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1207 PD: The long haul

Bill Chitwood Published on 30 November 2007

I told you last month about our great sale. Well, one thing leads to another, and you never know what that will bring most of the time.

About a week before our sale a good friend of mine from Ohio called me and told me he was thinking about coming to our sale. He asked me if I would deliver, if he bought some heifers. He knows how much I like to travel. I said, “Yes, I will deliver them.”

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Lo and behold, here Charles showed up at our sale and bought 15 young heifers, and it was in the deal that I would deliver them.

Well, it gets complicated fast. An order buyer, who was an ex-dairyman we have known for years, was the buyer of the next heifer group older than the heifers Charles bought. It was suggested that I deliver that heifer group also. That buyer lived in Iowa, almost all the way to South Dakota.

I told my son-in-law to go load all 27 of them in our 24-foot stock trailer and see how they fit. His report was they looked good in the trailer.

Just a little after midnight on Wednesday, I loaded all 27 of them in the trailer in the dark and headed out.

I got up to Joplin, Missouri, and headed north on Highway 71 toward Kansas City, Missouri. It was starting to get daylight, so I stopped to stretch my legs and check the calves, and things were not good. Two of them were down and did not have room to get up. What am I going to do? I got my map out to see where I was and saw that Butler, Missouri, was only about 50 miles up the road.

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Butler was where some friends of ours lived that we got acquainted with when we all showed cattle at the Oklahoma State Fair in Tulsa 40 years ago.

I headed for Butler. When I got there, I pulled into a John Deere place and asked them if they knew Rick. They said they did and that he worked in the bank. They called Rick and I told him my problem.

He said, “I will call out to the farm and tell them your are coming.” His dad Jerry and Uncle Ed are still on the dairy, just milking a few cows.

When I got to the farm they were so nice, like most dairy people I have met are. We unloaded the 15 heifers headed to Ohio and visited a little bit. They told me they had leased their dairy to some people from Pennsylvania. Their cattle would be moving in about a month.

Well, off I went, headed to Iowa. That put me through Kansas City and through lots of traffic, but I made it all right. Finally, I got through the rest of Missouri and into Iowa.

Iowa is a strange place. There were more highway patrol officers than I had ever seen, and they are all cowards. None of them were by themselves. There were always two of them in separate cars, one talking to the driver of the car and the other looking around.

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As I was going through Sioux City, Iowa, I looked in my rear view mirror, and there was a cop with his light blinking. I pulled over and he told me that I only had one brake light. I said like all drivers say, “I did not know that.”

Next he started looking all over my trailer and pick-up truck, writing down numbers. Then he took them back to his car. In a little bit he came back to me and said, “Get out of here. That tag number for your trailer is not even for a trailer.” He said, “If you get picked up by the DOT you will have about six violations. Those guys have trouble knowing what to do with a 75-year-old man in overalls with 12 heifers on his trailer.”

Well, I got to the dairy in Iowa about 5 p.m. I had to drive about six miles off the highway to get to the dairy. In those six miles, I saw more corn than there is in the whole state of Oklahoma.

I got those calves unloaded and headed back toward Butler to get my other 15 heifers to go onto Ohio. I stopped a few times and slept in my pick-up truck and got to Butler about 7 a.m. Thursday morning. I picked up the 15 head and headed to Ohio.

While I was loading up the calves, the Butler people asked me if I would be interested in hauling some heifers back from Pennsylvania to Butler. I said, “I am not going near all the way across Ohio, only half-way.”

But these folks had been so nice to take care of my heifers, I hated to get too rough with them. I told them to have the Pennsylvania people call me. Well, they did, and I told them that I did not know if I would have the strength to drive the other half of Ohio and then home to Oklahoma.

In about 30 minutes they called back and said that they had found someone to haul them to me. I said, “Bring them on.”

I got to Charles’ place about 10:30 p.m., and we unloaded the heifers. I got to sleep in a brand new house and a bed. I really think Charles came to the sale and bought the heifers as an excuse to get me to come and see his new house. It was beautiful, and they had only been in it three days.

I stayed 24 hours at Charles’ home and rested. They brought the heifers about 10:30 p.m. Friday night, and I loaded them up and headed for Butler.

I got to Butler about 5 p.m. Saturday, unloaded them and headed for home. I got home about 7 a.m. Sunday morning. I did not go to bed, but I just went on to church. After I got home from church, however, I crashed.

I am thinking about getting a job as a long-haul truck driver. I drove 3,200 miles in three days, but I did get that 24-hour rest at Charles’ home. Some people sure do live dull lives, and they don’t even know it.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. PD

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