30 May Jada: The “Big Move” to Texas
One of our combines parked on our farm, loaded and ready to go.
Our trip from home- Bowdle, SD- to our first stop each year is approximately 1,010 miles and takes two to three days to travel. We can only travel during the day because the majority of the equipment we drive is wide loads. As a result, we always try to leave early when we move so we can travel further. Another reason for this is because it is cooler- our equipment is less likely to overheat and our tires are less likely to get damaged from the heat.
Moving is a teamwork process. Perry helps guide Henrry as he backs up.
When we are on the road, moving becomes a teamwork process. We have radios that allow us to communicate with each other about vehicles and dangers coming from each way. Each person plays an important role in this. The person in the lead is responsible for setting the pace and alerting the rest of the crew of upcoming things such as other wide loads, narrow bridges, upcoming stop signs, and anything else that drivers of the wide load equipment should be aware of. The rest of the trucks/ vehicles are responsible for maintaining enough distance between the trucks/ vehicles they are following. This allows other vehicles to pass more safely. They also warn the truck in front of them when someone is following them.
When we are loaded, we have long wide loads which makes it hard to pass us.
I have heard that the biggest complaints of people who live in the heartland are road construction and harvesters during the summer. This makes me think of a song sung by country music singer, Craig Morgan, entitled “International Harvester”. I can’t help but laugh when I hear this song. While the song may not be completely accurate to a custom harvester’s actual move, the song portrays how moving can be just as frustrating for harvesters as it is to the people who are trying to get around us.
On the other hand, it isn’t a surprise that drivers get frustrated following us. We aren’t always driving as fast as the speed limit and since we are wide loads, we are hard to pass. I wasn’t kidding when I said you were boarding a train… when our entire operation is moving, a driver has to pass 11 long vehicles to get around us: 4 trucks pulling combines, 1 truck pulling the grain cart, 1 truck pulling the service trailer, 2 trucks pulling double grain trailers and 3 pickups pulling campers. Passing us would make any sane driver crazy!
Taking a break to check the equipment: Euan tightening a mirror on the service trailer.
For harvester, finding parking spots can be a pain but is necessary because we have to take breaks to check the equipment- tires, safety chains, load binders- and give our drivers a break. On the way down, we stopped and visited our friends at Vernie’s Trux- N- Equip in Hays, Kansas.
Roly filling up at a truck stop in Clinton, OK
Jada Bulgin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. All Aboard 2009 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.