2009 – Tractors Across The USA
2009 – Tractors Across The USA
Day 51: August 16 COLORADO
The morning was quite cool as everyone headed across to the Road Knights car show – 680 cars of every make and colour making a really wonderful display. The quick look the guys had yesterday did not do the show justice as not all the cars had arrived. As the day warmed up, so did the crowd increase until there was a real carnival atmosphere.
The organizers of the show had invited the tractors to park at the entrance to the show and then requested the crew members to make an appearance at their Official Opening at 1.00pm. The hall was absolutely packed with 680 teams represented and our group was given a rousing welcome when we all went up front and Neville gave a short talk about why we are in the USA and how much we are enjoying the experience.
For the ladies, there was also a Rubber Stamp and Scrapbook EXPO, selling every imaginable craft kit in either of these two hobbies. Even for those not smitten with such activities, there were lots of craft ideas to buy for the grand-children.
By about 3.00pm it was time to leave off watching the vintage cars as they drove away from the show and head to the Loveland RV Park. Allan and Carolyn met us there with Carolyn’s rellies Dave and Maxine and Jack and Joyce. They had spent a couple of days together and had obviously had a great time. The park has lovely shady trees which will certainly help to keep the vans cool while we are out sightseeing in the Rocky Mountains tomorrow.
SET 32 PHOTOS
Day 52: August 17 COLORADO
The morning started out fine and cool – a wonderful day for our trip into the Rocky Mountains. Those who had been up to Pike’s Peak remembered how cold the mountains are, so we were all well prepared with warm winter jackets.
The 7.00am start gave us good time to drive to Estes Park and have a hot drink before starting up the mountains in an open air 14 seat Toyota 4WD vehicle.
Our first stop was at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, celebrating its 100’s birthday this year. Although we could only see it from the road, we were told that it is America’s third most haunted hotel and was the inspirational setting chosen for the novel ‘The Shining’ by author Stephen King.
The 4WD Toyota was able to take the unsealed road to the top – many hairpin bends and very steep sides – it did not pay to look down! As we climbed through the three life zones, the temperature dropped quite dramatically. At the Visitors Centre at Trail Ridge, we rejoined the paved road to the summit of Mount Evans which is the highest of its type in North America and at 14,264 feet we were well and truly in need of the rugs supplied.
The views on the uphill journey were truly incredible, with a new vista at each turn and we were indeed fortunate to have clear skies at the summit.
During the morning we saw waterfalls, fast running creeks, remnants of last year’s winter snow, regrowth after floods, valleys formed by long gone glaciers and three of the mountains animals – mountain sheep, squirrels and one small animal sunbaking on the rocks. We keep being told that there are numerous animals in the mountains, but they are all very shy of visitors it would seem.
A quick lunch in Estes Park upon our return was enjoyable and then it was time to head back to the RV Park for a quiet afternoon. Some members of the group took this opportunity to visit Denver, some 50 miles away.
SET 33 PHOTOS
Day 53: August 18 COLORADO
Our stay in Loveland was timed to co-incide with the 27th Annual Convention of the Oregon-California Trails Association to which Transworld Tractor Trekkers had been invited as special guests.
After a quiet morning at the RV Park, the team moved three tractors and personnel across to The Ranch at 4.00pm to prepare for the Welcome Reception. Our group were warmly welcomed by Camille Bradford, President of the Colorado-Cherokee Trail Chapter, hosts of this year’s event. Ron had been requested to give a short address and we had hoped to be able to show photos during his talk, but the technology would not work and it took many tries by many helpful people to eventually enable us to show the video of “Tractors Across Australia” which continued on during subsequent speakers and was enjoyed by those present.
After the welcoming speeches we were entertained with a wonderful selection of country songs by Jane Leche and a group of gifted musicians. As a special surprise, Jane had worked up a rendition of “Waltzing Matilda” and with words on the overhead projector, those present were invited to join in, which the Australians did with pride.
Day 54: August 19 COLORADO
Once again the tractors were driven to ‘The Ranch’ for the Opening Ceremony of the 27th Annual Convention of the Oregon-California Trails Association.
The proceedings started with a Flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance by the Loveland High School Junior ROTC Color Guard. This was followed by a very touching Native American blessing and ceremony with Kiowa/Arapaho Elder, John Emhoolah giving his blessing in both English and his own native language, which he followed up with a song in his own tongue.
During the morning there were talks on various subjects which were all found to be interesting and informative. After lunch the team members returned to the RV Park before heading into the City of Loveland at 4.00pm for activities outside the restored Rialto Theatre prior to the Premiere of a locally produced movie ‘Pursuit of a Dream’. In this film a group of American children from several states along with three teachers were given the opportunity to relive the experiences of the pioneer families who travelled the original wagon trails to settle this country. The story was told through the eyes of the children who had to come to terms with the difficulties experienced in another time while learning to bond together as a team.
The Convention runs through until Saturday August 22nd, and association members will take various tours to places of historical interest throughout Colorado. This was the first time that this State has hosted the Convention, and much work has obviously been done by a lot of people over many months to bring OCTA2009 – Cherokee Trail to the West 1819 – 1858 as the Convention was called, to what is shaping up to be a very successful event. The President of the local Chapter, Camille Bradford, has to be congratulated on the smooth running of the two days when our group was involved, and our thanks are extended to her, the local committee and the team of volunteers for making us so welcome.
SET 34 PHOTOS
CONCLUSION : TRACTORS ACROSS AMERICA 2009
October 16th 2009: The calendar has moved forward nearly six weeks from the conclusion of the trek across the United States and all members have returned home and settled back to reality again. The tractors are being returned to Australia, each one now famous after the accomplishment of having travelled all the way from Maryland to California with only one serious break-down.
There have been many comments made about the friendliness and helpfulness of the American people and the beauty of the countryside and these have not been exaggerated – everywhere the group went they were met with an enthusiastic response. The many members of tractor and antique machinery groups in particular gave of their time and expertise as well as providing assistance with transportation to local places of interest. Without their aid, many interesting visits would not have eventuated and we will always be grateful for all the assistance given.
During the 18 months while this trek was in the planning stage, many contacts were made with interested Americans and without fail, these people became good friends after only spending a short space of time with them. The usual response was that people felt that they knew us even though we had just met in person. Without these contacts our trek would not have been as successful as it was, and we will endeavour to keep in touch with these kind people. In other cases contacts were made along the way, but always the degree of helpfulness was amazing.
Among our group of trekkers, there are those who deserve thanks for special assistance – Wendy for organizing the trek uniforms which drew much attention. We were mistaken for members of one of the University teams, and questioned about which basketball team the men belonged to, but the main attraction was the ability to find trekkers in Wal-Mart – the blue and orange really stood out!
Then, when the team was separated through circumstance and change of route, thanks go to Anne for her assistance with web diary notes covering the tractors’ travels over the final stage of the journey.
Reading through the complete diary now makes the whole trip come alive again and gives a sense of achievement for what was often a ‘labour of love’; the notes and photographs very often completed after a full day of adventures when the brain had to be forced to focus on the facts, faces and places of the day, but the result was well worth the effort.
This website was designed and updated by Joanne Smith at YaZoogle and we must indeed show our appreciation for her patience and dedication to this mammoth task.
Thanks to our many readers – we hope you enjoyed coming along on our journey.
Transworld Tractor Treks
Days 64 & 65 August 29 and 30
Las Vegas is still giving us a burst of summer with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees F although on checking the weather news we are told that they will begin to drop as the week goes on.
Heat is not spoiling our experiences or enjoyment, this City whilst of course being considered a gambling capital of the world is also a City of entertainment for the whole family. The hotel complexes are massive and created in so many different architectural designs – there never seems to be a limit to the imagination of those involved in the final result. Many hours can be spent just wandering and enjoying these beautiful buildings (all comfortably air conditioned of course).
The gondolas rides at the Venetian – with a serenading gondolier – through the Grand Canal transforms you to a wonderful feeling of being right in the heart of Venice not Las Vegas, all under roof but with the magic sensation of being outside.
Bellagio presents a choreographed water show that just blows your mind. More than 1000 fountains dance to songs made famous by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti, the London Symphony Orchestra and many more, as well as tingling performances of ‘God Bless the USA’.
Wynn has the Lake of Dreams – faces of dreams appear to a combination of light, music and nature to create a fascinating spectacle for those folk in the restaurants and areas surrounding the beautiful lagoon area.
Treasure Islands nightly presentation of a band of pirates attempting to take on beautiful songstresses from the shore comes into action right on the footpaths edge to the pleasure of those passing by. It is an action packed performance that is wonderful for all the family.
These are only a small number of the many entertainment options that are available and all are free to be viewed by everyone. There are also many of the big name attractions available throughout the area including Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, the funny lady of comedy Rita Rudner to mention just a few.
Many of the hotel complexes also have a designated area for children’s attractions which, taking the time to look from the eyes of a child, appear to be every child’s dream entertainment.
As we said on arrival into Las Vegas, trips to the Grand Canyon areas and the Hoover Dam were also on the agenda for members of the group. Most have now enjoyed these special days. The more recently constructed glass walk at the West rim – some 4000ft above the canyon – was of particular mention as it was said that the first two or three steps were taken with some trepidation but from there on ‘wow’. Helicopter rides were also very high on the list of highlights for several of the group where they were taken over the canyon and down on to the Colorado River. Here boat cruises were also enjoyed. Then came Hoover Dam, considered an amazing facility to see and drive over. The new 4 lane highway being built over the dam was something that all agreed will be a marvel in the future.
In Las Vegas the effects of the Californian fires is certainly evident with haze and ash visible around the City. Our thoughts are will all those involved.
Days 66 to 69: August 31 to 3rd September
A decision was made for the tractors to remain in Las Vegas waiting for the RV group to rejoin us ready for the last leg of our amazing journey into Los Angeles. Whilst waiting, meetings have been held planning our final route to the west coast as well as preparation for winding up this once in a lifetime (we think!!) trip.
As we have waited, we have continued to enjoy the many sights and sounds on offer plus some wonderful meals as well (the choices are endless!!). Some folk have also enjoyed additional excursions out of the City. Lighting is something this City excels at, special mention should be made of the presentation nightly in Downtown Las Vegas; it is quite spectacular and having visited twice, we have noted that it is not the same each time. The current theme in the area is ‘Summer of 69’ so the music presented covers that era. A visit to the Coca Cola store was of interest to some as well. Everything you could possibly ever imagine is on sale here all depicting the ‘Coca Cola’ logo!
The weather continues to be around 100 degrees+ (F) but generally the feeling is that we have adjusted over the days and it certainly is not as hard to take as it was during our first couple of days here. Most days we have still been able to see the effects of the Californian fires but thankfully the fire fighters now seem to be getting them under control from reports we are hearing.
As we have moved around Las Vegas we have been aware of many very large building projects under way but not visibly in progress at present. On enquiring the comment is that they are in limbo due to the current world financial situation.
After six nights here the tractors will be departing the Circus Circus RV Park at 5.30am tomorrow 4th September, 2009 (beating the heat and the traffic!) heading south on route 95 towards Los Angeles. The RV group have decided to follow in a day or two.
SET 43 PHOTOS
Days 70 to 72 September 4 to 6 LAS VEGAS TO LOS ANGELES
Since leaving Las Vegas in our 9g’s we have continued to experience heat but, not being deterred, we have all enjoyed the vastness of deserts, the hospitality of people, and the well preserved heritage of the USA. From drinking Starbucks coffee in Palm Springs to viewing the world’s largest water bombing aircraft at Lake Elsinore, we spent the days climbing through some magnificent ranges at up to altitude of 6000ft. We experienced yet more wonderful scenery plus the unfortunate evidence of the recent fires. As we entered Orange County/Los Angeles area it was great to see row after row of Australian Eucalypts and other Australian flora. All of this, as well as the ongoing pleasure of the company of a special group of people – the Tractor Trekkers – gives each of us memories that will remain always.
We thank the locals in various towns/cities who have again welcomed us so openly during this final leg of our journey – to the instigators and volunteers at Goff’s Schoolhouse Museum, what a wonderful thing you are doing to preserve the past and present it to the public, we all thoroughly enjoyed our visit with you. To Alexa at The Palm Restaurant and Bar on Amboy Road – an oasis in the desert!! Our time spent with you was most enjoyable and we were only sorry that we were not able to stay longer. We all wish you well in the future Alexa. Eric and Melissa at Twenty Nine Palms again we can only say ‘thank you’, your contribution to the pleasure of our stay in your City was amazing. Through your high ranking contact (Lieutenant Colonel Brent) you gave us the special privilege of the tour of the largest Marine Training Base in the USA with some 10,000 armed forces and several thousand civilian workers on base. We are well aware that this particular excursion would not have been possible without your contribution. You both made us all feel so welcome and we will retain fond memories of our time together. We also thank you for your advice on the remainder of our route west – it all went very well for us. To Raynelle at Plaza El Toro your enthusiasm and interest was great to see. Maybe if you ever decide to change from Security, Public Relations should be your direction, Channel 7 Eyewitness met us in Huntington and we hope that you were able to catch the news bulletin that they put to air last night – what a great finish to our journey. A bonus to this was the numerous messages received from home from folk who saw us on the news on both Channel 7 and 9 over there.
We thank those who continue to welcome us as we simply pass through your communities. To David and your little fellow, sorry we did not actually get to meet you in Palm Springs but it was great receiving your email, you never know maybe in the next day or two our paths may cross as we are in and around Huntington. We have all enjoyed seeing the pleasure on faces as our Orange Tractors pass by – after all they are, of course, the integral part of Transworld Tractor Treks USA 2009, without the tractors this adventure would not have been. They wholly represent what Transworld Tractor Treks is all about. As the owner group of the tractors we would like to acknowledge our base club back in Australia – The Chamberlain 9g Tractor Club – who originally brought us together through our many adventures in our home country. We are so proud and happy that we made the decision two years ago to bring our tractors to the USA. The American people have certainly embraced our decision and that has topped it off for all of us.
FINAL DAY !!!! Day 73 – September 7 HUNTINGTON, CALIFORNIA
Transworld Tractor Trek’s “TRACTORS ACROSS AMERICA 2009” came to an end at Huntington, south of Los Angeles. We arrived on the shores of the Pacific Ocean at approximately 10am and the pride we felt as a group is something that will always be so special to each of us. To try to individually mention the names of all who have contributed across the country would be something beyond any of us because there have been so many very special folk. Please, accept our most sincere thanks and gratitude and between us we hope that over the time ahead we may be able to make contact personally. At this point we extend an invitation to any of those friendly folk who have welcomed us during our journey ‘that should you head to our shores please let us extend the same hospitality to you’.
Our five Chamberlain 9G Tractors – ‘TAIL END CHARLIE’, CHERRY BLOSSOM SPECIAL’ AUSSIE TOO’ CUMBER DUNDEE’ AND JEFF’s 9g – have now become legends – WHAT A TRIP!!!!!!!!
Day 55: August 20 COLORADO (Tractors)
On the 20th the three 9G’s which had been taking part in the activities at Loveland departed for the crossing of the Rockies.
At this point in time we would like to acknowledge and thank those at the Oregon Trails Conference who took the time to give considered advice and information on the best route for the tractors to take across the Rockies. The chosen route was 14/40 that being the Cameron Pass. Be assured you were right, we crossed without any issues and enjoyed some of the most magnificent scenery.
During the first part of the day we travelled almost parallel to the Poudre River watching many folk fishing and enjoying the surrounds. At the highest peak during the day we were at 10276ft above sea level. The roads were very well maintained and offered pull overs allowing for passing so regularly that there was never a problem with us being a little slower than normal road users.
During the day we enjoyed breaks at the towns of Hebron and Waldon – the latter allowing for a little shopping time and a special purchase by Anne. We made other stops along the way to enjoy some very special waterways and sights – this country continues to offer spectacular scenery each day.
Our final decent of the day was a 7mile, 7% grade down the western side of the Rockies in to the ski resort of Steamboat Springs on the Yampa River. What a truly wonderful sight that was and we have all agreed that it would be great to be able to come back and see it in the snow season.
As it was Dick’s 70th Birthday we planned to help him celebrate, so decided what better place to do that than Steamboat Springs. We took a stroll in the main area of the town and stopped at the Steamboat Yacht Club situated on the banks of the Yampa River to toast Dick’s special day. Having been asked our reason for being in the town and explaining our ‘trek’ across the USA we were invited to park our tractors and trailers on the lawn adjoining the Yacht Club. Once parked we all cleaned up and returned inside the Club for a beautiful dinner together. We thank the owners and staff for their contribution to a very special night.
Day 56: August 21 COLORADO TO UTAH
At 7am we departed Steamboat Springs to continue our journey west towards Salt Lake City. Most of the day we have enjoyed rolling prairie lands with a wonderful backdrop of ever intriguing mountains. We have passed through coal mining areas, sage bush covered fields and various crops – even a little bit more corn. An observation by the group was the amount of equipment related to the production and recovery of oil and gas in the area. Today was also a day for seeing wildlife. Prior to crossing the border of Colorado and Utah we visited an information centre at Dinosaur. Here we enjoyed a film on the finding of Dinosaur fossils in the area which we all found very interesting. Each day we seem to learn something new in this great land.
Once we crossed the border we drove on to the City of Vernal which was a site to behold – baskets of cerise & white petunias on both sides of the street (some 2 miles or so long) as well as adorning many, many buildings along the way. This theme continued through the following town of Roosevelt. Whilst we have seen similar baskets at many points during our travels we have never seen anything quite like this.
It was decided that we would continue on to Myton where we planned to spend the night at an RV park but before we reached the park we were approached by a local couple – Kelly and BJ Braithwaite – they very kindly offered us accommodation on their property. We have 150miles to do to take us in to Salt Lake City where we anticipate arriving around mid afternoon tomorrow.
Day 57: August 23
The tractors continued on Highway 40 towards Salt Lake City.
The countryside yet again offered great sights across the lush farming lands. The Strawberry River lead us to Starvation Reservoir – a name that seems to contradict this land that has so much to offer. After enjoying the view and taking a few photos our travels continued.
The view then returned to pines and mountains. At 7000ft we came across another large reservoir providing all sorts of boating and water activities for the many folk there. We continued our climb up the mountain to 8020ft then enjoyed a very long down grade at 6%. Lunch was taken at Heber City then it was on to Highway 189 into Provo Canyon, part of Deer Creek State Park. During this section there was yet another sight to behold – Strawberry Reservoir where there were resorts and accommodation of all types; beaches and boating beyond belief with a backdrop of snow tipped mountains. There were so many folk enjoying the facilities that vehicles towing boats were lined up to access the various launching ramps. From here the 3 9g’s with trailers in tow began the ascent up Alpine Pass to the summit at 8060ft. We can only repeat ourselves at this point and say the sights were incredible and our 9g’s did us proud. A break was taken at the 16 mile level on the decent where we chatted with some campers before continuing on to the bottom of the mountain. We then rolled on into Salt Lake City where we were reunited with the other 2 9g’s, so now we are a group of 5 tractors once again.
Day 58: August 23
The day was under way for everyone around 7am. A number of our Ladies took the opportunity to go to Temple Square to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform. In the words of the Ladies – “what a beautiful experience to have been able to see this performance”. They also had the opportunity to visit the roof top gardens above the Conservatorium and view where the Church services are held in the winter months in the Temple Area.
After taking in the sights around the City and doing a bit of last minute provisioning, our ‘tractor train’ departed the area to begin the next leg of our journey toward the canyons and Las Vegas.
The route taken was Highway 89 through fairly built up areas for approximately 60 miles. Fairview was our chosen destination where we were fortunate enough to be given the permission of the Bishop to set up our tractors and campers in the car park adjoining the church. The car park was large enough to be able to form a circle enabling us to set up our tables and chairs and all contribute to our evening meal. Quite a few local residents came to see us and topped up our shared meal with corn, rock melon and watermelon. As the evening went on the group enjoyed a visit from Geoff, Hannah and their two children with lots of chatter about their work – concrete flooring and foundations – and the trials and tribulations of carrying out this sort of work during the winter months.
Day 59: August 24
Before our departure at 8.00am we were pleased to once again see Geoff arrive, this time laden with his company T shirts for the group.
Geoff – CALDWELL CONCRETE COMPANY – we wish you and your family well in the future and thank you for your generosity and interesting information.
Once back on Highway 89, we continued through Mt Pleasant, Ephraim and Manti on to highway 24 then off road for approximately 12miles leading us to Highway 62. This took us through Otter Creek on to the very scenic Highway 22. Highway 22 then lead us through a winding path between mountains, then desert terrain punctuated by irrigated lucerne paddocks and green grazing land full of very contented looking cows.
We arrived at Bryce Canyon at around 5pm to a huge RV park nestled in the pines where we all settled in and began preparing for the sightseeing that awaits us here.
Day 60: August 25
This day saw the whole group take advantage of the shuttle service provided in Bryce Canyon by going to many beautiful lookouts. Neville and Peter were our hikers doing a hike of the rim – approximately 1.5 hours. We regrouped at 3pm ready to head out of the canyon and on towards Cedar City. Much to our amazement, whilst we had all enjoyed our time in Bryce Canyon, our departure took us through Red Canyon and it would have to be said that this too was spectacular.
Our chosen route was Highway 12 – followed by Highways 89 and 14 – with a summit of 7777ft above sea level and a touch of unsealed road just to keep us happy. On this route we entered Dixie National Forest. As we travelled along this scenic path, climbing steadily to 9800ft we watched yet another large thunder storm form in the distance. Around 40 miles from Cedar City at Scout Canyon, some 9960 ft above sea level, we set up a bush camp and enjoyed an evening around a camp fire.
Day 61: August 26
We left our camp site at 7.05am passing through Duck Creek Village which took our interest with the whole village being made up of log cabin type buildings.
Highway 14 is advertised as a Scenic Bypass and we all agreed with this wholeheartedly – it was beautiful. The grades over the mountains varied between 4 & 8%. Along the way we came across miles of volcanic rock areas which changed the scenery markedly. At the edge of this site was Navajo Lake which was the crater of the volcano and fed into Duck Creek. We arrived in Cedar City at 9.30am ready to do Banking, get some computer information and do some general provisioning.
At 12.30pm we departed Cedar City on US56 to make our way towards Las Vegas. The first part of this run took us through open plains then up though a lovely mountain pass again. At 3.15pm we stopped at the border of Utah and Nevada (photo time) then continued on Highway 319. We took a break at the small town of Panaca just on 3.30pm when the local school students had just finished their day. We were a real attraction to them and had some pleasant conversations about our ‘trek’ and Australia. Some of them also took the opportunity to get cameras and take photos of the tractors.
Continuing on Highway 93 we enjoyed a lovely steady climb which took us to approximately 7000ft then began the decent which brought us another site to behold – cactus as far as the eye could see.
Each day brings such great new sights. Today was also another day of wildlife sightings.
After the cactus was a stretch of desert plain and grass land. At the end of this we came to the intersection of Highway 93 and 318 where a local gentleman at Cedar City told us of a tree lined camping area – we found it, his advice was very good.
We are now ready for our run into Las Vegas tomorrow.
Day 62: August 27
Our five 9gs rolled out of our overnight campsite at 7.05am heading through the Pahranagat Valley – an area of green pastures and many cattle.
Now being in the Arizona desert – real desert – it began to warm up and warm up it did!! At this point we all expressed our sentiments that we are so thankful that so many folk along the way have told us what a mild summer it has been. The mildness has certainly made our travels so much easier – thanks USA!
As we turned into Highway 168 we were intrigued by the infrastructure on our left, this turned out to be a new town/city being established – Coyote Springs. Streets were in place, as well as water supplies established, underground power and sewer ready for use, a golf course was already built (what would be the priorities when building a new town!) and there was a massive nursery centre full of many thousands of plants and trees ready to be placed around the development as it is takes shape. No doubt we imagine that within a couple of years this town will have the appearance of having been established for many years.
During our travels today two of the tractors had flat tyres almost at the same time – one large back tyre and one front tyre. Good fortune shone on us though because both were at a very large road house. Given that it was estimated by staff that it was 130+ degrees outside those not involved in the changing and repairing of the tyres of course had the pleasure of the air conditioning inside the road house. Speaking of the changing and repairing of the tyres, again there were many hands, not only the tractor owners but the locals who came from all corners. We thank everyone for their assistance. It wasn’t too long before our tractor train was on the road again.
On the path taken we had the good fortune of passing through the Valley of Fire in the Lake Mead National Park. This was not really an area that any of us had researched or basically knew much about but yet again we can only say it was beautiful. As hot as the day was what a wonderful site it was to behold. In the park we called into Echo Bay where some of the party took the opportunity to have a cooling, refreshing dip in the lake, we then continued on in to a campsite at Callville Bay. Both of these bays were on the lake’s edge and are very tourist orientated with house boats obviously being a preferred mode of accommodation in the area, there were a very large number of them for hire.
The day was hot and the same can only be said for the night!!!
Day 63: August 28
We were all up bright and early to do the last 30miles into Las Vegas – partly because we were well aware that ‘another hot one’ was on the way.
We arrived at Vegas around 8.30am having taken a break on the way and checked into the Circus Circus camp grounds. Even the camp ground staff were giving us warnings about the anticipated heat – some 106/108 degrees for the next few days and so far we know they were not joking!
Some of the group are planning tours of Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam etc while here, whilst others will take in the local sights and sounds.
Five Australian Tractors and crew at Fort Hays, South Dakota
Choose from the categories listed below to view our trek diary for those dates
Five tractors leave for USA in Sea containers
The first part of the adventure has already commenced with the five tractors having been loaded into sea containers on 1st May, 2009. The loading took place at the Westrac premises in Welshpool which was part of the original Chamberlain manufacturing site.
The ship is now on the high seas with an expected arrival in the Port of Baltimore in mid June – Crews are busily packing their bags in readiness for their respective flights which will also see most crews arrive in the USA in mid June.
Final preparations are being made for the official send-off which will be from the town of Westminster in Maryland on Saturday, 27th June 2009.
Preparing for the start:
Seven members of the crew arrived in New York mid June and spent the next few days staying in New Jersey while looking around New York, organizing local phones etc before heading to Rhode Island to collect the Bywaters’ RV (motor home). While there, four other crews chose camper trailers (caravans) to be their homes for the next three months and arranged to have them transported to Arcadia where we were to spend a couple of nights. Then it was south again, this time in the RV with seven passengers to Westminster where we all stayed at or behind the Boston Inn. Allan and Carolyn arrived in their RV and next morning Anne and George joined us after flying into Baltimore, so our numbers now stand at 11 with the final three members due early July. Four team members took the opportunity to travel to Niagara Falls while others stayed in Westminster and almost cleaned out the local shops with setting up their vans. We relocated to the Maryland Steam Historical Society Inc’s headquarters at the Arcadia Showgrounds where we had arranged to have the camper trailers delivered. Our four tourers rejoined us there after their very enjoyable trip to Niagara and Gettysburg. More shopping at the local Wal-Marts and we are starting to look and feel well equipped for the next three months. Eight of the group spent an enjoyable day in Washington DC, a truly beautiful city with many spectacular memorials and monuments to commemorate their history. A visit to the Arlington cemetery was a sober reminder of the price of war and the eternal flame of JFK’s resting place made for reflection on his sad premature loss. Starting out at 5.30am avoided most of the traffic, but the return journey to Arcadia took 2 1/2 hours for the journey of 60 miles (100 kms).
The tractors eventually arrived on June 26th after many delays. The owners all looked proud and relieved to have their machines arrive in good order. Many hands were busy with last minute preparations to have everything ready for the start.
While staying in Arcadia, we had the assistance of Ken Warehime, the President of the Maryland Steam Historical Society Inc and he and many of his society members could not do enough to help us and provided any assistance required, from adjustments to the tractors to BBQ plates and flagpoles. Then as a wonderful surprise on our last evening there, Melinda and her group of helpers hosted us to a fantastic spread in their hall. These people will always be remembered as good friends during the first often trying days of preparation.
Day 1: June 27 Starting Day
Everyone was up early doing their final checks on trailers and tractors to have them look their very best for the 9.00am departure. The convoy proudly took to the road for the first time, arriving at the Carroll County Museum at 10.00am. Quite a crowd of spectators had gathered to see these Aussie creations and tell their stories of their own tractors and we were presented with calendars, books and other interesting material.
Our next destination was the Howard County Farm Museum where John and Virginia Frank made us very welcome and again we were guests at a wonderful spread, followed by a tour around the farm property on the back on a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor. This farm museum is a work in progress, capturing the history of the area. Local school children, scouts etc have the opportunity to spend time here and learn the old fashioned farming ways. This is an inspiring living museum and we really enjoyed our stay there.
Day 2: June 28
Our journey today is across Maryland through Frederick to meet up with a gentleman who contacted us by email and has offered help with arranging guidance through the very hilly terrain on off-roads. A head gasket problem with one of the tractors saw an emergency (tractor) operation in the main street of Hagerstown with the procedure taking a mere two hours before the convoy was on the way again. Despite this delay we caught up with Tom and his daughter Mary at Indian Springs and he introduced us to Chuck who would be our guide as far as Hancock. The countryside is very beautiful and a rich shade of green after a particularly wet spring. The 11 miles of secondary roads takes us through areas not often visited by tourists and it was a very enjoyable experience. Once Chuck left us at Hancock, Mary took over as far as Cumberland, and then we were joined by an interested local, Steve, who offered to keep us on the right track right through to the Little Meadows Lake and campground at Grantsville.
A highlight of the day was an encounter by Barbara with a local, Patricia. They chatted about Barbara’s problem with sunburn on her arms causing discomfort and next thing, Patricia has taken off her protective long sleeved shirt and insisted Barbara wear it – another generous American, who like most we meet is excited at the news of just how far we are traveling.
Day 3: June 29
The hills are even steeper west of Grantsville, but are successfully navigated, again with the help of Steve who has volunteered to accompany us for the day. Our journey takes us through Oakland where we have Neville’s exhaust welded courtesy of George at Allegheny Welding & Machine Inc – again the generosity of the people we meet is incredible. After crossing into West Virginia we continue west through Grafton and Bridgeport before camping at West Union. Steve leaves us with our sincere thanks and now Carlos has joined us and will take over as guide in his home state.
Day 4: June 30
Today was cool after quite hot and humid weather over the last few days and there were some fairly light showers. Everyone we meet comments of how wet the spring and early summer have been and we offer to have some precipitation sent down our way!
We continued down route 50 West through Parkersburg and into Ohio. After the steep hills of West Virginia, it is a pleasant change to drive through undulating country on 338 North, then 83 North from Waterford through Cumberland and New Concord to Coshocton (pronounced ‘k’shocton’ as all the locals informed us).
Arrival at the Lake Park RV Park was close to 5.00pm and we were joined by a reporter from the Ohio Farmer, Tim White, who was intrigued with our happy band of Aussies and enjoyed some relaxing time with us as well as taking photos and making notes about our plans. A second reporter, Diane, from a local paper also came along so our presence in Coshocton was well noted.
Day 5: July 1 OHIO
The day started out cool and damp, but soon brightened up. Our early start did not take us far, just to the historic Roscoe Village next door to the RV Park. This is a small time capsule of the 1800’s when the USA was serviced by a series of canals which were the only mode of transport between the early settlements. The Ohio and Erie Canals are long gone, but some of the buildings have been preserved as living history and a section of the extraordinary stonework and one of the many locks has been incorporated into this Village, as well as a museum and video presentation of the history of the canals. A couple of very enjoyable hours were spent there.
We were now in Amish Country and many buggies are in evidence, also very busy clothes lines – washing day for the large families of these interesting people who live such a simple lifestyle in a very efficient manner. Most families run businesses and we were indeed fortunate to have Carlos introduce us to Marvin, a wheelwright in the old fashioned methods of making wheels in sizes ranging from T-Model Fords, through wagons to a large chandelier frame – truly amazing what they do with steam and basic but efficient machinery.
Trip continued northwards through Berlin and Mt Hope and we arrived in Wooster at 6.30, taking advantage of the opportunity to camp at the Wal-Mart Store. It goes without saying that everyone had a shopping list – it is no wonder Wal-Mart are so generous!
Day 6: July 2
Day started out wet again, but showers were not heavy and we made it to New Haven in time for morning tea. At Willard we turned north and joined the ‘Multi-lane Divided 20’ for the trip into Fremont, arriving mid afternoon. Unfortunately our patched up tractor decided to throw another ‘sicky’ and has gone to Archbold for repairs and will rejoin us there. Bob Kline from the Sandusky County Restorers of Antique Power Inc (SCRAP for short – what a great name!) kindly guided us into the Fairgrounds – another helpful American. We have been offered powered sites at the Fairgrounds – a chance to catch up with charging all the phone batteries. Mobile phone coverage has been very patchy and internet access extremely limited.
Day 7: July 3
Once again we awoke to grey skies, but rain has kept away and the sun has made several appearances. Bob collected us all at 8.30 this morning and gave us a run around the local area, mainly to those folk who collect old tractors and machinery – there were some really interesting machines, with many over 100 years old. Then it was back to Fremont to collect our tractors and caravans and off to meet another enthusiast who had contacted us on the email from an article which appeared in the Farm Collectors magazine a few weeks ago. This chap, Bill Swope has a Mother-in-law Margaret Sheldrick who said she would love to have us all come and have a get-together with her family and friends and that is where we are now, enjoying the very best of hospitality at Perrysburg, Ohio. We are camping here overnight and heading further west in Ohio tomorrow.
So we have reached the end of our first week and have covered some 680 miles over really good roads.
Day 8: July 4th OHIO
Breakfast was served on the patio at 6.30 by Margaret and her happy band of helpers – a wonderful array of cooked foods followed by pancakes, strawberries and maple syrup. This was a great start to a great day. We needed to be on the road by 7.15am to make the relatively short trip to Archbold. This was a lovely run on quiet roads through wheat, corn and soy bean crops. Bill Swope (Margaret’s son-in-law) guided us from Perrysburg to Pettisville where Carlos joined us and guided us to his home at Stryker, near Archbold.
Arrival time was 9.15, which gave us just half an hour to be looking our best before heading to Kunkle for the 4th July Parade in which we had been invited to participate. This was a treat we had not been aware off, so it was with great excitement that the four operative tractors, Carlos’ wagon and our good friend Ed Roth’s vehicle made the journey to the small town of 400-600 residents (dependent on who is telling the story) for what turned out to be a fantastic parade – horses, wagons, trucks, tractors and our small contingent which raised a lot of eyebrows and much interest. A greeting of ‘Good-day mate’ to a small lad was answered with ‘Wot?’ The figure given for the numbers lining the streets was around 3,500, a large percentage of whom were children who were all merrily waving their American flags – we flew our Australian flags with pride, but all the tractors also carried some decoration in the red, white and blue which adorned almost every home and certainly every participant in the parade. Ron decided to video the whole parade so the rest of the party could see what they were missing, and it was only after the vehicles had driven a few miles down the road that it was noticed that he was missing! Some half an hour later he was delivered back to us on a quad bike! This was indeed a memorable event and one which none of us will forget.
Once back in Archbold, we were guests at lunch at the Sauder Barn and joined by Ed Roth and his friend Merle who entertained us with their music, then most trekkers went to the Sauder Village to have a look around before relaxing around the campsite at Carlos and Raffaela’s property.
Day 9: July 5th OHIO
When Ron and Kerry last visited Archbold in 2008, they were made very welcome at the Mennonite Church, so it was nice to be invited back again this trip. A group of six trekkers were driven by Bob Frey and Ed Roth to the Church for an enjoyable service which focused on the peoples of the world, so it was appropriate for our visit. Several of their members are joining some 3,000 Americans for a World Conference in Paraguay this month.
George and Cumber left at 1.00pm to take Cumber’s nephew Brad to Detroit for his flight back to Phoenix. Brad had travelled with us for about a week and we really enjoyed his company.
Then it was party time again with a ‘meet and greet’ at Carlos’s place. The local tyre company, Millar’s Tires, supplied wonderful roast beef and all the locals brought a plate of salads or deserts – enough food for an army, let alone the large crowd who attended. Ed Roth and his band of musicians again entertained, along with other talented groups. An effort by our members to represent Australia was well received but the fact that two song sheets carried different versions of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ made for a rather garbled result! Dick and Allan entertained with a demonstration of sheep shearing while we sang ‘Click go the Shears’ and we rounded off with ‘Advance Australia Fair’. Good fun but would not win any prizes! All round a really good day, and our thanks to Carlos and Raffaela for their efforts in oganizing this event.
Day 10: July 6 Visit to Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan.
All the members of our group had been looking forward to visiting the Ford Museum at Dearborn but the distance was too great to take the tractors. We were therefore very grateful when Bev Miller (of Miller’s Tires) arranged for three locals to drive us in their vehicles to the Museum near Detroit in Michigan. So at 7.30am the convoy of three vehicles and some 18 people made the two hour trip to Dearborn. What a fantastic place this is – one would need a week to do it justice. The Greenfield Village alone would take a day to see properly – everything from a working farm of the 1860’s, to a village of eight workshops featuring glass blowers, tinsmiths, printers, potters etc, to a steam train trip around the extremity of the extensive property. Then there were the shops – authentic reproductions of the milliner, candy store etc. A whole section of the Village has recreations of different homes of the various periods and features Thomas Edison’s homestead. Along the streets meandered couples in period costume, always willing to stop and have a chat about the period of time they represent, and for a small fee, one could take a ride in a T Model Ford, or a horse-drawn or old fashioned omnibus. The 96 year old carousel was very popular with the younger visitors.
Next it was time to go to the separate Ford Museum – an enormous building extending over 12 acres. This building houses every conceivable motor car, from the Kennedy Presidential Limousine to the smallest vehicle, a Quadricycle. There is the ‘Goldenrod’ which was clocked at an average of 409mph, favourite cars of the stars, various planes from man’s earliest attempts to master the skies, and the biggest exhibit of them all, the Allegheny Locomotive built in 1941, one of the largest steam locomotives ever produced. Then there are the tractors – every size and shape and the farm and steam powered machinery. Apart from the vehicles and machines, there are displays of silver and pewter ware from the 18th century onwards, furniture, house designs, clockwork, jewellery – the list goes on and on. The feet run out of steam before the opportunities and here again one needs more time – many days in fact.
It was a weary band of travelers who returned to Archbold around 7.00pm.
Day 11: July 7 OHIO to INDIANA
The day was again clear and sunny which gave good conditions for the press photo shoot before we left Carlos and Raffaela’s property with our thanks for their hospitality.
lan and Carolyn made a direct trip to Ford Wayne for a specialist check up for her eye problem and the rest of the group made a leisurely trip via Hicksville and over the border into Indiana. Here for the first time we noticed evidence of lower rainfall over the last couple of weeks. The tomatoes, corn and soy plantations were looking a little stressed and the grass was browning off. This seemed to be fairly isolated however, and down the track the corn was bigger and greener than ever.
The short trip to Fort Wayne was accomplished in time for lunch and most of the afternoon was taken up with shopping and general chores, and giving interviews to press and TV. Ron was given the job of filming the presenter in the tractor with Cumber – he does not know how those cameramen (and woman in this case) hold those heavy cameras for such long periods of time. Unfortunately, the signal under the heavy canopy of lovely green trees at the Johnny Appleseed Campground was not strong enough to pick up the Fox channel, so we have not seen the results of our efforts
We were happy to see Allan and Carolyn back late in the afternoon and Carolyn was relieved to have been given a good report. Then it was a relaxing meal around the BBQ while watching the video of the July 4th Parade.
Day 12: July 8 INDIANA to ILLINIOS
We were underway by 7.45 for the long drive to Penfield for the I & I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club’s Historic Field Days. The day had started out bright and sunny but became quite overcast late in the morning and light showers became heavier as evening approached.
It was great to catch up with our good friend from our last visit to this area, Darius Harms, who is Vice President of the I & I Antique Machinery club. Darius and his wife Lois came a short way out of town to meet us and bring our contingent into the show-grounds, already filling quickly with all manner of tractors etc.
Day 13: July 9 PENFIELD HISTORIC FIELD DAYS
After a night of heavy rain, we awoke to find the grounds teaming with every conceivable machine and many people making last minute preparations. Our tractors have had a very enthusiastic reception and many people have been around to ask questions about these unusual machines. Once again the press and TV were in attendance and then at 1.00pm it was time for the parade of tractors and this was again a lot of fun. Our Aussie tractors were invited to join the parade which they did with pride. The crowds are quite large but if the rain keeps away, tomorrow should see an even larger crowd. One of the special exhibits at this year’s event is ‘Big Bud’ an absolutely huge tractor shipped in from Montana This machine was built in 1977 and only retired last year and is a truly awesome piece of machinery. In the evening most of the group joined some locals for a few quiet drinks and lots of fun at the Deer Club. Word has it that some trekkers continued on to another local establishment!
Day 14: July 10
The weather started out overcast and looked a bit threatening but did not rain, to the relief of the organizers who do not want the tracks to turn to mud. The ladies took advantage of the offer by Lois Harms to take them shopping in Rantoul while the men stayed behind and Ron, Peter and Neville chatted to the press. We have had excellent response from the media everywhere we have gone – word seems to spread like wildfire and here at Penfield there is a large contingent of press. When the 1.00pm parade started on this second day, Cumber was invited to be lead tractor and there was quite an array of large TV cameras focused on our tractors. There are quite large spectator stands at the starting area which is also used for activities such as tractor pulls etc. These stands were packed and when the parade was due to start, the National Anthem was played while everyone stood to attention – it was a very stirring moment. The Americans are indeed very patriotic people, as well as being extremely friendly and welcoming. Attendances on this second day of the four day event were high, with a huge number of golf buggies driving around the grounds at any time. Tractors double as ‘horses’ in pulling sponsored covered people movers so no-one has to walk further than they desire.
This was quite a relaxing day and gave members of the group a chance to check out the many exhibits or take the short trip into Rantoul. Late in the afternoon, Bill and Patty Swope from Perrysburg visited the Farm Days event and we caught up to share a meal. Patty’s mum Margaret once again showed her wonderful cooking abilities by sending chocolate chip cookies for each of our group.
Day 15: July 11
Day three of the Field Days started out looking dismal and very soon the rain came down in torrents and everyone found an indoor place to shelter. By the time it eased up in the early afternoon, the tracks had all well and truly turned to mud and it was mid afternoon before the daily parade could be run. Once the sun came out, the crowds reappeared in large numbers and the fun continued.
After the daily parade of tractors, the various classes of tractor-pull commenced and ran until dusk, then the Steam Engine Spark Show was held at dusk – the fuel used is evidently sawdust and when lit up it sends up a plume of bright orange flame – a truly spectacular sight against the night sky. Then it was time for the fireworks, an amazing display and a truly wonderful end to a very full day.
Day 16: July 12
Sunday morning was a bright and sunny and cool one and once again the grounds were thronged with visitors, though not as many as the previous day. Both the local Churches, both Catholic and Methodist, had services and three of our ladies attended the Gospel Music Service at the Methodist Church where there were several talented musicians in attendance, led by local celebrity Marvin Lee. None of this group read written music but gave us wonderful renditions of many favorites on instruments including the piano accordion and mouth organ, also a steel guitar, all in all seven musicians and vocalists.
The local who represents ‘Abraham Lincoln’ also well joined in and gave a rendition of ‘Just an Old Rugged Cross’ on a saw – quite amazing! In real life this gentleman is Mr Gerald Bestrom from Hastings MI. We hear that he is soon to be entered in an Abraham Lincoln Look-alike Competition. We cannot see how anyone else could possibly look so authentic in the part.
The last day’s parade was really special as ‘Big Bud’ was primed up and ready to roll as lead vehicle with the Chamberlain’s next in line. Second up was Sherry Schaefer, Editor of the Heritage Iron Magazine who was driving Darius Harms’ Chamberlain Canelander, a rarity in these parts. Ron took the passenger seat to get a good vantage point for taking video of the event.
As the afternoon wore on, more and more of the stallholders disappeared and there was a steady stream of vehicles towing tractors moving out of town. Our group was able to host a small group of people who we have come to know over the past four days and who have all gone out of their way to be helpful. We were indeed fortunate to have genuine fried chicken from Rube King’s Country Cooking who was a stallholder at this event. This was an opportunity to say thank you to these helpful people who have made this stopover so enjoyable.