Around Tioga Town

We find things around Tioga town that we haven’t found anywhere else in all of our many travels around the world.  For one thing, there’s Lil’s Diner in downtown Tioga and then there’s a mix of campgrounds, man camps, and single wide trailers in town that is elsewhere unknown.  We also think that we see here in Tioga the world’s smallest airport terminal.  Jenny drove me Around Tioga Town to take pictures.

Pickup trucks line both sides of the narrow streets in downtown Tioga.  Jenny and Christopher also drive pickup trucks, each their own four-wheel drives.

Used campers are parked here for sale.  “Denali” brings visions of “Like the Klondike.”

Some big hotels and apartment buildings are now being constructed in Tioga.

Many of the old single family homes in Tioga are very small.  However, there are now new neighborhoods of single family homes that have two and three-car garages like in Victoria, Minnesota.

This is one of many campgrounds with camping trailers in tioga, a half mile from downtown Tioga.  See the water tower?  When Jenny and  family first arrived in Tioga in July 2008, they lived in a used camper they purchased and parked in a much smaller campground located near the town swimming pool.  A school bus picked up Sweet Addie Sue at that campground when she started kindergarten at Tioga Elementary School that  fall.  Addie and Gunnar loved “playing house” with Mom and Dad in the camper.

One cannot escape the dichotomy of this scene in Tioga — the old and the new — as we drive around town.  In the forefront are stones marking the old folks who made their living in Tioga as farmers and ranchers.  There are still farms and ranches in the area, but now the vast majority of population in the community are men — both married and single — living in the camps visible in this photo behind the cemetery.  Most of the cemeteries in Tioga are Lutheran and most of the surnames are Norwegian.

These single wide trailers lie along the edge of a well-traveled gravel road in Tioga.

This large neighborhood of single-wide mobile homes in Tioga accommodates families since they have more than one bedroom.  Single-wides and double-wides are very common in the entire area, but contractors are now beginning to come from other states to develop new streets and neighborhoods of single family homes constructed on site and arriving one at a time.

This is a man camp about a half mile from downtown Tioga (see the water tower again).  Each unit is approximately the  size of a single car garage and provides living quarters for one man.

An inside “street” of the man camp shows the entries to the living units.  We wondered how the men navigate when they get several feet of snow.

Oil pumps dot the landscape in and around Tioga, Stanley, Williston, and many other small towns in western North Dakota.  The five tanks, shown in the photo, store the crude oil that is getting pumped from two miles below the surface, until trucks or a pipeline will haul it away.

There are over 6,000 oil-producing wells in North Dakota, which is overtaking California as the third largest oil producing state in the nation.  Over 200 oil rigs are operating on a daily basis in the area.

Unemployment in North Dakota is less than 3% and in Tioga it’s less than 1%.  The story is massive and ongoing.

Truck traffic has become horrendous in Tioga, worse than on Highway 5 in Victoria or Highway 41 through downtown Chaska, and it’s turning gravel roads into washboards.  More paving is forthcoming.

When is the last time you saw a gas station without a convenience store or nearby neighborhoods and businesses?

Jenny poses for her mother in front of the Tioga Airport Terminal where her husband Chris, a pilot, is Airport Manager and chair of the Airport Board.  With big people flying in to check out their investments and make more investments, plans for airport expansion are in the offing.

This is the inside of the Tioga Airport Terminal.  There are also bathroom facilities.

Chris often drives out to the airport when called to fuel an airplane that has landed.  In the meantime, there’s a set of keys hanging at the door to a car parked outside so visitors can drive into town for lunch.  Also posted is a menu from Lil’s Diner.

Jenny and I drive out to their farm to check on the guys before we head out to Williston to pick up supplies for our carpenter husbands.  This is their driveway.  That’s a small barn in the distance.

The next day was bright blue and sunny so I took a few more pictures.

Seems everybody across the country is having a mild winter.  It was 46 degrees in Tioga when we were there.

Trains run frequently through Tioga and sometimes we get caught sitting behind an arm and red lights.

This is a large man-camp located seven miles west of Tioga.  It has a capacity for 2,500 men plus a large centrally located Mess Hall (curved roof building).  Across the road is another man-camp for 2,000 men.  Together their population is larger than the populations of Tioga and the nearby town of Ray combined.  Tioga’s population in 2008, when our kids arrived, was 1,200.  Today’s it’s over 3,000.  When is the last time your hometown more than doubled in population in three years?

It was fun to work with the kids in Tioga and eat Jenny’s delicious meals and sleep in their comfortable beds and celebrate Addie’s birthday.

Love, Grandma Sue