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Laura: Big wheel keep on turning

Montana—Our family was sleeping as peacefully as possible, dry camped, in our hot home on wheels, on our way to Montana. We were overnighting in a truck parking lot in South Dakota when the screams started. It was screams of terror and panic. Ryan and I literally levitated from bed and ran, in the dark, through a jungle of packed household items, suffering minor injury, to reach the children. I thought the camper was on fire or something along those same horrifying lines.  

It turns out Little Man was having a night terror. I was never able to wake him up, which isn’t uncommon for this type of episode, but eventually we settled back in for the night. It took a bit, but Lady A finally calmed after the excitement of hearing her brother’s screams. It was around three in the morning when it happened, and it took me much longer to calm after that. Moving days are stressful and the unexpected adrenaline rush of a night scare, turned happy ending, didn’t help anyone’s nerves.  

I’m thrilled to report that all crew members and equipment are safely in Montana at the time I’m typing this. All the narrow bridges, fellow sharers of the road, two lanes, long days, scales and risks are safely in our review mirrors, at least for this trip. We only had one flat tire on a header trailer. We pray and hope for a similar return trip at the end of our run.  

In addition to the stress of getting everyone and thing to the state of our final stops of the summer run, there were lots of technical to-dos that had to happen as well. The team needed to make sure all equipment was in good working order to make the trip. We had to ensure we had a route that was oversize load-friendly with no width restrictions. Then, there’s a host of permits to purchase, and those can vary by state. For example, in addition to oversize permits, we also have to purchase harvest permits for the state of Montana. Each and every piece of equipment has to be documented including pickups, headers, trailers, campers, service trucks, or better yet, anything and everything that has wheels. In Montana, we also have to have pilot cars for oversized loads. You can either do it yourself with your own vehicles outfitted with lights and oversized vehicle signage or hire a pilot car company. Also, you may have no more than five wide loads in a single convoy.  

These are just a few examples of the many regulations we are constantly having to consider. It truly is an exercise to be able to harvest wheat across the U.S.

Oh, and Little Man never remembered his dream or his night terror incident. He woke up like nothing ever happened. I guess it’s all for the best because it was quite the deal.   

It takes all hands on deck to load equipment.
Rene chaining down a combine.
Last minute instructions before this convoy rolls out for the morning.
If possible, I try to break up our drive with something educational and fun. Here we are feeding fish at a hatchery.
We had a great time feeding the fish at the hatchery.
Lady A took this photo with my “good camera.” I think she nailed it.
I think this farmer is finished for the day.
Another beautiful view from our trip.
It’s not everyday the crew gets to drive through a rainbow. Alex is seen here in his red truck.

Laura Haffner can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc.High Plains Journal, New HollandITC Holdings CorpU.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., Kramer Seed Farms, and Lumivia Insecticide Treatment by Corteva Agriscience.

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