I’m riding the truck with Matt this morning and we’re hauling scrap metal to Butler Indiana. He operates a MACK 18 wheel “dump bucket” for B & K Trucking of Delphos, and he’s taking me on his regular route. We are crossing the farmlands of Ohio, and I can see huge mega-farms, smaller local farms and even smaller Amish farms with their paddocks of draft horses as we head toward Indiana.
Our destination is a large steel processing plant where flat roll sheet products are manufactured. It’s an incredibly large and complex operation and our delivery and our 18-wheeler is just a tiny little speck in a bigger and very busy picture. Not only do we deliver 58 bundles of sheet metal, we also pick up 24 tons of slag, a by-product of the recycling process. The slag is destined for a homeowner who’ll use it as a base layer for a new driveway.
On the way we pass scores of hydro-electric windmills, just fields of them. These farmers have harnessed wind power to run their operations. On route, I have the chance to chat with Matt and find out lots of info about the jobs in the area, the standard of living, his thoughts on trucking as a profession, and why the residents here voted for Trump in 2016. “He promised to bring back manufacturing jobs” was Matt’s take on it. (Trump won Ohio with 51% of the vote. Obama had won Ohio by 3%).
I also learned the quick facts on the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites both of whom live in the area. The simplest (and somewhat tongue in cheek) explanation is that the Mennonites would drive their car to Walmart while the Amish would drive their horse and buggy there.
A Google search later tells me that “Ohio is home to the largest concentration of Amish in North America”.
Matt says that there’s a bit of conflict between the local contractors and the Amish businessmen who can put up barns for a lot cheaper than the union carpenters. Things are always more complicated than it seems to a casual observer or visitor to a region. It helps to have a local explain it to you.
All in all, today is turning out to be just the eye-opening experience I hope to have on this trip.