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Monday, May 16, 2011


Was up before dawn. Finished double portion of Porridge & Hot Chocolate, washed dishes and still had time to catch the pre-Sunrise from Wal*Mart Parking Lot.

Walked East on US 180 heading for the Town of LAMESA, 42 miles away. I was already weary when I set out, but did not stop until I had walked 24 miles in 6.5 hours. Had a bite, and took a 3/4 hour nap before continuing walking against a stiff breeze from the East my face going out from SPIA, but pushing me back "home". Completed 18 more miles in 5 hours, for a total of 42 miles for the day.

I was and am VERY tired. Tomorrow's walk is 44 miles to BIG SPRING, TEXAS, heading South on US 87. Do NOT plan to reach BIG SPRING tomorrow...the next two towns are also about 45 miles apart, and doing two marathons a day is a but much - even for this old guy.

Along the way today, I came across a number of the Rotary Sprinklers. The above photograph is the watering head from a "Rotary" actually working in a field (see photograph below). Above the blue disc is the water-spreader. By changing the water-spreader disc, the farmer can control how the water is spread over the plants...from a fine "mist" to a heave spray...very similar to your at-home water hose nozzle.

Please say HELLO to JORAM, employee of B & M Pump Sales & Service. Joram answered many of my questions and showed me the actual Rotary System components, which B & M sells and services.

The item in Joram's hand is another style of water-spreader I'm holding in the field installation photograph above. This disc - which can be easily changed to other styles - throws the water in a rather large circle -.

This disc on the other hand, keeps the water spray in a tighter circle and more of a controlled area application.

Joram told me that the water table of the local area aquifer is about 200 feet below the surface...problem is that the available water in the aquifer is quite small...not nearly enough to supply the vast area under cultivation. Cotton is a favorite crop. Grain crops are also popular.

This photograph is of the Wheel Hub / Drive assembly of the Rotary Sprinkler System. The wheel is bolted on the plate with the bolts and nuts. The gearing in the space above is a "worm gear" driving a ring gear which turns the wheel.

This assembly is driven by an electric motor mounted mid-way between the two wheel assemblies which roll the Rotary System in a very large circle. Joram says the small system is 1/4 mile long. The longest his manufacturer has is 1 - mile long...that means that a single Rotary Irrigation System irrigates a 2-mile Diameter Circle...making them easy to see from 36,000 foot altitude from the passenger jets flying overhead.

This is the electric motor which drives the worm / ring gears which turn the wheels to make the Rotary Irrigation System move in its large circle.

The "small" unit has seven sections, each section separated by a pair of wheels. I estimated each "section" to be about 125 feet long.

...and this is a photograph - end on - of a 7-section Rotary Irrigation System. The nozzle I am holding in the first pic is the second one hanging from the overhead water pipe...which, by the way, is 6 inches in diameter. Main overhead pipe forms the structural "backbone" of the system and is available in diameters of 4, 6, 8, and 10".

A lot more goes into this system, but I was walking and did not take enough time to get really detailed...We have a ways to go to Key West, and will certainly get more opportunities to look into these popular and efficient watering systems.

And finally, a bit of a twist. The above photograph is a "submersible" electric motor. After a water well is drilled, this motor is lowered all the way to or near the bottom, where it remains together with its "pump". The "pump" is mounted onto the top of the motor which spins the pump discs. The "Pump" a series of chambers with spinning grooved discs which thrust the water up the pipe to the surface.

Walking in TEXAS is a psychological task. Distances are so immense that one cannot see anything except field after field after all directions to and beyond the horizon. A typical photograph of the horizon is about 7 miles or so (I forget the formula, but we have a 90 degree angle and a 6 foot vertical height) Any 3rd Grader reading this can figure the distance to the horizon !

Walking to the horizon is foolish because one never gets there...just forget how far it really is and concentrate on one step at a time...after a while - a long while - SPIA shows up in the distance...waiting with her cold Chocolate Milk and soft bunk.

Trees out here are a "wondrous" thing...simply because there are so few of them. I walked all day and came upon two small groves of trees. All the rest of my walk was over endless fields and that elusive horizon.

Side roads are usually un-paved. They also go on and on in straight lines into the en ending distance.

A plowed, furrowed - and probably already planted - field.

Fields out here are not measured in Acres...they are of the size of many square miles...there simply is NO end to them.

This photograph was at extreme telephoto range...probably a mile away. There are actually three tractor units working together to plow, furrow - and probably plant seeds - . It took the three-some at least 20 minutes at about 15 miles per hour to make one pass across this field as I walked and watched from US 180.

This fellow was working alone in another field on the opposite side of US 180. He is plowing, furrowing and planting about 15 rows all at the same time. His field also went to and beyond the horizon. The brisk wind blew dust over me at least 4 times as he passed and re-passed by me.

Farming out here on the TEXAS Plains is "heady" stuff. Yes, TEXAS is big. So are the farms and fields these farmers tend.

DAILY UPDATE: Walked 42 miles today...not to be repeated for some time ! ! !

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 42 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.84 for the day.

SPIA, SAM & ME are parked on US 87, at the South end of the town of LAMESA, TEXAS. In the morning, SPIA will remain parked while I see how I manage for the first walk of the day.

I have learned that the wind comes up quite the Sun rises into the sky and heats the ground, warm air rises and cold air from above falls into the vacant space; i.e.: W I N D. The wind gets up around 20 - 30 miles per hour by 8:00 am or so...and I am simply too pooped to push SAM at the moment, so SAM stays on SPIA until the wind cycle reduces or I somehow find the stuff Superman eats.

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