Farm Collector

‘STEAMIN’ ALONG FOR FIFTY MILES

Montgomery, Minnesota

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.’

  • Published on May 1, 1963
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