Saturday, October 31, 2009

PILES

Here is a look at the beet piles from Google Earth's lofty perch.

Here is a ground level look at the piles. Click the arrow in the lower left corner to play the video drive around.
video

Friday, October 30, 2009

COFFEEVILLE

The sugar beet harvest is winding down, and as the end draws near, we began to hear of a inside, out of the weather job, eight hundred miles to the South, in Coffeeville Kansas. After a bit of internet research and a phone call or two, we have it hooked up. Eight hundred miles South means milder weather, which sounds pretty good about now, since we have worked some 19* nights on the beet pile.
All of the paperwork is done, the interviews completed, and we are now officially Amazon dot com associates !
All of the employment forms arrived minutes after our first contact with the prospective employer and we quickly filled them out and sent them back. The end of the work day was at hand so the first thing the next morning, upon checking our email, we had the job.
All that remains is a 800 mile drive, after we finish up the beet pile here, and the orientation at the new site.
We will be seasonal workers at Amazon.com's large shipping facility in Coffeeville Kansas.
GREAT SHADES OF RUBY RED SLIPPERS, TOTO ! WE R' GONA' BE IN KANSAS AGAIN !
Camping fees will be paid at this location also, and we will be staying at the Elk City State Park, a U.S. Corps of Engineers Lakeside campground. After talking with the host there we learned that the new shower house is completed, but the laundry is still under construction.
We will be working four ten hour days, which will give us more time to explore the old historic areas there. The job will be from November the 8th. to December the 23rd. Which means we will have to day trip it home for Thanksgiving, and the back seat will be full of CHRISTmas presents for the trip home at the end of the assignment.
We are excited about this new assignment and are looking forward to working inside as Winter draws nearer.
A nearby Geocache that we will be sure to look up is DALTON'S REST STOP. Here is a snip from the geocache log page:
I thought this rest stop needed a cache. I am sure there is a reason there hasn't been one placed here so far but I don't know of one. You are looking for a cammoed pill bottle that is located approximately half way between the graves of Frank Dalton and his Brothers' Gang grave including Bob and Grat Dalton and Bill Powers.

If you have heard of the Dalton Gang and know the history of them then you know you are looking in a very historic place in the real American Wild West. Enjoy finding this cache as much as I did placing it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ULTIMATE


You don't have to be around me for very long to figure out that those that have served our Country hold a special place in my heart.
While researching geocaches in the area where we are working the sugar beet harvest, I noted a travel bug that was circulating in caches of the area. It was a special travel bug. A ULTIMATE SACRIFICE travel bug. These special travel bugs recognise those that have given their lives while in the service of their fellow man. This one is in memory of Flight Lt. Paul Martin Pardoel of 47 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
We soon got a rain day off from piling beets and Betty and I went to Fargo to the Texas Roadhouse for a late lunch. After lunch and a ice cream cone, we needed to walk a bit and I remembered that I had sent the coordinates of several likely caches for the Ultimate Sacrifice travel bug to be in, to our Garmin Colorado GPSr.
"Off the wall" is the name of the geocache and it is located North of Moorhead Minnesota. After a brief search with our Garmin Colorado GPSr, we found the cache. Paydirt ! The very first cache we went to just happened to have the Ultimate Sacrifice travel bug inside of it !
We have logged it and will carry it to a cache we have in mind, back home in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains. A little over eleven hundred miles to the South.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SIGNAGE

Have you ever been in a campground and wished you had one of these to put out front ?

There are four of these signs in one mile, two have blinking lights on them !

Lots of trucks tracking sugar beet mud onto the road ! Sometimes very large tractors have to pull them through the fields because of mud.

How did they know that I was going to leave my turn signal on ?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

SCHEELS

The worlds largest all sports store, Fargo ND Here is a 25 second video of the Scheels Ferris Wheel in the atrium of the main entrance.
videoAttention Pete ! We laid hands on several Hobie Pro Fisherman Mirage Drive Kayaks !

SHOT

FREE ! Now that's a rare thing,but that's what the notice said. It came in the mail. The origonal notice is the green one at the bottom:

The parking and pickup point was at the Hillsboro Guard armory;


We arrived at the entrance to the civic center, were escorted through the clipboard registration while walking through the line. It was a well thought out process. It was a training exercise for local emergency professionals. It also gave a good look into the quality of planning that had been done on this exercise. The planning must have been extensive because things went so smooth, all of the way through to the exit where the busses were waiting to take us back to the armory.



However, the organizers had a suprise in store for us. Just before exiting the civic center to board the bus, we were given a Subway sandwich, a bottle of Dasani water and a bag of Lays Classic potato chips !
So, the final tally for the free event was:
2 Subway sandwiches
2 Dasani waters
2 Lays chips
2 flu shots
The flu shots have cost us around $30.each, in the past, so we think that the total of free stuff for the training exercise came to around $80.00 .
SWEET !
That's a pretty good incentive to participate in future training exercises.
Hillsboro, ND at the sugar beet harvest.

Friday, October 16, 2009

DRIVE

On a snow day off from the beet pile, we took a drive. Here is a quick look at a few of the things we saw: We saw Bison out on the Red River of the North's fertile plains.
video
Video link, just click the arrow to play.

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Beet lifter at rest.
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Not a house for miles, yet there is a street sign. Note the 1/2 on the sign. It was so crowded out here that they had to designate a half street !

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

BEETatrice

Standing on a corner, but not in Winslow Arizona, what a sight to see, was a girl, my lord, but not in a flat bed ford, made from snow, a' lookin' back at me !

Several of our RV'er neighbors and coworkers at the beet harvest took advantage of a snow day to put their creative skills to work.

Naturaly they named their snow sculpture BEETatrice.



The three talented Ladies pose for a photo with their creation.

MEAN

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Some of our fellow campers here at the RV park are tent camping. Now, that's a pretty hardy individual to be tenting in the snow !
Some work the seasonal beet harvest to earn money for College Tuition. Some have long hair, some have tattoos, some have body piercing. They are always busy doing things and some of those things are quite clever. Like this snow sculpture:

Or these duck decoys that were placed in a mud hole by the roadside:

However some mean spirited person just couldn't stand it and drove through the ducks with their truck.
This prompted a clever protest/response in the form of another snow sculpture. Note the damaged duck decoys hanging from an antler arm.

SNOOOOWWWW


While on a weather break from the beet piler, we went out to dinner up in Grand Forks. By the time we headed back home, about 2130 hrs., I-29 was covering over with snow. When we got back to the Hillsboro RV park, we had an inch plus of snow on our awning and it was sagging. We lowered the awning to a steep angle to facilitate snow removal, then about midnight cleared the awning again before turning in for the night. These photos were taken 10-15-2009 at 0800 hrs.




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SIHLOUETTE

We found this mural on a wall at a VFW post in a small town here in North Dakota.

After looking at several of these millitary memorials, it is obvious that these North Land home boys believe in America and have paid dearly to keep her free.
Here is a closer look at the mural:

Done in stark contrast with no facial details, it is a scene that many can relate to. Here is a closer look at the team that the NVA Regulars are looking for.

From the sihllouette, of the patrol caps, weapons and lack of armour, it will be obvious what this team is and what it did in country. The sillouette of the NVA is accurate and even the rubber trees are right.
It makes me wonder if the artist may have been there as many of us were.

POTTY


The temperature had been dropping all night long. We were expecting to have the beet piling operation shut down at any time due to frost conditions. At about two thirty in the morning a couple of us were asked to go move our vehicles back a little ways so that the porta potty could be moved back aways also. The beet piling machine is constantly moving forward as the pile grows, and the beet trucks needed more room to make the turn around, to exit the piler.
Our Jeep was one of the vehicles that needed to be moved back further. The other vehicle belonged to a female member of the ground crew.
The porta potty has fork lift slots in the bottom of it to facilitate it's moving as needed. The bobcat has interchangeable forks and a bucket to do various chores around the work site. We are all aware of the sound of the bobcat as we are constantly around it. The bobcat is constantly zipping around the site helping in many capacaties and it is quick and agile. We all expect it to zip in, do a chore, and quickly move on to the next chore.
As I was walking back to the piler from moving the Jeep, I noted that Kay, the ground crew member I mentioned earlier, had already moved her vehicle, and had decided to take a break at the porta potty. She looked around for the bobcat and since it wasn't in sight, she knew she had time to take care of business. She entered the porta potty.
Yeh, you can see it coming, can't ya' ! He, he, you already know what's gona' happen !
As I continue on my way back to the piler, I must pass near the porta Potty, and when I am about thirty feet away, the bobcat suddenly zips up and comes to a stop behind the porta Potty !
The bobcat operator has no idea that Kay is inside there, but he hasn't came to move it, just yet, he is coming to use it himself. But he parked at the back and Kay thinks that the bobcat is going to lift it up and leave out with her inside !
Now the potty is serviced on a regular basis, but, none the less, at two thirty in the morning it is a dark, cold, smelly place. Kay didn't want to be trapped inside with all of that evil effluent sloshing around as it was being moved.
Walking nearby, the first thing I saw was the potty door come slamming open and a hard hat and safety glasses come flying out, followed closely by Kay who had a look of absolute terror on her face. Struggling with her several layers of clothing, Kay is hopping clear of the Potty, that she thinks is going to take off on her.
And the worst thing possible is right in front of her. A grinning, laughing and trying to appologise to her, camo clad redneck from Arkansas.
Luckily Kay has a good sence of humor, along with a pleasant smile, and began to also laugh at the ludicrus situation.
The bobcat operator was just getting out of the machine and never saw or knew a thing !
Later as we laughed about the porta potty incident, I asked if I could write about it in our blog. Kay agreed, but, with the request that I go easy on her in the story. Actually there was no need to go easy, for Kay handled a very awkward situation as well as could be expected.
Kay's Husband drives a Beet hauling semi tractor trailer and his daughter is also a member of our ground crew.
It was a great break from the dark and cold, one night on the beet pile !

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frost

SUGAR BEET HARVEST UPDATE
Though the money is good and the hours are long, this is one of those grand adventures that we will talk about for years. The beet harvest here in North Dakota is the world's second largest ! We are meeting great people and visiting some very cool historical places. One of those places is the site of the Hudson Bay Company's Southern most fur trading post. There wasn't much there at the site, but it was cool to stand in the tracks of early explorers of America. We have always been fascinated by those very earliest of trappers and mountainmen. The online and local research was an added bonus and amplified the experience. Today we are having a "frost halt" to the harvest and will take advantage of the day off to go to a nearby community to visit historical sites. As always, we will carry a camera.

Monday, October 12, 2009

TIME

Man, how time flies when youre' busy ! This week's recap of hours worked: 40 hrs. regular time, 20 hrs. time and a half, 12 hours of double time. One rain day off.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

STATUS

EMAIL status update sent this date:
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After a fabulous Summer Hosting at Trujillo meadows, we made a hurried trip back to Arkansas, changed out our clothing to be ready for the far Northern climate of North Dakota. Put new tires on the Jeep, ect.. We had seven days at home and it was rush, rush all the way to get it done. This was followed by eleven hundred miles of driving, straight North to our reporting location at Hillsboro ND, with a short detour to Springfield MO , to Bass Pro Shop to gear up a bit for the North Dakota weather. We did dally somewhat, driving a sixty mile stretch of old route 66, and finding a few geocaches along that route.
Photos and narative at our blog located at:
www.mountainborn.blogspot.com
The day that we finished our orientation and signed stuff for our personnel packages, we were to be off until the harvest start. But we had never seen a beet piling station before. He, he, so we drove to our assigned site to take a look. We stopped in at the scale house, and within minutes we were in safety vests, hard hats and safety glasses ! A brief tour of the facillities quickly turned into a few days of training at the pre-pile. We had started learning job skills with lots of hands on experience !
After a few days off, the harvest started and quickly snowballed into a full blown eighteen hundred trucks a day, beet piling event. We are well into the second week now and have had a shut down from freezing temperatures. Betty and I caught up on our sleep and went shopping for grocerys and a couple of clothing items to make those 12 hour nights a bit more comfortable.
It is midnight here and we are still on our night shift sleep / wake cycle. As I write this Betty is catching up on our laundry and I am getting ready to pay bills.
Hope all is well with you and maybe it won't be long til' we are camping again.
harm & bett

Monday, October 5, 2009

CAT

When we think about Caterpillar Earth Moving Equipment, we usually think about very large Behemoths that can take a large swath of the earth in every pass it makes. However the diesel engine wasn't always the way that cats were powered. Here is a faithfully restored caterpillar from 1921 that is owned by the Traill County North Dakota road department.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

BIRDDOG

We took advantage of a rain day off of work from the sugar beet harvest, to visit the Fargo Air Museum and to have lunch while in town.

The museum is a "Flying" Museum, nearly everything there will still fly !

There are other thought provoking displays related to these old war birds there.

Seniors are honored with a discount to the admission fee.

A great place to see actual still flying war birds !

And it is a good place to remember those that gave everything in the service of America. There was one dogtag in particular that I just couldn't bring myself to touch. Thank you Troy for your service to America.