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Day 24 - Dirt Monkey


I didn't expect much out of Wisconsin, but it's one of the nicest places we've stayed thus far. That said, you won't find me back in the winter.

We'd come to "badger state" to visit my friend Marty, who runs Dirt Monkey Excavating.

After a stint at a Class 1 railroad, he founded an excavation company called Dirt Monkey Excavating. Growing up riding dirt bikes, he'd become pretty damn good at shaping the earth into jumps and landings, so he figured he could translate his skills into building other things too.

In the summer, you'll find the Dirt Monkey crews working around La Crosse on residential, smaller commercial, and municipal work.

On top of their kickass ape-themed logo, they paint all their machines hot rod red. Why? Because it's Marty's favorite color. Say no more.


After cruising out of gorgeous rolling hills, we started the morning at the local animal shelter, where the Dirt Monkey crew was preparing for an expansion. Their new 315 excavator (not yet painted red) dug footings leveraging the 2D grade control. Despite grade control becoming standard on nearly every new excavator sold these days, I rarely see the technology put to good use.

We heard some fun animal stories (I'll say that working around a shelter provides no shortage of exciting happenings), then we drove to the following site.


The last time I visited Dirt Monkey, they did exclusively private work. But as they've grown, they've dipped their toes into the public works world, most notably with the current drainage project they have going on now. It's fun watching great companies grow!!

The project called for new ditches, culverts, and riprap throughout an entire neighborhood to control rainwater runoff. Some locals weren't thrilled to have red machines dig ditches through their best-in-class lawns, but maybe they'll be appreciative during the next big storm. Most folks only consider how vital drainage is once it's too late.

And as I write this, I realize we've seen both sides of the drainage spectrum this week…

But now it's time to cruise south along the Mississippi to see some tractors.

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