Rule of the Road: Be Prepared

Here are a few things to consider before heading out on a tractor trek

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Thinking about a tractor trek of your own?

Here are things to consider, courtesy of the Australian tractor trekkers:

Be prepared

If you do nothing else, make sure your tractor is in top condition for the trip. “Tractor preparation is the key to the whole thing,” Ron Bywaters says. “You have to make sure the preparations are spot on. If you do that, you eliminate the need to take a lot of spare parts. Then you just take basics for the things you can fix yourself.”

Plan ahead

Have a good idea of where you want to go. This seems obvious, but route planning is critically important, for everything from local regulations to fuel availability. The Australians, for instance, sought advance approval from the highway patrol of every state they visited.

Pull a camper

“Then you’re self-contained; you don’t have to inconvenience others,” Ron says. “If you can remain independent, that’s pretty important. Even if you break down, if you have a camper, you can pull off and have a place to stay.”

Travel light

Take a minimal amount of clothes. “Laundry is a bit of a problem,” Ron notes. Make sure your clothes are appropriate to the season and region. Pack provisions. “You need to be able to feed yourself,” Ron says. “Have a supply of food, and a way to keep perishable food cold.”

Communicate

“If you’re traveling with more than one tractor, you need a way to communicate,” Ron says. “That’s essential. Cell phones are hopeless in rural areas. We use CB radios with earphones: The tractors make a lot of noise.”

Share the plan

Make clear to everyone where the day’s end point is. It’s easy to become separated from the group and find yourself on your own. “When you’re only going 30 mph, if you fall back 10 miles it’ll take a half a day to catch up,” Ron says.

Be realistic

“It’s all about time management,” Ron says. “It takes time to get fuel or water or go to a dump station. Maybe you’ll puncture a tire on the RV or trailer, maybe you need batteries; all those little things add up.” Factor things like that into your daily itinerary or your plan will be derailed in a heartbeat. FC