04 Jun Megan: Ready, Set, Go!
The day is FINALLY here! After a long winter and weeks of preparation it is finally time for Roland Harvesting to begin the anxiously awaited trip south. This day is always greatly anticipated and marks the official start of harvest for us. When transporting oversize loads we can only legally travel during the hours of daylight. Due to this the crew was up at dawn to do one last check over the equipment and make sure everything was lined up for their long trip. Daylight means precious travel time so when moving the convoy we have to plan ahead to make the most of our time. After a hearty breakfast the crew filled up their coffee mugs, threw their bags in the sleepers, started up the trucks, and headed down the driveway to begin their journey. The convoy will travel over 700 miles to reach their final destination near Altus, Oklahoma. Along the way the crew will stop in Imperial, Nebraska to load up the CR 9080 combine that was having warranty work completed on it. Another stop will be made in Colby, Kansas to pick up the other header. The trip will take three full days and possibly more if problems arise along the way, such as blowing tires, overheating engines or encountering bad weather. However, we will say our prayers and keep our fingers crossed that they will have a safe and smooth trip.
Unfortunately, I was unable to leave with the crew this time since I have job interviews and study sessions for boards this week. I’m still adjusting to this “being an adult” thing so I was quite upset to see everyone pull away as I waved good-bye from our dusty driveway. I usually lead the convoy with the pickup pulling the header and play pilot car during the move. This year, Kasey will be taking over my job and leading the crew. I sent him with my trusty atlas, written out directions, and a list of the best truck stops to stop at. Brandon and Jose are hauling the combines and Eric is bringing up the rear with the service truck and a grain trailer.
Sadly, I was not the only one left behind this year. Mom and Dad are also still at home as they finish planting sunflowers and millet. They hope to meet the boys in southern Oklahoma next week with the grain cart and camper. I plan to join the crew again sometime soon but it remains a mystery as to when this will be. One thing is for sure… I’m already missing harvest.
A pile of packed bags is always a reassuring sign that it’s almost time to leave. Living out of a suitcase all summer long is quite an adventure. Since we run with a “skeleton crew” we often don’t have time or an extra set of hands to make sure laundry gets done on a weekly basis. Because of this, our “rule of thumb” is for everyone to have enough clean clothes for a minimum of 2 weeks.
This empty combine trailer is an odd sight to see within the convoy. The crew will stop in Colby, Kansas to load up the other combine. The belly of these combine trailers always carry extra tires, chains, chain binders, wooden blocks, and extra canvas for the headers.
Kasey does a “mic check” to ensure everyone’s CB radio is working properly. As the pilot car, Kasey also reminds everyone to put on their headlights, calls out any oversize loads they may meet, and scouts out places for the convoy to park during stops.
This flashback is from 1996, when Brandon was 4 years old. I can’t remember if I’ve posted this one, but it’s certainly one of my favorites. This is in dedication to Brandon’s 21st birthday that was yesterday, June 2nd. It is pretty unusual to celebrate his birthday at home since he is usually harvesting in Oklahoma or Texas. The last time Brandon was home for his birthday was when he was 13 and they left for Oklahoma later that day.
It’s official , folks… The wheat at home (near Hemingford, Nebraska) is beginning to head out. Harvest is predicted to follow about 6 weeks after the wheat heads out, putting home harvest around the second or third week in July.
After seeing the crew off this morning, Mom and Dad hopped into the pickup to go continue planting. Before they left, I glimpsed into the bed and was so excited to see our very own Syngenta seed! So, here’s a thank you shout out to Syngenta for sponsoring All Aboard Wheat Harvest and for helping my family plant crops on our farm!
All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.