Cut Bank, Mont.- We were able to finish up in Last Chance, Colo. fairly quickly, as we cut a total of only five days. The wheat was decent for the area as it averaged over 35 bushels an acre. We were able to cut every morning bright and early, and the only reason we shut down at night was because of the 60-mile drive back to our camp. Usually when we are in Colorado, we get a little bit of downtime. We usually make it into Denver at least once, but this year was a completely different story, but I’m not complaining.
As we finished up, dad changed his mind on what we were going to do about 15 times. On one hand he wanted to take both machines and the grain cart to South Dakota to cut. On the other, he thought about taking just one machine and the grain cart to South Dakota and bringing the last combine to Montana and be prepared once the wheat is ready to cut. He eventually choose the latter since he had to double back for one machine anyway.
I was given the duty to drive dad’s motor home to Fort Benton, Mont. as the rest of the Colorado crew headed to South Dakota. Their trip went seamlessly, and they were able to make it all the way in one day. My trip, however, was more of an adventure.
I took off from Last Chance at 5:30 a.m. and by 7:00 a.m. I was battling over heating issues with the coach. I figured the header I was pulling was the cause of the issue, so I found the Case I-H dealer in Greeley, Colo. and dropped the header there. Since it is on dad’s route home he will be able to pick it up. As soon as I got back on the interstate the overheating issues returned. I limped up to Cheyenne, Wyo., and initially had trouble finding a place that could look at it. After I went to three shops, Wyoming Machinery was able to work me in later in the afternoon. Since the engine compartment is in the rear of the coach, the motor sits in front of the radiator. The oil overflow tube had blown a little oil into the radiator causing it to attract dirt. That then made a sort of gunk that caused the motor to overheat. The solution was to pressure wash the gunk off. They also made a tube around the radiator so the problem will not persist.
After seven hours in Cheyenne, I was ready to get back on the road, but only made it to Casper, Wyo. I stopped there to eat dinner with my dad’s eldest sister, who I haven’t seen in a while. It was good to catch up with her, but after dinner I was back on the road. I shut down right before midnight in Sheridan, Wyo. The next day went flawlessly and I was able to roll into my destination at lunchtime.
Dad is currently his way back to Colorado tonight to pick up the last machine, and should be in Fort Benton either Friday or Saturday.
The wheat in Montana is expected to be very good, but still isn’t quite ready yet. Dad is hoping to be cutting either Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather. So right now I sit and wait once again, but it is good to be back in the cooler weather and be home for a little bit.
The weather looks like it is about to set in here in Cut Bank, so I better post my blog before the Internet goes down. I will have an update very soon on how the rest of the crew is progressing in South Dakota.
A Colorado sunset with the grain cart and dust (Photo by Sierra Sammons)
Combine and grain cart emerging from the dust. (Photo by Sierra Sammons)
Snapshot of me driving the Peterbilt back to the field (Photo by Sierra Sammons)
The grain cart all loaded up, ready to go to South Dakota.
Dad stands in front of the convoy after we got everything ready to roll.
Sage Sammons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All Aboard 2010 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.