Tractors Across The USA – June 27 to July 3
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.