Sorry for the long lapse between posts, but then you’re probably getting used to that by now. Seems after doing this for over 4 years, there’s less to say, and more things to distract…like the Annual Tractor and Train Show down in Carthage, NC. Holy Cow! We made the hour-long drive down there last weekend at the insistence of George, a good friend who does tractor “pulling.” The show is this funky, surprising mixture of old tractors, relics and country activities into which one is “dumped” with very little explanation or direction, a kind of Wizard of OZ experience. It’s what happens when a guy just starts collecting what he loves and gets carried away. There are entire buildings crammed to their ceilings with everything imaginable: children’s pedal toys, steel-wheeled tractors, rubber-wheeled tractors, steam farm tractors, antique trucks, antique cars, one-lungers (hit and miss single cylinder engines). Rooms full of toy trains, old Christmas stuff, dolls, etc.
Once a year for a three day weekend, the acreage that contains all these buildings is opened to the public. This event gets little or no promotion, and maddeningly there are few signs helping one find the place. But the “pull” of the place is akin to the phrase from the movie Field of Dreams…”If you build it, they will come.” Added to the stuff I’ve already mentioned there’s a scale model steam train constantly circling, belching smoke, its whistle blasting and giving rides. There’s a Stanley Steamer automobile you can get a ride in. There are multiple steam farm tractors tapockita pocking around. My dad would have been thrilled with the steam tractor-powered sawmill sawing up pine logs. Oh man, the smell of the pine was wonderful. I could have just stood there smelling that all afternoon.
Then off in the “back 40” they’re doing tractor pulling. This is hard to describe in few sentences, but I’ll try. First, all the tractors are pre-1960 and separated for competition purposes by weight class. There’s a long, dirt track over which each tractor then attempts to see how far it can pull a motorized vehicle that gradually shifts more and more weight over the sled (a big plate that rides directly on the track surface) as the tractor moves down the track. The tractor that gets the furthest down the track wins. On this day my friend George took second place, one of his best placings of the year.
And here’s just a brief video of the steam sawmill in operation (video).
Moving on, just a bit of Pony news. I finished rebuilding the steering box. So far anyway, no leaks. There’s still a lot of “slop” in the steering, but I’m afraid without replacing major internal parts, that’s just not going to get any better. I added $10 to the C-O-M to cover the cost of a new oil seal. In order to test the steering, I took the Pony out for a spin, and this is a photo taken on that nice fall day in Gene’s drive.
Road Trip Report
In between the last post and this’n, The Princess and I also made an “art trip” to NYC and Philly. Of course, it was lots of fun, and we enjoyed several days with Andy. My apologies to anyone reading this in the Philly area for not warning you of our visit. We just had so little time, and had so much to cover after not visiting in eight years, that we hogged all the time for ourselves. Next time I promise some forewarning. Highlights included Halloween in NYC, visits to MOMA, the Met and the New Museum of contemporary art. In Philly we visited the new Barnes Museum and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. In Philly we found some things had changed, but others mercifully had not (including some of our favorite restaurants), so in this case anyway, I’d say “you can go back.” Here is a little batch of snapshots that capture some favorite moments from the trip.
There’s much to appreciate this Thanksgiving, so I leave you with this.
For family and friends
For life and health
For all the fun
And a Pony that runs
I agree with the old Clark bar commercial,
“What more could a little boy want!”
The Princess and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.