April 23, 2010

One Potatoe, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four

I went through a bit of a slump on my blogging motivation, and while I'm still not where I should be, I felt compelled to post something and not leave completely for an extended time.

So here's a recap of the past week. I think I left you with a load of potatoes going to North Dakota. And then we were supposed to reload, but didn't know the details yet.

We found out later that we weren't reloading till Monday. So it was looking like a long weekend sitting in Steele, ND with nothing to do.

But things have a way of changing quickly in this life.

We delivered our seed potatoes on Saturday morning, and while we were unloading, Malcolm and the farmer got to talking. It pays to be friendly, you know?

Farmer asked Malcolm what we were doing when we got unloaded, and Malcolm told him we were going back to the truck stop in Steele to wait for Monday. So Farmer asked if we'd like to go back to Nebraska and bring him another load of seed potatoes. He was running out and needed more so they didn't have to stop planting. They did a little figuring, and after the farmer said he'd pay us what our brokerage service was getting, and Malcolm figured even with the empty miles we'd clear around $1000 profit, we headed out for the 500 mile drive to Nebraska.

Wasn't the weather sublime last week? I know the girls and I enjoyed the warmth and sunshine in Nebraska.
And on the way to Nebraska and back, we passed through these badlands south of Murdo, SD. I'm always fascinated.
So we brokered our first load for ourselves, and I deposited the check on Tuesday. So far it seems to be a good one. I haven't heard from the bank. That's the danger in getting your own loads, and the main reason we don't. Too many nightmare stories of not getting paid, bad checks, etc.

Even without that last load of potatoes, we had the most profitable week we've had since hauling cows over a year ago. It felt awesome to total up the weeks work. For the first time I can almost start to believe what they are saying about things getting better being true.

It was good that it was such a profitable week, because while loading on Monday morning, Malcolm found yet another trailer tire going bad. The steel cord was punching through the rubber. It was the straw that broke the camels back where the super single tires were concerned. We shouldn't have had to buy new tires for another 4 months, but they just weren't wearing right. The center was fine, but all the outside edges were worn down into the secondary rubber already. Maclolm called Mark, the broker, asked if we could delay delivery in Idaho till Wednesday, and after confirmation of that being acceptable, we planned to stop in Billings and get things fixed.

On the way there, we passed through the southern edge of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, another version of badlands. This is the area where President Roosevelt had his ranch in his pre-presidential days.

Before stopping in Billings we took a short detour at Wibaux, MT

and headed south to Baker where we met Malcolm's family in town for dinner.

Please disregard the bug splatter in the above pictures. You'll be seeing a lot more of that in the months to come. It goes along with warm weather. We mix ammonia in the washer fluid and it works wonders, but its still difficult to get the glass completly clean or keep it that way for long.

We got to Billings Monday evening, and slept at home...delightful! Bright and early Tuesday, we took the truck down to our local tire place, and after several hours of work and an unexpected problem that cost us more but was managed, we pulled out of the shop...once again an 18-wheeler instead of a 10 wheeler.

Yep, we kissed the singles goodbye and we are back on dual wheels. Honestly, lots of people are running those singles and claiming all sorts of savings, but we just weren't seeing it. If anything, they were costing us more, and the weight savings weren't paying for it.

We delivered our organic canola meal to the dairy in Idaho yesterday, reloaded fertilizer and delivered that last night near Bozeman, MT, and this morning we re-loaded there near Bozeman. We have another load of seed potatoes. These are bound for central Wisconsin, where we are expected sometime tomorrow around noon. After that, we'll rest on Sunday, load up on Monday and head to Nacogdoches, TX and then zip up to Mount Pleasant, TX for another load of feather meal going to California.

FYI: While chatting with the farmer in North Dakota, Malcolm asked the guy why everyone buys seed potatoes from other parts of the country instead of saving their own. According to the farmer, seed potatoes planted in the same soil they were grown in are significantly less disease resistant. He said even for your small personal garden, its best to buy seed potatoes rather than save your own. So, I guess that finally explains why these potatoes are being shuffled around from one end of the country to the other. Putting it that way, it does make sense to me. I found that interesting. I also find it very interesting to discover that potatoes are grown in so many different areas. So far we've seen potato farms in: Washington, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, and now Wisconsin. And for the record....these seed potatoes are going to a farm in Wisconsin, but apparently we are off loading them directly onto another truck that is taking then to Canada. So we'll add that to my list of places also, even though I didn't see it first hand.

Totally off subject here....and putting me back in the mind frame of "what is wrong with this picture" even though we solved the potato question.

We're heading east on I-90 in Montana and we just passed a truck going west...hauling a train engine. Why are we trucking a train engine? If it needs hauled, can't we haul it on a train?

Nap Time...We've had this doggy doll for a year now, and no one has shown it the least bit of interest. Now suddenly its one of the favorites. I have no idea what changed.


Shirley said...

Glad to see you have nice trucking weather. Interesting about the potatoes too; who'da thunk? Cut photo of the doggie pillow.

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

you have posted some lovely photographs here

small farm girl said...

Nice pictures! I'm glad to see you went back to the duals. I hope you like them better.

Be safe.sfg

servusmariaen said...

I was surfing photos and found your blog. I grew up in Baker, Montana.