Letters & Miscellanies

Notes and Responses From Readers

| January/February 2003

Snake in the Gas (engine)

Last October, the Tennessee Valley Fly wheelers were invited to bring some of our engines and tractors and show them at a local shopping mall as part of their Fall Harvest Festival.

After checking them out to make sure they ran okay I loaded a couple of my engines on my trailer, one of which was my 6 HP headless Witte. I then covered the trailer with a tarp because it was supposed to rain that night. The next day I hooked up and drove to the show site, unhooked and leveled my trailer, unstrapped my engines and got ready to show.

I thought I would start the 6 HP Witte first, since it is my easiest engine to start and makes the best showpiece. As expected the Witte started right up and merrily popped along as I waited for an audience. After a few minutes, I glanced over and noticed something protruding up out of the water hopper - it was a snakehead. This snake evidently crawled into the water hopper the night before, probably seeking the warmth of the water still in it from my running it previously. Well, the engine was running, so I decided to let it run and see what would happen. I figured he would come out when the water got hot enough.

Hmmm, maybe we should be inspecting our engines a little more thoroughly before cranking them up. Lamar Hinds found this Rat snake hiding in the hopper of his 6 HP Witte.

One of our members, Bill Morgan, got a good picture of the snake just as he came out, slithered down the side of the hopper onto the trucks and onto the trailer. It was a rat snake about five feet long. Another member, Robby Crawford, asked, 'Would you like me to catch him for you?' I said yes, please do, so Robby caught him and took him off to some large shrubbery nearby and released him.

So, some advice: Before you take your engines to a show, be sure to get all the bugs (and snakes) out!