Tractors Across The USA – Aug 16th to Aug 19th 2009
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.
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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.
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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.
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