We’ve just crossed the border into Wisconsin and it’s green like New Hampshire was. Ohio and Indiana were dry and brown from the recent heat wave, it’s good to see green. It gets my landscape juices flowing, yes, I’ll be painting in Montana soon. Enjoying the ride is half the fun. Luckily I’m on the upper deck of the sleeper car, and sipping champagne, a courtesy afforded all of us in sleeper cars. It’s beautiful farmland, and again I am in awe of the good people that grow our food.
As dinner time arrives, I’m seated with a woman and her 13 year old son. They are on their way home to Minot, North Dakota, our next stop. She isn’t happy with the oil boom there. It’s changed the whole complexion of the place. Last year’s flooding caused people to move away, unable to afford to rebuild. Now with the oil boom all new people are there and lodging is at a premium. Having such a drastic change in a couple of years compared to a generation must be disarming. Soon a man from Chicago joins our table. He’s going to Minot too. His brother has been working there because there is no work in Chicago, he’s a carpenter and been living away from his family for months at a time.
The scenery this morning was as flat as I’ve ever seen, here in North Dakota. But as we continue north the land begins to form rolling hills, I like that better. But I also find it mesmerizing, looking down the dirt roads we pass along the way the stretch for miles into the distance against the flat earth. The train whistle shouts out a warning at every road so I can ready my camera to try and capture the infinity of the roads.