Over the River and Through the Woods to the Radio Station Transmitter We Go… and Go… and Go
It all started with a phone call. It ended with a soggy, muddy hike to a radio station transmitter for spare parts needed for a sister station. My Saturday afternoon was spent in a corn field.
I called our station engineer, Casey, on Saturday to let him know KTEM's transmitter site was calling my phone to tell me lightning knocked us off the air. I couldn't get the station to come back online, so I called Casey. I should have known what I was in for when he said he'd take care of it and call me right back. He fixes everything ALL THE TIME, so saying he'd fix it didn't get a 2nd thought, but the urgency in his voice when he said he'd call me back clued me in to something being amiss.
When the phone call came, I never thought twice before picking up. The conversation ended with me en route to the radio station to drive a coworker, Jamien, to the K 101-7 transmitter and tower for spare parts to fix HIS radio station. This would be nothing to think twice about on a sunny day, but given the saturated ground there was no way we were going to be able to make it the 1/2 mile down the dirt (mud) road to the actual tower.
I had my Thunder Buddy, Lexi, with me so she wouldn't tear up the house while I was gone. The last thing I wanted was to deal with a muddy dog, so when we arrived at the dirt road leading to the tower I told Jamien to stay with Lexi to keep her from freaking out from the thunder and I'd take the hike for the parts.
Another phone call to Casey to let him know we were on-site led to the discovery that we were missing the keys to actually unlock the gate that leads to the transmitter building. After hearing Casey tell me I'd have to squeeze through the gap in the gate it was abundantly clear there was no way I was squeezing through that fence and that I'd need Jamien's slender frame.
I wasn't about to just send Jamien off on his own, so we all made off down the road, Thunder Buddy included, to walk through a corn field in the middle of a thunderstorm to retrieve spare radio parts. There was a row of trees lining what, during drier times, is the dirt road, and I made the call to use the trees for safety from lightning. I know, I know, you're not supposed to be under trees during times of lightning, but I also didn't want to be a lightning rod in the middle of an open field.
I've lived all over the world, and I've seen all kinds of crazy weather, but I've never dealt with mud like this. This blackland mud and my boots were like magnets for each other. You'd think that, once the mud is on the bottom of your boots, that no more mud would accumulate underneath it. You'd think wrong. With each step more mud, cornstalk pieces and grass attached itself to my boots up to the point where each boot had to weigh ten pounds.
With each step we sunk a good half-inch into the ground, prompting Jamien at one point to bring up the fact that he left the military to avoid the exact type of misery in which we were dealing. I pointed out that it's precisely why I got into radio in the first place, to avoid the manual labor.
I was mean enough on the journey TO the tower to point out the fact that our return trip was going to be even worse while walking into the wind and into the rain. I didn't take into account the misery of a (somewhat) heavy rubbermaid tote being hauled back. All in all, considering the weather, no keys and the long walk through the mud, I'd say we did alright for ourselves.
Lexi, as you can see in the video, doesn't mess around with mud on her feet. She knows mud on her feet means she's not coming in the house. I put her in the backyard when we got home, and by the time it was bedtime she'd completely cleaned her paws and legs to an acceptable level.
We'll stop at nothing to get you your radio fix, and even if it's not my station I'm down for trekking through the mud for a few miles every now and then to keep the machines making the donuts. Mmmmmm, donuts.