Category Archives: On The Road Again

Time to Get This Scholl on the Road

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.

IMG_6780

 

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

Quick Stops in South Dakota

We rolled through Wyoming and made it to South Dakota to our campground, which happened to be within sight of the Crazy Horse mountain.  We didn’t go to the monument since we could see it from our campsite, I am sure it would have been interesting for the adults, but the kids weren’t excited about going.

We drove Boober from our campsite to Mt Rushmore to spend a few hours checking it out.  Our first glimpse of the mountain was made a little more exciting due to the presence of some mountain goats that were chilling just above the road.

The museum had lots of interactive exhibits, so we all took our time checking out the place.  It was neat watching the girls soak in all of the information that was very well presented to them.  I am amazed that more lives weren’t lost in the making of this monument, it was truly an amazing undertaking.  Our visit to Mt Rushmore only lasted a couple hours, we were tired from all the traveling and I was ready to get to our spot in North Dakota for the beet harvest.  We did enjoy some vanilla ice cream that was supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe before we left though.

Badlands National Park was our next brief stop on this leg of our trip.  I wish we had more time to explore this area, it is amazing how stunningly beautiful weathered piles of dirt could be.  As we were leaving the park, the storms that were rolling across the countryside were dropping visible bands of rain.  You can see these in the last picture of the Badlands section below.  I don’t think I remember seeing this before.

Wall Drug has got to be on your list of things to do as you are driving across South Dakota.  Don’t worry, the crazy road signs tell you how far you are away from there so you don’t have a chance of missing it.  It is touristy for sure, but it was a nice stop on a hot day of traveling.  They have excellent root beer floats and ice cream (the ice cream seems to be a trend on this post).

Our last stop in South Dakota was the World’s Only Corn Palace.  This is another stop I recommend, it is unique and full of great information on one of the most valuable commodities in the world.  All of the art work outside the building, and around the inside, is made from different colors of corn.  They were finishing up this years designs the day we arrived so you can see one of the masterpieces coming together.  The girls loved being able to run around on the gym style floor, so we let them burn some energy before we got back on the road.

We were only in South Dakota for 3 days, so we took a lot in in a short time.  I knew sugar beets were in my future, so we headed to our campground for the next month.  This year would be my first year as Night Shift foreman at the Hillsboro Sugar Beet Yard, and only my 2nd year at the harvest.  Beet posts will be coming soon, stay tuned…

Leaving Yellowstone

We enjoyed our short time in Yellowstone National park, but we had to get to North Dakota for the Sugar Beet Harvest.  As we were leaving Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, on the North side of the park, we had some visitors to see us off.  The Elk were in the peak of mating season, so they were wandering through the campground all the time.  There were big signs telling folks to not hang clothes on lines outside their RV’s because they would get tangled in the male Elk antlers.  When this occurred, they would have to find the elk that was tangled (usually looking for the one with blue jeans hanging from his antlers was an easy to determine which one did it) they would then have to stun it with a dart and remove the tangled mess.

As we drove through the park, we wished we had more time to explore the area.  The expansive views were breathtaking, and the clouds were just enough to add some depth to the scene.  Thor just knew he should be able to run out and chase the Bison and other wildlife.  His traveling days were usually spend with his ears and jaws flapping in the breeze.

We drove out the South entrance to Yellowstone, and made our way to the Grand Tetons.  The cloud cover and rain made it impossible to see any of the scenery in the Tetons, so we just stopped for a snack in the gift shop and headed on toward South Dakota.  Our drive across Wyoming was beautiful, but for some reason we neglected to take any pictures.  Our goal was a campground with a view of the Crazy Horse mountain…