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Summer Trip Out West

Author Photo
By Staff

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Mark with sons Dominic and Kyle at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska.
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At Oscar's Dreamland in Billings, Montana.

172 N. Cascade Drive, Springville, New York 14141

This is a short story of the trip I took last summer with my
family my wife Mary and our sons Dominic, 9, and Kyle, 6.

Our first stop was at the Henry Ford Museum where we saw steam
traction engines, many of which are rare and I had never seen
before. There were gas tractors, gas engines, farming machinery and
all sorts of early American historical items on display. We also
toured the Greenfield Village that consists of many historic early
American buildings. We rode the steam train which circles the
village and we had a busy fun-filled day.

Our next stop was in South Dakota where we toured the Corn
Palace that’s decorated with real corn; the Badlands; Wall
Drug, which is a tourist town; Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills; and
then to Devil’s Tower, in Wyoming.

From there we traveled to Billings. Mary kept asking why we were
going to Billings and I kept telling her, ‘Just so you can say
you’ve been there.’ When we got to Billings and stopped at
the Travelers Information, Mary saw the brochure for Oscar’s
Dreamland, she looked at me and asked, ‘This is why we came
here?’ All I could do was smile.

At Oscar’s Dreamland, we saw all the treasures that Oscar
Cooke, who passed away in 1995, had collected. Over 400 rare
tractors and many various types of early farming machinery.
Oscar’s son-in-law told me that the museum is for sale and the
collection may have to be auctioned off. This is certainly the best
antique farm equipment collection in the world. It’s a real
treat.

We then traveled through Yellow stone National Park, through
Teton Mountains, Jackson Hole, Arches National Park, through
Colorado to Nebraska. We toured Scott’s Bluff and Chimney Rock,
where we learned about the prairie travelers and the wagon trails.
Driving through Nebraska was a real treat for me because I am a
windmill nut! There are mills still in service and very
plentiful.

Our next stop was in Minden, Nebraska, where we spent two days
at Pioneer Village, which is historic buildings, early farm
machinery and all types of early American displays. In operation is
a steam carousel we rode for a nickel. We really enjoyed ourselves
at this place. We also learned about tornado watches. That was a
scary night especially when you’re in a pop-up camper.

We then traveled to Iowa where we stopped in Mount Pleasant at
the Old Thresher’s Museum. We toured the displays, looked at
the tractors, engines and farming equipment that are re stored to
perfection. I am planning on attending the reunion, some year.
These people put on one heck of a show.

We spent 21 days on the road, and they went by fast. We saw many
other sights not mentioned in this article and no one seemed
homesick, but it felt good to be back home.

If you ever get the chance, don’t hesitate to go out west.
Many people gave a lot of their own lives to make and protect this
country, and it’s a shame a lot of people never take the time
to see or enjoy it. Make sure you take a lot of pictures. We took
over 400!

Mary said she was tired of looking at tractors, but I sure
wasn’t. I can’t wait for the next trip!

I’ve heard Oklahoma has the most windmills. Can it be
true?

Editor’s note: There will be an auction of equipment at
Oscar’s Dreamland in Billings, Montana, on June 13-15,
1998.

Gas Engine Magazine

Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines