North Dakota Oil

The oil boom here reminds me of stories I've heard about West Texas in the 50's, when whole families left their homes and went out west to work in the newly discovered oil fields.  People lived anywhere they could find a place - often tents or cars.

Or maybe it reminds me of the California Gold Rush, except I don't believe people are working here hoping to find the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.  Most are here because they are somewhere in the process of having lost or losing jobs and homes.  There is no work where they are living.

 It's a great thing for these workers, but a mixed blessing for the local economy.  Business is also booming - however, there aren't enough people to work in the restaurants and stores.  Without enough wait staff, restaurants close early or just close a couple of days a week so employees can rest.  Help Wanted signs are everywhere.  There's not enough housing and people are sleeping in their cars, tents, and rv's anywhere they can find a spot.  Walmart has bars up over the parking lot entrances (to keep out the big rigs), but yesterday morning, there were at least 20 smaller campers in the Walmart parking lot, with a lot of bedroom cars. 

And for anyone that's ever complained about Walmart - this one must have first place as the Worst in the Country - just because they don't have enough employees.  Abandoned shopping carts and trash take up needed parking spaces.  Yesterday I saw a woman (not an employee), gathering up carts and trash.  Hmmm how about that?  Maybe she was one of the parking lot campers.  Aisles inside the store look like a warehouse.  Shelves are empty and boxes are everywhere.  This is a picture of just one aisle. 

Large companies are forced (by necessity) to provide housing (man camps), 3 meals a day (on the job site), and transportation.  Buses take the workers back to their home states on days off. 

So is it the Gold Rush, or the Oil Boom?

I think there is a famine in the land and the breadwinners have come to Egypt to take grain back home to their families. 

God Bless North Dakota.


  1. Love that I know you are on here writing! I will definitely keep up with you. I consider you one of the "kindred spirit" friends that don't come along often. So sweet to hear from you.

  2. Wow.... some Walmart store. By the way, have you tried Rhubarb "custard" pie. My northern families favorite.

  3. Oh.... one more comment. I love love love your schedule. I'm so envious.....


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