Bruce Banner

I won’t lie to you, living full time in a van is not without its challenges. Areas being closed due to Covid restrictions has added a new element to navigate around for many van lifers. However quarantine in a van allows you more freedom than quarantine at home and there are still lots of things you can see and do to enjoy a socially distanced road trip!

We recently took a road trip South from North Dakota to Nebraska and found some great places to stop along the way. We came into North Dakota from the East, Google maps will want to have you on the fastest route, but like many travellers we find joy in the journey as much as the destination. Pin smaller towns along your route to trick your map app into taking you along the smaller highways. We did US Highway 2 (rather than Interstate 94) where there was plenty to see and some great camp spots along the road. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Our first stop was Theodore Roosevelt National Park North Entrance in North Dakota. This is a beautiful park and home to many Buffalo, if you enjoy hiking there are plenty of trails to explore, for those with a more relaxed approach you can take in some incredible views along the parks in and out drive. The park facilities are closed for Covid, however you can still enter the park for the day, bring cash to pay your entry using an envelope provided. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Along with facilities being closed, the park is not offering access to its usual campgrounds, closures can add difficulties to your socially distanced road trip. Not to worry, there is a campground just a few miles south of the park entrance, which is open and is $6 a night. Look for CCC campground on google maps. Overall we found the park to be almost empty of visitors, so if you have a rig with everything you need on board, now is a great time to be getting the most out of parks like this one. 

Camp site at CCC campground

The Enchanted Highway

Heading south we were in search of a section of road known as The Enchanted Highway. The Enchanted Highway runs for 32 miles between Gladstone, ND, and Regent, ND. The Highway is home to 7 large sculptures commissioned by different artists, each has a pull off with ample parking for larger rigs, you can get up close to the art and get some great shots of your rig all while safely enjoying your socially distanced road trip. 

Sculptures along the Enchanted Highway making even Bruce Banner look small

Sturgis

This brings us into South Dakota and a town called Sturgis. Any motorcycle rider will tell you that Sturgis is home to one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world which has been running annually since 1938. The Rally runs in early August so be prepared for a lot of people if you pass by this area then. If you stop in at any other time of year the town is relatively quiet, you can visit the heart of the rally and admire the metal sculptures of biker legends like Indian Larry and grab a drink at the saloon. 

Indian Larry meets Sprinter Levi

Mt Rushmore

Is any American Road trip complete without a visit to Mt Rushmore? Our visit to Mt Rushmore was a quick stop, again we found it to be pretty quiet at this time. We parked and were able to walk up to the viewing area. We also stopped into the Crazy Horse monument. Access to this under construction mountainside sculpture is a little more difficult, it requires you to park at the base and take a bus ride up to view – everything is open and running but you won’t be able to keep your distance at this site. 

Mt Rushmore

Carhenge

Reaching the South most point of our trip, we entered Nebraska in search of Carhenge. Carhenge is, as the name suggests, a replica of England’s Stonehenge made from cars. It was built by Jim Reinders in 1987 and car lovers will find there’s some classic gems amongst the building blocks. The site has since had more artworks made from cars added to its grounds and is a great stop off where you can get up close to the art in the open air. 

Carhenge

Socially distanced road trip tips! 

Make sure you have what you need on board, snacks, drinks and of course the loo – our TouRig has the Dometic portable toilet

Bring your mask – Many states require you to wear a mask. 

Have cash available in small notes – Campgrounds and parks are leaving it up to the honour box system so make sure you have cash ready to leave your payment.

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