STEAM ENGINE TRIP FROM MONTGOMERY TO ELYSIAN, Minnesota is a distance of 20 miles on winding gravel roads with hills and hollows and passing by 6 beautiful lakes.
Oct. 5, 1962-Morning-light fire in A. D. Baker 21-75 Uniflow No. 17,676. Coupled to 32' Cyl. 46' rear Case Agitator No. 8920, built in 1885. Got stuck-so much rain. Dave Willis from Elysian furnished M. M. Tractor to pull the 8 bottom John-Deere platform plow and the tank water wagon was chained to the John-Deere platform plow eye hitch for the cedar or drag as was the custom in Montana,
Tom Zahratka, with Model T Ford, hauled wood and coal. We started to burn wood, but it was so wet, we could not hold steam, so we added coal, then we had plenty of steam. First day we made 5 miles. Towards evening, we stopped at large farmyard and asked if we could park the threshing and plow rig on their yard. Mrs. Tuma said yes, that her Hubby wouldn't care as his Daddy was a thresherman.
October 6, 1962-Morning-brought sack of dry corn cobs and wood to start the fire. They had filled our water tank full of water and did not want anything for leaving the rig on the yard, or for the water. 9:00- We pulled out, winding around the lakes, passing through the village of Cordovia. There, they took pictures and gave us free refreshments. Towards evening stopped to fire up and oil up and had sent the water tank wagon with the tractor for water. Mr. Sheehy, farmer along the road, came out with pick-up truck., 'What is your trouble?' I said, 'We will be out of water soon 'He replied, 'Pull in the yard.' I replied, 'My tanker will be here soon.' Mr. Sheehy went home, put on an empty barrel, filled it with water and came to the engine with barrel full of water. He would not even take a Souvenir Button for it, but bought one instead. Another farmer borrowed us 5 gallons of gas for the tractor. His name was Herman. Then, as we approached John Hermel's, uncle of the one we got gas from an old thresherman and sawmill man, he had his 28 hp Minneapolis all steamed up to welcome us with a special R. R. whistle. Also a big sign along the road 'Welcome to stay overnight to Steam Engine Joe' and Mrs. Hermel had a nice big thresherman's supper for us. Then it rained Sunday and Monday.
October 9, we pulled out of the yard and water was still standing in puddles on the road. Reached Elysian 15:00 when every boy and girl in Elysian was on their bicycle along the engine, also the engine platform was full of young engineers. Pulled in the field and the drivets started to spin on the Baker, uncoupled the agitator and traveled till we come to a knoll where the ater came out of the hill. The Baker went down to the fire-box, so Dave Willis brought down the big Cockshutt Diesel, hitched on and broke the chain. Then we put on heavy chain and dug down. Then we uncoupled the Cockshutt in the lead and went around the hill to reduce the grade and we made it. You should of seen the tracks or trenches we made. Mr. Dave Willis, also brought us lunch while on the road that afternoon.
ELYSIAN TRIP HOMEWARD BOUND
October 16-8:00 light fire in 'Baker 21-75 No. 17,676. 10:40 pulled out. Ray Snyder, 76 years young on the Cockshutt Tractor pulling the John Deere 8 bottom platform plow with water tank wagon hitched on where the drag should be hitched. Dave Willis came along after we had traveled about 4 miles, with Tom Zahratka Model T Truck with wood and coal. So did Joseph Zahratka come out to see if we needed any help. 17:20 we reached John Hermel's place, the home of the 28 hp Minneaoolis.
October 17-Laurane Hermel made fire in the morning in the Baker so that all we had to do was to oil up and couple to the water tank which they already had filled the night before. When we reached Cordovia, we were again treated royally. Towards evening, reached a large farm yard, north of Lake Welney. Mrs.David was home alone with the children. Her folks were threshermen also. Asked if we could stay or park the rig over night and her reply was 'Yes'. When Mr. David come home, we filled up the water tank, also gassed up the tractor. Only paid for the gas, the water was again free. This was about 17:00.
October 18-Light fire in A. D. Baker 21-75-9:00 we pulled out, Ray Snyder on the Cockshutt Tractor pulling the John-Deere plow and the water tank behind the plow. Tom Zahratka brought out wood and coal with the Model T Truck. 15:20 reached my son's Leonard L. Rynda,the farm where the rig makes it's home.
We stopped along the road for people to take pictures of the rig and plow, thus completing a 50 mile round trip in 6 days, up and down hills, winding roads and beautiful lake scenery. But thosehard gravel roads-sure are not roads for threshing traction engine to make. It would of been much easier and faster to make 40 years ago, then you could travel without biting you tongue off. More damage to the engine and machine on road then threshing and plowing. Fuel used on trip about 1 ton coal and 1 cord of wet wood. Hope to repeat the trip in October with the 20-70N.fl.No. 14,056. but will take off the cleats and cover the drivers with old tractor rubber tires. Steam Engine Joe's comment of the trip-'There are more good people than bad people.'