10 Aug Laura: Travel has its challenges and perks
South central Montana—Moving days are stressful and the responsibility great. There are just so many wheels on the ground (142 on this day, to be exact), many miles, large equipment, potential obstacles to navigate and, most importantly, safety. We want our teams and equipment to arrive at their destinations in one piece, but are also concerned for the well being for those traveling around us.
As stressful as it is, there is also excitement around move day. The noises and the smells just add to it. There’s the low rumble of the engines, the smell of diesel in the air, chatter as last minute plans are made, and the crunch of gravel under boots as walk-arounds are completed and ratchet straps are checked once more. Those that have lived it can relate to what I’m talking about.
Next comes the “parade” as the children sometimes call it. We position ourselves just a little ahead of the convoy to watch them pass and get a few pictures and video. If we’re lucky, the drivers will give us a big wave and may even lay on the air horns as they pass. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of pride as I watch the crew go by. These team members have left their homes, families and friends behind, in a year of extra potential risk and uncertainty, to be involved in this great adventure of travel and harvest that feeds the world, which is especially important in these unprecedented times. They are so important, not only to our team, but society!
It can be difficult to make the entire trip to our first Montana stop in one day due to wide load restrictions, trucks moving a little slower pulling big loads, etc. An overnight stop is not exactly a glamorous stay at the Ritz but part of the adventure nonetheless. Dry camping in the truck stop involves crew members, including our family, overnighting at the truck stop. In other words, some guys stay in the sleepers of their trucks or crawl into campers. Slides stay in place and windows are opened to create a breeze. The hum of trucks is almost like a lullaby, if you think imaginatively that is. Morning comes all too soon and its time to finish the trek.
Members of the crew had already made several trips to our north stops with little issue. We’ve been really fortunate this season. However, with so many wheels on the ground, heavy loads, and heat, things can and will eventually go wrong. One just hopes it can be managed safely when they do. This time the issue was a blown turbo on a truck. Since we were making great time and having a good trip it would have been easy to get bent out of shape. However, no one was hurt, we were fortunate to only be a few miles outside of town, and best of all, they had a wide area to pull over on. If we had to experience an unexpected issue, it seriously couldn’t have happened in a better place and we counted our blessings.
Even with the stress that move days can bring, the changing scenery can keep things interesting and offer a way to decompress. The children and I were able to peel away from the caravan the first part of the first day and take in a few extra sights. Some of our favorite places have been a little more restrictive this summer for obvious reasons. However, that has opened the door to other, equally cool, fresh air options and we made the best use of our miles north. You can see a few highlights below.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Agri-Pro, Gleaner, BASF, and High Plains Journal. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.