Are We There Yet? You Betcha!

Monday, August 18, 2021

Game Warden Memorial- International Peace Garden

We arrived at the International Peace Garden Sunday afternoon. Jil took a little tour of the Game Warden’s Museum and Memorial while I set up camp. While there Jil was given a little history of the museum by the docent. Jil thanked the lady at the desk whose replay was “You betcha”. I love the slang of the mid-western folk.

On Sunday our ride from Lewis and Clark State Park towards the northeast and the Canadian border was mostly uneventful. The road construction crew was taking a well-deserved break so we had clear sailing on ND 1804.

We travel mostly on two lane country roads, the most busy being US 2. As today is Sunday, US 2 isn’t busy either. The rolling hills around here are studded with farms, mostly hay farms. It seems each one has some sort of oil industry contraption somewhere on the property. The farther east we travel on US 2 the greener the hills and farmland become and the fewer oil contraptions there are. 

We pass by Stanley (1458 souls), seat of Mountrail County. According to Stanley’s website recreational opportunities in town consist of bowling and golf. Miss Garmin has us turn north on ND 28 at Berthold (454 souls) and head through Carpio (157 souls- couldn’t prove it by us) on ND 28. We take a right onto ND 5 and head east toward Bottineau.

Tommy Turtle, Bottineau ND

Bottineau, an agriculture based town, is the seat of Bottineau County. 2200 folks live here and is home to “Tommy Turtle” the world’s largest turtle, and a mascot of the nearby Turtle Mountains.The town is named after Pierre Bottineau, a Metis pioneer, hunter, trapper who became successful as a land speculator.  Metis are people of mixed Indigenous and European heritage, mostly French. Annie’s House was built in Bottineau Winter Park on Turtle Mountain as the first ski facility for handicapped children and wounded veterans. It is built to honor Ann Nicole Nelson, the only North Dakotan to die in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

W’eel Turtle, Dunseith, ND

Dunseith  (773 souls) is where we turn north onto ND 3. The highway will take us to the International Peace Garden. We have camping reservations there for two nights. Dunseith touts itself as the gateway the the gardens. I suppose it is. The town is also home to the world’s largest turtle sculpture, the “W’eel Turtle” made of more than 2000 green-painted car wheels. About 10 miles north I see a sight I don’t recognize. The closer we get the more it looks like some buildings are planted right in the middle of the highway. Of course, dodo, they are the US and Canadian Ports of Entry! I had expected to turn off into the Peace Garden before the POE but no, we pass by the US POE and turn left into the garden. 

Entrance to International Peace Garden- Just Gorgeous!

As Jil is inside the kiosk checking in and paying $20 for the annual permit, the only entry permit available, I can’t help but admire how beautiful this entrance is. Marigolds, zinnias and petunias are planted in formal rows that line roadway. The garden was a vision of a few men wherein peace could be celebrated at a living monument and ideals of friendship and peace would be an example to the world. The site was dedicated in 1932 with more than 50,000 people attending.

1/2 bizillion grasshoppers collected on the road- 1.2 bizillion quadrillion still out there…..

International Peace Garden Campground

Our two day stay at the Garden was very…… peaceful. The campground is set in the woods, has water and electricity so we are styling.

The Garden is kind of a no man’s land as it lies directly on the US/Canada border with North Dakota and Manitoba. The boundary runs right down the middle of the formal garden so as one walks through one walk is on the US side and the other the Canadian side.

The garden is just beautiful with its formal planters containing over 80,000 different species of annuals and perennials.

The garden extends past gates to a less formal area leading to the 911 Memorial and the Peace Chapel. It too has colorful flower beds planted along the little stream.

There is a conservatory and interpretive center, sunken garden, a carillon bell tower that rings on the quarter hour, a floral clock, two art centers, an auditorium, and the International Music Camp.. Oh, and many picnic areas dot the grounds.

If one is in the area the International Peace Garden is a must see. It’s a little off of the beaten path but well worth the visit.

When is the last time you needed the use of one of these?

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