Posts Tagged ‘truck’

A Fresh Start

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Elsie Ejismekwu is a trucker and cabbie in Watford City. Divorced and a mother of five, she moved to the Bakken for the work, which pays more than most other places in America. Says Ejismekwu, “I wanted a fresh start so I came to North Dakota.”

Story and photos by Todd Melby

Made possible by a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council

Truck View - Watford City

Coco and Elsie

Want To Go To The Movies?

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

When you’re working in the oil patch thousands of miles from home, friends are more important than ever. Just ask Kelvin Lacey, Alfredo Cantu and Julio Pulido.

Lacy, Cantu and Pulido (left, center and right in the above photograph) are from Southern California, Detroit and Chicago, respectively. The men drive water trucks for a firm in Tioga, N.D. I met them at a Mexican restaurant in nearby Stanley, where it was Julio’s turn to buy dinner. Lacey and Cantu teased him about ordering extra food just so his bill would be a little higher. When the men get a little free time, they drive to Minot, a bigger city east of the oil patch, to watch movies or go grocery shopping. Cantu says he’s never seen so many movies with guys before.

A couple of footnotes to this story. Before arriving in N.D., Pulido spent more than five years driving trucks in Iraq for Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), a U.S. military contractor. Pulido says the gravel roads in North Dakota remind him of roads in Iraq. Lacy, an African-American, says locals in the oil patch — a region that is overwhelmingly white — have treated him kindly. However, a little girl reached out to touch his hand while he was waiting in line at a Wal-Mart. The girl’s mother apologized, saying, the girl hadn’t seen an African-American before.

Bryan Johnson: I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Everyone says traffic is bad in oil patch of western North Dakota. But until you see it and drive it, you really don’t believe it. Bryan Johnson is one man who has seen it and driven it. Once a week, Johnson and his business partner, Jim Bacon, make the trip from Spearfish, South Dakota to sell fire retardant clothes to oil workers in Watford City, a small town that’s getting bigger every day. Before moving to Spearfish a few years back, Johnson worked as a cop in Los Angeles. And get this: Johnson says the traffic is worse on two-lane highways near Watford City than in car-crazed Los Angeles.

Big green pipes on rig

Carrying part of a rig

Making the turn east

Somebody Needs A Tow