Author Archives: Gwen

About Gwen

Gwen is a Moorhead-based editor, writer, and musician. She owns Content & Contour, LLC ( and teaches french horn at North Dakota State University. She loves weightlifting, reading novels, spending time with her family and friends, and being a board member of the Moorhead Business Association.

The WAND Part II Approaches

This June, three members of the original WAND team – Richard, Bruce, and Gwen – will set out from Bismarck to complete the journey across North Dakota. This journey, for any readers unfamiliar with us, began in June 2011 with the additional participation of Jeremy and Tyler Bold. We walked from the Montana border near Beach to Bismarck over 14 days, roughly paralleling I-94. In this second stage, we will walk from Bismarck to the Minnesota border near Fargo, over 13 days. With a longer average daily mileage and less training due to life circumstances, we anticipate some hardships, but we also know we’re in for adventure and a great bonding experience. Like before, we will be documenting our travel with journals and some photos (probably not as much photography as last time). After the trip, Gwen will work on a final version of the book we self-published in January 2012, The Walk Across North Dakota, and seek a publisher.


The WAND II Team


WAND Reunion!

WAND Reunion!

The WAND team reunited for a walk through the North Dakota State Capitol grounds on December 27, 2012.

Revision of The Walk Across North Dakota

As I wrote about in April, I have been revising The Walk Across North Dakota this summer. Although the book won’t be finished until 2013 at the earliest, after we have walked the eastern half the state, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been adding to the first edition. I’m not sure all of these will make the final cut, but most of them will. I welcome any feedback you have.

• Section on other people and animals that have done significant walks in or across North Dakota

• Section on the oil boom and its effects  (economic, social, environmental) on the state

• Sections on the history and present-day conditions of places we passed through on the trip: Assumption Abbey, Sentinel Butte, cities and towns, recreation areas

• Additional meditations, including Richard on the idea of using rafts on the WAND

• Expansion of the daily account, including more physical descriptions

• More details about our gear, including a section on technology we used

• Section on planning the WAND, including excerpts from written plans and other documents

• Quotations from notable travel literature

• Image of a drawing we made in a Medora bar

• Expansion of individual profiles

• Note explaining how Jeremy got the idea for Nodaiku

Book Revision and WAND Part II

Our poor blog – it’s been months since the last post. I doubt many people will read what I’m writing now, but I’ll share two updates anyway:

First, I received some fellowship money from my graduate school program to expand and revise The Walk Across North Dakota this summer. (Now that I think of it, I don’t think I ever posted that I completed the book – at least the first version of it – in January.) I will be reading significant works of travel literature (such as Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon and Henry David Thoreau’s essay “A Walk to Wachusett”), doing other research, and then drafting and revising new content. I may also solicit content from other people connected to the project.

The book cover, designed by Katie Falkenberg.

Second, the walk across the eastern half of North Dakota is tentatively set for the summer of 2013. I really want to make this happen, and I think it can. I’m not sure how many of our original crew will be able to join me, but my desire to walk across the entire state is growing increasingly strong. So it may be that I’ll expand and revise the book again in the future. Hey, I’m game.

Finishing the WAND Book

Just a quick update on the book that was supposed to be complete…a while ago. Richard and I will be working on the book during the next few weeks, probably with some final input from Jeremy and Tyler as well. Though I’ve said it before, I really think it will be done soon. I apologize that it has taken this long, but a little thing called grad school has been taking up most of my time for the past few months. I will put up another brief post when The WAND Chronicles (if that remains the title) is off to print.

The WAND Calendar

Looks amazing. If you think North Dakota ain’t much to look at, this calendar will prove you wrong.

Thanks Tyler, Jeremy, and Cambria for all your work!


We have ordered the calendars for all our $60 and above donors, but Gwen will be making at least one more order in the future.  Please contact her if you are interested in ordering one.

Progress on the Book

The bad news:

We did not meet the deadline we set for getting the WAND book to print (the end of September).


The good news:

1. We are steadily making progress on this project.

2. We’re on track to print by the end of October. Yesterday we were all able to meet by Skype (no small scheduling feat for 3 graduate students and 2 busy professionals), and we got a lot of questions answered about the format and content of the book. This week we’ll be giving the manuscript to a few of Gwen’s colleagues to look over,  Richard is working on some sketches, and Tyler is working on the route map.

3. We are more confident than ever that The WAND Chronicles is going to knock your socks off.


Hey, the good news totally outnumbers the bad news!

Hey There, Good Lookin’

How about some goofy close-up shots from the WAND? I’ll start with one of myself:

Gwen expelling the unwanted contents of her nose in the tent on Sentinel Butte.

Jeremy doing an impression of a housefly.

Tyler giving a well-known sign of appreciation for the A&B pizza at Crown Butte. Photo by Mary Hoberg.

Richard establishing his gravel road cred.

More Journal Excerpts

As I continue to weave five journals and my own prose into a seamless whole (that’s my goal, anyway), I am continually amazed at how many lovely, funny, and interesting things people wrote. This book is going to be killer, y’all. We still seem to be on track to get it done by the end of this month, so how about a few more excerpts to tide you over.

Day 1 – June 3 – Tyler

As the sun itself becomes visible, like a giant spotlight aimed directly at me, I’m reminded of the scale, the magnitude, of the mechanisms at work behind the profound yet quotidian event—sunrise. I think I can feel the earth turning, hurtling me eastward with rotational momentum.

Day 2 – June 4 – Richard

It was really nice to have a bed of clouds stacked on pillows stacked on kittens’ fur that night.

Day 5 – June 7 – Jeremy

Realizing that we couldn’t keep [the pancakes] warm to eat them all together, we took turns drizzling syrup onto the cake in our hands  and scarfing them down.

Day 7 – June 9 – Bruce

With my Procrustean, four-pound hiking clogs lashed to the top of my pack, and running shoes on my pulpy feet, I felt lighter than air.

WAND Chronicles Update

We’re hard at work putting together The WAND Chronicles, the book documenting our trip. We’re giving it to many of our donors, and it will eventually be available for sale through the blog as well. We don’t know exactly when we will finish, but we’re hoping to send it to the printer by the end of September. Jeremy and I have started to have regular editorial meetings, and Richard will be working on design. The book will probably be 60-70 pages long.

Here’s our table of contents (subject to change, of course):


Sketch and profile for each participant


Day-by-day account with journal excerpts (the bulk of the book)

A few meditations/essays

Profiles of some of the people we met

Interview of an oil worker

WAND by the numbers (fun fact section)

List of animals we saw and heard


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