Day 144: Fracking and Scandinavia in North Dakota

We entered our 47th state, North Dakota, first thing in the morning. It was absolutely freezing at a lovely 18F/-8C when we got in the car in Montana, though it got up to a balmy 36F/2C by the middle of the day. The entry sign had actually been shot at several times, for instance, notice the mark between the A and the K in Dakota, plus several other marks:2015-10-29 10.06.16-1 We went into the town of Williston, which had been an oil town in the 80s and with the advent of fracking, seemed to be back in a big way. We went into a coffee shop and everyone was very friendly. We were able to speak to 4 different people, a woman from Montana, another woman from California and two guys from Spokane.

They told us that even being a small town, it was very diverse because people from all over the country and even the world had come there because of the oil boom. That said, they also said that there was 10 to 1 male to female ratio. They said the weather was quite extreme in that it could get down to -60F/-51C. They said a plus for the climate was that it is quite dry, although that it is also quite dusty for the same reasons.

As we drove across North Western North Dakota, we saw dozens of fracking sites. There was nothing else there really. Williston was the last town for miles. We were lucky to find a service station to buy lunch, it was so empty.

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A Light Fall of Snow and Fracking

We decided to stop at one of the sites as we figured we’d probably never be near one again:
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We were able to speak to someone who worked there who happened to stop by. This was actually incredibly unlikely as he said he has to check 60 different sites every day.

Here’s the video:

After the oil fields, we went to something completely different, which was a Scandinavian heritage park in Minot. It had a Norwegian stavkirke, which is a medieval style Christian building:

2015-10-29 14.50.16-1 2015-10-29 14.49.53 A Swedish Dala horse:2015-10-29 14.51.04 A Danish windmill: 2015-10-29 14.46.52 And for some reason, a stuffed buffalo:
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We spoke to someone who lived there. We asked him why fuel wasn’t super cheap with it coming up just down the road. He told us they weren’t allowed to build refineries and all the raw product was taken to Texas first. He also told us that the weather in North Dakota was very extreme.

We ended the night in Bismark, one of the few biggish cities in North Dakota.

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