Northern Tier 2010

July 28, 2010

ND Texas Tea

Filed under: Geology, North Dakota, Section 03 — Henry Scott @ 9:00 pm

Oil wasn’t discovered in North Dakota until 1953, and there have been several subsequent cycles of boom and bust. Today Seth and I continued east through northwestern ND, and we saw firsthand the latest rush to increase production in the state.

We rode through expansive parcels of cropland littered with derricks, active pumps and huge dancing flames from off-gassing (it isn’t clear to me why these gases aren’t used for anything productive); the roads were frequented by large trucks carrying pipes, machinery, and portable office units. Locals told us that the last flurry of activity was back in the 1980’s, and the most recent wave started just a year or so ago.

Despite the high volume of truck traffic, today was a great ride, and my legs felt strong. I think the main reason is due to yesterday’s half day of rest, but the winds were weak as well (from the south, but that is much better than the easterlies we’ve been getting!).

After leaving Culbertson we rode 26 miles to Lake Sakakawea before stopping to cook breakfast. We split half a canister of “old fashioned” oatmeal, half a jar of peanut butter and a pint of blueberries. I was so full I couldn’t imagine eating another bite, but massive quantities of oatmeal seem to work well while biking. We didn’t stop again until Stanley 50 miles later where we took a long break and made pasta — in addition to the company, a great benefit of riding with someone is that it makes cooking large meals much easier.

We didn’t make the side trip to Theodore Roosevelt NP that I mentioned yesterday, but we did get some views of ND’s badlands:

From Stanley we continued to Berthold, where we’re camped for the night in a city park, for a total of 108 miles. We went to a bar where we feasted on not-very-good (or healthy), but high calorie items.

Tomorrow morning we’ll start with a 30 mile ride to Minot, the first large town we’ve been in for quite a while, and we’ll then relax and take care of some errands before adding a few more easy miles.


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