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Beet Harvest Day 1 – Wet, Muddy, + Hurry Up and Wait

Beet Harvest Day 1 – Wet, Muddy, + Hurry Up and Wait


Due to today’s conditions, it was very much a day of “hurry up and wait.”

🌡️ Temperature: 52F morning

🌧️ Weather: Rain, Mist

💨 Wind: 5-10 mph

Good Morning! “Camp Mode” to “Drive Mode”

A travel couple getting ready to work the sugar beet harvest and hurry up and wait!
Morning Beet Harvest Selfie

Nothing like a 5:30am alarm to shock your senses!

We need to wake up early to get the morning rhythm down. We get on clothes were not used to wearing…jeans. Jeans…what inflexible pants! We eat breakfast and fix some caffeine.

Bringing the van to the job site every day has its pros and cons.

➕ Pros:

  • All our food is with us…we’ll never run out of snacks.
  • We have all of our layers with us…we can change clothes between breaks easily.
  • Our van has a toilet…we don’t have to use the porta-potty.

➖ Cons:

  • Shifting the van from “camp mode” to “drive mode” every day
  • Mud gets into the van super easily

While it seems easy to switch from “camp mode” to “drive mode” it always takes more time than you think. We have a large winter comforter with us and the weather has stayed warm. So, the comforter moves every day from the front driver’s seat to the bed and back again. A number of other items also do that migration: extra work clothes, a shower bag we’ve compiled, some of our Costco supply of snacks we brought.

Safety Meeting

Each shift that we will work is 12 hours. We actually have to arrive and clock in 30 minutes prior. Thus, we have 12.5 hour shifts daily (weather permitting).

For Day 1, the foreman asked us to come a 7am instead of 7:30am making it a 13 hour day.

🌧️ We woke up to a drizzly rain and mist. Definitely should have left just a tad bit earlier to defrost the windshield.

At the time shack, we got our first safety meeting in the rain. I’m not sure how effective it actually was because most of us got pretty wet in the process of standing in the rain.

👖 Also, I really don’t know why jeans are considered good work attire. They’re durable for sure, but their benefits stop there. When they get wet, they don’t dry easily. They’re cold and not very wind resistant. But, they requested jeans. Luckily, thrift stores have plenty of them.

(That’s a main reason we never hike in them! Ever!)

There, we heard that our piler still had pre-pile beets. The factory needs to eat those beets before we make the long-term pile. So, our crew got re-distributed today to other pilers.

The foreman told us to drive to our piler and wait in our rigs until further instructions.

I guess, in a round-about way, the Sugar Beet Harvest is literally paying me to write this blog post while I wait to hear where to go. 🤷‍♀️

This is one HUGE pro to having our whole van with us. I grabbed my laptop, Karma’s watching TikTok, and we have all the hot beverages that we want.

Work this Piler Instead

The Indoor beet harvest piler with two piles of sugar beets.
Indoor Piler

After over an hour, our foreman told us to head to the indoor piler to work.

While it rained, this was an ok deal. However, the concrete floor quickly became slick with mud thrown off of beets. We learned to shuffle step to not slip as we shoveled the mud away.

Unfortunately, we had to also park inside. As an off-grid van, we were pretty sad to see the sun come out and not hit our solar panels. 🌤️. Good thing we built it efficiently…

We ended up taking lots of extra breaks because 3 piler crews all began working 1 piler. Having more than 5 people on the ground is too much for the piler operator to keep track of. Enter: an hour on, half an hour off.

Day 1: Finishing Stats


🌡️ 55 degrees F

🌧️ Weather: Light drizzle

💨 0-5 mph

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Friday 20th of October 2023

[…] Day 1 – Wet, Muddy, + Hurry Up and Wait […]

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Thursday 5th of October 2023

[…] ⬅️ Go Back to Day 1 Check Out Our Van ➡️ […]

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