2225 North F Street, Stockton, California 95205
Our collecting 'old iron' didn't start instantly. My husband Donald had one nice old garden tractor on the front lawn for several years and never gave a thought to adding to it.
Then on a vacation, a year and a half ago, he spotted an old rusty tractor and asked about it. The guy said, 'You can have it for $75, but you have to take them both.' (As it turns out, my husband likes the second one better, it is an Ottawa Buzz Saw). We did buy them, but we couldn't rent a trailer there on Sunday, so we said we would have to get back to them later. We went back to pick them up and took the 'scenic route' home, and bought another tractor before we got home.
Now, on our weekend drives, I must always be prepared for lengthy stops 'just to say hello' or 'just to take a look.' He won't talk three minutes on the telephone, but let some farmer or tractor collector stand still for two minutes and he'll talk for 45 minutes to an hour and still think it was only a few minutes. I usually have to take along a note pad to write down 'pertinent information.' I also bring along a book to read and a snack, in case we don't make it to 'civilization' before I starve. He usually takes back roads so he can peer into backyards or fields. He even carries a set of binoculars in each vehicle, 'just in case.'
Standard equipment for our weekend drives is the map book, a tablet and pen, camera (to photograph all the tractors he sees), and the high power camera lens (to photograph all the tractors 'up close and personal,' and to get a view of the ones he can't get close to). We also take along his three garden tractor books so he can research 'on the spot' anything that looks different. We take his two large photo albums of all the tractors we have ever seen, to share with anyone willing to look at them, which is usually most of the people he talks to on our drives.
When we are on our way to or from a specific town of any distance from our home, it can take double or triple the time to get there. He wants to go on 'undiscovered' roads to see what is there. While in the car, at any given moment, he will stop the car and turn around to go back and get a better look at something. He even does this while pulling the trailer. 'It'll follow,' he says.
On our way to a family get-together, we drove a different route to get another look at something at a junk store. The store wasn't open, so we waited an hour before we gave up and went on to see the family. We phoned the proprietor from our destination, and told him we would be stopping by again the next day. Well we did, and he wasn't open. We waited another hour and went on down the road toward home, but we ran into a large yard sale and stopped. When we were done there, we drove back two miles to the junk store, which was then open. The engine Donald wanted to see didn't turn out to be anything. The trip seems to have been wasted, but now he can sleep better having checked it out again.
On our way home from there, we stopped in a nearby town and Donald bought another garden tractor. Now we didn't have a trailer with us, only the van. He said, 'Oh, I can get it in there.' Well he did, but I didn't mention that we had to sleep in the van with the tractor in there. Climbing over part of it and having the handles over my legs wasn't so bad, but I bumped my head on the handles in the morning.
We recently took a train trip back east. We went to the Pioneer Museum in Minden, Nebraska, and to see his brother near Fort Smith, Arkansas. While we were in Arkansas, Donald took 'drives' with his brother and me. Well, do I have to mention the telephoto lens? He found some tractors in people's yards. He even climbed through a barbed wire fence to get a 'better look see.' Then he went around to the house and talked to the owner. You guessed it! He bought both of the tractors right then and there (2000 miles from home and no trailer, not to mention, no car either). They picked up the tractors and took them to his brother's house. When we were on our two hour ride back to the train depot in our rental car, Donald spotted another garden tractor that he hadn't seen before. He turned the car around and stopped to talk to the man. He bought that one too. So from our motel that night, he called his brother to have him pick it up and keep it at his place, 'until we could get back there to get them.' We now have three tractors in Arkansas waiting for us to get back there again, with a trailer.
We recently went three hours from home to pick up a 16 foot utility trailer that he will be able to use to carry his tractors to the tractor shows. All went well, and we were only 15 miles from home when he had to stop to look at a tractor in someone's front yard (which was NOT for sale). BUT, the man did have some in the backyard that were. So Donald bought another garden tractor. The trailer looked funny with only one small tractor on it, but I held my breath all the way home. I was sure he would find another before we got home. Now I shudder whenever we have to go some where with the empty trailer, because I know it won't stay empty long.
I do not say all this in a complaining way. I love Donald and I love his hobby. He shares every aspect of this hobby with me even if I don't know what he's talking about. He talks to me in technical terms about the inner workings of the engines (like I understand completely). I listen and hear a word or phrase, every now and then, that I recognize nod or say uh-huh. Sometime, 1 even ask good questions about something. But if he goes on and on about a magneto or a cone clutch or something like that, then I break in and give him two or three technical nursing sentences real fast. Then we laugh for a while.
He tries to make things easier for me. We recently bought an old van with a camper conversion in it, so I can be comfortable and use the potty whenever necessary. Maybe this will mean longer trips on back roads away from civilization.
Since we have become interested in 'old iron' and tractors, we have met some really nice people. We have NEVER met a grump. We have been members of the Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association Branch 13, since October, 1993. These people are like a family. They are always willing to help. People are always friendly, like the farmers and tractor owners we meet on our drives, they have time to look over Donald's books and albums, and talk, and talk, and talk.
He enjoys sharing this hobby so much, that he won't even read his GEM without me sitting right next to him. We always read them together and every word of them. This is sharing. He has even come to me, sitting on the throne, with a picture of a tractor and his magnifying glass to show me something. This is sharing!
I really enjoy being his 'secretary' in this hobby. This is sharing. Some wives can't get involved in their husband's hobby and this is unfortunate. Some wives won't get involved in their husband's hobby and this in unfortunate. Many wives do get involved in their husband's hobby and THIS IS SHARING!