6750 Ratalee Lake Rd, Clarkston, MI 48016
Gas engines are restless and like most retirees, love to travel. They send out unseen signals that guide us to them and then bewitch us so we can't leave without them. Many are rewarded with summer shows and winter cleaning, tuning and painting. So when you miss a turn or somehow get on the wrong road, it's not really your fault, it's a lonesome engine nearby that's beckoning you. This explains why gas engines show up when and where you least expect to find them.
Here's how I found a nice engine. (Or did it find me?)
About six years ago, while on a job in central Ohio, a bunch of us were sitting around a motel room waiting for a dense fog to lift. One of the group started to get overcome with 'cabin fever' and asked if I would like to go for a ride with him. So off we went. He turned at almost every intersection, first left then right, then two lefts and a right, etc. The combination of heavy fog and all that turning started to get to me and I asked the driver to pull over and stop for a few minutes, which he did. I rolled down the window to get some air and try to figure out where we were. To my complete surprise, we were parked on the sidewalk in front of an old John Deere dealership, and there in the front window was a green and yellow gas engine. Unbelieveable-here I was one minute totally lost and half sick and the next minute heading through the dealership door. There were several people there at the time. I was clear inside before I realized that I was dressed in a three piece blue striped suit and had on shiny wing-tip shoes. I felt strangely uncomfortable even though I've spent considerable time in a John Deere dealership, usually in coveralls. I was relieved when the owner greeted me warmly, because I expected to be heckled as a 'city slicker', or snake oil salesman. When I asked about the engine in the window, the owner told me that a person from Florida had traded it for some pull-behind implements. The owner kept the engine in the window for display and had recently decided to include it in his annual inventory reduction auction as a drawing card. The owner could not sell me the engine because he had already sent out the auction bill and did not want to disappoint anyone that might be attending the auction to buy it. The owner would, however, accept a sealed bid from me that would be opened at the time the engine was to be sold. In several weeks I received notification that I was the successful bidder on the engine. The amount due was $25 less than the amount bid in my sealed envelope. The auctioneer must have regarded me as a regular bidder and high bid was below my sealed bid. A friend was going near Germantown and agreed to settle up for me and bring the engine back to Michigan. The engine tag reads: 'Root and Van-dervoort' made for John Deere Plow Company, 2 HP, Serial #BL32473.
If anyone in Gas Engine Land recognizes my engine from the photo, maybe we will find out the rest of the story.