There is this window of opportunity in June when calving, branding and trailing to the summer pastures is done and haying hasn't started, so all there is to do is the thousand and one 'fix-its', and everybody knows the minute you cross something off that list the cows will go tear something down to replace it. If you need to take a road trip, this is the time. So we did, to my husband's home country of Brown County, South Dakota, clear out in the northeast corner, approximately 900 miles from here at the ranch, most of which involves driving kitty corner across Montana.
But let's rewind a few months, to the reason for the road trip, not that seeing Greg's family isn't enough. Many moons ago Greg told his brother to keep an eye out for a cheap grain truck in good condition. A couple of months back, we got an email with a picture and a message from David saying, "If you still want a truck, you should take a look at this one."
Greg did, and burst out laughing. Turns out, the truck in the picture was purchased brand new by his dad back in the 70's and auctioned off when he gave up farming due to health issues. Now the guy who bought it had it up for sale, and yes, cheap. You can bet Greg jumped all over that, because it is a good truck, in good condition, and it's a great memento of his dad who we lost over a decade ago.
We've been dithering about when to make the trip. Had to wait until school got out, then things kept popping up, finally last week we decided we just had to do it. Climb in the pickup and go. This decision was in no way influenced by the email from my sister-in-law about how they just bought a new pontoon and planned to spend the July 4th holiday cruising on the lake. Really. Just ask her how long it took me to write back and ask if they had room for three more on the boat.
Thanks to prolific rain in the past two weeks, the drive was gorgeous. Even the badlands in North Dakota were green, verging on lush. Almost made a person want to move to eastern Montana. A very large 'almost'. Negated immediately upon exiting our vehicle and being sucked dry by mosquitoes. My child looks as if he's had a recent case of chicken pox. Our wind here might not be pleasant, but it sure does keep the bloodsuckers at bay.
So instead of a dusty rodeo or a drive to Glacier National Park, our July 4th looked like this:
And a lot of this, which was when we realized our poor, underprivileged nine year old had never seen a professional fireworks display. Luckily, he got good pictures.
And then the temperature hit ninety with an equal measure of humidity, so we loaded up the grain truck on the flatbed trailer with only four feet hanging off the back and began the trek home with a questionable clutch, but spare parts along just in case. I'd show you a picture of that, too, but for some reason the blog doesn't feel like loading it. Suffice to say, there were a lot of wide-eyed oncoming drivers on those narrow, eastern Montana roads. At least when I was at the wheel.