Lincoln Bus Tours

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R. D. 1, Dillsburg, Pa.


Mr. & Mrs. E. C. Nafe, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Bert Messersmith, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Nevin Amspacher, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Norman Lau, R.D. 1, Spring Grove, Pa.; William Strayer, R.D. 1, Dillsburg, Pa.; William Luckenbaugh, R.D. 2, Glen Rock, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Stewart Hersh, Godorus, Pa.; Jake Bricker, R.D. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Mr. William King, R.D. 1, Dillsburg, Pa.; Mrs. Margaret Merkel, 396 Butter Road, Glyndon, Maryland; John H. Gerforick, 340 Garfield St., York, Pa.; Virgil Sterner, R.D. 1, Spring Grove, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Titus H. Brubaker, Rohrcrstown, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. LeRoy, Ebersol, R.D. 1, Leola, Pa.; Walter T. Sheffer, R.D. 3, Glen Rock, Pa.; Vance Stitzel, York Springs, Pa.; Mr. Ben Bright, R.D. 2, Box 15, Easton, Md.; Fred Everhart, R. 3, Box 725, Easton,, Md.; J. Rex Haver, 643 Bellefonte Ave., Lock Haven, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Krebs, Seven Valleys, Pa.; Mr. & Mrs. John R. Smith, R. 1, Glen Rock, Pa.; Preston Stmith, 341 S. Pleasant Ave.; Dallastown, Pa.; Mason Gable, 51 E. Main, Dallastown, Pa.; Miss Nellie Anderson, 254 Rosevelt Ave., York, . Pa.; Mr. William Toflin, 1317 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md.; Mr. & Mrs. Dale Hempfing (Driver-Escort) Office Address, 10 W. Elm Ave., Hanover, Pa.

Report of Lincoln Bus tour September 1st to 7th inclusive with thirty one passengers plus the driver and escort, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Hempfling, all steam engine fans.

Whispers of such a tour began to circulate among the local engine fans in 1969 and when the Lincoln tours were set up for the 1970 season the Steam engine tour was advertised publicly for the first time in their brochures. The response was immediate and gratifying with the result that on the morning of September 1st we were all set for What turned out to be a week of very enjoyable travel and sight seeing.

We began by gathering at the Lincoln terminal and office at 10 W. Elm Avenue, Hanover, Pennsylvania early (May 30). Tuesday morning we pulled out at 6:10 for York, Pennsylvania, where we picked up about half of our party and after some photos were taken we headed north on 181 to the Pennsylvania turnpike then headed west.

While passing Carlisle, Pennsylvania someone made a remark that after spending the night there he had hurried to Hanover and now two hours later was back to his starting place.

We traveled until about 10 o'clock then stopped for our mid morning-coal and water stop. These two to three hours stops were continued through out the entire trip and were always very welcome for stretching our legs, picking up snack, etc.

While the driver made his routine check he noticed a defect in a tire Which was immediately removed. This delayed us for awhile, but it turned out to be the only delay we had on the entire journey.

Our noon stop was made in Ohio, after traveling through the coal and oil fields of Western Pennsylvania.

After about an hour of travel into Ohio the rolling terrain gave way to nice level farm land with bountiful crops of corn and soy beans. We entered Indiana in mid-afternoon where the farmland seemed about equal to western Ohio and after traveling a total of 590 miles to Elkhart, Indiana, we were put up at the Elkhart Hotel for the night. We arrived here rather early so everyone had an opportunity to look around the city as they wished. These little shopping sprees were greatly enjoyed by the women of our group while the men could look for a little liquid refreshments for their boilers if they so desired.

The next morning we were all to be called at 6:30, but yours truly and my room-mate (Bill King) were missed being called, so the driver had to call us when getting together to pull outso two bums went without breakfast.

Our first stop this day (Wednesday) was at a restaurant in Illinois, sitting directly over the turnpike connecting a filling station on each side. Here is one place a person can eat with the world passing under his feet. We now left the Chicago beltway near the Ohara airport taking 180 west past Joliet to Moline, Illinois where we arrived about 11.00 local time, but 12:00 our time.

Now for a surprise, thanks to our driver and escort. We drove past a beautiful lake to several ultra-mode-in buildings, one a museum and exhibition building, the other the new world wide office of John Deere, now Deere and Company where we parked the bus and were met by the visitor's manager, Mr. S. R. Majors and our group host, Mr. Nightengail, who escorted us into a beautiful auditorium. Mr. Nightengail gave a short address of welcome and history of the John Deere Company, at the end of address he asked us to follow him to the guest dining room in the large office building. Now this was the best part of his speech because our watches said 1:00 and as every old thresherman knows this indicates one of two things, either a lazy housewife or a very tough old rooster.

We were escorted to a wonderful dining room, which we heard later Was used to dine the Deere Company representatives from foreign countries, we were seated around two large tables which reminded us of the large threshing crews of years ago. We were then each served with a large plate of beef steak with all the trimmings. One of our group, Mr. Ebersol, was called upon to ask the blessing, making the thresherman setting complete. After all this we noticed it has started to rain, but no one paid much attention to it as everything, even the bus, was under roof.

These buildings by the way are constructed entirely of steel, glass and concrete. The steel is exposed and is a new product which never requires painting or cleaning, forming its own coating in time.

Next we entered the bus and followed our host through the city to their Combine factory where we were divided into groups of five, then introduced to a guide for each group. These guides were retired employes of this factory, all dedicated men, being very proud of Deere and Company, as well as being very courteous and full of information. We witnessed the building of a self propelled combine from the balancing of the cylinder to the starting of the motor, and driven out of the door to the shipping yard. The average out-put for an eight hour shift is seventeen machines. This tour of the factory required about two hours and now it was really raining so our driver was told to drive the bus into the factory where we all climbed aboard without a drop of rain on anyone, except the driver. We were now escorted back to the Museum and Show-rooms where we could brouse to our hearts content.

When we were at the factory we were each given a pair of protective eye glasses bearing the John Deere trademark which we now learned was a souvenir from Deere and Company.

After brousing around for quite a while we departed for the Holiday Motel in Maline, everyone, I am sure with a warm feeling for Deere and Co.

After we had our evening meal the rain stopped and we all hoped it had missed our next morning's destination (Mt. Pleasant, Iowa) approximately one hundred miles south west of our over-night stop. The next morning (Thursday) we slept rather late, had breakfast with everyone on time, then crossed the Mississippi river into Davenport and drove almost west a-long the river about thirty miles to Muscatine, where the river turns South.

This is a beautiful drive with the river in view nearly all the way. Many grain barges were in evidence on the river, both traveling and being loaded at large terminals. We now traveled Southwest on a zig zag route because the men who laid out their road system must have been farmers who despised pie shaped fields. We arrived at the show grounds of Mt. Pleasant about 10:30 where we were met by the officials of the Midwest Old Settlers and thresherman reunion namely Mr. William Sater, President, Mr. Herbert, Secretary and Mrs. Millie Turley, Public Relations.

The grounds were wet because the rain had preceded us by only a few hours, but after such a reception who cared about a little mud. Their advertisements state, this is the greatest Steam Show on earth and it certainly lives up to its claim. We spent the greater part of two days and yours truly did not get to see it all, even by riding many times on their rubber tired trains which travel continually over the entire grounds.

By late afternoon the ground had dried sufficiently to have a partial parade before a packed grandstand which we were told has twenty seven hundred seats, but surely there were many more than this number standing on the sidelines.

To my surprise one of the passing engines was operated by one of our party who already seemed right at home. We left the show about 5:00 thinking we would have better weather the following day to look around. We than drove East about thirty miles to the Holiday motel in Burlington, Iowa again near the Mississippi river.

We had our evening meal and were promised good weather for the following days by the local weatherman. This Weatherman it turned out was the chief of all Weathermen.

All were up early the next morning (Friday) and raring to go, with the steam engineers uniforms very much in evidence, overalls and firemans caps. Yours truly with light foot gear to get over me grounds better and save energy.

The sunrise over this level countryside was beautiful, but almost at once was covered by clouds. Now! You guessed it. It began to rain before we had driven ten miles and continued to rain hard until we arrived at the show grounds where some thought we should wait it out by staying on the bus, but we were escorted to a paved parking spot, which I believe was the only one available, and every one moved out into the mud and rain which seemed to end un-noticed.

The steam train, which completely encircles the grounds, as well as all rubber tired ones were loaded to capacity most of the time because it was impossible to stay out of the mud on foot.

Most of the big engines had to sit still all day, but by noon the ground had improved quite a bit and the crowd had grown to what appeared normal but we were told it was a small turn out by their standards. Their show grounds consists of over seven hundred acres including parking spaces.

Seventy nine steam traction engines were on the grounds ranging from three to one hundred twenty H.P. and many smaller models and many stationary engines ranging from small models to very large coiless types, most in operation. Many large gasoline tractors and gas engines were on display.

A complete Pioneer Village is located at one end of the grounds with the steam train traveling in the center of Main Street and stopping at the authentic station on a regular schedule, loading and discharging passengers.

The village contains a church, school house, black smith shop, harness shop, jail, saloon, barber shop, medicine show and many others all of which are open for business to the public and makes a real old time move setting.

One building having two floors is completely filled with restored antique autos and parts as well as a flea market. This to me is a show in itself.

Three older members from Pennsylvania were among the group honored at the show headquarters with a ceremony presenting their old timers thresherman certificate namely William King, Age 82, Titus Brubaker, Age 81, Bert Messersmith, Age 83, along with Miles Atkins of Iowa.

Again about 5:30 we reluctantly gathered at the bus where the officials and press gave a little speech of appreciation, wished us a safe journey home as well as a hearty invitation to return next year when they hoped the weather would be more cooperative.

After leaving the show we drove to East Bloomington, Illinois stopping at another beautiful Holiday motel where we had our evening meal and tried to clean our gear.

Now their black fertile soil is wonderful for growing corn and beans but it surely was not so nice when wet and stirred by thousands of feet as well as steam engines, resulting in a bus load of very muddy feet. Our driver confided to me the following morning that he had to scrub out the bus after supper in order to have it respectful for travel the next day.

My room-mate and yours truly decided the only way to clean our shoes was with a wash cloth plus soap and water, which we proceeded to do. We finally had the shoes looking presentable again, but Oh! My! The wash cloth and bathroom!

The following morning we found that most of the group had a similar experience so it was probably a good thing that we were leaving the state.

 This morning (Saturday) we could sleep rather late because we were coming to the same motel again this evening, therefore no packing and storing luggage before leaving.

After a short drive we arrived at the Threshermens Reunion and Horse Show grounds near Pontiac, Illinois where we were met by an escorting party consisting of Mr. Ed Branz, President, and Robert Kipfer, Past President Who gave us a hearty welcome then escorted us to a vantage parking spot near the center of the grounds.

Here the grounds were wet but their show is located among a stand of beautiful virgin timber and a good cover of sod so it was not too bad underfoot but the engines did not move about very much until late afternoon when another partial parade was held.

While we were on the grandstand the M.C. asked for a show of hands from another group from Georgia and about twelve responded then our group was called with most responding from the stand.

Both groups were then treated to a wonderful welcome 'by the show management. While this show is not as large as the Mt. Pleasant show it had many pieces of machinery that yours truly had never come across before and every-one seemed glad to explain in response to questions.

Apparently nearly all the people at both shows were from farms and are friendly to strangers because yours truly spoke to many and failed to meet one city man. All told me that they lived on a farm or was a retired farmer.

This is quite a contrast to most of our Eastern Steam shows Where the visitors seem to consist of about equal numbers of city and farm folks. Many people from our cities have never observed a small gasoline engine in operation and often ask what they were used for.

Now to most readers of this magazine this is a silly question, but just think a little and you will discover that it is later than we think and the question becomes less silly.

Being a retired lumberman, my greatest impression of the Pontiac show was the grounds with its beautiful shade trees and the wonderful folks we met.

In the evening the horse show was held on the parade grounds Where a large group of beautiful horses were put through their paces before a filled grandstand, but we had to leave before the show was completed.

We were escorted from our parking space, through the crowds to the gate, then given a very friendly good bye and an earnest invitation to come again.

Now back to Bloomington and to bed, because tomorrow (Sunday) we hope to cover many miles toward home. Again we slept rather late and after a nice breakfast we climbed aboard where we had a short devotional service before starting East through Illinois to Peoria, the home of the Old' Avery Machinery Company.

Traffic was light and we made good time until someone yelled Indianaset time pieces ahead one hour.

This caused some confusion and suddenly it was time to stop for dinner after which we continued to Indianapolis and the famous race track, where we spent a very short hour visiting and sightseeing. Most of the men boarded small buses for a guided tour including one lap around the 2 mile track, but set no speed records.

Racing seems to be the way of life in this city. We noticed a group of young men and women around a race car in a parking lot and we were curious as to just what was going on here, and after a look we had more faith in the younger generation. Here were about twenty clean cut and shaven young men and boys, mostly in clean white coveralls, who had the engine of the racer dismantled to replace a piston which they proceeded to do at a pace that would put most of our six and eight dollars per hour men to shame.

We now left Indianapolis on Route 70 and before long we entered Ohio then by-passed Dayton and on to Columbus where we were again put up at a nice Holiday motel for our last night out. Here we were told by our escort that if we would go to bed early, then get up early, we could make it to the Williams Grove show shortly after noon. This was not in the original plans, but all assured we would obey orders and the next morning (Labor Day) everyone was ready to pull out at 6:00.

We drove along at a good pace for several hours before our breakfast stop and by this time we had worked up a good appetite, so we really enjoyed this breakfast.

We soon came to Wheeling and were through the West Virginia pan handle before we realized it, then in to old Pennsylvania.

Somewhere we stopped for fuel at a modern truck stop where all except our driver and escort remained on the bus, but we could not help noticing signs on each door stating simply, in large letters, NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO SERVICE. This to me is an indication that styles may be changing, so let's cheer up.

About noon we made our last stop before arriving at the Williams Grove show and after our meal most of the group visited a nice gift shop near-by where the ladies were seen buying gifts for their grandchildren, but the men socked up on Peace offerings for their steam engine widows.

We arrived at the Grove parking lot about 2:15 and the bus was immediately hijacked by a group of clowns including, President Hull, who attached two horses and one Oil Pull to the bus then pulled us onto the parade grounds where we were serenaded by steam Whistles, then as we emerged from the bus we were welcomed home, individually, by Mr. Shughart, the M.C. followed by many happy reunions with our wives and friends.

For many, this was the end of our bus trip and before dark the bus pulled out toward York then on to Hanover, the last stop.

There are already whispers of contacting the Lincoln Bus Company to induce the management to make this trip an annual run, only time will tell.

We had a wonderful driver and escort and a good clean air-conditioned bus.

We had traveled 1995 miles in six states through thousands of acres of wonderful crops, had seven days of fellowship, saw thousands of individuals at three Steam Shows, plus our very fine visit at the Deere Company and our stop at Indianapolis.

In our entire trip we saw no intoxication, heard no cussing, not even one word spoken in anger. All this should renew our faith in the Almighty and America, Our America, let us not sell it short.