July 16, 2012

Crossing the Mid-West

Today is 2 1/2 weeks since we went back to work from our break. That means, if we stay out our usual 5-6 weeks, then technically, we're at our half way mark! Kind of...

Last Thursday afternoon we loaded barley in Carter, MT. That is north of Great Falls.

 That morning had been rough. Malcolm had had a bad cold for several days preceding this, and Wednesday I started feeling puny. By Wednesday night I was all sniffy and I woke up Thursday morning feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. So when we found out the receiver in Minnesota didn't want their barley till Monday, we had no complaints, as Malcolm was still feeling drained and I was on my way to becoming a plague victim. We loaded up and headed east through Montana's northern plains, expecting to be home by late evening, where I planned to pass out on the couch and not move till I had to.
I love these vast rolling grasslands.
And I hate that speck on my camera lens.
I've reached my limit of tolerance and think I'm going to have to mail me camera off to be fixed. But in the mean time, we'll try to keep looking past the dark smudges on my pictures.

By late afternoon, we'd passed through Roundup and were well into the plains of eastern Montana, which were visibly dryer than those of the western side.
Quite a dramatic difference, and a depressing sight.
On a good note though, by this point in the day I was feeling much better and it was looking like I was going to have a 2 day version of Malcolm's week long illness. Lucky me! I had expected to be camped out on the couch at home, recovering, but instead by Friday morning, when we woke up in our bedroom at home with the sound of silence (specifically no traffic or rumbling motors), I was feeling energized and happy, ready to start my day with a cup of coffee in my favorite mug while organizing my time and ideas.
Malcolm worked with his dad on Friday and Saturday he worked on the truck. Friday I did house chores and laundry (sounds dull I know but I enjoyed every minute of it) and Saturday I camped on the couch with my girls, not because I was sick, but because we thought an afternoon lounging on the couch with a good book sounded really nice. So that's what we did.
Saturday evening I noticed some stormy weather moving in so I went out to see if Malcolm needed help putting things away. When I got out there he'd just finished so I stood around waiting for him to be ready to go in, and just before we headed to the house I glanced out towards the southwest and I think my heart literally stopped for a few moments.

There was a brown column of smoke quickly rising  into the air on the horizon.

Fast tracks made to the house and the phone. Malcolm's mom called neighbors while we watched the smoke and listened to the conversations. Someone had already spotted it and been on the phone. The fire was several ranches away from us and people were in route to take care of it. The wind had been blowing good all day, but now it was turning ferocious, which never helps. We were debating whether to go down there or not, when the smoke disappeared. We heard later that rain had come in and put the fire out just before people arrived. Thank goodness! Thank God!

Sunday morning we left the house and headed towards Minnesota. Seven miles from home we hit the North Dakota state line, and four miles later crossed into South Dakota.
We're on 2 lanes for a couple hours or so before we hit I-90.
Hadn't been in South Dakota for a while. It was a beautiful day! And it was clear that South Dakota is suffering from drought too. I'm beginning to wonder if there is any state in the country that's not withering.
We hit Minnesota near dusk and I went to bed. Our delivery was on the very eastern edge of the state, in Winona. And when I say eastern edge, I mean if we'd rolled a few feet to far, we'd have fallen in the river and drifted across to Wisconsin. Malcolm got there around midnight or so and they were open and ready to unload us. That was a nice surprise. Worked in our favor.

Because we had a phone message from our broker to head to Decatur, IL as soon as we got unloaded and that was a 400 mile bounce! Malcolm woke me up around 4:00am and I took over. We were in Wisconsin and the sun had just gotten well into it's morning rise.
Wisconsin is a pretty state. I like to look at all the farms. But for some reason, neither of us really cares to drive in Wisconsin. I can't pin point the reason. But if I have to drive through Wisconsin, I like mornings. There is something about morning light and farms that feels good.
Madison traffic cooperated and then it was south on to northern Illinois. I was hoping I'd not have to deal with heavy traffic. In that part of Illinois, even though it's still relatively distant from Chicago, the traffic can still be bothersome. I had a good morning. Everything kept flowing smoothly.

Illinois......Land of Lincoln!
Illinois....Land of corn and soy beans!

No pathetic corn here. The fields are so lush that mostly it's just the rooftops of the farm houses and barns that are visible from the highway, though the roadsides do look a tad dry. Irrigation.....a marvelous invention!

We got about 50 miles from our destination when we found out we'd been told the wrong town, and so now we're hot footing it over to Quincy, another 180 miles back west! Yeah, you could say we were a bit miffed with that one. Four hundred miles was a long bounce to start with, but now we've gone quite a bit out of route, and then the real destination told us they had wanted us there at 7:30 this morning, but they'll try and get us loaded anyway.  This was a high paying load, but that's diminishing with each added mile and the extra fuel we're burning to make up lost time. Fortunately these mistakes hardly ever happen. It will still be a nice paying load and, provided we actually get loaded, we'll be heading west by this afternoon and in Reno, NV by tomorrow evening.
In the mean time, I'm going to enjoy all the green in Illinois for a few more minutes, and then go stretch out in bed, read a chapter or two (or three or four or...you know how that works) in my current book, and then try and catch a little sleep so I can drive this afternoon and give Malcolm a break.


ACountryCowgirl said...

Well glad you got a little home break:) and that you half way to another one:) GOD is so good and glad to hear he put out the fire:) Those fires are devastating!

Badlands said...

I so enjoy our travels together!

Muffy's Marks said...

My heart just sunk when you saw smoke so close to the ranch. I was so happy to read it was put out rather quickly. Don't like driving in our beautiful state, probably cause the interstates are only 65 mph, I don't think there's a place in the state that you can legally go 70 or 80. Slows one down. I love those wind powered generators. My dutch heritage surfaces, and I could watch them spin for hours!!!

Dreaming said...

I hope you are feeling better now.
Amazing difference between the wet and the dry!

Meagan said...

I'm glad your cold was short lived enough that you could enjoy your time at home!!! LOVE the mug. Also, I have to say that you have mastered your camera and outdoor lighting. Those first few pictures were stunning with the sky so blue and road so clear! LOVE it! :-) Love you, miss you, mean it!!