Thursday, September 30, 2010


I just checked the count down timer on the sugar beet harvest timer. Here is the link:

Sugar Beet Harvest web site link

Rain suits are loaded in the truck bed tool box of the Dually for quick access.


Lunch sandwiches are made. Ride arrangements with co workers confirmed.

Extra gloves, safety lock out padlock and safety glasses at the ready.


And the ever present green hard hat, with last week’s beet mud washed off.


The harvest kicks off at midnight, but we will be there early to get job and piler assignments.


we’re sittin’ dead on ready.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010



Our travel route for 2009 was similar to the one we are following in 2010.


The main difference is that we worked for in Coffeyville Kansas in 2009. In 2010, however, we will be going to Campbellsville Kentucky to work for Amazon.

In 2011 we may change the Winter trip down South to the Gulf of Mexico by working as on site security at oil well drilling sites along the Louisiana/Texas state lines, down near the Gulf Coast. We are still looking into that job at this point.

In 2009, after completing our work/travel loop and spending the Holidays at home with family, Betty and I quietly celebrated the arrival of the new year, as we prepared to head South to The Padre Island National Seashore. We were ready for some Sunshine, Surf and sand.

On January 5th we started this years loop by heading South to Corpus Christi Texas. At this point we are well past the half way point up in North Dakota. We are at the sugar beet harvest, having completed our Summer’s Job of managing a 50 site campground in Colorado.

Our Amazon job will be completed on December 23rd and we will zip home for the Holidays, and the 2010 loop will be history.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


It is Sunday afternoon at the Hillsboro Rv Park.


A mild, gentle breeze stirs the leaves on the trees.

Side dishes wait on a picnic table.   IMG_20100926_153053

Lawn chairs click as they unfold.100_2159

Conversations buzz as RVing tales are being told.


We couldn’t tell it at the time, but the soft ground was beginning to give way under the cooker. A close look at the cooker shows that it is beginning to lean already.


After a near disaster, the ribs are finished up on the grill. Chef Paul to the rescue !


Then, it’s time to dig in !

RV park owner Paul furnished the ribs and their preparation and every one brought side dishes.

WOO HOO !!! We be cookin’ out !

We are between the pre pile and the regular harvest seasons and are resting up for the big job ahead.


The sunlight is at a low angle on the horizon and Paul has another great meal in the bag !

Thanks Paul, for a great afternoon at Hillsboro Rv Park.

Friday, September 24, 2010


While in Fargo shopping we stopped into a thrift store and found a bargain !


A great gore tex jacket for under $10 !


And a HimAlayA fleece lined “hoodie” parka for $15 !

I may have to go through the closet and cull some of my older low tec fabric clothes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Meds out on the road. It can be a problem, stopping at a drug store to get them to call somewhere to get a copy of your prescription faxed to the pharmacist.

Many of us choose the simple and expedient method of having our Doctor fax the prescription to the local WalMart pharmacy. Then, after that, no matter where we are in the lower 48 states, just stop into a WalMart and drop the empty bottle off for a refill while we shop. It has made our travels quite a bit simpler. After our annual Doctor’s visit, he faxes our prescriptions and we don’t have to worry with them for the next year.


Until today that is !

Last year while in North Dakota for the Sugar Beet Harvest, we had filled our prescriptions in Alamosa Colorado, just before leaving there. This year we had enough meds to last for a couple of weeks here in North Dakota. Today we were ready to refill our meds and went to the local WalMart’s pharmacy.

To our surprise they were not a WalMart pharmacy and were quick to tell us that they didn’t have access to WalMart’s prescription data base. They would have to call the doctor to fax the prescriptions. They also told us that North Dakota had no WalMart pharmacy’s !

We went eight miles to the East to Moorehead Minnesota and found a WalMart pharmacy, dropped our bottles off and went shopping.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Topping and lifting the sugar beets is at the start of the harvest. Here is a look out in the fields where that happens:


First the beets are topped.100_2144

Then they are lifted from the ground into a truck.100_2145 100_2146 100_2148

Here is a Beet in the field.

Now when it’s mostly dry, the equipment above will get the job done. But if it’s wet, the equipment and the trucks will have to be pulled through the fields with a tractor that looks similar to this:


Man, oh, Man ! Twelve tires on a tractor that steers by bending in the middle !

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Last year when we were at the Sugar Beet Harvest we shot a video of our temporary home for the duration. It was titled Hillsboro Rv Park Tour . We are there again this year, enjoying the wide clean spaces and other amenities. Here is a link to that video on You Tube;


It is pretty much the same this year, but we are in a Coleman 36’ fifth wheel instead of a 17’ Oliver.

Here are a few photos to round out the overall view of the Hillsboro RV Park.


Typical 50 amp site.


Row of 30 amp sites.


Wide sites with trees and grass.100_2130

Playground equipment.100_2131

Shower rooms to the left, Laundry to the right.100_2132

Spacious showers with change room attached. 100_2134

Laundry room with deep sink, folding tables and hang up clothes racks.100_2138



Office door.

100_2140 The basket ball court is the other side of the office.


Dump station is a pull through at the end of the center row of parking  right on the way out.100_2142

Here is the way we look this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Our current thermos jug is a small stainless steel jug that holds two cups of coffee. It is great for our use as it holds the last of a pot of coffee from breakfast. Two cups of coffee are just right for Betty and I as we are moving on down the road. They were especially appreciated when we made our two day blast across America’s Heartland from South Colorado to East North Dakota, a 1300 plus mile trip.


We are at the Sugar Beet harvest now and our needs have changed. We will be working 12 hour shifts at night during all kinds of weather changes. Two cups of coffee just won’t get it done under those conditions. During our shopping trip through all of the local thrift stores for work clothes, we had with us a list of items that we could use should we come across them at an attractive price. One of those items was a larger thermos jug.

Betty found this new one with the instruction folder still in the top of it. Here is a look at Betty’s $2. bargain:


Note the capacity increase.


We were especially pleased pleased to note that it has two cups that screw on to it.


Were there other thrift store bargains that we found ? Yeh, you know there was  .   .   .   .   .   .

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I just received word by cell phone that I am now a Great Grand Pa ! It seemed that it would never happen.  Here is a look:



At 4:23 P.M. on Sunday September 19th 2010, beautiful Raelyn Kinzee Ashcraft, 7 pounds and 19 inches long, arrived.

SamanthaNraelynKenzee7lb19inSam and Rae, lookin’ good !

Saturday, September 18, 2010


The mud from the sugar beets is a very rich black river bottom mud. When it is on your clothing for a twelve hour shift, your clothing is usually permanently stained.

Because of the weather changes, during the course of the twelve hour shift, the clothing that works best are the high tech fabrics. The fabrics such as polar tec that will wick away moisture while keeping the wearer warm and dry.

If you have priced high tech fabric clothing, you know just how high priced it can be. So, there in lies the problem. No one wants to give two to four hundred dollars for a high tech coat and have it permanently stained the first hour on the job.

Our simple solution is to shop for our work clothing in the local thrift stores such as the Salvation Army Store.

You never know what you will find when shopping at thrift stores. And a slow and careful look around will often reveal hidden gems such as this Eddie Bauer fleece pull over. Cost $2.50.


Or this great multi zippered fleece jacket. Cost $3.


Betty found these great Dickies flannel lined jeans for $3.



We did a quick search for thrift stores on my cellular telephone and came up with a list of six that could be clicked on to bring up a map.  Soon we were off and running to the first one. Here is a look:

100_2119 100_2117 100_2118

Some of them would even take plastic which is cool because you have a receipt for the work clothing that will come in handy at tax time.


Friday, September 17, 2010


There is something about the world’s largest harvest that catches the attention and inflames the imagination. It is a pretty cool thing to be a part of the harvest that feeds so many people around the world.

As we talk about the harvest, people are always asking questions about it. When we describe how large the operation actually is, sometimes folks look at us with incredulity, so, we try again to paint a word picture that will help them to see the scope of the thing.

There are three pilers at this location. This is just one of them. Think about how wide and how long this one pile of beets is, then think about the pile being thirty two feet high. This one pile was worth many millions of dollars last year.

Here is a roll by view of one of the more that one hundred piler's that belong to the company that we work for. There are other company’s also. As the video starts you can see stacks of pipes on the left and right as the camera moves down the middle of the area where the pile is placed. The pile is so large that it will cover the area on each side where the pipes are, and will be 32 feet high. Here is a look:

Piler Drive By

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Today was our first day off during the pre-pile season at the sugar beet harvest. We slept in and then went a couple of blocks to the Country Hearth restaurant for steak and eggs ( $5.99 ), sweet !

58642_1578316868174_1543209751_1418895_5902166_s 61125_1578312348061_1543209751_1418889_7964602_s

Then we checked the mail and went to wash the beet mud off of the Kawabunga Truck. That’s when the fun started. Because it is a inside carwash and a bit different we took photos and a short video. The video ends suddenly as I began to realize that we had a problem. The car wash was just too small ! Here is a look:


The cost for “the works” , you know, wax and all of that stuff, and the code to be entered is on the register receipt.

100_2109Here is a look at the entrance. Though the height was ok, it looked a bit small. We were getting a bit nervous at this point.


Key pad for the “code” to be entered to start the “follow the instructions” process.

We entered the code and started to slowly ease into the car wash with the video camera running. Here is the video:



The lady at the register in the store reset the car wash and watched as it wouldn’t clear the truck again. She graciously refunded our money and told us where there might be a place to wash the Kawabunga truck at. We still had the pre wash soak solution on the truck and the trailer park manager let us rinse it off at the trailer park.


Thank’s Betty ! Let’s go see if we can find that car wash !