Farm Collector Blogs > Aussie Trek Across America

July 25 to 26: Missouri and Illinois

by Ron Bywaters

Tags: road trip, trek across America, tractor drive, Missouri, Illinois,

Day 29

This was the day the local tractor enthusiasts at Perryville have looked forward to — The 7th Annual Tractor Adventure run by the River Hills Antique Tractor Club.

The day started out wet, but the sun shone spasmodically and nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the participants. The three Chamberlains took part in the opening laps before making our departure for Greenville, Ill.

Vernon Bruckerhoff guided us for about the first 50 miles, showing us some local sights including the covered bridge on Mary’s River at Chester, Ill. Then it was time to make our farewells — it is always sad to leave friends, whether old or new.

The trip to our next destination was not long and we arrived at the American Farm Heritage Museum at Greenville mid-afternoon to find their Farm Heritage Days event in full swing and many people anxious to have a look at the Aussie tractors they had heard so much about.

Our visit to this particular event was to honor a promise made at the Penfield Farm Days to Sherry Schaefer, editor of the Heritage Iron Magazine. Really, it was in response to her promise to offer us roast lamb with all the trimmings if we would come — how could we refuse?

Sherry’s sister, Debbie, seemed to be responsible for most of the menu and what a grand array of lamb dishes were on offer — roast, braised, BBQ chops, patties, and even lamb and pork sausages. Add to these wonderful offerings were many salads and desserts, and again we felt very honored to join with Sherry’s family and a gathering of friends.

Day 30

Sunday morning started out bright and sunny, but not too hot — these people must have bribed the weather man as well!

The common comment is that it is unseasonably cool and no one has complained.

One of the local churches held a chapel service at 8 a.m., good old fashioned gospel music and a message from the local pastor, Glenn Kreider. Then our group had a short meeting to decide on the best route to take to Moline, Ill., and soon it was time to have the tractors ready to participate in the opening of the Parade of Tractors. Again, we could only stay for a few minutes before heading down Route 140 to Gillespie, Ill.

The trip to Gillespie was fairly short and uneventful and upon arrival, the ladies were very happy to take up the kind offer of our hostess, Becky Doyle, to use the laundry facilities. The past week had not given much opportunity for keeping up with this aspect of housewifery, so the machines had to work overtime.

Neville and Peter had stayed behind at Greenville and were to catch up “soon” but when the hours rolled by and there was no sign of them, there was some concern as to their whereabouts. The phones did not work in most of these areas and the CB radio was obviously out of range.

Eventually George went back into the town of Gillespie to seek word of them — zooming along in his tractor and passing incoming guests on the drive, much to their amazement! Sure enough, they had just arrived in the town after having discovered a section of Route 66 —  they were not lost, just sightseeing!

In the meantime, Becky and her husband, Ken, were cooking up a real feast — a whole side of roasted pork — just delicious! The many guests contributed toward the wonderful array of salads and sweet temptations, and there was even a very special “Welcome Aussies” cake which not only looked great but was very tasty as well. Becky kindly took over the hosting of our visit when her neighbors, Lindell and Jean Loveless, discovered that the date set with us clashed with their planned trip to Alaska. We were sorry to miss the Lovelesses, but Becky and Ken certainly entertained us very well in very lovely surroundings.

See photos and read more on Ron’s website,