Friday, June 12, 2015

Canada at Last

There are many oil wells in northwest North Dakota.  It was fascinating to see them all - and to see how they are changing life and the look of this part of the country.  There has been a lot of talk about the good and back aspects of fracking.  

There are new roads, new electric lines, new homes and businesses.  I am very sure there are many new millionaires in North Dakota!  Much of this is great for these little communities.

But, there is also a down side.  We saw dozens of work camps, upscale RVs on makeshift RV Parks, and double wides claiming to be hotels - all to house the hundreds, maybe thousands, of oil well technicians, managers, maintenance workers and others needed to keep them running.  Regular hotels are housing many of these works for hundreds of miles around the area...many living in hotels long term.  Hotel prices are up in small communities.  I'm guessing it has also driven up prices in local restaurants and grocery stores as well.   Interesting!  

Here we are crossing the mighty Missouri River just before entering Montana near Bainville.

We followed the Missouri River on Route 2 across much of Montana. It, too, has a big influence in this part of the country.  There are dams in several sections of the river - which means cottages, resorts, boats, and marinas.

Lots of sights to see and things to learn about the Lewis,and Clark Expedition in this area as well.
Old Army Posts are shown on the maps even those most of the forts are gone...their influence lives on.
We also began to see Native American Reservations and how they affect these communities.  Really quite fascinating

From Bainville on the border with North Dakota to Havre it seemed like a desolate and somewhat desperate environment.  This comes form a very casual passer by...but the cities seemed run down, broken, poor, and somewhat depressing.  The land was poor...lots of sagebrush...not many crops.  Small herds of cattle roamed the fields but not much else seemed to be happening.  People lived in remote spots.  I found myself saying, "I'm glad I wasn't born here.  I might not have been able to get out!"  I couldn't seem to bring myself to take any pictures...I didn't want to remember the details.

The town of Havre seemed pretty was the largest town we had seen along a couple hundred miles of Route 20.  And, as soon as we left town on the west side, everything seemed to perk up.
The fields were neat and clean...and a beautiful green.  Suddenly, it felt like there it was a completely new community and way of life...the grain fields were beautiful.

Actually I suddenly wanted to sing America The Beautiful.  I could picture the amber waves of grain!
There was hope!  

    Big grain elevators....Big Sky....

Big grain silos....big fields...

The train tracks were parallel with Route 2 most of the way across the state...busy train tracks...

We have also seen many cross country bikers on Route 2!  One guy actually looked like he had everything he owned with him - kinda like he was moving.

The flat  fields went on forever.  You could go 70 mph on a two lane road...

Mountains appeared to the north...almost an awakening in those miles between Havre and Shelby where we turned north towards Canada.

We arrived at the border at about 2:45, Friday, June 12th, 1795 miles from home...

Now the vacation week with our kids and grandkids begins!  They will all arrive tomorrow and we will meet up at a resort in Canmore, near Banff National Park!

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