Today, we left Minneapolis. We narrowly missed getting slammed by a big winter storm and drove North and west. We went through Fargo, then Grand Forks, then New Town, and finally arrived at Williston.
The landscape, scenery, and built environment really didn’t change very much from that of Minneapolis until we got West of Minot.
We started seeing the physical manifestations of the oil industry once we got close to New Town. First we spotted fuel tanks, then pump jacks, then flares, then drilling dereks. At first there were just a few, but once we got into it, the number of flares, dereks, and pump jacks were astounding.
Near New Town, we ran into the Missouri river. The landscape here has a lot more topography than any of us expected, was really pretty beautiful, and flares are everywhere. The flares are probably the most striking thing I saw. They are so big, so bright, and so powerful, it’s really amazing and kind of horrifying. At night, the flares light up the landscape like giant candles. It’s really eerie and kind of sinister feeling, especially when you can’t see the flare itself because it’s behind a hill, but you can see the flickering orange light it’s casting. We stopped outside of New town and watched the sun go down as we looked down into the Missouri river valley and across to a flares as far as we could see.
The edge of Williston feels like it’s a big city like Minneapolis or Denver or somewhere, where you have a large amount of suburban sprawl. But you can drive across Williston in 10 or 15 Minutes. We ate dinner at Marcus Jundt’s joint, the Williston Brewing Company.