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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lewis & Clark Discovery Trail!

Today we got off to a late start. We spent most of the morning getting caught up on our blog and emails.We diverted from our push to the west and headed south on US 83 to catch the Lewis & Clark trail on the Missouri River. The 40 mile ride to the south was pretty uneventful except for the giant wind farm. Dozens of these 500 foot wind mills spinning slowly cranking out energy for our country.Incidentaly, the wind was very strong... gusting to 35 mph according to the weather channel.

Wind Farm heading south on US83

Drill Rig ~ One Of Many!
Once we arrived at the Missourri River we headed west again and followed the Lewis & Clark Trail west. There are several historic markers along the highway that divert you to Lewis & Clark's travel stops. We didn't stop at these because we wanted to get closer to a bigger city like Williston, ND. The land at first was very flat with different shades of green pastures. An occasional cowboy on horse back herding cattle towards the milking barn gave us a sense of the old west. All the country roads here are layed out in squares of two to seven miles, all going north, south east and west. Very easy to follow on the map or my laptop computer on my console. Soon the terrain started to change to hills up and down and than came the unexpected! Oil rigs on every hill and valley some times just a few hundred feet apart. The tractor trailer traffic swelled with things like tankers that pick up the crude oil and bring it to...who knows where. Further down the road bulldozers, excavators, road equipment are cutting new roads zigzaging up and down the hills. I am excited like a little kid watching all this activity. Oil wells are burning off the methane gas they can't use. Drilling rigs are drilling, pickup trucks are buzzing around all of these side roads. I've only seen this type of action in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Wow!!!

Cowboy roundup!
Time line is now around 4:45 Saturday night, we are approching Williston looking for a Catholic Church. I pulled off into a parking lot and google for a location, two blocks away but, I said no mass here we're too late for the 4 o'clock, Helen said lets find it for tomorrow's schedule. A short drive later the church parking lot was nearly full and people who were going in and not out. A 5 o,clock mass is unusual... at least back home. We walked in at 4:55 in time for mass.
Later, I googled for a campground and was told by a parishner  that all campgrounds were full because of the oil workers. He said the Lewis & Clark State Campground 20 miles back might be our only chance. Off we went with hope for a site. No luck... they were full. I asked the Park Ranger if I could just park with no hookups. He said sure. Just go to the point on this side of the bay. We had a perfect overlook of the river by ourselves.
That is what we saw and did

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