Roll With The Changes


Submitted by Don Krenowicz

Posted Sept, 14, 2012

Yes, confusing heading, but have you ever heard of a women named Sakawajea?

If you are not a local yocal you do not have a clue. And they know it if you use the historical name.

Well it turns out that the gentleman named Lewis and Clark picked up this woman in their travel through North Dakota and had difficulty pronouncing her name and gave her the name we see in the history books. Her given indian name was Sakawakawea and the largest earth filled dam in America north of Bismarck is named after her.

But to get there the locals insisted that Vance and I take a detour and drive the Enchanted Highway about a 50 mile detour, but it is a must see in this big new strange land I have found myself in. This man had some time on his hands.

I don’t know the history, but a man not unlike Merle Fabion of Madras Oregon, had alot of time, metal and imagination on his hand and got really artistic in a big way! What this man did is as big as all this country. He made roadside art out of junk metal on a colossal scale. A free standing pheasant hen and her three chicks standing on  over one acre, She stands almost 50 feet tall and a 100 feet beak to tail. A Buck deer with fawn follow jumping over a 20 foot fence, his antlers at over 100 feet, in the middle of nowhere. A mirage of flying geese in a 100 foot spiral kind of ferries wheel next to a rock formation and much more. About 10 things on this backroad of North Dakota spanning 25 miles all created and erected some time ago by some industries soul. It is now supported by a local foundation and has great local support.

So now on to Lake Sakawakawea about a 80 jaunt to the east to New Salem [something about new naming towns after Eueropian homelands like New York and such] then north about 50. The mighty Dodge loving the road and just put in some Bob Seger. Rocking down the highway.

Off in the distance, about two miles to the east we saw three different coal mines marked by their towering drag excavators and the signature smoke stacks that accompany the process. Another 15 miles north thousands of wind mills, you think the Columbia Gorge is big, this is huge. Oil, gas, wind, coal, attitude this place has attitude!

Locally they announced a 100 million upgrade to the Dickinson airport, 300 million in building permits in Stark county so far this year and yet more oil companies pulling into town.

Crossing this mighty dam that I am sure my dad had some hand in his forays in the sixties, we crossed the spill way below us. Huge. Hundreds of yards wide and evidence of of a Biblical amount of water flow. This is the first dam, the largest dam on the Missouri river. I can’t wait for my IT guy to show up to show pics with stories, you will enjoy, this is a hidden land.

Chased some geese in the park with my faithful stead, missed one by “just that much as Maxwell Smart would say” and headed back west to Killdeer N.D about 80 miles. Then 30 miles south to Dickinson, then 26 to New England.

On the way east the Dodge slid along quite nicely and the fuel gauge narly moved. Going west that gentle North Dakota breeze that I keep mentioning, according to the weather channel was actually a constant 50mpg with gusts to 70. Definitely not the the weather for Piglet if you are a Winnie The Poo fan.

Coming out of 3rd gear to 4th is a long one. You see the mighty Dodge has horse power, but I’m used to going thru the gears.

At 3rd I’m at 40 with a 50 headwind, my casual shift pattern does not work. At 40 I go to shift and I am down to 30.

Adjust horsepower and grab another gear. Now at 65 rocking to boston, doing 110 mph “against the wind for you Bob Segar Fans.”

After this little trek Vance and I pull into Killdeer N.D. Again, I need fuel. For those of you that come to visit, always=always park into the the wind. I, as a new refugee as my dad would say, pulled up with my back to the gentle N.D breeze, opened my door and nearly

lost my hinges. So, after closing my door and observing the hurricane effect that occurred amongst the “stuff” in my cab I turned into the wind

on the other side of the pump and tried to open my door. Conundrum, which way to turn?


Heading south to Dickinson I pass sights under construction that I had not seen a week ago. According to Vance, the site north of the

Haliburton Hotel, Haliburton HQ, Tayor Hughes, Cont Oil, is going to be one of the largest truck stops in the USA.


Traveling south out of Dickinson after traveling about 300 mile and seeing alot of great country, I shifted into 5th over and plugged in some

WHO and rocked on down the road to the south steering against the westward wind. Pulling into New England and it’s respectable hallow

one could not hardly feel the breeze.


Took a moment at six to listen to that beloved siren and then the bells of New England.

Signing off from the Oil Patch’


Share this post