Traveling to North Dakota

When you come to North Dakota, there are some things you may see that need a little explain', y'all. So here is a West Texas farm gal giving you the unofficial North Dakota Tour:

Lewis and Clark and Sakakawea - Remember studying them in the fourth grade? Remember their little expedition of the western frontier that took up the Missouri River right through North Dakota. Oh, well - you probably aced the test then promptly forgot about them. Some first peoples' language experts have decided that us elementary kids were taught to pronounce her name wrong - it's not Sacajawea, but Sakakawea. They are still around in North Dakota today.

Homesteads - The Homestead Act of 1862 gave 160 acres to anyone willing to become a naturalized citizen and stay on the land for five years (that's my simple interpretation). Singles, couples, and families left their homeland, sailed to New York, probably, and rode a train to North Dakota without knowing a word of English.  Some of their grandchildren are still here living on those homesteads - but in newer houses.

Shelter Belts - Another homestead act gave homesteaders 160 acres in exchange for planting a portion of the land in trees.  You will see rows and rows of trees that help slow the biting twenty below wind, I suppose. They call them wind breaks, hedge rows, and shelter belts.

Farm Dinosaurs - I don't know the names of the different species, but you'll recognize one when you see it.

Rock Piles - These are rocks that come to there surface with the spring thaw. The frost line is 7 feet here and I think the frost heave pushes them to the top.  The rocks are called glacial erratics because they do not match surface and are thought to have been pushed here by glaciers. There is a rumor that bodies are buried under some of the rocks.

Wildlife - There are robins, ducks, geese, swans, deer, antelope, moose, and eagles. If you think you see buzzards circling above, take it closer look.  It just might be an eagle. I haven't seen a moose yet.

Churches - North Dakota has more churches per capita than any other state. It's not unusual to see a church steeple rising to the sky in the middle of a wheat field. It seems to me that there are more Lutheran churches than any other.

Crops - Durum wheat (think pasta), flax, corn, canola, sunflowers, soybeans, and peas. Some of these crops have been genetically modified modified to resist herbicides. What that means is - when they are sprayed with round-up only the weeds die. Some farmers spray round-up on wheat so it will die uniformly and be ready to harvest. The farm news says that eternal sunshine yellow canola plants are on the loose - they refuse to die. Round-up in my tummy - doesn't that sound yummy? OK, I'm off my soapbox and back to being your tour guide.

Multiple Pump Jacks on one location - These are horizontally drilled wells. That means the drilling rigs drill down then out. They damage as little of the land as possible.  Wells go in all direction and lotsa, lotsa good farm folks get an oil check.  You know how in Texas everybody in the family gets a new house and a new car when Mama gets an oil well?  The only way you can spot fresh oil money in North Dakota is that Mama gets a new Buick. That's what the locals say.

Oil Trains - You just might see an oil train or two. There are no refineries in N.D. nor or there any pipelines heading south.  Trains are the only way to move the one million barrels produced every day to Gulf Refineries. 

So there you have it - North Dakota tourism in a nut shell. I guess I'm the nut! These are just a few of the things I might forget to tell you as you travel along the highways and the back ways of North Dakota. I hope you enjoy your visit.

And to my 24 Godly Girlfriends, who are on your way as I type - 

Welcome to North Dakota Y'ALL!!!

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