Tag Archives: what is Dickinson North Dakota Like

The Danger Of Getting Towed In Dickinson, North Dakota

About five days ago I had a bright orange ticket from the Dickinson Police Department left on my vehicle windshield.  This ticket was for having my vehicle parked on the street in one spot for more than 48 hours.  The ticket was only $15, but there was a notice that my vehicle would be towed away in 48 hours if I did not move it.

Since I bought this vehicle, I have had a fear of it getting towed.  It is a full-time four-wheel-drive vehicle, similar to an all-wheel-drive vehicle.  If my vehicle is towed the wrong way, the damage that is caused to the transmission costs over $4,000 to repair.

Jeep Grand Cherokees with Quadra-Trac, AWD Audis, AWD Mercedes, AWD BMWs, AWD Subarus, and Range Rovers, have all four wheels permanently linked to the transmission and transfer case.  If a tow truck driver lifted one end of one of these vehicles with a wheel cradle, and towed it with the other set of wheels on the ground, it would break the linkage in the transfer case.  For a Jeep Grand Cherokee the linkage is a chain in the transfer case, and this repair costs about $2,800 from what I have read, but for all the other vehicles mentioned above the linkage is a viscous coupler, and the repair is more than $4,000.

Would a tow company admit to causing $4,000 damage to a vehicle from towing it the wrong way?  If you watch The People’s Court on television, the answer is no, tow companies do not usually admit to towing a vehicle the wrong way.  You would have to file a small claims court case against the tow company and you would have to prove with evidence that the tow company caused the linkage in the transfer case to break, which they would deny.

Another problem that I worry about now that I see that I am going to get ticketed for leaving my vehicle parked on the street for more than 48 hours, is what kind of parking rotation procedure am I going to use every 48 hours, to where my vehicle doesn’t end up in the same exact spot six days later.  I could move my vehicle three times in a six day period, and the Dickinson Police Officer who ticketed my vehicle would be back on duty, and he would say, “I am going to call to have this vehicle towed, it is in the same exact spot where I ticketed it six days ago.”

I telephoned the manager of the apartment building where I live, and I said that in the 1-1/2 years that I have lived in this building, I have parked on the street, because I realized that there is a shortage of parking in front of the building, but since I am going to get ticketed now for parking on the street, can I have an assigned parking space?  The apartment manager said that they can not assign a parking space to everyone, there are not enough spaces for everyone.  I asked if they had a garage available, and the manager said that they might have a garage available, and it would cost $60 per month.

On the same day that my vehicle was ticketed about five days ago, the vehicle behind me was also ticketed.  The owners of the vehicle behind me, I don’t think that they understood the ticket or the threat of being towed, because they are from a foreign country, and they did not remove the bright orange ticket from their vehicle, or move their vehicle.  About one day ago, their vehicle got towed.

Today, as I was walking up the stairs, the owner of this vehicle was walking down the stairs.  I asked him if his vehicle got towed, and if there was something wrong with it.  He said, yes, that it had a dead battery.  I asked if there was anything else wrong with it that it would not run, and he said no.  I asked him if he was going to get it out of the tow yard, and he said, “Probably.”  I couldn’t understand why he let it get towed in the first place.

I asked him, and he told me that he was willing to sell this vehicle, and how much he wanted for it, about $500.  I don’t know if there is something else wrong with it, or if he does not have a Title for it in his name, because if it runs O.K. it should be worth at least $1,500.  I don’t think that he knew how much the tow fees and storage fees were going to be, because if he did, he probably would have pushed it or dragged it to a different spot, to prevent it from being towed.

I called the tow company to ask how much the tow fees and storage fees were, and the tow company said $125 for the tow, and $40 per day for storage.  This is the second day that the tow company has had my neighbor’s vehicle, and if it goes just a few days longer, there is almost no chance that he will ever get this vehicle back.  After just a few more days, the tow company fees will be equal to one month’s rent for the apartment that he lives in.

Poor people, are poor because of their life circumstances, mental problems, emotional problems, health problems, accidents, bad decisions, lack of education, lack of understanding, irresponsibility, and so forth.  All they may be able to afford is a studio apartment in an old building downtown with not enough parking in the parking lot, so they park on the street.  All they may be able to afford is an old vehicle with some mechanical problems, that sometimes doesn’t run, that maybe they can’t even drive because they can’t pay for insurance.  So it gets ticketed by the Dickinson Police and towed away a few days later.

At $40 per day storage fees, a poor person is very likely not going to ever get their vehicle back.  They do not understand how quickly the storage fees will accumulate.  The first day $165, in one week $405, in two weeks $685.  What are these fees all about?

In Dickinson, I have some vehicles in storage, and I pay $45 per month.  At the Dickinson Airport, I believe that it costs $8 per day to leave your vehicle inside of their fenced, access controlled parking lot.  However if you are a poor person, with not very good understanding, the Dickinson Police will help to make sure that you get charged $40 per day for your vehicle so that they can take it from you.

To be clear, if you are wealthy enough to own a home, where you can park your vehicle in your driveway, garage, or yard, you won’t have the Dickinson Police bothering you.  But if you are very poor, and you live in the poorest area of Dickinson, and your car doesn’t always run, the Dickinson Police have this scheme where they will take your car and you won’t be able to get it back.

Being so poor, having nothing left, and making poor decisions, the only way that these desperately poor families have to come up with $405 to $685 to get their vehicle back, is to sell their children to sex traffickers.

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Two Very Funny, Short, YouTube Videos

It has been very, very cold and windy in Dickinson, North Dakota lately.  I choose to not go outside or go anywhere unless I have to, like move my vehicle to a different spot further down the street so that it doesn’t get ticketed again by the Dickinson Police, and threatened to be towed.  But if I actually left my apartment and went anywhere, the Dickinson Police would get me, the Meth addicts would get me, or the hoodlums would get me.  Read the Dickinson Press newspaper Police Blotter.

I spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos:  Dixie Cryptid and Brenton Sawin Mysteries To Search about Bigfoot;  Scotty Kilmer about cars and car repair;  and Nika Banana to see what she is doing and leave her annoying comments.  But in between I watch a lot of random videos about new discoveries, the history you don’t know, abandoned places, unexplained mysteries, badly behaving people, and funny animals.

Below I am including two of the funniest animal videos that I have ever seen:

 

What Living In Dickinson, North Dakota Is Like, Like Being In Prison

In many previous blog posts, I have mentioned that living in Dickinson, North Dakota is like being in prison.  I want to give a recent example.

I have been working at a particular job site outside of Dickinson for a little over one year.  For the first eight months that I was at this job site, there were just a few employees from the company that I work for, and we had our own office trailer.  The employees that had been here before I got here, they had set things up, and they had established the rule that everything was going to be kept clean.

The refrigerator, the microwave, counter tops, floor, and outside portable toilet were all kept clean.  We each cleaned, purchased cleaning supplies, and took out the garbage.  Something that was very important, was that my co-workers had installed some insulation around the outside portable toilet, and inside the portable toilet there was a small electric heater beside the toilet seat.

For several years prior to me arriving at this job site, the few company employees that were here, they had made it through several winters where the temperature got down to -20, -30, -40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once they even got snowed in, where they couldn’t drive home, and they had to stay here in the office trailer, which was O.K., because they set it up for people to be able to stay overnight if they had to.  When it got really, really cold, the electric heater inside of the portable toilet was left running all the time, which kept it at about 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Five months ago, due to increased work activity at this site, my company personnel got moved to a different location on this site.  We no longer had the use of the office trailer.  Due to many personnel changes, I became the only person on this entire site, who had ever been here through the winter, and knew that workers had been snowed in here before.

When it got to be November this year, where the temperature began to drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, I installed an electric heater inside the portable toilet that we were using, at a height of about two feet above the toilet seat, and two feet to the left of the toilet seat.  I brought my own 3500 Watt portable electric generator, which costs about $500 new, to power the electric heater.  I had to buy a poly containment basin to place the generator in per site regulations regarding fuel and oil spills containment.

Within about one week, it was reported to me, that someone tried to urinate into the electric heater inside of the portable toilet.  Someone used the portable toilet, and right after he exited the portable toilet, two of my co-worker saw that he had urinated all over the back wall and bench seat of the portable toilet.  One of my co-workers thought that he had had an accident, where the zipper got stuck on his overalls.  The other co-worker was certain that he had deliberately tried to urinate into the electric heater.  How could you accidentally urinate two feet up on the walls of the portable toilet?

I explained to my co-workers, not to let anyone vandalize this portable toilet and electric heater.  Though it might not seem that important now, it will be when it gets down to -20, -30, -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The next thing to get abused and misused was my 3500 Watt electric generator.  When I wasn’t around, people began putting garbage in the containment basin that the generator was sitting in.  The generator fuel valve was left on, some other things were done to it, and it wouldn’t start.  When I removed the generator oil tank filler cap, a bunch of fuel came out of the oil tank.

I took my generator home and I spent several hours working on it to get it to run again.  I got it to where it would start on the first pull of the starter cord.  I kept it on my truck, not being able to decide if I could leave it there on the job site without someone messing it up again.  Then, I was notified by my co-workers, that someone had ruined my electric heater that I had installed inside of the portable toilet, to where it wouldn’t work at all now.

I thought to myself, what kind of people, deliberately urinate into an electric heater that is two feet above, and two feet to the left of the toilet seat?  This week it has gotten to below zero degrees Fahrenheit at this job site, and it is only going to keep getting colder.  Why would site personnel try to destroy the only heated toilet anywhere on site that they could use?

Meanwhile, there is a small prefabricated building with no electricity to it, that has a small propane heater.  When the small propane heater is set on low or medium, it keeps the small building at about 60 degrees inside, when it is 20 degrees and windy outside.  A particular co-worker, has been found several times to be setting the propane heater to high, and then complaining about how hot it is inside this building.

Two co-workers have explained to this one co-worker, to stop setting the propane heater to high, because he has caused the small three to five gallon propane tank to run out of propane in a day or two, instead of this propane tank lasting four or five days if the heater was set on low.  We began using larger size propane tanks, but this one co-worker is still being found to be setting the propane heater on high, and then complaining about how hot it is inside of this small building that we use.  We are now completely out of propane, having nothing to heat this small building with now, or in an emergency.

My point is, that I can’t believe how these people in North Dakota are deliberately sabotaging the facilities that we use.  This kind of primitive, ignorant, destructive behavior is like something you would find in a prison amongst criminals.  It’s like these people in Dickinson are so fucking stupid, ignorant, and criminal minded, that they destroy and sabotage the things that they need to use, only making their own personal situation even worse.

As frustrated as I am, I realize that probably about 60% of the North Dakotans who read this will think, “Heh, heh, that is what I would do too.  Pee into the electric heater, and run the propane heater out of propane.  Yeah, that is what I would do.”

Be Careful With Your Debit Card In Dickinson, North Dakota

One of the things that I previously explained on this blog website, is the danger of allowing automatic deductions from your checking account to pay monthly bills.  Every year I have read in newspapers about a utility company debiting a checking account for $10,000 for a water bill or an electric bill, causing a person’s checking account to be brought down to a $0 balance, and every other check written on their account to “bounce” or “NSF” for non-sufficient funds.

The reason why these $10,000 debits by utility companies to people’s checking accounts made the news, was because when the customer disputed their bill which was obviously a mistake, the utility company responded with a letter saying something like, “We have looked into this matter, and found no error in our billing, the charges are correct.”  Only after a newspaper or television station reported on these stories did the utility company respond with a statement like, “We regret this situation, which was the result of a misunderstanding, and these charges have been corrected.”

But another way that all of the money can be removed from your checking account, is by an error when using your debit card.  A couple of weeks ago I was in the check out line at a store in Dickinson.  The customer ahead of me had a quantity of various supplies, which totaled about $60.  One of the items had an incorrect product code, and when the cashier scanned the item product code and entered in the quantity, the total came out to something like $3,460.

The cashier was paying attention, and she said, “No, that can’t be right.”, and she stopped the transaction herself, and she began trying to correct and determine what had gone wrong.  But many times in Dickinson, I have been at the check out line and the cashier does not look at or tell the customer what the total is when the customer is paying with a debit card.

If you weren’t paying attention and accepted a $3,460 charge to your debit card, depending on how much money you had in your checking account, you might begin “bouncing” or “NSF-ing” checks for your rent, mortgage, car payments, car insurance, credit cards payments, and other bills.  You would likely be in a lot of trouble, because everyone you owed money to would just assume that you were unable and unwilling to pay them, and they likely wouldn’t care what kind of story or explanation you gave them.

But a second reason why you need to pay attention when using your debit card in Dickinson happened to me last night.  I placed a carry out order on the telephone with a restaurant in Dickinson.  The person on the telephone was having a little bit of difficulty with my very simple order.  She asked me if I wanted to pay with a debit card, or pay when I got there.  I said that I would pay when I got there.

When I arrived at this restaurant to pick up my carry out food order, and I tried to pay, the cashier was having a problem, because my order was listed in their system as having already been paid.  A manager was called over, and she realized what had happened.  The manager called the employee over who had taken my order over the telephone, and when I saw her, and the way that she was acting, she was the epitome of a meth addict with everything about her, her appearance, and the flighty,  skittish way that she was acting.

What had happened, according to the manager, was the women who had taken my order over the telephone, she charged my order to someone else’s debit card or credit card.  I don’t know how she managed this, but she did.  When I got home with my food order, which was a very simple food order, it was wrong.  I realized that in giving a person like this my debit card or credit card information over the telephone, I could end up having my debit or credit card used to pay for someone else’s order, or instead of being charged $14.85, she could have entered $148.50, or even $1,485.00.

When your debit card is incorrectly charged, it’s not just being overcharged that is the problem, it’s being overcharged to the extent that your rent payment, car payment, utility bills, credit card bills, car insurance, and other payments could “bounce” or “NSF” causing you all kinds of problems.

Why I Turned Down An $85,000 Job Recently In North Dakota

On Thursday morning of this past week, a former supervisor telephoned me and said that he would like for me to come and work with him.  He said that he could offer to pay me $25 per hour, twelve hours per day, Monday through Friday.  I quickly did the math in my head, the first forty hours would be $1,000, and the next twenty hours of overtime would be about $740, so that’s $1,740 per week.  For easy math, at fifty weeks per year, that’s a little over $85,000 per year.

I told him that I already had a job, that this job was going O.K., but that I would consider it, because his job offer was more money than I was currently making.  My current job is not very difficult, this job offer that he was making would be a more difficult and more unpleasant job.  It would involve working in an area of North Dakota where there is nothing, driving a crane truck, and working on oil wells.

I told him that I was not ready to give up my apartment in Dickinson yet, that he would need to find me a place to stay Monday night through Thursday night, just a place to sleep.  He said O.K.

After I got off the phone with him, I realized that I had a cat now.  What was I going to do with this cat?  I decided that I would get a second litter box, a cat food dispenser, and a cat water dispenser.  The cat would probably be O.K. by himself in my apartment in Dickinson Monday through Friday, but he wouldn’t like being alone.  This cat was an abandoned cat that I took home from a job site, so he wasn’t having that bad of a life, living in a warm and dry apartment with food and water, though he was going to be alone.  Maybe I would leave the television on for him, and find someone to check on him.

Soon I was going to have to give my current employer not much more than one week notice that I was going to work someplace else due to being offered a lot more money.  I wasn’t looking forward to having to explain this to him, and causing him to have to find a replacement for me on short notice.  I was also uneasy and apprehensive about giving a notice of resignation when my current job was an O.K. job that I liked, that was not difficult.

At the end of the day on Thursday last week, my former supervisor called me back, he said that everything had been worked out, the company owner had agreed to pay me $25 per hour, pay for health insurance, provide a trailer for me to stay in, that we would be working seventy to eighty hours per week.  He said there was some pre-hire paperwork for me to complete, take my drug test, and did I still have my Class A Commercial Driver’s License?

I said that I never had a Commercial Driver’s License, though I had driven vehicles at work that required a Commercial Driver’s License, I didn’t have one.  He said, “Oh shit, that was the whole basis of getting hired right away at $25 per hour, that you had a Class A CDL.  What to do you want to do?  Oh fuck it, we won’t tell him right away, you’ve got the job anyway.”  I said, I don’t want anyone to have a fit when they find out that I don’t have a CDL, just tell him that I passed all of my written tests for a Class A CDL with the air brake endorsement, tanker endorsement, double and triple trailer endorsement, that I had a Class A CDL learner’s permit from Idaho, but that I let it expire before I took my driving test.

I agreed that I would call the North Dakota DMV Friday to find out what I had to do to get my Class A CDL in North Dakota.  Thursday night, I looked at the North Dakota DMV website to see what the requirements were.  One of the things that was going to be a problem for me, which I never encountered before in my life, was that due to this new “Real ID” or “Enhanced Driver’s License” program in North Dakota, I was going to need to provide either a valid U.S. passport or a certified Birth Certificate.

Up until August of 2017, I had a certified copy of my Birth Certificate, until Lowell Kern Jr. of Belfield stole my truck and took everything out of my truck, including my original Social Security Card and my certified Birth Certificate.  How was I going to get another certified Birth Certificate from Florida where I was born 49 years ago, and how long was this going to take?

I was beginning to become angry, I don’t want a fucking Class A CDL, I don’t want to have to jump through a bunch of hoops with the North Dakota DMV.  Once you have a CDL, the legal blood alcohol limit is no longer 0.08%, it drops down to 0.04%, and you have to report any traffic citations to your employer immediately.

And what is this about working seventy to eighty hours per week?  This means you would be working six to seven days per week, every week, having only one or no days off per week.  What would I do with my cat then, I guess I would have to get rid of him.  When would I do laundry, when would I do personal errands, when would I pay my bills?

Where I was going, there are no grocery stores and there are hardly any restaurants.  You end up eating horrible gas station and oil field truck stop packaged food, day after day after day.

Why would I want to live like this?  Living like this there is really no reason to be alive, working every day, being tired and filthy dirty all day, being excruciatingly cold, with only horrible rotten food to eat, and only seeing fat, ugly, ham-fisted, mean nasty battle-axe North Dakota women every day.  I would make $100,000 per year, but I would pay about $30,000 in income tax right off the top.

I told him that I was not currently physically or mentally able to work like this.  I have done this before, like many, many people who came to North Dakota to work during the Oil Boom, and I don’t really want to do this again, it is not worth it, living like this.

I talked to a friend of mine on Friday of last week, and he said that it was good that I didn’t take this oil field job, the price of North Dakota oil is currently down to $20 per barrel.  What this means is, with the price of oil this low, is that oil companies will suspend all oil field work at this time, and there will be many oil field worker layoffs very soon.

I felt very bad that I almost resigned from my O.K. job that I like, for a very miserable job that I wouldn’t be able to do for long, or wouldn’t have for very long with oil field work being shut down due to the very low price of oil.

Dickinson’s New Campground Ordinance Limiting RVs’ Stay To 270 Days

I have worked in the oil field in Texas, Utah, and North Dakota.  For some occupations, especially welders, pipe fitters, electricians, equipment operators, and Union workers, it is sometimes easier and more practical for the workers to own and live in RVs and travel trailers because work project duration can last from two months to two years.

Other factors that make owning and living in an RV or travel trailer more practical are that some projects require a peak amount of welders, pipe fitters, electricians, equipment operators, and other workers at certain times to get a particular phase of construction completed, then once this phase of construction is completed, the number of welders, pipe fitters, electricians, etcetera is greatly reduced.  No one knows ahead of time, which welders, pipe fitters, electricians, equipment operators, and workers will get to remain on the project, which ones will be let go, and when exactly the layoffs will happen.

With some people working in occupations where they really do not know if they will get to work on a project for two months, two years, and when exactly they will be laid off from a particular project, these people have found that it is more practical to own and live in RVs and travel trailers.  It would be foolish and a mistake to sign a lease for an apartment or a house when you could very likely get laid off in a couple of months.

Try to think about this and realize this, though real estate agents, appraisers, accountants, and city employees may remain in their job in a town for five, ten, twenty years, people who make their living working on pipeline construction, oil storage terminal construction, refinery construction, and other large industrial projects, they no longer have a job once their pipeline, oil storage terminal, or refinery construction is completed.  They have to move on to the next large industrial project, where again they will not know if they will get to work on this project for two months or two years, because the number and type of occupations needed for each phase of construction varies and changes.

Welders, pipe fitters, electricians, equipment operators, and Union workers may purchase a new or newer RV or travel trailer for as much as $80,000.  They may expect this RV or travel trailer to last them eight to ten years.  One of the benefits of living in an RV or travel trailer, is that your personal possessions, important paper work, clothing, cookware, food, bed, furniture, TV, stereo, computer, is all right there, and you don’t have to pack everything up, and carry it down stairs out to a moving van, every time you move.

But in cold climates, there are a few laborious and time consuming things that RV and travel trailer owners have to do when they park in a campground.  They have to install tight-fitting insulated skirting along the bottom perimeter of their RV or trailer in order to keep their grey-water tank, black-water tank, and fresh water lines from freezing.  They will likely have to install electrical heat tape on both their sewer line and their fresh water line.  They may need to construct a 6 ft x 6 ft mud room at the entrance door to their trailer in order to be able to take off muddy boots, and muddy overalls before entering their trailer, and also to keep from letting all of the heat out of their trailer when there are high winds.

But the City of Dickinson, the City Commissioners, the residents of Dickinson, and the property owners in Dickinson do not care about what is convenient or practical for other people.  They don’t care, and in fact, the property owners, property managers, and real estate agents like the idea that by putting a limit of 270 days on living in an RV or travel trailer, that this would potentially force workers to rent an apartment, rent a house, or buy a house.

I have tried to point out again and again, that when Dickinson “does things to people”, like quadrupling the price of rent during the oil boom, over aggressive stopping of everyone for DUI by Police, over aggressive following of people by Police, trying to convict people for a 20 year sentence for seeking sex, a Civil Service Commission that has never once decided in favor of a City employee, and generally treating out of state workers like shit, no one wants to come to Dickinson or stay in Dickinson once they find out what it is like.

Limiting the amount of time that a person working in Dickinson can stay in a campground in their RV or travel trailer to 270 days, is not going to turn all of these people into apartment renters, house renters, or house buyers in Dickinson.  Many of them, who may have spent up to $80,000 on their RV or travel trailer, will just plan on moving on in nine months.  Not only not renting or buying a home in Dickinson, but not renting in a campground or living in Dickinson at all.

I don’t know when, if ever, the people in Dickinson will realize that they are driving people out of Dickinson to such an extent that Dickinson will eventually look like Belfield, Richardton, Taylor, Gladstone, New England, Dodge, or Haliday.  To the property owners that are so greedy, what will your property be worth when no one wants to come to Dickinson and more and more people leave Dickinson?

What North Dakota Land Owners Should Have Done With Their Oil Revenue Money

In yesterday’s blog post about North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum not liking the Dickinson area, in the last paragraph I wrote the sarcastic comment that the Governor was very impressed with how land owners spent their oil revenue money on luxury fifth-wheel travel trailers, side-by-side buggies, and four-dour four-wheel-drive lifted one-ton diesel trucks.  I want to explain and elaborate on why the behavior of Dickinson area people is irritating and ignorant to people elsewhere in North Dakota, the U.S., and the World.

In western North Dakota, where farmers were poor historically, when the most recent Oil Boom came in 2007, thousands of land owners began receiving large initial oil lease payments, and then later monthly oil well production payments.  Not having had this kind of money before, and not knowing what to do with it, many local land owners could only think to buy the biggest and most expensive pickup truck that they could find, the biggest and most expensive fifth-wheel travel trailer they could find, and then the most expensive four-wheelers and side-by-side buggies they could find.

To educated, professional people, who either had good incomes, would have good incomes, or came from middle-class, upper middle-class, or wealthy families, this kind of spending of once-in-a-lifetime windfall money, was foolish, ignorant, reckless, obnoxious, and even tragic.  The money that could have benefited entire families for generations to come, was going to disappear within ten years, like it never even happened.

To explain this, some of the larger four-door four-wheel-drive lifted one-ton diesel pickup trucks can cost $80,000 new.  The largest fifth-wheel luxury travel trailers $80,000 new.  The nicest side-by-side off-road buggies $20,000.  Add these three items up, and the total is $180,000.  Then add sales tax, registration fees, title fees, and insurance, and the cost is easily $200,000.

Ten years from now, the truck will be worth about $20,000, the travel trailer about $20,000, and the side-by-side buggy about $5,000, altogether about $45,000.  Together, this is a $155,000 loss on an investment of $200,000.

To educated people, or wealthy people, with an initial investment of $200,000 in the right stocks or the right real estate, ten years later you could have $400,000.  It is a tragedy that someone could take $200,000 and turn it into $45,000 ten years down the road.

So when Dickinson area North Dakotans think that they are impressing people when they are driving down the road in an $80,000 truck, towing an $80,000 trailer, towing a $20,000 side-by-side buggy, they are actually embarrassing themselves, showing their ignorance, and showing their lack of understanding about money.

Rather than staying in a campground in a travel-trailer every year for ten years, and at the end of ten years the truck, trailer, and buggy are worth $45,000, having lost $155,000 in depreciation, the initial cost of $200,000, if it were invested, could have paid for a luxury vacation anywhere on Earth, not for ten years, but for an entire lifetime.

How should have North Dakotans spent or invested their initial lease payment and oil revenue money, in a way that would have been the most beneficial to themselves and their families?  In the oil field where I worked in southwest Texas in 2012, the ranch owners built guest houses or guest cottages with their oil revenue money, and I will explain why this was a good idea.

In southwest Texas, the land was kind of barren and desolate, not that much different than the land in western North Dakota.  Instead of getting down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit like North Dakota, it got up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the summer in southwest Texas.  Like the farms in North Dakota, the ranches in southwest Texas were not very fancy sometimes, because the owners had not always had money.

In the oil field where I worked in Texas, once the ranch owners began receiving oil revenue money, many of them built guest houses or guest cottages on their property, that ranged from nice to very impressive.  I don’t mean that they went and bought single-wide or double-wide manufactured homes and placed them next to each other on their property like a trailer park, I mean they put a lot of thought and pride into creating something on their property that was an enhancement, improvement, and beautification.

The ranch owners would pick a spot on their property that they had always thought of as a good place to build a house, whether on a hill with a good view, in the middle of some trees that provided shade, or near a fishing pond.  They would think out and plan what kind of house or cottage they wanted, would it have a front porch, a back porch, a patio for Barbequeing, a swimming pool, a grass lawn, landscaping?

The ranchers intended to rent out their guest house or guest cottage to hunters, or oil field companies if it were going to be used for professional personnel.  Or, they would allow their friends, relatives, or guests to stay in their guest house or guest cottage.  But in any case, they built, furnished, and decorated their guest house or guest cottage to be something that was attractive, inviting, enjoyable, and something that they could show off and be proud of.

In the Dickinson area, if land owners who began receiving oil revenue would have built nice guest houses or guest cottages on their property, this would have been something that was very beneficial to themselves, their family, and others.  Instead of spending $80,000 on a fifth-wheel travel trailer that would be worth only $20,000 ten years later, this $80,000 would be enough to build a nice guest cottage on their land.

During hunting season, pheasant hunters or deer hunters would have paid $1,000 per week for a nice, furnished cottage on a farm in rural western North Dakota.  For just four weeks rental per year, this would have been $4,000 per year income for the next twenty years, re-paying the $80,000 initial cost to build it.  The other forty-eight weeks per year, friends, family members, adult children, or grandchildren could have been invited to visit and stay in the cottage.

During the Oil Boom, a guest cottage could have been rented to a professional person working in the oil field for $1,500 per month, which equals $18,000 per year, taking only five years to re-pay the $80,000 initial cost to build it.

When I mentioned that this guest house building or guest cottage building would have been helpful to others, consider the following.  Many adult children, or other family members, either through divorce, separation, job loss, accident, injury, or illness become temporarily unable to afford a place to live.  Or, sometimes an elderly parent may temporarily or permanently become unable to live on their own.  Or, a friend or family member may be unable to afford to pay for anywhere to stay on vacation.  Or, a friend or relative may need a low cost place to stay when trying to find work in the Dickinson area.

Yes, I know you don’t want to help anyone, go buy your $80,000 fifth wheel that will be worth $20,000 in ten years.