Is A Man's Best Friend His Dog Or His Steam Engine ?

| March/April 1990

R.R. 3, Box 184 Valley Center, Kansas 67147

Who could possibly ask for anything more? A good shade tree to nap under, a dog, and your steam engine close at hand. I would like to tell you all the real truth concerning this peaceful looking scene and just how it all transpired. Up until now it was a fact known only to a few people that the fellow sleeping under this tree had just completed the world's land-speed record for a non-stop trip from Valley Center, Kansas to Hutchinson, Minnesota to attend the Heatwole Threshing Show. The most amazing part of this particular feat was that it was accomplished in a 1972 Ford pickup which has been known to have a few problems at times! His name is Mahlon Giffin of Sedgwick, Kansasa name familiar to many of you readers.

Tom and I drove our 1963 B Model Mack loaded with our 20 HP Minneapolis steam traction engine plus Mahlon's half-scale Case model. Gary and Sharon Base of Sedgwick, Kansas also made the trip with us this past summer. The plan was that the three vehicles were going to travel together in case someone needed help. It soon became apparent just which vehicle that was going to bebut I won't mention any names! As darkness approached we could no longer see the familiar headlights of Mahlon's pickup. So Tom pulled the Mack over and by use of the CB we soon discovered that the Ford was taking a fuel stop. We knew Gary and Sharon were behind Mahlon, so we were not too concerned. We waited and waited. It was getting very dark now and still no Mahlon or Gary. We finally saw this yellow streak going by us and thought that must be Mahlon. However, he did not stop so we thought it must have been someone else. In a few more minutes Gary and Sharon pulled up and confirmed the fact that Mahlon did take on fuel and that he was ahead of them so it was Mahlon we saw! We traveled on a bit farther, looking for the Ford in rest areas, etc. Finally we pulled over and slept, all the time figuring Mahlon was doing the same thing.

The boiler inspector was going to be at Jerry Wright's place about noon. We pulled into the yard at about that time. Guess who was waiting for us? It seems Mahlon had been there since 7 o'clock just wondering where we had been. We have not heard the end of that and I don't think we ever will. The old Ford beat the Mack to Heatwole! About that time Dick, Lee, and Mary Burd pulled into the yard with their Case model, as did the Melvin Joenks family of Greenville, Iowa. However, first things first my sister had prepared a fantastic meal complete with home grown sweet corn. After that, the engines were inspected!

It was a beautiful weekend to visit with family and friends in this beautiful part of Minnesota. I am enclosing some photos of the show and do hope that you readers will have time to attend Heatwole Threshing Days this coming summer. It will be good to visit with you. You will also have first-hand knowledge of just who made it to Heatwole first!!