I have taken many a road trip in my life, beginning with those Sunday afternoon drives with my parents that with any luck included an ice cream cone from the Tasty Freeze. College road trips were similar but tamer than the one featured in National Lampoons Animal House. These days I try to make a point to take a road trip once a month around our area to keep up with all the building and drilling that is happening. I’m amazed at all that is new from one month to the next. New businesses and housing developments literally spring up from one trip to the next. This week I made a point to count new manufactured homes and apartments that are new in the last two to three years. Keeping a loose count in my head I counted over three thousand, and that was not including new town homes or houses. Conservatively estimating two persons per unit using my best third grade math there are logically over six thousand new folks living here that didn’t three years ago. Add the folks living in houses and townhomes to the mix and probably another couple thousand. Undoubtedly most have moved here to work in support of the oil boom, but who are they? The newspaper has done countless stories about new people and businesses to our area, but do we really know who these new people are? Most seem to be hard working law abiding people who seem to live to work. Along with the newcomers sadly some folks couldn’t or didn’t want to adjust to the changes and have moved. Contrary to the naysayers our town at first glance hasn’t really changed as much one would think when a town has fifty percent more people living in it than it did three short years ago. Certainly the area is busier, traffic has increased, rents have skyrocketed, help is hard to find, still crime hasn’t spiraled out of control, and folks seem to live pretty much as they did before the boom. Our town is changing at an incredible pace. Most are excited for the new hospital, medical centers, shopping center, restaurants and schools that are being built. All of which are a result of the oil boom and our area’s newcomers. During my monthly road trips it is fun to try and imagine what are city will city will look like ten, five or even one year from now. Anyone with a little time on their hands should take a drive around Dickinson to see how much and fast our town is changing.