Pleasure and Pathos

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4777 Upper Valley Pike, Dayton, Ohio, 45424

With great anticipation of fun days ahead, Dan Elherding of Jamestown, Ohio completed details of his planned trip to the Waukee, Iowa Swap Meet. He loaded his trailer with merchandise and a UC Allis which was to be dropped of at Herb Beckemeyer's near Champaign, Illinois and headed to Dayton to pick up Norm Stuckey.

At the Stuckey farm Dan explained his eight spare tires all fit the trailer and that even now he had one on the trailer losing air. This early trouble before he was even fifty miles from home maybe justified all the spares. Dan and Norm headed down I-70 for Indiana to pick up Allen Beall near Rushville. Only one stop to fill up the three-quarter ton Ford and air for the low trailer tire was enough to get to the Beall farm.

The only break from tractor and engine talk was when Dan changed a trailer tire. Allen had many items he had collected including a very rare Oliver on rubber tracks and an early separator that bailed the straw.

It was neighborly of Allen and his wife to feed Dan and Norm and provide a bed. The next morning, a Thursday, bright and early Allen joined Dan and Ed to drive to Champaign, Illinois.

Herb wasn't home to help unload the UC, but that didn't keep the three travelers from looking through the buildings and admiring a fine collection of restored tractors. An Oliver 99 had just been completed and a Huber early Super-Four was in process. Herb did arrive to fill in the details about his collection.

It was noon before leaving Herb's and there was a long trip ahead. The Ford would have a lighter pull now-but one trailer tire was low.

Changing drivers made the trip enjoyable and as evening approached we arrived in Des Moines. Everything seemed fine until the Ford started making noises. A stop at a 'no work done here' gas station allowed only a fill up. There was a grassy patch at the edge of the station's cement slab so here Dan crawled under to take a look. Yes, the differential was hot and low on oil.

With fortitude and a prayer we made the Motel 6, five miles away. While checking in, some engine collectors from California gave us a preview of what was at Waukee. They had a good sized trailer, which they aimed to load with gas engines. Later it was noted that they had.

Friday morning after breakfast the garages were opening up and several inquiries took Dan and the Ford to the Goodyear Service Center a block away. The truck could be driven and didn't sound bad but anyone could tell it wouldn't go far. About a block away was a car rental so Dan rented a car and loaded the things from the trailer at the motel into the car and we headed for Waukee.

The show grounds were a bee hive of activity,. There were people from everywhere, and it looked like there were many buyers. Things were being moved about all over the place.

The rental car was parked and the items for sale were put out on a spread canvas. It looked like many sellers had left their items to shop around. Norm was appointed to be salesperson as Dan and Allen had to find a friend to borrow a pickup with a bumper hitch. It was Dan's plan to get the trailer and head off 90 miles southwest to pick up an Emerson Brantingham tractor purchased weeks before.

A call to the garage about mid-morning brought the word that a used rear end was available and it looked like four hundred dollars would put the Ford on the road. With this information Dan was anxious to get the pickup back for the scheduled return to Ohio on Sunday. Here it was Friday and the garage did work on Saturday also.

Dan found a friend who said sure take his pickup and go get the EB tractor. Allen went along to help and the trip took the rest of Friday. It was a comfort to have the tractor loaded and at Waukee ready for the journey to Ohio.

Saturday morning the garage said they needed to work on one of the brake cylinders and the Ford would be ready after lunch. The car rental people were great; very cooperative and when one is a stranger in a foreign land good people are a treasure. To have trouble at home is bad enough but beware when you are away from home.

The garage charged Dan $800.00. This came as a shock to Dan but what can one do. In Ohio the State Legislature passed laws governing the garage business. This is enforced by the Adjutant General of the State. This is only the business the elected officials feel needs regulating. All garages must give a written estimate and if more than $25 above the estimate the garage must notify the customer before doing the work. All parts replaced must be available for the customer. The Waukee Swap Meet was worth the trip and I want to go back. The show grounds were covered with displays of engine and tractor parts and related items. Oh yes, there were complete engines and tractors for sale too. We soon realized that business started early in the week and this may well be expected. Buyers and sellers came from all over the country as the needed exchanges took place. There were sellers shopping other sellers to find items to resell. This always happens at flea markets.

If and when we return to Waukee, we will plan to be ready to do business on Wednesday. Many hard to find parts were brought in and it is true many sellers couldn't be there until Saturday so one just has to spend several days to catch it all.

Waukee is the best swap meet I have been to and Dan and Allen are good companions to attend with.