Through the Dakotas
Personal Time Off
In 2012 I was working for a Chicagoland blood bank, LifeSource. It was a semi-ok job. It allowed you to have a bit of PTO (Personal Time Off). etc. I developed an umbilical hernia at work. So, I needed surgery. Also with that surgery game many weeks off of work. Medical leave, while the hernia healed.
I felt fine after the surgery, and I knew I could not lift anything very heavy. I could lift my camera though! So, on my first day of medical leave, I planned a trip through the Dakotas (North and South). A friend I met in Chicago who moved back to his native Minnesota suggested I check out the Dakotas. He said there were ghost towns up there, also many abandoned structures. I assume from the dust bowl era. So I left Chicago for the Dakotas.
One thing I remembers as child about the Dakotas was Mitchell, South Dakota. The Corn Palace. I had to see that. So that was one of my stopping points. I used the ghost town map from the site “Ghosts of North Dakota” to decide what routes I would take. I tried to take the country roads instead of the Interstates.
I made my way all the way up to near the Canadian border. Saw a little military hardware up there. I passed through this one oil drilling town. It was actually just a grouping of trailers, set up for the workers. It was pretty interesting. This was on my way to Minot, North Dakota. Most likely my furthest Northern Point in my trip. I thought that Minot was a small town, and I could get a break on a hotel room. Nope! All the oil field managers booked the place. I had one room option. It was a deluxe suite for $140 a night! This was a Best Western! I begrudgingly accepted the clerks offer.
Let me tell you, that deluxe hotel room in Minot, North Dakota was the nicest hotel room I have ever been in! It was amazing. Two TVs, two rooms! I must have gotten the oil field engineers special hotel room!. After that night, I headed back home. Diagonally down the two lane roads to a main expressway.
The Dakotas is a beautiful road trip. I suggest consulting “The Ghosts of North Dakota” website if you want to see exactly where the ghost towns are. If you want to see many ghost towns, be prepared to drive a lot!