Breakfast was served on the patio at 6:30 by Margaret and her happy band of helpers — a wonderful array of cooked foods followed by pancakes, strawberries and maple syrup.
This was a great start to a great day. We needed to be on the road by 7:15 a.m. to make the relatively short trip to Archbold. This was a lovely run on quiet roads through wheat, corn and soy bean crops. Bill Swope (Margaret’s son-in-law) guided us from Perrysburg to Pettisville where Carlos joined us and guided us to his home at Stryker, near Archbold.
Arrival time was 9:15 a.m., which gave us just half an hour to be looking our best before heading to Kunkle for the 4th of July Parade in which we had been invited to participate. This was a treat we had not been aware off, so it was with great excitement that the four operative tractors, Carlos’ wagon and our good friend Ed Roth’s vehicle made the journey to the small town of 400–600 residents (dependant on who is telling the story) for what turned out to be a fantastic parade — horses, wagons, trucks, tractors and our small contingent which raised a lot of eyebrows and much interest. A greeting of “Good-day, mate” to a small lad was answered with “Wot?”
The figure given for the numbers lining the streets was around 3,500, a large percentage of whom were children who were all merrily waving their American flags — we flew our Australian flags with pride, but all the tractors also carried some decoration in the red, white and blue which adorned almost every home and certainly every participant in the parade. Ron decided to video the whole parade so the rest of the party could see what they were missing, and it was only after the vehicles had driven a few miles down the road that it was noticed that he was missing! Some half an hour later he was delivered back to us on a quad bike! This was indeed a memorable event and one which none of us will forget.
Once back in Archbold, we were guests at lunch at the Sauder Barn, joined by Ed Roth and his friend Merle who entertained us with their music, then most trekkers went to the Sauder Village to have a look around before relaxing around the campsite at Carlos and Raffaela’s property.
When Ron and Kerry last visited Archbold in 2008, they were made very welcome at the Mennonite Zion Church, so it was nice to be invited back again this trip.
A group of six trekkers were driven by Bob Frey and Ed Roth to the church for an enjoyable service which focused on the peoples of the world, so it was appropriate for our visit. Several of their members are joining some 3,000 Americans for a World Conference in Paraguay this month.
George and Cumber left at 1 p.m. to take Cumber’s nephew Brad to Detroit for his flight back to Phoenix. Brad had traveled with us for about a week and we really enjoyed his company.
Then it was party time again with a “meet and greet” at Carlos’s place. The local tire company, Miller Tires, supplied wonderful roast beef and all the locals brought a plate of salads or desserts to share — enough food for an army, let alone the large crowd who attended. Ed Roth and his band of musicians again entertained, along with other talented groups.
An effort by our members to represent Australia was well received but the fact that two song sheets carried different versions of “Waltzing Matilda” made for a rather garbled result! Dick and Allen entertained with a demonstration of sheep shearing while we sang “Click go the Shears” and we rounded off with “Advance Australia Fair.” Good fun but would not win any prizes! All round a really good day, and our thanks to Carlos and Raffaela for their efforts in organizing this event.
See photos and read more on Ron’s website, TransworldTractorTreks.com.