05 December 2014

Life In North Dakota Lately

Old postcard of a deep test oil well in Ray, North Dakota
If you're a regular blog follower of ours, then you'll know that we've been on a road trip from Portland, Oregon to Ray, North Dakota via California and the Southwest. We finally arrived in North Dakota towards the end of November. Here's a little glimpse into what life has been like lately for us while we've been in North Dakota. {Spoiler alert - it is ridiculously cold!}

Eating turkey and lefse - I had my first Thanksgiving in 12 years with Scott's auntie and uncle in Bismarck. Wow, I can't believe it has been so long! I had forgotten how wonderful turkey with all the trimmings is! But because Scott's family is Norwegian-American, one of the key "trimmings" is lefse. If you haven't had lefse before, run out and get yourself some. The best way to describe it is as a sort of potato tortilla. Which sounds gross, but, trust me, it isn't. Of course, unless you live in North Dakota or Minnesota, you may find it hard to get a hold of. Normally, I would tell you to get in your car and drive to North Dakota or Minnesota to get some, but don't. It is absolutely freezing here! As in -16F/-26C. That's just plain ridiculous.

Hunting and sandals - Of course, being born and bred in North Dakota, Scott doesn't feel the cold. The morning it was -16F/-26C, Scott had on his Keen sandals. Without any socks. {Yes, socks with sandals would be a fashion crime, but losing your toes to frostbite is probably the greater of two evils here.} Amazingly, he still said his feet were hot and sweaty. While we've been in North Dakota, Scott has been out pheasant hunting. I think the only thing holding him back from wearing his sandals while hunting is the fact that it might hurt more in sandals if he accidentally shot himself in the foot then if he wore closed toe shoes. (Just kidding - he is an excellent shot and still has all of his toes.) 

By the way, if you've never had pheasant, it is delicious. Especially with a sherry cream sauce. Lip smacking yummalicious. If you like pheasant, check out these recipes. Or just bread it in Shore Lunch, fry and enjoy.

Oil wells and man camps - I'm not sure if you've ever heard of the Bakken Formation, but it is transforming North Dakota. The Bakken Formation is huge oil field, which, until recently, people weren't able to exploit. With the advent of frakking technology, there has been a boom in North Dakota with an estimated 2.1 billion barrels of oil in the Bakken. North Dakota is now the 2nd biggest oil producing state in the US, surpassed by only Texas. When we were out in Ray, I couldn't believe how much the area has changed - there are oil wells and man camps everywhere. (Man camps are temporary housing for the oil workers - it is pretty much impossible to find a rental or home to buy these days in the Bakken.) 

Some people would say the oil boom has changed things for the better (often those with mineral rights or a vested interest in the oil industry), some people would say for the worse. And others say it has been both good and bad. All I know is that when you see a pick-up truck with North Dakota plates and a Confederate flag bumper sticker, you know things have changed considerably! (If you're interested in reading more about the oil boom in North Dakota, check out this National Geographic article.)

Looking at Christmas lights - Living for the past five years in New Zealand, where you have summer weather over the holidays, meant that it never really felt like Christmas. Although, don't get me wrong, having a picnic on the beach on Christmas Day isn't to be sneezed at. But, as much as I don't like the cold weather, I have been enjoying seeing all of the Christmas decorations and lights on people's houses in snow covered Bismarck. Nonetheless, we're heading down South in a few weeks in search of warmer weather for the holidays!

So that's the news from North Dakota. What's been happening where you are?

Update 1 December 2014


  1. We are in Sicily this year and there are about 80 liveaboards here. One kind American woman went to the trouble of organising thanksgiving for the benefit of everyone. There were so many nationalities together all getting along and what a wonderful and memorable day we had. We may not have worn sandles but having everyone of us cruisers together we all knew just how lucky we were to be living this life.

    1. It sounds like it was a great time! That's a lot of turkey to make to feed so many folks!


We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.