August had been a goal that seemed to creep up slowly. A lot of craziness was scheduled to happen, but we had no idea just how crazy it would be. The date I needed to be in North Dakota for the 2014 Sugar Beet Harvest was set for September 2nd, and my plan was to take the bus by myself up there towing our trailer up empty to bring back a vehicle I planned to purchase in ND. This picture was a goodbye shot taken just before I pulled out of the farm driveway. It would be at least 2 months before I got to hug these crazy girls again.
I had some miles to roll since I was scheduled to take a class at Clemson University the next day on my way toward the harvest. The class was about raising oil seed crops for biofuel production on a small scale, and I had been looking forward to it for weeks since I signed up to take it. I left the farm in the bus, made it 8 miles and blew an outer dual on the drivers side of the bus. Sitting on the side of the road in the SC heat, I called Chas to come in the truck and sit with me (in AC) until the tire repair guy showed up. After being sitting on the side of the road for a couple of hours, I finally made some progress.
We have a Good Sam Roadside Assistance plan, but the assistance can be a little interesting when it comes to our unique bus. The operator on the phone at first didn’t believe our tire size existed (she had never heard of that size before) but I finally convinced her that it did. She called a bunch of places but couldn’t find anyone that had a replacement tire for me. I asked if I could find one myself, and she told me they had to do it or they couldn’t cover the cost of the service call (you have to pay for materials and labor, they cover the cost of the service trip itself). I had waited long enough, so I finally found a shop about 25 miles away that had a used tire already mounted on a wheel, and a spare tire for me too. I told them to come on, not expecting to have it covered by Good Sam. A few minutes after I made arrangements for myself, Good Sam called me back. They said they finally ran across the same shop I found, when the told the shop where I was located and my tire size they informed her that they were already dispatching someone to me. She said since that was the only shop they could find, my costs WOULD be covered by the plan after I had already decided it was a lost cause. Hooray For Good Sam Again… They came to our rescue in Deming, New Mexico in 2012.
The sun was beginning to set but I had help on the way finally, that is when another curveball was thrown into the mix. Chas and I had been sitting in the truck AC for a while, talking and calling tire places. Her mom called and said that Lilah had been hurt and Chas needed to come back to the farm. Chas rushed back to the farm to discover Lilah needed some stitches from a fall. I would have posted pictures but they are too gruesome for this blog. They passed me, still sitting on the side of the road, and headed to the ER in Manning (where the tire was coming from). I got to watch the sun set and finally got a new tire. I even made it to the hospital in time to be there when she got her 14 stitches (she beat my injury stitches total all in one shot). The picture shows the sun setting with the bus flashers on about 15 minutes before the tire arrived.
After leaving the hospital, we parted ways again. I still had a class to get to and several hours to drive before I could rest. I drove until around 2:00 am, and parked at a truck stop for a nap. I made it to the biofuels class on time and had a great time. We pressed black soldier fly larva into a useable oil for fuel production, which was one of the more interesting facts I learned. Here is a video of a walk behind combine that I didn’t know even existed. These are hard to get in the States, but they are used a lot in Asia to harvest rice fields.
After the class at Clemson, I made it to dads in the NC Mountains for a few days to help him do some logging. We made some good progress, but the rain stalled the operation. I headed up the the antique engine show in Portland, Indiana next. The show was fun as usual, but we thought we were going to get washed away after one night with over 4″ of rain. The show went on, but it was a mud bog for the remainder. I had the bus parked on a high spot so I made it out just fine. The old Harley is an incredible barn find, I really like the story that goes along with it (read the sign). You can tell Portland has a large Amish population, the Walmart features a place to park your horse. The video shows the muddy conditions of the show following the rain.
I left the show and rolled on toward the harvest but I had a few more stops planned along the way. I stopped to visit with a few friends in Illinois, and again in St Paul, Minnesota. The part of the trip I had been looking forward to since we visited the show in 2012 had finally arrived. The next post will be my experience during the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minnesota. You can check out our posts from 2012 by following the links below…. This year there is an awesome twist in events for me at the show, come back for the next post to see what it is…
Check out our first post – Kids Activities –HERE to get a general overview of the WMSTR show.
Check out our second post in this series – Big Engines – HERE
Check out our fourth post in this series – Steam Log Crane and Steam Sawmill Operation – HERE
Check out our fifth and final post in this series – Steam Tractor Plowing, Steam Shovels, & Spark Show – HERE