Pottsville Panic

Fred Dawson,Donna Haynie'

Fred Dawson and Donna Haynie riding 'shotgun' in the local parade on the way to Pottsville Powerland 1990.

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250 Robinson Road Cave Junction, Oregon 97523

For two months he had attended all the weekly 'planning meetings.' On the mantle sits the clock, speeding up, faster, faster! And now, finally, the night before the opening day of the 5th annual show at Pottsville in southern Oregon...not enough time! Gulping down his supper, he started out to the workshop, only to have his wife remind him that he had an important call to make. A few more minutes of the clock ticking away. But time well spent, as he had to call his good buddy to remind him to bring that extra carb part to Pottsville. Then out to the shop.

His bright and newly painted tractor stood tall and proud on the trailer, backed into the garage overnight, with the pickup sitting out in the weather, giving one more night's protection to the almost-still-wet paint job. The four neatly painted hit & miss engines-blue, red, green, and yellow-were sitting eagerly in each corner of the trailer, all anchored down for a safe trip. Suddenly, his eyes were riveted to a growing puddle of oil, dribbling down from dead center under the tractor. Oh no! 'I don't have time, I leave for Pottsville at 4:00 a.m. It can't be happening to me.'

A sickly feeling in his stomach pulsated to where he thought for a moment he might have to heave his supper. But' swallowing it down, he grabbed his toolbox, placed a large pan underneath the tractor and proceeded to undo the small casting from where the oil was leaking. As the bolts came off and the plate dropped, only a trickle dripped into the pan. Thank heavens for that! Just a crimped gasket carelessly installed. He replaced the gasket, tightened up the bolts, and great! No more leakage.

Will it still fire on the first turn of the crank? Will it run smoothly when he gets to Pottsville? Temptation weakened him and he had to crank it over, with the engine dropping into a gentle purr. It's running, all ready for Pottsville!

His attention was next given to the red engine in the left rear corner of the trailer. Not that one again! He'd worked on it time and again in order to have it perfect for Pottsville. He nudges the nut a little tighter, the small gas leak drips a few more times, then stops.

By now it was past 11 p.m. Gone was his good resolution to get to bed early so he'd be rested for the early start up Interstate 5, past Grants Pass, then on to Pottsville. Almost reluctantly, he turned back to the house, quickly undressed, gently pushed his sleeping wife over to her side of the bed as she grumbled in her sleep, then settled down to his side of the bed. Now only four hours left to sleep. He just remembered, swung out of bed to get the alarm clock, and set it for 3:30 a.m. That would leave him just a half hour to get awake, get dressed, load up his last minute items, especially his thermos. He closed his eyes, trying to will himself to sleep, but instead his suspended thought processes started once again going down the list packed to go: toolbox, gas cans, oil, rope, steel posts, shovel, belts, cooler, canopy, canopy poles and ties, signs, ramps, what else? Trying to remember, he finally fell to sleep.

Promptly at 3:30 a.m., a loud clanging jumped him out bed with a start. Where am I? What happened? Then his brain cleared, time to get going to Pottsville. He bounced a kiss off his wife's forehead. Today's the day! Dressing quickly, he turned the coffeepot on, picked the sack lunch out of the fridge, started the pickup to be warming it up. Double check the tie-downs, safety chain on the trailer, tires checked, poured his first cup of coffee, which he sat on the pickup seat. Driving out the driveway, he quickly went over his list again, can't think of a thing I've missed! On the road again, to Pottsville.

A sudden lurch of his trailer. A tire? No, he remembered a pothole in the pavement. He reached for the sack of donuts to wash down with his coffee. Uh-oh, he'd left them on the kitchen sink. Oh well, if they were the only things forgotten! Before he reached Interstate 5 he mused over the past few weeks of help given him, the friendship, camaraderie of fellow members, the patience of his wife...and looking ahead, the two days of the Pottsville Show, how fulfilling and satisfying.

Now he was on the big freeway, alert for traffic coming up fast behind as his trailer lugged the pickup down on the uphill sections. No doughnuts, but ahead of schedule would allow a quick stop at McDonald's just down the road.

Not too much further to Grants Pass, then the Merlin turn-off to Pottsville. With daylight dawning, he began to enjoy the beautiful view of green trees, tall mountains, rushing streams. What gorgeous country!?

Now, getting eager to soon join the fellow club members and friends, some no doubt already set up or, just as he was, pulling in this Saturday morning. He thought ahead to those setting up to run their engines, pump water, grind grain, saw wood, shell corn, all awaiting arrival of curious crowds. He chuckled to himself remembering one fellow member's answer when asked by a longhaired. teenage boy, 'What makes the engines go for a while and then fire?' His tongue in cheek answer was 'computer chip.' The student nodded knowingly and went on to the next exhibit. But mostly all the old timers patiently explain how the mechanisms of each type of engine worked.

Time to put the right turn indicator on, the Merlin exit ahead, 'Gateway to Pottsville.' A quick turn to the right, and the last few miles on Pleasant Valley Road, another quick left onto Monument Drive, and there, the gates of Pottsville. As he pulled in he was waved to a flagged-off area, spaces already filling in. As soon as his pickup rolled to a stop, several fellow members came over to greet him, and check out the new paint job on his tractor and engines. 'They run, too?' He was soon unloaded, his 'tent' set up, chairs in place, trailer moved out of the way, his bright tractor added to the tractor lineup, signs in place. Just in time, some early onlookers were standing by, checking out his bright engines, fascinated by the belts doing their jobs. Answering questions. What make? How old ? What did you give for it ? How long to restore? Old and young alike, all pausing, fascinated by the spinning flywheels. 'Hey,' one fellow shouted over the noise, 'I know where there is an old engine out behind a barn.' A quick pad and pencil jotting down the address for a look-see next week.

Hard to believe, lunchtime already. A church group was putting on a great feed, so he decided to skip the sack lunch his wife had so laboriously prepared for him. What a beautiful day! Pottsville, what a beautiful place! Look at those tall pines, the pointed mountains, the creek down in the hollow, the sawmill in the distance. And lines and lines of antique tractors, steam engines, logging equipment, engines large and small. Beautiful red museum building, the small church nestled among the other antique buildings of Pottsville, the blacksmith shop, laundry rooms, library, old fashioned store, all surrounded by delightful crowds watching the Maytag washing machines, the loom weaving, quilting, the flea market, the cloggers dancing on their platform. Time now to start up the shiny tractor for the daily 'tractor parade' (he didn't want to enter in the tractor pull, might scuff the new paint!). Not to worry! Tractor running smoothly, all winter's hard work paid off.

Then a pleasant sunshiny afternoon, not too hot, not too cold, breezy, just right. Time to be thinking ahead for tomorrow. Father's Day. He'd be joined by the wife and kids then, as they were going to drive up just for that one day and give him a special hug for his day. A large crowd was expected in the morning, more after church, with the usual tapering off late Sunday afternoon. Here's the Sunday crowd. Home free now!

Time to start loading up, plenty of help from fellow members. Wave goodbye, 'see ya' at the next Branch 9 meeting. See, no need for 'panic at Pottsville.'

How many out there have gone through similar motions and emotions getting ready for a show?

The 5th annual show at Pottsville again was picture perfect. Not enough praise nor thanks available nor tribute paid to compensate the many hours Branch 9 members worked to make the 1990 show a success. What can you say when the weather favors you. Pottsville Powerland improves each year, and having Sen. Debbs Potts as one of the greatest hosts ever. This leaves only one challenge-to make the 1991 Pottsville show even better yet. For this, again many hours of preparation are underway as you read this. Let's all work towards preserving our heritage. The shows presented all over the U.S. (and overseas too) best display this concern. Come to Oregon Father's Day Weekend, June 15 and 16.