July 18, 2010

Covering Ground in the Mid-West

We have covered a lot of ground this week. Still, by tonight when we reach Burley, ID, we'll only have driven a little above the average we shoot for. We'll have almost 4300 miles under our belt since leaving Chattanooga last Sunday. But we've followed a diverse trail across the country, traveling from the most southern tip of Texas to the northern parts of the mid-west, and then across to the edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Tuesday we loaded sunflower seed in southern Texas, near Mccook. It was an all day process as they were dumping it on trucks straight out of the combine, there was a truck in front of us in line, and the combine kept having trouble. We didn't get out of the field and on the road till nearly 9:00 that evening. Sunflower fields aren't pretty once they are ready to harvest. They look pretty much like a bunch of dead weeds, like the crop has been lost, baked away in the sun. But truth is, the seeds have to dry out on the head of the sunflower. Still, though the idea of sitting in a sunflower field sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day, realistically, its kind of ugly scenery. The sunflowers seeds went to a mill in western Minnesota. On the way there, we ran into a rather nasty storm in northwest Iowa. Rained so hard I couldn't see anything, creeping along the roadway, hoping the other cars had the sense to turn on their lights. Lots of lightening, strong wind, and hard hard rain. When we finally came out the other side of it, the clouds were beautiful, though threatening. I used to know the proper name for these clouds. I've since forgotten, but I know as pretty and neat as they are, they are foreboding of dangerous weather.

Delivered the sunflower seed, and loaded barley nearby. That was delivered in Aurora, NE and then we loaded DDG (dried distilled grain) near Aurora. That's what we have now. DDG, if you've forgotten, is the bi-product of making ethanol. Its mostly used as cattle feed, and this load, as many do, is headed for a dairy.

Its not a great load. Nine hundred miles and three days to do it in. So needless to say, we're dragging our feet and looking for any bit of entertainment we can find. We stopped in Sidney, NE for a while yesterday morning and Malcolm went to Cabelas again. I've been in so many times I can't count them, so the girls and I stayed in the truck, fiddled on the computer, gave the girls pedicures and Ella a much needed haircut.

And enjoyed watching the very tame geese that make the Cabelas pond their home. There are probably a hundred or more, but I only saw one pair that had goslings, which I thought rather odd. I'd have expected more. Still, it was fun to watch these three and their mom and dad taking a stroll.

And then, since Cabelas had this really great grassy field that they keep mowed and its just behind the truck parking, I took the girls out to run. We've adopted this field as one of our favorite play grounds and we always go running when we're there.Well, the two run, and Paris as usual snoops from the comfort of the concrete. I discovered shortly after this picture that she was actually partaking of a Goose Poop Buffet. So we had to go back to the truck. Besides, the mosquitoes were eating me alive. After a week and a half in the southern states and only receiving one mosquito bite, I've been surprised to find that I'm apparently supplying the entire mosquito population of the mid-west with a blood bank. They've been after me from Texas all the way to Wyoming. Maybe I drank too much sweet tea down south?

We stopped at a scenic spot between Cheyenne and Laramie, WY so that I could share this with you. We've stopped here multiple times, but usually the wind is blasting this area so I keep the camera inside. This time it was unusually calm in eastern Wyoming, so we stopped to kill time and get these pictures. Between the east and west bound lanes of I-80 stands a tree that is growing out of a rock. Its been there a long time, since the railroad came through, and it was unique enough that they diverted the railroad to go by it, and then later the road went around it.The story has it that the trains use to stop here to show tourists, the workers getting out to water the tree from the trains water supply. For the full story, you can read the plaque below. I think you can click to enlarge it. Kind of interesting and proof of how the climate affects things in this part of the country. Its not very large for a tree that's over 100 years old. We just stopped in Evanston, WY. That's on the very western edge of the state, before crossing into Utah. We have less than 300 miles to drive today so I'm going to do a little Wal-mart shopping. Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend and have a great start to your week.


small farm girl said...

Wow! That tree is really neat! I love the pictures of the girls running. They look so happy. Those clouds are called(I think) Mamma clouds? I'm not sure. I took Meterology in high school, but I can't remember that ether.

Sarah said...

Smnall Farmm Girl you were right! I looked it up after your comment came in. They are mammatus clouds, aka mamma clouds. Here's a link if anyone is interested.

Ed said...

Sounds like you are keeping busy, I moved to the Southeast Regional and have been running my butt off and an at mom's for some R-n-R and homecooked chow. Great shots! Been to the tree too..:-)

gtyyup said...

You two are busy and really gettin' around! It's been a very busy summer with irrigation and horses...I'm not getting around to all the blogs that I so enjoy reading...yours included.

BTW...I just know remember an email from you and I didn't reply to...it's on my list of things to do!

Hugs to you and Malcolm...and of course the girls too!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love trees and this one sounds so cool. Such a tough, enduring, tenacious tree to have survived so long in such a hostile environment.
Thank goodness many people recognized this special tree and made sure to protect it.