The nation's second-largest oil producer

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Chris' Camp

Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What state is the nation's second-largest oil producer (after Texas)?  North Dakota!  U.S. oil production is growing rapidly and has increased by 40% since 2008.  In the not-too-distant future the U.S. will cease to import foreign oil.  U.S. presidents will no longer need to bow respectfully to the Saudi-Arabian king.  What a change compared with the 1970s!
North Dakota's oil region stretches north and west of the state capital, Bismarck.  The region is called 'Bakken' (for Danes an ironic name, because in Danish the word means 'the Hill', which is also the name of an ancient amusement park north of Copenhagen!).  Driving from Minot along SD-23 to Watford City (15 miles north of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), where I spent the night in my tent) I tried to form an opinion of what the oil boom means to the region.  The influx of money means that employment is rapidly growing, Minot will soon reach 50,000 inhabitants, and 11 new hotels have been built just in the past year.  The downside is that the infrastructure is not ready yet:  there is plenty of temporary housing, many new roads are not yet paved, huge oil trucks fill up the little country roads etc.  But that is hopefully a temporary phenomenon, until more permanent structures can be built.  The oil wells themselves hum steadily along and, in my opinion, do not degrade the environment.  After all, there is plenty of free space in North Dakota.  I attach some photos so you can form your own opinion.
I put up my tent in the Juniper camp in the TRNP (North Unit).  In the evening in the amphiteatre a young ranger gave a 1 hour long speech about Theodore Roosevelt and how he became interested in conservation of the many beautiful natural resorts in the U.S.  The ranger said that the National Parks' budget will be reduced by 5% each year during the next 10 years leaving the budget at half of what it is now.  Many activities will have to be terminated and parks closed, which seems like a sad thing in this day and age.  But maybe people should be ready to spend a little more money for staying in the parks; today it's very cheap to spend the night, typically $10.  On Sunday I explored the park itself and found the vistas just breathtaking - it's a pity so few people are there to see the park for themselves.
The next day I drove along Highway 83 to the South Unit of the park and stayed at the Medore Campground.  In the evening I went to the Medora Musical nearby.  The program began with an outdoor 'Pitchfork Steak Fondue', and the show itself began at 7:30 pm.  I attach a few photos from the show.
This morning I went on a rather long drive south and got as far as Spearfish, South Dakota, where I'm right now at Chris' Camp on 701 Christensen Drive.  (No prize for correctly guessing where Chris' ancestors came from!).  The governor of South Dakota is Dennis Daugaard (no prize for guessing where his ancestors came from!).  The camp has NO MOSQUITOES, a nice pool, limited traffic noise, and in a few moments I will cook myself a meal.  
Tomorrow I will drive to Horsethief Lake, so close to Mount Rushmore that you can actually see the monument from there.  A guy in the North Unit, Brady from Canada, said that Mount Rushmore actually has a fireworks display on July 3.  A sort of rehearsal?  We will see.    
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Linda Deutsch on

Again, you tell me things I didn't know about my own country. An oil boom in North Dakota? Who knew?

marilyn lee on

You are spending more time in No. and So. Dakota than any American I know in the other 48 states. Thanks for cluing us in!

Denise Strom on

I agree with Linda's comment. Who Knew? I wish that our NewsMedia would reflect on all this great stuff OUR Nation as to offer, instead of all that cramp they do report about. Thanks Jens for giving us the insite to all there is to see out there. You make a very good tour guide, and I'm so happy I'm included in your journey's. Love the Church photos. I have never been to Mount Rushmore, hope thats on the tour. Drive safe and journey on my friend.

Cynthia Syarto on

Enjoying all your adventures and photos, especially that scenic view of your car. :)

Carol Marin on

I have a cousin, who is working as an engineer in the oil fields up in North Dakota, her father's name is Jens Jensen. I have cousins in Copenhagen also. I wish they could see this country through your eyes, its wonderful to read of your adventures. Just a thought, "my cousin Jens Jensen climbled Mt. McKinley" It must be something in the Danish blood that makes you all adventurers, how wonderful.
Thank you for sharing.

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