On The Road: 1995

Saw Mill

Justin Rupert, operator, and John Schrock on the saw mill at the Michigan Steam Threshers in Mason, Michigan.

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4411 Mechanic Road Hillsdale, Michigan 49242

I think we should all do our part to help support your fine publication.

I hope this does not bore or sound cocky to anyone. Once I decided to write, I did not know what to write until one evening, I asked my wife Renee if she would care that I take in a few more engine shows next summer. Boy! Did I ever get my question answered. She promptly told me I probably couldn't remember all I went to last summer, how could I do more?

Well, here it is, my best recollection from the hot summer of 1995 and a few pictures from our trips.

It all started about the first of April, when we were happy to acquire a 1912, 25 HP, double cylinder Rumely plow engine. Having spent all of my years on an Oil Pull, the old Rumely has been a lot of fun, especially for my nine year old son, Justin, who has really taken to steam engines! He has even started wearing one of those !, Approximately, %*, Delta, Epsilon, < polka="" dot="">

Well, we hauled the Rumely on a cold wet spring day but safely made it to the Lost Nation's steam grounds. After a good greasing and oiling, we steamed up and started getting a good education from John Schrock and Grahm Sellers.

For us younger folks it's so important to have people like Grahm and John to help us along. In the past I have fired and helped maintain packaged and field erected boilers over 1,000 HP and 1200 psi. Through this I have done a lot of schooling, which is all fine and good, but will surely not make for a quality, safe traction engineer. We all should read everything we can that will help educate us in our knowledge of safety and operation, but that alone is no substitute for a 'hands on education'. Maybe one day Justin and I will be as competent as John and Grahm, if they're patient with us.

The second trip of the year was not a show, but according to Renee, it qualifies. After talking to good friend, Dave Shearns in New York, most of an eight bottom Rumely plow was tracked down in Pennsylvania. It just seems to make sense if you've got a Rumely plow engine, you should have a Rumely plow. The necessary phone calls were made and arrangements agreed upon to pick up the plow. Since it's quite a long drive, John Schrock volunteered to ride along, so early on Saturday we were off to Pennsylvania.

We got along well, loaded the plow pieces and made it back the 225 miles before dark. The plow is in pretty good shape, but is missing three lifting arms and mechanisms. If anyone out there knows of plow parts that may work, please let me know. It would sure be nice to get this plow complete and working.

Well, we were heading into summer the first weekend in June. The weather is nice and warm for the first annual Lost Nation's Steam Up. What a great kickoff to summer it was. There were lots of good friends, lots of engines fired up, Troy Pausen and Tracey Powers' new Prony brake, some nice steep hills to play on, a tasty roast hog and cold refreshments left no one unsatisfied. Young Alan Kennedy, age 11, and Justin were quite a sight as they spent most of the day firing the big Rumely on their own. With quite a few dads keeping a watchful eye on the boys, they handled themselves very well and are becoming fine young engineers.

A few more weeks along, it's the last weekend in June and time for the National Threshers in Wauseon, Ohio, and the Russell feature. There was a real fine display of Russell engines on hand from small to large, as well as a good line up of different brands of engines and tractors.

Two engines that received a lot of attention were Ed Hurd's freshly painted Nichols & Shepard and one of the neatest little engines surviving, number one Baker. This is the first engine built by A. D. Baker, and it is still owned by family descendants. It was restored by John Schrock this past winter.

It's always great to see a one-of-a-kind engine running again and I really enjoyed operating the Baker a few times, as well as riding along on the haul to Wauseon for its first show in decades.

It's the first weekend in July, and by now the hot summer weather has arrived. But no time to cool the wheels, it's off to the Ageless Iron Expo in Ankeny, Iowa, with Cliff and Salley Peterson and Justin.

Renee made us a nice send-off breakfast, and we were off. The trip through Chicago is always fun and we were soon at our overnight stop at good friends Ron and Lora Lee Miller's in Genesco, Illinois. Soon after we arrived, my mom and dad (Frank & Sue), Ginney and Uncle Dean, good friends Bud and Vivian Warrenment, all from Michigan, arrived to continue the trek to Ankeny with us. This was a good pit stop for Bud and me, as he had an inside dual go flat and it needed changing, and my old water heater in the Champion sprang a leak and had to be bypassed.

After the motor coach maintenance was complete, we spent the afternoon touring the Millers' collection of Oil Pulls and talked Rumelys well into the evening. The Millers arc great hosts and it's always nice to have a fun stop along the way of a lengthy drive, where you can enjoy good friends and family.

By the middle of day two, we were set up at the show grounds in Ankeny. We had pre-registered, but really had no idea what to expect, as this was the first Expo. We were all pleasantly surprised with the organization. As most of you know, to put on a show if this magnitude is a real feat and we were all impressed with the activities and the exhibits.

It was a weekend of perfect weather in Iowa. We had great fun, saw friends from New York to Nebraska and could not have been happier that we'd made the trip with Uncle Cliff and Aunt Salley.

July 14, it was 102 degrees, in Litchfield, Michigan, at the Yesterday and Today Engine Show. This is a small local show that does it all. Just a few steam engines, a good line of tractors and stationary engines with wheat binding, threshing, sawing, plowing, Baker fan, tractor pulls and a daily parade.

As with many shows in the Midwest this summer the heat really hurt attendance, but the hardy folks at Litchfield kept things going. Grahm Sellers, Troy Pausen and Jerry Wool gamood did some awful hot duty keeping the engines, threshing and sawing moving and we won't forget Ed Hurd, who braved the heat to participate in the belting contest.

There were two young ladies that the heat did not seem to bother, Amada Wool gamood, age 5, and Jessica Rupert, age 6, who had as much fun as anyone on the Oil Pull 'Pup.' It's great to see these two youngsters enjoying the engines and tractors as much as the boys do.

July 27, 99 degrees. It's the Thursday before the big steam show in Michigan. I've got the Oil Pull on the trailer, have Justin, Jessica and friend Sara loaded and we're off to the Michigan Steam Engine and Threshers Show. This is always a great show and a great reunion with old friends. Anyone who has not attended this show is missing out. From HP gas engines to 100+HP traction engines, you will not find a show with more activity.

Taking care of seven and eight-year-old girls kept me pretty occupied, and it took son Justin about 10 minutes to find something to do besides hang around Dad and two girls. I didn't have to look around for him, as he was always on John Schrock's Aultman-Taylor. I can't say thanks enough to John for the time he spent with Justin. A few days with someone like John does more than any school could, and I was a pretty proud dad one afternoon to find Justin and John on the sawmill, after Justin had backed into the belt on his own.

It's the time people like Uncle Cliff, Uncle Al, John, Grahm Sellers, Troy Pausen and Grandpa spend with these youngsters that will keep the heritage alive.

August 10, 100 degree-plus. Renee and the kids were all loaded in the Champion with the 14-28 and 'Pup' in tow and were off to the third annual Rumely Products Expo in Georgetown, Ohio. It was a great show with at least 72 pieces of Rumely, Aultman-Taylor, Advance, Northwest, and other affiliated company products in attendance.

The heat was intense and difficult at times, but thanks to Edwin and Connie Fiscus, it was a great display. Their untiring efforts to coordinate the Expo were evident, and to handle this amount of equipment and hauling that was required, was staggering, let alone the temperature and humidity near 100 degrees everyday.

We had a lot of fun everyday and every evening, with those who stopped around for the nightly 'bull-sessions.' Thanks also to the Hauk family for their help and to Wendall Kelch, O.V.A.M. president, and to all who brought in exhibits, memorabilia, parts, or helped out in some way.

Sunday always comes too quickly, and by early afternoon, we were loaded for the seven-hour trip home. It wasn't hard to have that warm satisfied feeling, after a good show, as we motored through Cincinnati at 103 degrees.

September 9, only 87 degrees in Adrian, Michigan. It's been a month since the last show, and that's far too long. A good cure for that was the Adrian engine show.

They have a nice line of engines on hand. With Troy Pausen's new sawmill set up and powered by Rod Haverstein's 16 HP Gaar Scott it made for an enjoyable Saturday afternoon. A few refreshments with Rod and Jim Schrock, a nice spark show from Myron and Tracey Powers put a nice end to a beautiful day in September.

A frosty 20 degrees in early October. It's early A.M. and we were gathering at the Sellers' farm in Kinderhook, Michigan, to plow and thresh a little.

The Nichols and 22 Advance on the separator, the 75 Case, 25 Gaar Scott, 25 Russell and 20 Minneapolis kept all the plowing operators warm on a frosty morning. With Ed Hurd firing the stove, with advice from Bernard Wood man see, everyone in the shop chatting was warm, as well.

By early afternoon, under a beautiful warm sunny sky, the roast hog was ready and Jean Sellers and friends treated all to an excellent thresher man's pot luck. The day, as always, ended too soon. Around the wood stove, well after midnight, we all shared fond memories and the mixed feelings of great fun, but also knowing the summer of '95 had come to an end. Thanks to Grahm and Jean for their gracious hospitality, summer could not have ended any better.

From left to right: Renee Rupert, Cheri Woolgamood, Amanda Woolgamood, Dennis Rupert, Jessica Rupert, Justin Rupert. The last firing before winter at Lost Nations. Photo by Jerry Woolgamood.

Well, it's two weeks later and Jerry Woolgamood and I just can't give up yet. The weather forecast is warm, so we met at Lost Nations once more to fire up the Rumely. Renee, Cheri and the kids all had a great day playing on the hills, one last day before winter.

Now in the heart of winter, it's a minus eight degrees with wind chills around 40 below. We can only wait for that first warm spring weekend and the chance to attend lots and lots more engines shows. You won't mind will ya, Renee?