Thursday, January 27, 2011

A reliable friend

I spent the day with a great friend today. The friend I am talking about is my 1998 Dodge 2500 pickup. Someday when I am really old and feeble I will always remember all the fond memories, great times, and pure cowman fun I had with this well worn old beast. I mentioned in my last post that this was my first and possibly my last “brand new” vehicle I have ever purchased.

I had made a good move in 1996 when the cattle market was in a deep crash. I scraped together every penny I could find and bought as many bred heifers as I could. I could not get a bank to loan any money because the cattle market was really bad at that time. My grandfather once told me a bit of advice that has served me well in this business. He said if you want to buy cattle, do a budget, fill out the paperwork for the bank loan and then see what the bank says. If they approve the loan then you should run far and fast because the market will soon take a downward spiral. If on the other hand they reject your loan find a way to scrape up all the money you can and buy as many cows as possible, because the market is about to turn around for the good. When he put it succinctly he would say “a banker will offer you an umbrella on a sunny day, and piss on your head on a rainy day in the cattle business.” Sadly he was about 100% correct.

The cows and heifers I had bought had risen in value and I made some nice cash on my calves. I decided it was time for a new pickup and began my search. I found the rig I wanted in Kellogg Idaho. The salesman and I had everything settled over the phone so one late afternoon I loaded up Christine and the girls and headed to Kellogg. We arrived right at the close of normal business hours but the salesman was happy to stay late. (Imagine my surprise) I was trading in a 1993 Isuzu Rodeo and after all the paper work was done we headed to their shop to get my new pickup. This particular pickup had everything I wanted except a rear sliding window. The salesmen had offered to install one and said it would be ready when we got to Kellogg that evening. We walked into the well lit shop and there set my black pickup. Complete with a removed solid rear window and a new sliding rear window lying in the bed. Apparently a mechanic did not get the memo that it had to be ready that night. I was disappointed but really used the situation to my advantage. I wailed on about bringing my young family all the way up there to ride home in our new rig and now it was all ruined! We would have to go home in our old rig and I opined that I may never be the same mentally after this disaster. It actually worked out pretty well because I was able to haggle a nice discount and a free extended warranty out of the situation. The next day they delivered it to me at home and took in the Rodeo in trade.

From that day forward this truck has been excellent for me, I feel it even saved my life at one point. (Blog post September a time to enjoy on September 27th 2010) There has never been a time this truck has left me stranded. It has had the care of regular oil changes and that is about the extent of the regular maintenance this rig has enjoyed. I feel a ranch pickup is there for use and I will not “baby” a pickup. I reminisced a lot today because hopefully this is the last time this pickup has to make the long trek to Toppenish. My new pickup still needs a 5th wheel ball but I plan to get that done soon. Today I wondered just how many times this pickup had been to the auction over the years and all the bovines it had transported by pulling my stock trailer. So many miles of bouncing over cornstalks feeding cows and checking on new calves, so many winter nights of idling away waiting on a heifer to calve. Countless tons of hay and supplements hauled, witness to so many smiles, laughs, tears and beers. Copenhagen spit on the floor, calf shit on her doors, iodine dumped down the heater vents and every kind of deli food wrapper tossed inside, yet this truck never complained. Five dogs, 3 kids, I wife and 13 calf crops were all carried by this pickup. All these things it has done for me but probably the most challenging thing she has faced is all the ranting, pontificating and just plain talking to myself she had to endure while propelling me down the interstate or a circle road. I may have replaced her for the open road, but she will continue to serve in her semi retirement here on the ranch and local area.

After I unloaded my cattle today at the auction market I parked the rig and went to chat with the auction owner for a bit. There was a group of people wandering around looking at everything that seemed too well dressed and somewhat out of place. I do not know what they were doing at the auction but one thing they did do, take several camera phone pictures of a 1998 Dodge that was covered in dried cowshit from feeding in the corrals this morning. All I thought to myself was, yep that one is MINE!

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Blue copper butterfly aka Lycaena heteronea.

Today’s pictures are a few of the best product I have ever owned and some of the things it has faced over the last 13 years