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Wednesday, May 9, 2012


At the top of the hill on the West side of Bismark, about 2 miles from the Missouri River, is the above Exit 147 Truck Stop, where SPIA and I spend a restful night.

The morning began with a sky empty of clouds, but still cold.

No need for rain gear today, so dressed lightly, knowing it would warm up as soon as I started walking...was I in for a surprise. The wind picked up out of the South, causing me to bundle up with tasseled hat, warm-up suit hoodie and thermal gloves.

From the top of the first hill, one could see forever.

As with so many river crossings, our crossing of the Missouri brought on immediate hills...and some prodigious hills of some miles in length. Hills going down, I must CLIMB on my way back to SPIA...and visa versa.

With constant hills in both directions, the unexpected cold wind coming at me from the side - hitting my shoulder going out and returning to SPIA, simply wore me out. Did finish the first leg of 20 miles, but it took a Herculean effort.

Few homes appear along this part of North Dakota...always far off in the distance.

Friendly State Patrol R. Ludaski stopped to ask if I was OK. He said I was the first walker of the season...I told him two more were a few miles behind me, coming this way.

Asked Trooper Ludaski about incidents involving pedestrians on North Dakota Freeways. He said about 10 years ago there was one incident...before his time on the force...but he did not know the details. He agreed with me that forcing pedestrians onto secondary roads instead of allowing walking on the Interstates was far more dangerous to walkers and vehicle traffic.

Thank goodness North Dakota allows walking on the Interstates. Trooper Ludaski said he is an avid biker and often uses the freeways.

Trooper Ludaski also agreed that I made a good decision to avoid US 2 to the North.

Recuperating for an hour from leg one walk, we drove to the village of Hebron. Hebron is located on County Road 10, which parallels - off and on - I-94.

Hebron is famous for its long history of Brick fact, Hebron is known as "BRICK CITY". Hebron Bricks are shipped throughout the United States, and has been doing so for over 100 years.

Most commercial buildings, as well as many private homes, are constructed of bricks manufactured in the factory located a few paces from the center of town.

Tomorrow, will do a more in-depth photographing of Hebron, North Dakota.

Please say HELLO to Bob (l.) and Slinky (a.k.a. Jeff).

Both these gentlemen work at the Hebron Brick Factory. Bob is in charge of the Kiln Maintenance, which "cooks" the clay bricks to their finished state. Bob is on call 24/7, including holidays in the event of a problem with the Kiln. Bob is one of 42 employees, and has worked for the Hebron Brick Factory for over 30 years.

A serious man is Bob...could not get any other expression from him.

Bob says the town of Hebron has, in the last year, been over run by expansion of the Oil Field Bonanza. As with so many towns in North west North Dakota, the oil companies have moved into every town buying up properties, which are turned over to oil field workers.

Empty lots in Hebron which have been for sale by the Town (for taxes) for years at $100.00 or less per lot, are now selling for over $15,000.00 per lot, with the prices still rising. It is impossible for current residents to afford to remain in their family homes, and are being forced to move...including, Bob says, the ouster of a number of elderly.

Bob anticipates the situation has only begun to be a problem for old timers, but businesses such as the Bar and Pizza Shop are doing quite well because of the influx of oil workers.

It is my understanding that drilling for oil is moving South rapidly, soon expected to reach Hebron...and according to the newspapers, drilling has already taken place in the North Dakota "Bad Lands", only 60 miles West on I-94...which I will be walking within the next three days or so...and the drilling extends into Montana. Recent explorations suggest the massive oil field extends well beyond North AND South Dakota, perhaps into Nebraska and beyond.

Some suggest this oil field might well be the largest oil field of the entire world, including the Middle East.

Appears that by avoiding US 2 through Minot, North Dakota, I have NOT avoided the oil fields and their effect. All day today, dozens of 18-wheelers passed me on I-94, carrying oil well pipe and drilling equipment.

Please say HELLO to the owner of the local Pizza / Restaurant Shop. I treated myself to a excellent pizza, bringing half home to SPIA - in the fridge for tomorrow's snacks.

I am not certain what happened to my photographs of my second walking leg of today. I drove SPIA to the Truck Stop at the town of New Salem, where she parked for another 4.5 hours I walked West on I-94. The wind had picked up to above 25 mph, forcing me to buck into it in both directions...up and down several hills. On the way back to SPIA, both legs began to left leg completely going limp, dumping me to my knees. After about 15 minutes, the spasms stopped, but left my muscles and joints VERY painful.

I believe I have been over exerting fighting into the winds of the past few days, putting severe pressure on both legs...especially when the wind comes from the side, which shoves my center of gravity off center, creating stresses not expected...

I may back off to a single walking leg for the next couple days to see if that helps.

In the morning, plan to walk County Road 10 out of Hebron for at least 20 miles in a circular pattern; i.e., CO 10 out to I-94, thence 5 miles on I-94 returning to Hebron via another Exit.

Tomorrow is expected to be another clear day with temperatures in the 70s. Just hope the wind stays away...or at least moderates.

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