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North Dakota Sure Looked Good

9/14/2017:

The Federal Highway Act of 1921 established the Bureau of Public Roads, in charge of mapping plans for a national highway system, but those improvements would take time, and travelling any distance by automobile remained a challenge. There were few paved roads. Even roads listed as “good” were likely unpaved, making mud a constant hazard.

On this date in 1922, the Ward County Independent reported that a group of adventurous North Dakotans had just returned from a challenging 10,000 mile journey by car. Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bach and their sons Clayton and Kenneth had joined Dr. and Mrs. R.C. Lang on June 17, setting off in a Ford sedan and a Buick. They planned to visit family and friends on their travels and were determined to see the American west, and see it they did!

The group drove through the Black Hills and declared it to be some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. They paused there to fish in the clear streams. Then they headed west to Colorado. They spent the Fourth of July in Mesa Verde National Park and hiked for miles. They visited Glacier National Park and dared some of the worst roads of the trip to reach Crater Lake. They stopped at Yosemite Park on their way to San Francisco. There they were thrilled to swim in the ocean, but said no one should go to California unless they had considerable money as everything was very expensive.

The travelers took the southern route on their return. Mr. Bach said there was no amount of money that could coax him back into the desert. That leg of the trip took them five days and the temperature hit 106 degrees, but he was glad for the experience.

The cars suffered three flat tires and a few broken springs, but there were comparatively few difficulties. Mr. Bach said the travelers had seen many wonderful sights, but he added that North Dakota sure looked good, saying “The finest thing I have seen in a long while was Main Street of Minot, brilliantly lighted as I drove in from the south, the night of our return.”

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher

Sources:

Ward County Independent. “Bach-Lange Party Return from Trip.” 14 August, 1922.

Federal Highway Administration. “Highway History.” "https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/history.cfm" https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/history.cfm Accessed 9 August, 2017.