Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

On the road in rural Minnesota December 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Bales on trailer, 91 along hwy 14


ROUNDING A CURVE along U.S. Highway 14 northeast bound into Sleepy Eye, the pick-up truck lugged a cargo of 14 round bales on a recent Sunday morning.


Bales on trailer, 84 going up hill


As it labored up the hill past the Sleepy Eye Golf Club, I wondered whether the top bales would remain in place. They appeared untethered. My husband and I were following two vehicles behind.


Bales on trailer, 82 with bins nearby


But the bales stayed put as the truck and trailer topped the hill, curved past grain bins and bumped along the highway through downtown Sleepy Eye where the vehicle in front of us turned, putting our van directly behind the mound of bales.


Bales on trailer, 89 in downtown Sleepy Eye


I was hoping we wouldn’t have to follow this wide load too far, especially not all the way to New Ulm. Passing along this section of highway is often challenging under the best of circumstances. And this was not ideal with bales hanging nearly over the center line and a non-functioning left trailer brake light.


Bales on trailer, 93 turning


On the east edge of town, the driver veered his truck to the county road on the right. I was thankful, especially when I visually confirmed that the top four bales were unsecured. The bales, Randy noted, weren’t going anywhere. Maybe. Maybe not.

In the back of my mind I remembered the ice that slid from a semi trailer along Interstate 35 four days prior. That ice missiled across the median and into the driver’s side window of our van. Bam, just like that. The glass didn’t shatter nor even crack. But it was enough to scare us, or at least me. The thought of a heavy round bale tumbling into the path of our van seemed equally as frightening.

Have you had a similar experience on the roadway or observed a situation you considered unsafe while traveling? I bet you have some unbelievable stories. Go ahead. Share.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


15 Responses to “On the road in rural Minnesota”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    I am pretty sure I posted a similar picture of a hay bale laden truck on my blog from an Iowa trek one time. Probably the most interesting “Load” that I have seen was in China where there was a family of 4 on a small scooter carrying a refrigerator—-but I am sure that is common place there. 🙂 if it fit it rode.

  2. Mike Says:

    This didn’t happen to me but my cousin. A concrete block came off a truck that was hauling them and came through my cousins windshield. It ended up hitting the empty passenger seat instead of her. Thank God she wasn’t hurt, just really shaken up by the experience.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    “The bales, Randy noted, weren’t going anywhere”

    Until they do. Murphy wrote a law about that.

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    Securing loads is paramount. What drives me crazy is the people that head out on the road with 6″ of snow on the top of their vehicles and/or windows frosted over. Take the time and clear it off before leave the driveway/parking lot. While you are at it, make sure all of your windows are clear as well so you can see.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I followed a truck down I29 once and snow was flying off all over the place so I couldn’t see anything. I don’t care to follow trucks hauling hail bales either. They should clean them off before moving them.

  6. Jackie Says:

    I would have been a bit nervous about those bales like you Audrey, One big bump in the road would maybe be enough to send them into the road and into oncoming traffic. YIKES. I have no stories…at all. For that I am thankful!

  7. Don Says:

    I once had a truck in front of my vehicle blow a tire and pieces of the tire hit my vehicle putting a dent in the hood, worst part was it was a new vehicle!

    Our state is currently running television adds asking that motorists call 911 to report any unsafe motorist activities, perhaps this situation qualifies! I

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