Day 70, ND Tour, Roosevelt National Park, Dickinson 361 miles.
"Seek the wisdom of the ages, but look at the world through the eyes of a child."
With Quilter Girl back at the ranch quilting, I fired up the (PP!) Gold Wing and rode. First to Dickinson, North Dakota, the boomingest city in the country. Like 1% unemployment booming. Because I've done the boom town before (Las Vegas in the '90s and '00-'05), I thought the D-town might be interesting. It was fascinating.
First, the tankers. Being Saturday, many sat idle, but along the highway every four minutes one would pass. Hard to imagine another two hundred or so during the week.
Second, the construction. The sound of nailers and hammer as builders put up new houses as fast as possible. Thirty unit motels added on sixty more. And steel buildings grew out of the former farmland like huge shrubs. Dickinson is truly booming.
That's not all good. They struggle to attract teachers as they can't afford a house on their salary. I remember that from Las Vegas. Hmm. I wonder if the Vegas teachers took a pay cut since housing values are halved. Kidding!
One percent unemployment isn't good either. What that means is they are scraping the bottom of the barrel for help, and the bottom is- well, not good. Employment signs abound. They will struggle to hire decent people.
And pricing, too. Want a 1,600 s.f. duplex with three bedrooms? $240,000. Want to rent a 1,200 s.f. house? $1,600. Drivers leave the state complaining that while the money is good, they live in the truck and have nowhere to shower. Imagine the smell of that truck.
While there can be a lot of money to be made, if this small town works like most boom towns, here's the way it will break down:
Most people will make some good money and spend it all, or even more. They are greedy and will be unable to manage it.
A small percentage will leave as bad or worse off than they started.
A few will do well. The oil companies will do fine, which is different than the past. During the many gold rushes, the prospectors did poorly while shopkeepers, saloons and merchants did well.
Teddy Roosevelt National Park
It ain't Glacier, or Yellowstone, but for a North Dakota park it does pretty well. The Badlands, as they call them, are like the South Dakota badlands, with a bit of rouge and lipstick. Plenty of greenies occupy the valleys between the mounds, and if one looks carefully, sections of the mounds, with softened soils from rains beneath them give way, settle and shift downward.
I took a hike and found myself in the prairie dog suburbs, with mounds and tunnels scattered across the meadow. They chirped warnings to one another of my presence. I took my time with one and got close enough for a pretty good shot. Moving on, I came upon a buffalo eating close to the trail. This seemed like a good place to turn around anyway.
Back on the scooter to Minot. This place does tourist pretty well. Western theme buildings are real, amazing. I spotted a crowd and sat for a Wild West show. Wow, it was really terrible. Being a writer, I could tell it was written poorly, and the town- um, 'lady of the evening' was staring seventy right between the eyes. The cowboy had to cue her lines. Horrible acting rounded out the entertainment, so the (PP!) Colt .44s shooting blanks made the best part of the show. Good clean fun anyway and no one got hurt. Okay, time for the weekly wrap up.
MUTTERING, MUSING, RANTS AND RAVES
I pulled in to the (PP!) KOA and went inside to register. As I approached the bike to ride to the campsite, a man walked up and said, "Are you Kevin Parsons?"
I nodded, with my mouth wide open. Who knows me in Bismarck?
He shook my hand. "I'm DJ. I looked up your website while you were inside."
Ain't the Internet amazing?
While I really haven't enjoyed the bust, after going through Dickinson and seeing the boom and remembering the headaches, I'm not wild about the boom either. Medium fast.
This KOA is the first full campground. They have a lot of monthly rigs- more boom stuff.
Today I rode over 350 miles without Quilter Girl. Which means if she didn't come, I'd be done with the fifty states and in a coma.
North Dakota surprised me with its beauty and didn't surprise me with its nice people. The great weather was a huge surprise. And now:
3.48 Dollars a gallon for regular in ND
1 New set of tires for the trailer
48 Dollars a tire
177, 245 Dollars, respectively for previous bike tires. I truly do not get it.
0 Dollars, free mounting for the trailer
34 MPG for a tank or two this week. ??? No idea why.
20 Percent of the trip completed, in days, weeks, and states
12,246 Total miles so far.
61,230 Extrapolated mileage for the entire trip. Check your guess for the contest!
18 Stories, the capitol building. Highest in Bistown, second in NoDak to a power plant
650,000 People in ND, half of Clark County and Las Vegas.
STUPID DRIVER OF THE WEEK
A tie! Both of you got in the left turn lane and when the light turned green, stayed behind the crosswalk until the light turned red. Remember driver's ed? The boring instructor told you to get out there! Yes, in the middle of the intersection. When the light turns yellow-or red, after the last person runs it- then you can go. But we'll just sit through another light.
Another great week! I hope yours was too. Next week we visit Aunt Betty, Margaret Rose, and the Rowe family.
Thanks for following.