Early last Sunday morning, Lloyd headed north, dropped a grain trailer off in Belle Fourche, and headed back to Chappell. As expected, we finished easily in Chappell on Sunday. The ground was still damp but the truck drivers took caution in not getting the trucks stuck and all was well. Once the guys were done cutting, it was time to blow off the combines and tractor / grain cart, which always everyone’s favorite job. (Said with sarcasm.) Blake’s new – and expensive – air compressor broke. Luckily, the replacement parts are under warranty and it sounds like they will be shipped to Circle. Which, being in use less than two months, it should be covered but you never know anymore. Once the cleaning was done, it was time to load. There was absolutely no wind and it was hot that day. All the guys looked pretty wore out by the time they came in to eat.
We had some settling up to do Monday morning so I wasn’t in a super big hurry getting the kids up and moving. That is until Blake popped in and told me we were leaving ahead of the group to make sure the construction by Alliance wasn’t going to be an issue. After a rush to get going, we were heading to Chadron. After making it through the construction (it was fine), we continued on our way and the kids did great. I often take for granted how great of travelers they really are – and Blake takes for granted my tolerance of screaming when the kids are absolutely over it. Ha.
We tossed around the idea of moving ahead to Belle Fourche but the combines needed to be unloaded, trailers picked up from Chappell, and ultimately decided to just get everything together in Chadron and leave in the morning. The kids FINALLY took a nap (good at traveling, bad at sleeping, can’t have it all) and so Leigh and I took them to the park. We were there about fifteen minute before it started lightning but even a little park time makes a difference in their moods. Speaking of park time, I have been expotentially better at getting the kids to the park this year. I know I could be doing a hundred things better but am happy to have made this improvement for the kids. In return, they have gotten pretty good when I say it is time to leave. There is always the request to do one more thing but we usually are able to get out of there within five minutes of me calling time. For me, that’s half the battle. At the beginning of the summer, I made it clear I would take them more if they were good when it was time to leave and it’s worked out really well for us.
So when we back from the park and Blake had put a new wheel on my sliding glass door. Praise the Lord! It has been getting stickier and stickier and then it broke while in Chappell so glad he was able to fix it without too much hassle. We fought the kids to go to sleep and Blake throws out, “Traveling tomorrow is going to be awful.” So I inquired about who it was going to be awful for and silence.
Tuesday was an early morning and we took off around 8. I think. Remembering is hard. Of course, Briar refused to eat breakfast and was complaining of hunger before long. Blake asked when we were approaching Rapid if we should stop and I gave him the go ahead to make it to Belle Fourche. The truck stop in Rapid is pretty horrible to get in and out so wanted to just get that crazy stretch of traveling done. It is pretty stressful traveling through the Hills and it is always a relief to make it to Belle Fourche. 160 miles down so we got out for lunch and took our time so the kids could get a good stretch.
We got back on the road and the next stop is Broadus, MT, another 95 miles. Addie needed to use the bathroom before we made it and requested to “go in da grass” so the kids and I made a pit stop. I ran her in quick while the others were sleeping. We caught up with them at the scale in Broadus and it took a while before we were able to get the green light to go. We were the sixth crew of the day and two more showed up while we were still there.
The next planned stop from Broadus was Terry, 116 miles away. However, before we hit Miles City, Addie started screaming and I pulled to the side of the road to take care of her issues. She spilled chips in her car seat and oh my gosh, it was a serious issue. She decided she needed to go potty. Then Bri wanted a try. And then buddy guy screamed his way out of the car seat. So we were a solid 15 minutes behind but caught up with them at the Terry exit as it’s a little harder to pull the combine through those hills compared to the cargo trailer. After Terry, it’s Brockway, only 47 miles. We left the truck and combine there since it is much closer to our farmer’s from there. Cal was NOT impressed when I put him back in his car seat for those final 13 miles to Circle. After the 430 miles, I stopped at the park while Blake was setting up the camper and let the kids play. Once Blake was set, we headed up to eat. We were wiped when we got home.
The next morning, Blake and Mike headed out to Jack’s to unload the combine and then drive back to Belle for two grain trailers. I let the kids sleep in and sleep they did until 10 am. Blake and Mike made it back from Belle, put on the cross auger, and tested the peas. The kids and I took out supper and it was a pretty big day for the guys. Since then, Blake has been cutting peas. He probably has about 460 acres cut the past few days. The first field averaged 20 and the second one is averaging upper teens. Considering how dry it has been, this is pretty decent.
Jack, our main farmer, is south of town. North of town is worse with the drought. Blake talked to a guy we used to help cut for and he said some of his fields have gotten 1/4 inch of rain since the snow melted. Up by Wolf Point, about 50 miles north, everything has been zeroed out. We are so fortunate to be cutting here this year.
The other half of the crew is finished in Chadron. They finished Friday but have been working on some things there and choosing not to travel in super hot weather. They will make the trek tomorrow. We will have some remaining equipment down there and some of the guys will have to head back for it sometime this week.
Crazy enough, we could be heading home in about three weeks. Since we have gotten here, the spring wheat has been turning with the high, dry heat. As a non-expert, it appears to me that it is a couple weeks off. We will finish the peas and then lentils and then spring wheat and finish with chick peas, at least that would be the typical order. A month ago, we were leaving Sentinel. It’s been a fast summer to say the least but before I know it my sixth summer on the road will be ending. It’s crazy how quickly six years have gone!