The nation's second-largest oil producer
Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
54Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
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
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
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.