31 May Jada: An unpredictable trip
Hoffman Harvesting is finally in Texas! The 1,000 mile trip is often challenging because it’s unpredictable. Weather, traffic, and unplanned problems such as flats, road construction, and DOT can wreak havoc on the trip down. Thanks to emails from the U.S. Custom Harvesters Association, we were prepared for road construction- which took us off our beaten path several times this year due to width and height restrictions.
Clouds and rain drops followed us for a lot of our trip. Something we cannot complain about!
The entire trip was also riddled with rain and at one point a tornado warning. The warning had us seeking out where the tornado shelter is in Kiowa, Kansas for the first time I can remember in all the years we harvested there. Thankfully we didn’t have to use it.
Theo returns again from last year. Here he is helping get ready to head south.
We were also stopped by the DOT in Nebraska while trying to avoid road construction. To anyone in the harvester world, this is a stressful event that can incur several fines when all is said and done. Whenever a harvester moves, they are required to fill out log books. This ensures we are inspecting our equipment and abiding by the rules and regulations the DOT has set for us. One is the hours we can drive.
We stop in Kiowa, Kansas to load our new combines which were transported here from the factory. This allows our new crew members to get their traveling legs before pulling our large loads. Pictured here is Theo, with the help of Martin, putting down the ramps to a combine trailer.
The law says a trucker can drive for 11 hours but then needs to have 10 consecutive hours off before he can drive again. If a trucker doesn’t fill out his log book or drives longer than he should, he can receive fines from the DOT. He can also be required to sit wherever he was stopped for 10 consecutive hours before being able to travel again.
Pictured here are Oak, Francois (Frank), Tom (background) and James intently listening as we teach them the in and outs of our truck books- the most important thing for our crew. These are put together by mother and me and are considered the go to place for everything you need when traveling and trucking. Some of the items our truck books include are log books, forms for keeping track of IFTA and loads, and also the required harvester documents such as harvest permits, insurance cards and registrations. In retrospect, I am thankful the day before we left South Dakota, we had a meeting to review our truck books and how to properly fill out our log books.
Let’s just say we all did our job. I am proud of our team! Everyone filled out their log books and our truck books and IFTA stickers satisfied the DOT. The DOT also measured our trailers for length and let us go fine free! The only thing this experience took from us was time. This meant we didn’t get to our desired destination for the day. But like we always do, we made the best of our time! We ate at Pizza Hut and swam at the campground we stayed at.
Kyle helps guide Oak onto the combine trailer.
Another thing that always has me setting on the edge of my seat the entire trip is fear of accidents. I don’t worry about our crew’s driving. They have received all the proper training prior to leaving our headquarters. I worry about how other drivers react to us. They want to get around us quickly.
While crossing a bridge today, we had to stop approaching traffic. Only our equipment could fit on the narrow bridge. Not everyone listens to us when we try to stop them. A speeding truck almost ran into the back of a line up of cars that were stopped for us. He finally slammed on his breaks and almost drove down the side of the bridge. The only thing left to prove this incident even happened were the tire marks. Please be safe when traveling among harvesters! If you see a harvester pulling something remember there is usually more traveling with him. If he has his flashers on, pay attention to your surroundings. We are trying to keep the roads safe for us and those traveling among us!
A welcome sight after several miles of driving!
Despite all the challenges we were faced with on this trip, we made it safely to Texas. We were greeted with 100 degree weather. IT IS HOT! When you come from South Dakota which has only had a temperature high of 80 degrees this year thus far- it is hot! We unloaded in the heat and got ready to harvest. Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to start cutting at some point in the day.
Taking the 145 loop in Texas. We go out of the way to go above the interstate to get on it instead of the shorter route- below it which is too low.
Jada can be reached at email@example.com