I am certain North Dakota has plenty of beautiful spots, but here I am almost to Montana and I hadn’t come across any of them. After spotting my first oil derrick of the trip, I came across this scene. The next few miles definitely made up for the last few boring weeks.
This map gives an interesting perspective in that you can see how different of a world we live in compared to that of 1861. Railroads were a relatively new form of transportation, covering just over 30,000 miles of track in 1860. The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad marked the western limit of railways prior to the Transcontinental Railroad, which wouldn’t be completed until after the Civil War. In those days, people moved products on waterways, and proximity to rivers or coastlines determined the size of a city. For example, at the time this map was drawn, St. Joseph, Mo. (along the Missouri River) and Hannibal, Mo. (on the Mississippi River) were the second- and third-largest cities in the state, respectively. While St. Joseph has slipped to ninth, Hannibal is now 41st in size as America expanded, new modes of transportation changed our economy, and our way of life adapted.