Technology Wars

Texas —
Ryan and I were hashing out technology and how it affects our crew the other day. We have been utilizing our map app a lot this year and in particular, pinpoints. I’m sure this all has some technical name I’m not aware of, so bear with me.

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A virtual pin.

If you’re not familiar with the technology, let me describe what we do. Ryan (or whoever) gets to a field, and they can drop a virtual pin on their phone that identifies their location. They then texts us the pin, and we can click it on our phones, our map app opens and we get driving directions to the field. It is that easy. This has proved especially handy with our truck drivers for safety and efficiency since they may or may not always move with the combine from field to field. Ryan can send this link and they have it whenever they’re ready and don’t have to worry about reaching someone for verbal directions, though of course we always welcome questions when needed if there is concern!

I admit, I’m still a little bit of a paper map kind of gal. I’m not ashamed to admit I have a road atlas still stashed under the seat. When taking a road trip, particularly to a city, I still like to have a quick glance at a map before I launch into a trip to a new place. I’m a very visual person and I need to have a mental map in my mind of where I’m headed. However, this pinpoint thing is pretty sweet when I’m trying to find the crew, especially if cell service is bad or Ryan is tied up on the phone. Don’t tell Ryan I said it, but actually I really like it. It’s an ongoing debate—I mean friendly discussion—in our house between new-age navigator Ryan and me, the hybrid between new and old. It particularly drives him nuts when I try to outsmart the GPS because I know some shortcut. Hey, since he usually insists on driving, I have to have something to amuse myself with!

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Houston, we have a problem!

So, a few Thursdays ago, I loaded the kidlets up and headed on what should have been a 34-mile jaunt to deliver supper. Things went really well for the first 33 miles and when I topped a hill I could see the crew about 3/4 to one mile away diagonally. Progress. Then the voice inside my phone matter of factly suggested I take a left and head toward the crew via what appeared from the road to be a pasture with a plethora of pump jacks. It seemed a little odd and I was really wondering how it was for the trucks coming in and out, but OK, phone, you must know best. I gave it a shot because I have traveled through some funny places to get to some hidden back field nestled in the far corner of a section. Pretty soon the GPS was as confused and frustrated as I and the food wasn’t getting any hotter. The area had roads and pipe running all willy nilly (yes, I said willy nilly). It didn’t help that Little Man from the backseat kept asking, “Mommy, where are we going? Where are the combines?” Lady A was thankfully just starting to wake up so I had a few more minutes to right the wrong, all the while exploring dead ends, low water areas, and finally giving up after going around this oil derrick only to find what I think was supposed to be the road under water.

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No wonder Kirby couldn’t see me with all the growth from recent rains. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t do a bit of justice to the maze of equipment road blocks.

Finally I waved the white flag and called Ryan. No answer. It’s moments like this you’re supposed to shine, phone GPS. Shine, I tell you! Next came Kirby. Bless his heart, he answers and confirms that it’s the crew we’re seeing but he can’t see me. How could he since my harvest mobile was camouflaged among the pasture and supporting oil equipment? I ramble on in my frustration about this being a good setting for a horror movie with a maze of roads and only one way out and that if he doesn’t see me soon he knows my last known location and I’ll work on finding my own way to them. He politely smiles and nods through the phone though I’m sure he was trying to smother laughter. I can’t really blame him. I retrace my steps, head back on the highway, and head down to the next section corner and effortlessly locate the crew.

In defense of the GPS, it probably couldn’t account for all the ridiculous amounts of rain or the random oil derrick that was placed in the path leading me to the field. I’m pretty sure I would have eventually made it if it wouldn’t have been for that. Thankfully two little kidlets in the backseat keep my grounded these days, so I didn’t go farther on a potentially ill-fated off-road adventure.  And in my defense, the crew and I came to the pinpoint from opposite directions.

In all seriousness, the pinpoint technology is a really good thing for our crew the majority of the time more accurate than the days of, “Turn left at the big cotton wood tree where that road sign is missing! I said turn left!!! Lefffttttt!”

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One perk of harvest is you sure get to add all kinds of towns, villages, and bergs to your “been there” list. This little one was located where I had to turn to head to the field after taking my travels into my own hands.

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To add insult to injury, Ryan was just leaving the field for the elevator when we arrived with supper. No time to chat when there’s wheat to deliver.

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This bird was enjoying some leisure time in the pool while watching all the commotion.

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Wheat against the sun.

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Kirby unloads into Shane’s trailer.

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The pot of gold at the end of the invisible GPS rainbow. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset despite a misadventure.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at


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