Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oklahoma Coal Again


I checked the date and it was almost exactly a year ago when I went to the coal mine for a load.  When I’m running low I tell Betty and she calls the scale house to confirm that they will have coal crushed to appropriate size for smithing and checks the price and makes sure our anticipated arrival time will work.  Everything looked good for a run today.  The price had gone up from $125 to $130 a ton.  US green folding money, of course.

To get a more useful price I have to figure in the hours and mileage and gasoline cost and lunch before we head back.  The actual cost is really $300 - $400 a ton delivered and in the bin.

Orio, one of my great helpers, did most of the driving.  The weather was perfect.  We saw many box turtles crossing the backroads in their summer migration and the wildflowers were beautiful.  The country was much greener than in the past couple of years when drought has gripped this region.  By the time we got to the mine at 1125 there was evidence of recent rain with water standing in the low areas.  

We weighed in and drove to the loading area for “chicken coal.”  We opened the bed and got back as a huge front end loader scooped up a partial bucked load, probably it could hold 10 cubic yards or more, and carefully filled the truck.  We leveled it off and worked it into all the corners.  This was too far to drive for a partial load.  The coal was wet and this made loading less dusty but we surely paid for some water.  We got the bed cover closed and weighed out, paid and were gone in about 15 minutes with just a bit over a ton.

Now it was time to look for a place to eat.  We found a nice buffet in Coffeyville, Kansas with salad, fried fish, ribs, chicken and great bread pudding.  I had never been in town when the Dalton Museum was open, but today my luck changed.  We spent an hour looking over the displays and I would definitely recommend it to travelers, especially those interested in western history and gun enthusiasts.  $3.50 is a bargain price.

One unanticipated pleasure for me was learning about the Patty Page connection with Coffeyville and seeing some of the material they have collected relating to her vocal career.

There was an interesting video playing which reenacted the events of the Dalton’s failed bank robbery.  One thing it points out is that this is an early example of average citizens who were just not willing to take any more of this thuggery.  In 1894 most people wren’t wearing iron on the hip any more so they rushed to the hardware store where guns and ammo were quickly distributed and they took up positions to block the escape of the gang.  The rest is history which you can see at http://www.daltondefendersmuseum.com

We were home before dark, still too stuffed to eat supper.  The weather is perfect to sit outdoors and enjoy the evening and later it will be great sleeping with the windows open, but tomorrow somebody is going to have to shovel all that coal into the bin at the studio.



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I don't often check for blog comments, so the best way to contact me is directly: at ottercreeksmith@gmail.com or djedwards@cableone.net