Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Hoven, Agar, and Onida

Between Selby and Pierre, there’s nothing of dramatic importance. Highway hypnosis is kept at bay by a roadside marker 5 miles south of Selby, standing on the site of the vanished town of Bangor; farther south, then 13 miles east of US-83, the very large Cathedral of the Prairie looms over the hamlet of Hoven (pop. 406).

And then, finally, a town—or at least some grain elevators and a turquoise water tower. Agar (pop. 76), “Home of the 1977 State B Track Champions,” is a classic, single-sidewalk leg-stretch where the Pepsi machine seems as large as the filling station it rests against. The same goes for little Onida (pop. 658), with a handsome onion-domed courthouse, a water tower emblazoned with a sunflower, and a cute city park complete with swimming pool and horseshoe courts. You’d hardly guess that this was once a thriving homesteader boomtown, full of transplanted New Yorkers who named it after Oneida, with no apparent reason for the change in spelling.

Cathedral of the Prairie