September 12, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything, and a Lot More Miles

It would appear we're setting a trend for this time out on the road. An increase in our mileage every week. Its a nice trend, but I don't think it can continue. I don't think we could survive it!

This week we drove through the prairie, the mountains, the desert, the lake (almost)....We did a little bit of everything this week!
And the grand total for the week is: 6,464 miles!

Last Monday morning we were pulling out of Williston, ND and heading to Minnesota for another load of drilling sand. We ran two of those loads last week. Along with the 2 loads from the previous week, that made 4 loads of drilling sand, every time bouncing back to Minneapolis to reload and then driving to Williston, ND to deliver.

There is road construction everywhere. Tis the season! In Tennessee, where I grew up, road construction was a year round thing. But I've learned out here, where there is actually a winter worth speaking of, road construction gets crammed into the summer months and the closer to fall you get, there seems to be a mad scramble to finish up projects or at least get to a good stopping point. Road construction signs are almost a constant part of the landscape lately. But this one, in Minnesota, caught us off guard a little.
Interesting! And it wasn't exaggerating, though I'm not really sure what work in the sky had to do with what was going on down on the road. I'm still not sure what prompted them to post the sign, but it did serve to get our attention, so we didn't miss this...
You couldn't pay me enough to do their job! That's just a little too high for me! Can you imagine how that must sway in the slightest breeze?
No thanks! I might could handle the other guys position better....
It looked like they were using the chopper to drag the lines between poles and attach them.
And that was the highlight of our drive through Minnesota!

Well, that and these flowers that were very cheery on a nice, almost autumn day!
After our last drilling sand load was delivered, we bounced 150 miles east to Velva, ND where we loaded canola meal. This is a byproduct of canola, after the oils are extracted. We hauled the canola meal to the northeast corner of Utah. It was just barely in Utah, only about 10 miles across the line. We arrived there on Friday morning just before the feed mill opened so we would be quick to get unloaded. And everything was going just as planned. We were wind rowing the product out onto the floor of a storage building. Dump it out in a long row, then close the hopper doors, and pull out of the way so the guy in the loader can scoop it out of the way. Then we back up and dump another row. Over and over again until we're empty. And all this was going smoothly, until at one point, when we were pulled forward waiting for the guy to clear the floor. Malcolm was out of the truck watching, and suddenly there was a bang and the truck lurched.
The loader had backed into the rear corner of our trailer, denting and scratching it. Some of you know my husband personally, and so you know how particular and meticulous he is in the care of his equipment. He was not happy!
But what can you do at that point, aside from filling out insurance claims and accepting apologies? Which is what we did, after finishing unloading. Shrug it off and wait till we have time to get it fixed. At least the trailer wasn't damaged in a way to make it unusable!

And since it was still usable, we headed south on I-15 a short way to Ogden, UT.
Interstate 15, in the northern region of Utah, ambles along bordered on one side by the Great Salt Lake...
...and on the other side by the Wasatch Mountains, which are so tall it takes a stretch of the neck to see the peaks. They are lovely, and I always enjoy driving along and looking at them.
In Ogden, we loaded pot ash, and after loading we dropped south to Salt Lake City, and then headed west on I-80. As we were leaving SLC in our wake, storm clouds were hovering and I was watching rain showers and lightening in the mirror.
It's roughly 120 miles from Salt Lake City to the Nevada state line. For the first stretch of that, I-80 skims along the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake.
And at times, it seems like I-80 runs through the lake itself.
There is little development when you get much past Salt Lake City. Some salt mills, a few truck stops, one or two small towns, and then miles and miles of nothing! You have passed civilization and entered the expanse of the Great Salt Lake Desert. It's about 100 miles to the next services! It takes about an hour and a half. Its lovely, amazing, white, empty...
It was dark by the time we had crossed into Nevada, and daylight found us in central California on Saturday morning. This is where the extra miles came in. The load of pot ash wasn't scheduled to deliver until Monday morning. The plan had been to deliver Monday, bounce north and reload, be in Fargo by Tuesday afternoon.
But our broker told us we should see if they could unload us Saturday, because they had told another truck they would be there Saturday. And sure enough, they were going to be there till noon and told us to come on it.

Since we were going to be empty on Saturday, the guy who was supposed to load us on Monday, agreed to go ahead and load us Saturday afternoon! So as soon as we were empty, we got washed out and headed north!
This is the Sacramento Airport. We did not load at the airport, but we did load in a field within sight of it. I watched a few planes land and take off while waiting for them to finish loading us.
We pulled into the field of sunflowers and were delighted to see that they had already harvested part of the field and had it sitting there in hoppers waiting for us! Last year at this load, we had to wait while they were combining the sunflowers. It took some time. This year, we were loaded and out of the field within an hour!
So Saturday night found us crossing Nevada in the dark again, and heading north into Idaho, and then east, and then north, and as the sun was rising, I was just a few miles shy of the Montana state line.
This has always been one of my favorite drives! US191 turns north out of the town of West Yellowstone, and slips up the side of Yellowstone National Park, just within park lines. Its the only road trucks are permitted to take within park boundaries.

 Its only about 20-30 miles actually in the park, but the rest of it is national forest land and its all beautiful! Plus its in Montana, and I never dislike driving in Montana!
We stopped at a pull off on the north boundary of the park to stretch our legs, and let the girls out to do the same.
Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day! It was about 54 degrees when we stopped, but in the sun it felt warm enough that even Paris didn't complain. The wind was calm, the sun was shining, and it smelled like fall. Malcolm took the two "tomboys" to go play in the river...
...while me and the princess enjoyed the sun and took in the views. I could have stayed there all day. I think we all would have been willing to do so. But, we still had miles to go!

We drove all day, stopping in Miles City, MT to eat and get some groceries. And this morning we are in Fargo, ND, unloaded and waiting to find out what's next. There's a possibility we may be heading over to Minneapolis for more drilling sand. Or we might be doing something completely different. We should know in about an hour. You'll have to wait a little longer to find out.


MTWaggin said...

Wowsa you have put on the miles. Amazing and I think I probably know the stop where you and the girls stretched your legs. Those two nakeds don't look that excited about the cold river water though - LOL! Drive safe and happy travels.

TexWisGirl said...

wow, except for the trailer damage, it sounds like you had a very good, productive hauling week!

Michaele said...

Good gosh that is a lot of miles! You get to see so much and share so much. I just love opening your blog and taking the journey with you.

Shirley said...

You're making a lot of miles. Sure do like that photo of the salt desert.

Dreaming said...

My rear hurts just thinking of all that time on my seat!

Thanks for the map ;-)

Jake said...

Great Pictures!!!! And dang how often do you change the oil in that rig?

Growing Up A Country Girl said...

That is a lot of miles - I really enjoy your posts... Our son is a lineman - and just loves working that high! Love the picture of your hubby and the tomboys....

Louise said...

Busy folks! That's a lot of traveling, and a lot of lovely sights to see. I love that last picture, of Malcolm and the two dogs. I'm glad they didn't go into the water, though.

Meagan said...

Goodness you've been busy! :-) Loved all the pictures... hate that the truck got backed into - ugh! Counting down til we see you at Christmas! LOVE YOU!

small farm girl said...

Are you trying to set some kind of record? lol

SunnySD said...

Fantastic pictures, as always - can't wait to see where you're headed next!