Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 60 Drilling Wheat in the Central Time Zone

Leaving Tribune, Kansas

These fuzzy guys are all across the highway.

Field of Milo and an Oil Pump (In the United States, sorghum (Milo) is used primarily as a feed grain for livestock.)

Picturesque Bins

Miles of Corn

Callie Kitty

Greeted by Brandy

Marcia and Mike swimming in neighbor Gary's pond.

Gregory jumps off the dock at the pond.

Checking out the basement at The Museum of the Great Plains in Leoti, Kansas (Darlene and Marcia are at the right while Gregory drives the fire engine.)

Marcia and Gregory point out the Mehl Family brand as shown in the museum.

Gregory goes drilling winter wheat with Marcia's neighbor Jason in his 8120 John Deere tractor.

Mike and Dorrie join in the fun.
This tractor beeps at you when you need to turn and you can press a button on the GPS and it can drive itself. Gregory says, "The tiller is 36 feet wide and it is 30 feet from the front of the tractor to the back of the tiller. He thinks Jason said it has 42 blades that cut the ridges in the ground and the vacuum shoots the seed "like a pistol" into the ground 2 inches." Maybe that is why they call it drilling wheat.

Date: Sept. 17, 2009

From: Tribune, Colorado

To: Leoti (pronounced Leota), Kansas (Wichita County)

Route: Hwy. 96


Miles Today: 24 miles


Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: 70s

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates, 8 Wyoming plates (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho plate (found in WY), 2 Colorado plates

We didn’t get very far today because as we came up to the grocery in Leoti we met Marcia who invited us to come stay on her farm. It wasn’t a hard decision to make and as we told her we are on not time schedule. She had noticed our friend Jerod on his single bike (she thought he was an older man because of his beard) and invited him to stay as well but he turned her down and wanted to do some more miles. Earlier in the day we’d crossed into the Central Time Zone with Jerod and enjoyed breakfast with him at the Chatterbox in Tribune and were sorry to say goodbye. I’d like to think we’d cross paths again but I think he’s doing more miles than we are.

What a treat we had in store for us spending the day with Marcia. First we threw our bike in her truck and drove the 7 miles from town to her lovely farm set amongst the fields of corn, milo, sunflowers and recently seeded (drilled) fields of wheat. We learned that wheat is currently being drilled (planted), then corn will be harvested and then the milo. Soybeans and sunflowers are grown here as well. Leoti also has one of five feed yards owned by Cargill; the other 4 are in Texas and Colorado. Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, & risk management products & services. Feedlots or feed yards are where cattle are raised to bring meat to your table. Mike and I were joking that after seeing one of the largest feedlots in the nation you almost want to become a vegetarian! The only problem is we love a good steak!

First thing we did with Marcia after lunch was drive over to her neighbor’s pond for a swim. I didn’t go in but Mike and Greg assured me that it was chilly! After a shower we went into town where Marcia tracked down the key to the Museum of the Great Plains and Darlene to open up and show us around. The museum has over 10,000 sq. ft. of displays and was absolutely amazing. We felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to see it. Thank you Darlene and Marcia!

Marcia knows that no cyclists can turn down ice cream so the next stop was the Dairy King (family-owned for many years) for a vanilla frosty. Mike and I had “a brown derby” that is a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. At the Dairy King we met her grandson Matthew who is a senior and runs track. He is coached by his father, Marcia’s son, Shad and is a nice young man. Back at the farm Marcia fed us an amazing dinner of pasta, steamed squash and salad.

Gregory had fun exploring the yard and playing with Marcia’s four dogs, Dodger, Squirt, Brandy and Lady. He also found a row of trees full of monarch butterflies. I’ve been told that they are migrating right now. We see them fluttering by us on our bikes each day.

As Marcia, Mike and I were finishing dinner Gregory came in and said someone was on a tractor in the field across the road from the house. Marcia said she’d have to go investigate. Soon she came back and said, “Grab your camera and come out front.” She’d waved down her neighbor Jason and had Gregory up in the cab of this high-tech 8120 John Deere tractor drilling wheat. After they’d done a couple of rows Jason stopped and welcomed Mike and I aboard. We asked Jason why they called it “drilling wheat” and he wasn’t sure but they just say drilling wheat and for corn you “plant corn”. It was really interesting watching the computer screen as we went along. This was definitely an experience we won’t forget. Later, Marcia’s husband Lanny told us that on a field where you are planting mile long rows it takes about 10 minutes between turns and you can actually read a book while you drill. I explained to Gregory that in the “olden days” before computers and enclosed cabs you’d be driving in the dust all day!

After dinner and drilling I made the mistake of lying down on the bed while making a call to my mom and I was out like a light at around 6 P.M. I’m told I missed out on ice cream with fresh peaches! Gregory got to watch a John Wayne movie and then he and his dad caught the end of the Georgia Tech vs. Miami football game with Marcia’s husband Lanny. Lanny was out drilling wheat all day and got in around 8 P.M. Fortunately he didn’t have to head out early the next morning and we got to visit over breakfast. He is an avid reader and gave both Gregory and I books to take with us. Thanks Lanny. We feel so lucky that fate put us in Marcia’s path at lunch today and appreciate all the effort she went to making our stay a special one.

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