Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Biking with Harris on the Minnesota River Trail.

 Harris and I took advantage of the cool afternoon to ride the Minnesota River Trail.  He was excited to go over Nine Mile Creek on the ferry, but was not disappointed to find this new tree-bridge crossing.  He moved from bank to bank like a champ.

Most of the trail was firm and fast.  Harris powered through sand traps and learned to attack log crossings.  He did end up reclined in the stinging nettles after failing to square up to one log, but he bounced right up.  His hard work during cross country running practice is paying off.  
Harris taking a break on the way back to the start.  It won't be long until he is waiting for me on the trail.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion

Every Labor Day weekend the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion is held in Rollag, Minnesota.  Prior to WWI giant steam tractors tilled the earth.  A score or more of these puffing giants roamed the grounds this past weekend.

Steam gave way to kerosene and gas powered tractors.  "The Pioneer" made in Winona, Minnesota is 101 years old.  
Below is the cockpit of another post steam tractor.  Instead of roaring. the engines of these early machines chugged along at a few hundred revolutions per minute.  I could watch each valve patiently wait its turn to let in fuel or let out exhaust.

This was an especially fun trip because my father had a a 1946 Dodge Truck with factory John Deere trailer and plow attached.  He also had a 1931 Ford Model A and a 1936 D John Deere tractor in the parade. I drove the Model A in the first parade and the Dodge in the second.  
I stalled the engine of the truck on a hill right in front of the grandstand,but remembered Dad's advice to use the parking brake in conjunction with the throttle and clutch to get it moving again.  

The grounds displayed more than just tractors and vehicles.  
 We took a ride on this full sized steam locomotive.  The picture below shows Dad's truck  and car from inside one of the rail cars.
Another large area of the grounds held the "Sand Box."  Several steam shovels and vintage dump trucks played around moving piles of sand and dirt back and forth. 
 The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion is more than a view of the past; the smell of wood fires mixed with the sweet sulfurous odor of burning coal along with the puffs, chugs and roars of big machines make this an event for all the senses.