4155 Lancaster Drive, N.E., Salem, Oregon 97303
In the Fall of 1976 wrote a story of an 8,000 mile trip my wife and I made in the summer of 1976.1 got several letters in response to this from several states and from Canada. This summer we started another trip, but as it turned out, not all of it was very happy traveling.
We left Salem, Oregon, May 30, 1978. The night of May 31st, we stayed in a motel in Rawlins, Wyoming, and at 6 o'clock the next morning, when we started on, our car was covered with ice. It rained on us in Nebraska. We got to Minden, Nebraska about 4:30 PM on June 1st. Drove 1526 miles in 3 days. Told my wife that was the easiest thing I had done all winter and spring as I had been busy working on different jobs at Antique Powerland. Some of those jobs were too hard on my system. I had completely restored an 1918 10-20 Titan; the care-taker and I built 3 sections of bleacher seats for the show grounds; and repaired and re-made all the upper wooden sections on the antique merry-go-round and put them in place.
We stayed the night of June 1st at the motel on the Pioneer Village Museum grounds. They are now building another big two-story motel nearby. We ate at their modern up-to-date restaurant next door to the motel and the museum.
We entered the museum at 8 AM on June 2nd. They have over 30,000 items to see there. We saw over 100 old tractors and over 200 old cars, as well as a lot of other displays such as an old church, school house, general store, an old railroad station, etc. The tractors and cars are all displayed in nice condition - kept dusted off, but do not run. These are housed in long 2-story buildings with concrete floors.
We left Minden around 4:30 PM, as we wanted to arrive at Adrian, Missouri, the afternoon of June 3rd, and wanted to make another stop near Leavenworth, Kansas, on the way; hardly any corn planted - too wet. Went south into Kansas and hit Highway 36. Went east to Marysville and stayed there overnight. Next morning drove on east to Hiawatha, Kansas, had breakfast and then headed for Leavenworth. We looked up a friend there, Del Seuser. I think some of you readers know him. He was at our show at Brooks in 1976. He was secretary of National Gas Engine Club then. He has some goodie old tractors, and several old cars. We stayed there 2? hours, then hit south on 73 Highway; just on the southwest corner of Kansas City. When we hit Highway 150, we turned left and went across south side of Kansas City to Highway 71, then south about 50 miles to Adrian, Missouri. This is where my wife was born and grew up. We arrived at her nephew's home around 3 PM.
Sunday morning, the 4th, we went to chuch at the Christian Church where my wife, Margaret, and her parents before her had been members for many years. We saw a lot of her friends and relatives - quite a few I had met when were there in 1976. That afternoon some of her cousins were having a family get-together and picnic dinner out in the country about 18 miles.
That is fescue country; everybody was putting up fescue hay. Fescue is dynamite to me for hay fever. I sneezed and sneezed and blew all afternoon, until we left about 5 o'clock. Next morning, Monday the 5th of June, I had a heart attack - and I think all that sneezing may have had something to do with it. Something broke loose in an artery and stopped up a valve in my heart. Maybe a weak valve spring! Ha! Anyway they took me to the Bates County Memorial Hospital, 10 miles south of Adrian. I was in intensive Care Unit for 9 days and then in private room and ward for 11 days.
Of course, I worried about how we would get home, as my wife doesn't drive. Doctor said we would have to fly home, anyway. Checked on motor transport to get the car home, but the price was prohibitive; then thought of selling the car, but used cars are so much cheaper there. I shouldn't have worried, as my family had been planning, and some of them were coming to get the car.
As it worked out, our son and daughter-in-law from Vancouver, Washington flew to Kansas City the afternoon of June 24th. Margaret and some friends picked them up at the airport, and they arrived at the hospital to see me around 9 PM. The doctor said he would have me ready to leave the hospital the next morning. The nurses started getting me ready about 5 AM on the 25th. My son, my wife and her nephew arrived at the hospital at 9:30 and I was ready to go. Drove back to Adrian where my son and his wife left with my car about 10:30 AM. All across Kansas it was 102 degrees, and the car has no air conditioning. They drove to Vancouver, Washington in 2? days with two drivers and they put in long ways. Stopped one night in Denver and the next in Twin Falls, Idaho.
I had an appointment with the doctor at Butler on the 27th of June, to see if my condition was still okay for me to fly home. He said we might as well take the plane on the morning of the 28th of June, when we had reservations.
Some friends took us to the airport north of Kansas City (about 70 miles), and we were off. That was my first plane ride. We had just started out of Kansas City, and they served breakfast. We made the mistake of not asking for a wheel chair to be ready for me when we got to Denver -- had to change planes there. On top of that when we got into Denver the landing ramps were all full, and they disembarked us out on the runway. Had to walk down steps, across quite a distance on the runway and up an escalator, and it seemed a mile away. Margaret tried then to find a wheel chair and several people went scurrying to find one, but they were all in use. I sat down in a phone booth and took a nitro pill and in a few minutes we walked on. Inquired where our plane for Portland would be loading, and was told to go to Gates #3 and 4 straight ahead of us. It looked like a half-mile away to me; but we managed to get down there to the waiting room and the seats were all full. But a lady saw that I was in bad shape and gave me her chair. Bless her.
In a few minutes we boarded the plane for Portland. As soon as we got off the ground they served lunch. We were about 37,000 feet up and it was a beautiful clear day. I sat next to the window just ahead of the wing with the engines on it. As I looked at those engines and how well they were performing, I decided one must be a John Deere, the other was a Hart Parr on one side and on the other side there was a 15-30 McCormick-Deering and a 10-20 Titan. Anyway they were doing their job and took us safely to Portland. I cannot understand how those planes get off the ground, unless the noise scares them off. You antique tractor buffs think that one over. Ha!
We asked for a wheel chair before we got to Portland, but it was the same story there, none available. I walked off the ramp to some seats real close by, and a man got me a chair in a few minutes. I was wheeled to the outside where my daughter was waiting with the car; then on home to Salem. Certainly thankful to be there.
It was quite a trip, and I enjoyed some of it, even if I was a shot rod.
We were lucky to be at the far end of our journey when I had the attack, as my wife had relatives and friends to take her to the hospital and a place to stay. Our plans were to stay around Adrian about eight days. I had several old tractor friends scattered around there. I did get to see some of them for a few minutes, but did not get out to see their tractors.
We wanted to see the wheat fields of Kansas that were just ready to harvest, and to stop in Boulder, Colorado to visit Margaret's cousin and family. Also my sister who had lived in Iowa for many years, had moved to Grand Junction, Colorado and had her piano tuned up fresh, so that with my fiddle, we could really make some good old-time music together. Our older sister from Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada, also flew to Grand Junction to be in on the reunion. My sister and I had only played together a couple of times since we lived in Saskatchewan back in the 1930s. Anyway the heart attack kind of knocked out the last part of our trip.
After getting home, I was getting along pretty fair at Salem. I was walking a mile a day, doing tinkering jobs getting our mobile ready for winter, when I was hit again with another heart setback on October 6. I spent two weeks in Salem Memorial Hospital. I've been home now, but not much force. This sitting around the house is almost as hard as any work I ever did. I have started walking again, but that is hard to do in the rain here in the winter time. So as of now, I am not much; maybe in time, I'll be able to enjoy a bit of life again.
I am 69 years old, and I am about like an old car or tractor; knee action is shot, frame bent, head cracked, hittong on 2 or 3 cylinders. Differential bearings are rough, headlights dim and out of focus. But anyway, I am still going. So take my advice, friends out there in the old tractor world -- 'Slow down and God Bless You.'