and people meeting opportunities are boundless. A few years ago, during spring, I traveled down U.S. 83 in mid-Texas for about 125 miles and found it a beautiful and relaxing experience. I'm really looking forward to seeing the whole route.

If you've never been to the Hill Country of Texas, you are missing one of life's pleasures in my opinion. Carrizo Springs, Crystal City, Leaky, Junction, Eden, Paint Rock - all small town America personified situated in a land of beauty during the spring when the wild flowers are blooming everywhere and U.S. 83 meanders right through them along with the miles of open land and farms in between them. Going on further north, the road manages to continue missing anything that might resemble a city, traveling on up through Ampermont, Paducah, Shamrock (where it intersects with Rt. 66), Canadian, Perryton and the miles of open plains of the Texas Panhandle. It doesn't get much better than this!

Leaving Texas, the road enters the Oklahoma Panhandle for a brief 37 miles, going through the towns of Beaver River and Bryan's Corner. Not much to say about the Oklahoma Panhandle except its real quick to get through going north-south.

Entering Kansas, 83 continues its straight north direction through several small towns and intersects Hwy 50, one of my other Bucket List Routes, at Garden City. There doesn't appear to be much of anything except boring, flat, open land for most of Kansas util about 3/4 of the way through the state when it passes by El Cuartelejo Pueblo Ruins, Chalk Pyramids (whatever those are), and Lake Scott State Park. Those 3 things are within about 30 miles of each other and then it appears to be typical Kansas until entering Nebraska between the towns of Oberlin and McCook.

Almost upon entering the home of the Corn Huskers, the land appears to become much prettier and interesting with numerous state parks, woods, and lakes along the way through the whole of the state. Some of the interesting places are Medicine Creek, North Platte, Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, and the Nebraska National Forest. And I reckon I should stop and send my better half a Valentine card postmarked from Valentine. Men will do such things to earn brownie points from the wife you know.

The road enters South Dakota into the Rosebud Indian Reservation and travels through the towns of Mission and White River on its way to 1 of only 2 sections where it does not retain its 2-lane status. In the town of Murdo, U.S. 83 merges with Interstate-90 and for 20 miles, you go east until the town of Vivian where once again you go north on 2 lanes. Crossing the Missouri River, there are lots of miles of not much all the way to North Dakota where you enter just east of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. In the town of Sterling, about 23 miles east of Bismark, the route for the second and last time merges with an interstate, I-94, and passes through the largest collection of civilization along the whole stretch, Bismark. Leaving Bismark behind, the road is 4-lanes while passing by Ft. Clark, Cross Roads State Park, and picturesque Lake Audubon, reverting back to 2 just north of Minot after passing Minot Air Force Base and heading on up to the Canadian border.

83 goes on up into Canada so who knows, perhaps I'll see just how far north my Ford truck will take me.