Working on the trip was not originally in the plan, however when opportunity presents itself we would be foolish to pass it by. When we decided to ride our bikes around the US we gave up our sources of income in the process. Without a source of income the financial cost of the trip and subsequently paying for our future home afterward has been a concern of mine for a while. Today we would start to address these concerns.
We woke up long before the sun came up and readied ourselves for a job we knew little about. At 6:45 we crossed the street to the loading yard where we were met with the sound of diesel trucks and tractors and dozens of people bantering in Spanish. This was going to be interesting. After wandering around for a few minutes and getting a few odd looks, we finally found John and Cero, the yard boss. While Cero paired Amanda up with one of the counters, Christine, to shadow and learn the process; John gave me a 30 second course on how to drive a John Deere tractor.
Apparently 30 seconds wasn’t quite sufficient as I proceeded to crash the tractor into one of the structures. Temporarily banned from the tractor, I was moved onto loading and unloading Christmas trees. While I was struggling to pick up several hundred trees and keep up with the Mexicans; Amanda had ditched her “trainer” and gone to count her own semi.
Eventually driving tractors became more natural and Aleve became a requisite for being able to crawl into bed. Amanda became friendly with Carrie and Ann in the office and soon became the favorite counter. Over the days the temperature dropped and we were provided additional clothing from John’s brother, Regis, and Ann.
After a week of not being able to climb into bed without pain, almost as if by magic John and Cero started assigning me more responsibility in addition to counting the loads, this meant less lifting trees! Despite the language barrier, we also started to become friendly with the Mexican labor joking and laughing.
The days turned into weeks and soon our jobs were second nature. We negotiated rides to the grocery store and also went out for a beer at the same bar as Trivia Night. This temporary stop was starting to feel like our new lives.