Well, I don't see this stuff every day, either.
Those three mesh grain bin lookin' things to the left of the highway? Corn cribs. No one uses them much anymore, and I've noticed over the years that the few that are left are disappearing. Very few of them are in the good shape these are. Corn used to be harvested on the cob and stored in that state, and the bins had to be ventilated to help dry and keep the ears dry. Modern combines remove the corn from the cob, and there isn't much market for dent corn on the cob these days, either. These are just north of Valentine, NE on US83.
This is a big drilling rig in action in the Bakken Formation near Ray, ND. The solid looking vertical mass on the left of the tower assembly is actually a vertical stack of drill stem - the pipe that the driller uses to extend the bit as it drills lower and lower. In the old days, roughnecks would sling chains around the pipe to loosen and tighten the joints as pipe was added or removed, which resulted in an identifying characteristic of roughnecks - missing fingers. Now it's all hydraulic clamps, but being a roughneck is still very dangerous work. Those tanks to the left of the rig? Three are steel and my company built and hauled them, and the one to the far left is fiberglass. Our customer buys those from a more local company (our versions are superior, but cost more without taking delivery into account). We set them for our customer as well. The raw crude has salt water in it, and a separator/heater (keep in mind how cold it gets here) directs the water to the fiberglass tank and the cleaned crude to the steel tanks. Some areas require more water to crude storage and some do not - a company we haul to in the Panhandle area uses a four steel to one water tank ratio for their wells. Some just take smaller water tanks.
This is a shot of part of the climb out of the Little Missouri River on US85 south of Watford City, ND. The area is in the North Unit of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I knew this picture would suck because of the low light conditions - the sky was very dark to the south, and I ended up running through a toad strangler before the day was done. The others I took were just too blurry.
But, after road construction stopped the forward wheels of progress, the more stable platform partially made up for the low light. If you look slightly to the left of the very center of the picture just a tad above the greenery, you can see what to me looks like two caves. I doubt I'll be exploring those any time soon, but it was cool to see them.
The view slightly north of the previous pic.
Farmers had a habit of parking their old machinery on top of these hills next to the road - and Robert has a term for that I have forgotten. When I was in this country custom harvesting wheat thirty years ago, it seemed every hilltop had something parked on it. Now, not so much. I suspect that collectors of old machinery have rounded up the majority of the elderly equipment.
I finally broke out the new camera, so these next pics might be better than the ol' Droid! At any rate, this was the predominant type of machine found on those hills. This would be a thresher. Back when Moby Dick was a minnow, wheat was harvested in a far different fashion than now. The ripe wheat was cut manually by people using scythes and bundled into shocks (Wichita State University's mascot is an anthropomorphic wheat shock - thus the "Shockers"). The shocks would be gathered (by hand) into large wagons and hauled to the thresher. The threshers used the steam powered tractors of that time to power their operations.
This thresher is all folded up. The far left end would have the feeder tray unfolded and the shocks would be fed into the machine there - thrown by hand by people with pitchforks. The far right spout would be rotated around to dump the straw and chaff into a wagon to be hauled away, and the middle spout was set above another wagon for the grain.
Harvest used to be a long drawn out labor intensive affair. The advent of the pull type combine ("combining" all those operations into one) and eventually the self propelled combine really opened up the ability of the American farmer to more efficiently grow more wheat far more economically.
Another old warrior.
South of Thedford, NE is a pretty neat little valley formed by the Dismal River. There is a scenic byway there with an overlook I'd always wanted to check out, so this trip home I took the extra fifteen minutes. However, the overlook required a bunch of climbing. This fat boy? Not gonna happen. So I took these pictures from the bottom. You can see the bridge carrying US83 in the picture above.
I'd always thought the view was rather idyllic. The reality is that the air isn't moving, and it's humid. Buggy, too. Sure looks purty at seventy mph over the bridge, though.
This is the view of the North Platte River from the US83 bridge at - appropriately enough, North Platte, NE. I'm not sure if this picture gives y'all the idea of how the river is so very near flood stage. This bridge makes me nervous because it is so close to the water, but lately it is very close to the water, and has flooded over and blocked traffic for a time.
So, hope you enjoy!