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Driving Thru North Dakota Oil Country

Travel Stage: Heading West!
Date Range: July 12-14, 2016
Summary: We made it to Fargo to get gas and make a Costco run. Costco generously allowed us to overnight in their parking lot (not something Costcos usually do). We stop at a Passport America campground for some full-hookups and laundry before heading thru oil country to our first big stop “out west:” Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

  ​When we reached Fargo, we were wind-blown and running low on gas. A massive headwind was killing our fuel economy, and we needed a break.  ​We have been Costco members for a while, and have hit many of them across the country on our journey so far. When we find a Costco along our path, we almost always stop and restock. They usually have large enough parking lots to accommodate our size, too. It’s also kind of fun skipping the step of loading and unloading our purchases from the truck – items go directly from the cart into the fridge or cabinets!

Costco shopping in Virginia ​Costco isn’t renowned for allowing overnight parking like Walmart is, but we asked the Fargo Costco if we could stay over and they had no problem with it. We didn’t see the point in continuing on against the wind, and crossed our fingers it would be better in the morning.


​Fargo seems to be a fairly up-and-coming city. New construction was everywhere! New housing complexes, hotels, big box stores, corporate buildings, you name it. We went for a walk behind Costco, which we think was part of the new development, and found new sidewalks through a not-yet built neighborhood around a large pond with fountains.  ​We saw our first Jack Rabbit on that walk and it looked larger than Bella! It bounded like a deer and man was it fast! 


We awoke the next morning to wind. It was a few MPH less than the previous day, but it only increased as we continued down the road. It was coming from the SW, but when we turned north at Bismarck the blasted wind shifted with us to come from the NW. We were not to have any wind relief that day. We’ve heard it said that “There is nothing between North Dakota and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence, and the wind blew it over.”

Stop in Hazen, ND

​We rolled into the small town of Hazen, North Dakota to stay at the Lewis and Clark RV Park, which is a Passport America campground where we got a night of full hookups for just $10! They also had a laundry facility which we were in desperate need of.

In the hot wind, our clothes were dry in the blink of an eye! The campground was full of campers, but no one seemed to be around. Then 5:30-6:00 rolled around and everyone came flooding in. We realized most of these rigs were full-time permanent, and that these people were working the oil fields that boomed recently in North Dakota.

North Dakota Oil Country

We talked to one neighbor who was a welder, and he had his welding equipment in the back of his truck and lived out of a beautiful RedWood fifth wheel. He told us he worked 6 months out of the year, then went south for the winter having made over $200,000. No wonder so many people were drawn here! As we continued our drive the next day, we saw more and more RV towns next to other housing options. We saw signs for insulated indoor RV parking – presumably for those who work the fields through the winters. We saw the oil rigs pumping away, and more going up every couple miles. 

  The roads, not initially designed for all the heavy trucking the oil brought, were in rough shape. We got to drive 20 miles on rough gravel road under construction in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Yippee!

Driving Across North Dakota… …is exactly how everyone says it will be. After the forests of Minnesota, we felt exposed and way out in the open! 

  You could see for miles every way you looked across the gently rolling hills, and it went on like that for miles and miles. Lots of ranching, and lots of farm land. 

  Occasionally there was a low spot where water – a good bit of it – was collected in a reservoir of some sort. ​

  There was also the random butte that would just be hanging out by itself.

  And then we FINALLY got to Theodore Roosevelt National Park!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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