U-Haul engine

Content Tools

1206 S. Pine Street, Janesville, Wisconsin 53546

Change is the one thing which re-mains constant. In the spring of 1995 we decided to change jobs. Moving is always a traumatic experience, but this time things were exceptionally unsettling as one job opportunity after another fell through. Finally, I was offered a position in Janesville, Wisconsin, which met everyone's needs.

Being an advocate and collector of old iron has both benefits and drawbacks. One June morning my new employer phoned asking how things were and whether we were moving to a farm. When I said 'No' he questioned why I wanted to move a farm tractor as it was not a 'common household item.' NOT A COMMON HOUSEHOLD ITEM? How could I leave my 1935 John Deere B behind? I had owned it for over 20 years, moving it from the U. P. [Upper Peninsula] of Michigan to Mississippi to Arkansas to Missouri. I didn't find it necessary to mention that I had 10 gas engines and a 1949 Farmall C I was planning to bring also.

The small gas engines were no problem, as they were on trailers and could be towed behind my car. The tractors were another story. There was some question as to whether I would have to pay extra if my move was overweight.

Moving day came and there was no van. When it arrived three days later the driver stopped, got out, walked across the lawn, and asked if the tractor also 'went.' Evidently no one had told him it was to go. He was not happy about not being told.

Loading went smoothly enough considering the July heat. Along about 1:30 p.m., when most items were loaded, the driver announced that he thought we could load on both tractors and still not be over weight. By backing one tractor in and driving the second one forward there would be room. We measured it not once, but twice! We could do it!

You haven't lived until you have driven tractors into a moving van! The rush of adrenaline you get as you push in the clutch on a John Deere B to back it down the ramps, beats any roller coaster ride. The Farmall C wasn't so bad as I was going forward and the speed was much slower than reverse in the B.

We loaded without incident except for a greatly accelerated heart rate. My son-in-law and I each took a trailer of small engines behind the cars and started for Janesville. By now it was 5:00 p.m. Hot? We thought we were going to die loading. About an hour out of Centralia, Missouri, my car started acting up, so we pulled into a gas station. Not really knowing what made my 1992 Ford Tempo go, I popped the hood anyway and something smelled very hot. Feeling around, I felt a black box that was burning hot to my fingers. What to do! We were miles from the nearest Ford garage, and besides, no dealer would be open. Not knowing any better, I asked my wife for our jug of ice water and poured it over the offending module until it was cold. When I restarted the car it ran okay, so we decided to go on to Janesville, arriving about 1 a.m. As we dropped off the engines at our new home the police went by, circled back to watch, but didn't stop.

Getting the tractors off was much less exciting than loading, even though the neighbors gathered to watch as the tractors came off.

Sunday, Terry and I went back to get a U-Haul full of stuff and our 6 HP Robertsonville. We had to pull the engine out to the road with Terry's car where we loaded it onto the car carrier with a come-a-long. Once again we started for Janesville, this time with a U-Haul and an auto transport loaded with a Robertsonville engine, heading into pouring rain. It rained so hard my son-in-law couldn't see to keep up. I couldn't see much either but kept on anyway, leading a long string of cars toward Springfield, Illinois.

When we ran out of the rain we began to look for a station with diesel fuel. We passed station after station with no diesel, finally finding one when the fuel gauge registered below empty!

We had another 1:00 a.m. arrival, followed by another group of neighbors to watch us unload the Robertsonville the next morning.

Not common household items? What would we do without them?