| July/August 1991

R.R., Greenville, Iowa 51343

For the first time all summer, we decided to just 'enjoy' a steam show. The one we planned to enjoy was Tom Terning's show at Valley Center, Kansas, a small town just outside of Wichita. The show is held on Labor Day weekend. Instead of piling in the truck and hauling our little two-ton steamer, we decided to slide behind the wheel of our Cadillac for the five hundred fifty mile trip. We felt bad that our little engine couldn't be with us on our trip. We didn't want to leave it behind in the shed all alone.

On Saturday morning, we started out bright and early at 5:00 a.m. The first two hours of the trip weren't very exciting. Watching the pavement whiz under the car lights was about all there was to see. After the sun came up, one could now see the fascinating fence rows outside the window. For breakfast, we stopped and had some chalk and paste pancakes at a fast food cafe along the way. After breakfast, we headed back south again. We kept hoping that, around the next bend, Wichita would miraculously appear. It didn't. We arrived at our hotel at 5:00 p.m. According to the car's climate center, the outside temperature had cooled back down to 105 degrees. Sometimes it is best to arrive a little late.

The show was great. There were the 'outlaws', carousel, crafts, model airplanes, the incline, model steam engines, and of course, BIG steam engines. All our steam buddies were there. The Burds were present. Mahlon was around, too. If you looked hard enough, you could even catch a glimpse of Tom helping someone out of a fix. We thoroughly enjoyed the two days of the show we saw. Tom knows how to throw a steamer party.

Our trip home was just as exciting as our trip down. Upon arriving back on the farm in Iowa, we started using the new ideas we found in Kansas. First to be done was the construction of a water wagon for our steamer. It was operational four weeks after the show. The incline test Tom performed at his show impressed me quite a lot. It has me wanting to drive up every hill or rise I find.

The show taught us quite a bit. I hope that everyone interested in antiques and steam engines has an opportunity to visit a show like the Terning's show.


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