Part 8: Herrin, IL to La Junta, CO


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The Trip

We headed to our buddy's farm outside of Herrin, IL to spend a few days and catch up with them.  We rolled together earlier on this trip in Big Bend, so the catch-up would be pretty easy.  But, it is always good to see good friends.  From Illinois, we did a speed-run to La Junta so Thor could get some maintenance done.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

I know exactly what happened here.  About 1/4 mile earlier there was a major, heaving discontinuity in the road bed.  It set Thor rockin' and I am sure that the same bump dislodged the load on this trailer.  Happily for all, the load did not actually fall and the trucker was able to retain control of the rig and get it to a safe stop.  Kudos to the driver, I am sure it was a tense experience.  Shame on the highway department for letting the state of the transportation infrastructure degrade to the point where this sort of thing is possible.  Speaking only for ourselves, we saw some shit road conditions with huge bumps that were more like a motocross jumps.  Thor did suffer some damage on a previous trip (BQE in Brooklyn, NY) and some damage to our living quarters on this trip due to rough road conditions.

We got to Mark and Gail's farm and parked in the front yard.  The hound kennels are visible at the right side of the photo above.

As is frequently the case in these things, we got drafted into assisting our hosts on some chores.  In this case, a minor drought in the are had resulted in low yield in the hay fields.  The low yield caused Mark to see alternate sources for hay to feed his cattle and horses.  He estimated he needed something on the order of 50 large bales to meet his requirement.  He located 30 bales at a farm across the Mississippi River in Missouri.  So, we prepared 2 large cargo trailers and 2 tow vehicles and set out on a 200 mile round trip to fetch the feed.  The hay looked good, so we had the vendor start loading.

The farmer had several loaders, this one based on an axle-steered Bobcat with hay spikes.  He was an accomplished operator and loading both trailers was done quickly.  As we were departing, Kathleen noticed that one of the trailer tires was nearly flat, so we stopped at a gas station and aired-up the tire for the 100 mile trip back to the farm.

We had some time on our hands and Mark asked if I wanted to shoot with him.  "Of course!" was the obvious reply.  I did not expect that we would be shooting from the basement into the "backyard".  But, since he owns the land for quite a distance past the pond, it was safe.  And, as he put it "it makes finding your brass so much easier".  True enough.

Brass control was easy, as stated, but it did get a tad smokey in the room.

After several very pleasant days at Mark and Gail's farm in southern Illinois, we had to do a speed-run to La Junta, CO to allow completion of the maintenance actions prior to our mechanic's foreign travel.  Along our route, we passed this short BNSF train west of Lamar, CO carrying 737 fuselages from the Wichita, KS facility to Everett, WA for final assembly.

While Thor was having its spa day, I took the camera around the Terry Lee Enterprises shop to see what else was going on.  We spotted this Mercedes 1224 with a BlissMobil box in for service.

This is a pure European truck (unlike Thor).  You can tell from the lug count on the wheels - This truck has 8 relatively small lugs, Thor has 10 standard large truck lugs. 

I am not sure why there is only one brush bar on the cab.  And, I did not see the spare tire storage.  Perhaps it is "conveniently located "underneath the truck between the frame rails as was the stock mount on Thor.  But, if you have ever had to change one of these big-ass tires, you will change your thinking about storage locations being "conveniently located".  Also, I doubt that these 365/85R20s will fit between the rails.

Next to the 1024 was a custom 6x6 U2450 Unimog.  This is a big, big truck.

Thor was getting the full spa treatment:  all fluids changed, brake shoes checked and adjusted, new filters, etc.

An under-the-cab inspection showed no issues except for several loose exhaust manifold bolts.  Apparently, these need to be re-torqued periodically.  Thor did get a new manifold during its last major service several years prior.

Kathleen cleaned the windshield as it was covered with plenty of dried bugs from our speed-run from Illinois.

A view of the transmission and transfer case on the U2450.  Look at all those control lines!  These are complex pieces of equipment.

Another U500 6x6 out in the parking lot.

The front of the U2450 inside the shop.

We left La Junta and headed to visit my niece in Colorado Springs and see the local gem and mineral show.  Sadly, our visit was cut short by a medical issue with her husband, so we headed on to our next destination:  Durango, CO and our good friends Brad and Laura.

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