Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gator Delivery service part II- Jethro hits the open road-

Plans had been made. I picked up my 16' utility trailer from the yard of a friend with a much larger yard than me (he stores it and uses it) and loaded up the aforementioned "Gator".  I took all kinds of hand tools, a hydraulic jack, floor jack, an air compressor and anything else I could think of. Work was slow so getting a Wednesday through Tuesday off was not a problem.

Oil was checked, tire pressures checked.  Kids and wife kissed good bye and last minute instructions left.  After waiting out a downpour, I hopped in the Dodge and was on the way. Actually half a day earlier than intended. 


I was driving from Savannah, GA to near the town of Grey Eagle, Minnesota.  The most direct route takes you right through Atlanta GA and Chicago, IL and I wanted to avoid both.  Thus I did!

Interstate 95 north up the coast to the intersection of I-26, then alllll the way through South Carolina in to western North Carolina, and I-40 thru the smokies.  Here are some pics, not totally in order, but I kept the camera on my lap and just shot through the windshield all the way up. 


Now the tires on the rig were a few years old, yet appeared just fine. Except one had blown out while the trailer was in the use of a friend, who put on the spare.  I replaced the blown one prior to leaving, and put the spare back in the truck bed. I noted some "flat spotted" "thump thump thump" as I headed down the interstate, but figured it would work it's way out.  It sure did, And not in a way I wanted it to...

Yep, the tires had had enough and were rebelling against my plans.

I stopped around twilight at the exit for Newport, Tennessee on I-40 just east of Knoxville, where I could connect with I-75 and head north. 
I jacked it up and put the spare on the worst offender, which was swelled up like a bicycle tire. I let the air down on the other two original tires (one had been replaced prior to leaving) and hoped for the best. It was about 8pm and I had steam left in me, wanted to cover more road before calling it quits for some sleep, but had no tire shop nearby.  I crossed my fingers and got back on the road. I held the speed to about 60 mph in the right lane and pressed on, in to the sunset. 30 minutes later I was connected with I-75 and heading North.  I pressed on, with the WHAP WHAP WHAP going on back behind me. I kept expecting one of them to explode and bend up the trailer fender but it never happened.
I pulled off at a rest area just after connecting with I-64 around Lexington, KY about midnight. I have covered 640 some miles in the 12 1/2 hours since leaving home.
I cracked the rear side windows and the slider in back, hung towels for curtains, used the sunshade as a shade between the front and back seats and lay down in back with my duffle bag as a pillow. The temps were in the mid 70's and there was a bit of a breeze so it wasn't bad. Not totally dark, there are always lights but I got away from them as much as I could.
Sure, could I have gotten a nice room at a motel 6?  Well that would have taken an extra 40 minutes I figure between checking in and out, finding a place to park the rig as most hotels don't have long spaces. Then I'd either be up half the night worried the Gator was stolen off the trailer (a friend had his rig with a drag racing buggy and ATV on it stolen right out of a hotel parking lot) or I'd sleep so well I'd oversleep and not get on the road early.    
I was up at 7am, found the vending machine with the coffee was broken, splashed some water on my face, and prepared to leave. I spoke with a trucker getting out of his truck who told me the next exit up had lots of places and possibly a tire shop.
Frankfort, TN had what I needed. Tire Discounters! I pulled in about 7:30 and noted the sign said they opened at 8am. I was about to leave when the manager pulled in, unlocked the door and to come on in while he made coffee. He booted up the computer and sure enough, they had three 225/75/15 trailer tires in stock.  I backed the trailer around back.
I headed over to the Waffle House across the street for a grease and carbohydrate fix.

Should have gotten bacon instead of country ham. I forgot how indelibly salty it is.  
After cleaning my plate and over tipping the wait staff (very friendly and good service) walked over to the convenience store next door and got myself some road supplies, a few apples, granola bars and a bag of ice for the cooler I kept on "the hump" of the back seat reachable while driving.
When I got back to the tire store, this young man had gotten my tires changed, and checked the air in all my truck tires to boot. It was like pulling teeth to get him to take a 20 dollar tip!
 And on I went.  I-64 to Lousiville, KY, then north on I-65 towards Indianapolis, Indiana.  I got pelted with tomatoes just shy of Indianapolis. Well, not pelted, but they were rolling off on the  bumps. At least I figure they were tomatoes, looked like Romas.
Approaching the south side of Indy, about to exit and go west towards I-74 and Illinois-
Here are some random shots from the road. The crops looked great, last year there was a major drought and everything was brown according to locals.  I noted the style of barns in Illinois differs from the barns I am accustomed to in Minnesota. They have a copula on the roof that is unique, not seen this before. Look closely at the barn pics. 
Travelin' tunes-

On I-74 in eastern Illinois, they were doing construction and I spent miles and miles of one lane stop and go, I snapped a shot of these classics and street rods headed the other way-


The truck kept rolling along, with the new tires it was smooth at 75, I never had reason to go any faster than that. And many times slower due to the construction work.  I avoid taking long stops and eating big meals, opting to snack along the way. I keep the cooler mentioned earlier with ice and water in it, keep some fruit and granola bars to munch on. I would get a quick burger when stopping for fuel but not each too much. 

Every 300 miles like clockwork we needed a fill. The tank is 26 gallons per the manual, and when on dead "E" on the needle I get 23 gallons in it. I checked the MPG with a calculator each fill up, and got between 11.5 (mountains) and 14.2 (flatlands in IL with lots of 25-45 mph contruction) which I think is decent considering a 5780lb truck ('03 4x4 Dodge with 5.7 Hemi and 3.91 gears) towing a trailer which I guess to be 2100 lbs loaded, and having a couple hundred pounds of tools and stuff in the truck's bed. 

Once in Bloomington/Normal IL, I hit I-39 north towards Wisconsin.  I crossed the border about 5pm, paid the only toll of the trip, I think a buck eighty.

On I went, north then west as I had been since leaving the low country of the Georgia coast the day before. Man, the badger state interstate was rough! The cracks in the pavement were just at the right spacing to get a jerking, bucking motion going with the truck and trailer.  Then and there I determined I would make the trip home via Iowa!

The sun set, I was about four hours from home. I was tired, but not dangerously tired. I had a phone call with dad and determined I'd be there about 12:30 AM or so.  I hit Minneapolis-St Paul at 11pm, and went right through it with no problem. I was going to use the expression "without a hitch" but that would imply I'd lost my load...

 Pressing on I kept getting closer. Familiar exits from growing up there. I turned off the AC as it was cool, down south it does not cool down at night in July or August, but here it was very nice. The smells of the lakes and farms came in. The wind kept me alert. The throb of the Hemi was glorious music with the trans kicked out of overdrive, pulling up hills with the chambered aluminum muffler it has dumped in front of the rear axle. It's loud, but not too loud. Just enough to let you know it's workin'.

I came through Grey Eagle, the town I grew up in, then on home 3 1/2 miles north on county 102. I pulled in the drive, 12:48 AM central time, a total of 1532 miles and 24 hrs 45 min since departing the west side of Savannah.  892 miles. I'd gotten on the road at 9am after the tire ordeal in Kentucky. I'd "lost" an hour crossing in to central time from eastern, but it's moot as I'd gain that back en route home.  Basically I'd driven just short of 16 hours that day.

I got in the house and dad met me at the door with a bottle of Cap't Morgan rum and asked if I "wanted a bump" Hell yes I did! Even after a stiff rum'n coke and a much needed shower I still did not go to sleep right away, just buzzed from staying awake I guess.

Stay tuned for PART III!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

John Deere "Gator" Georgia to Minnesota- the Gator delivery service! Part I....

I made an impulsive buy last October....... long story as usual!

I was doing some engine work on a push boat, one that pushes a big barge hauling material and equipment up and down the coast in the coastal Georgia and South Carolina area. Ooops, not supposed to talk about work... in any case, they barge stuff over to this island that has a resort and golf course on it..stay with me now! Some of that stuff is golf course equipment.  

The barge yard has this beat up John Deere utility vehicle. In conversation with the captain of the tug, he mentioned he got the Gator from the guy that services the golf course account for the Deere turf dealer. The machines get pretty rusted out from the salt air and sand on the beach. The dealer sells them new Gators every five years or so, and get the old ones on trade, and sell them cheap. 

I mentioned to cap't Chuck that I wanted one if they had one. A few days later the JD guy has two on a trailer, 800 bucks each. Now, I checked and at that time (October 2012) a 2008 Turf TX Gator went for about 3500-4500 bucks, without rust.... Needless to say, for 800 bills I came up with cash and bought the thing.

Powered by a 16 horse Kawasaki four stroke gas engine under the bed, it's very quiet and reliable.  It's no Polaris Razor as it has a top speed of about 20 mph, but it's very good for a work vehicle as it is intended.

The main reasoning for my purchase was my dad could sure use this thing on the family "40" in Minnesota for firewood gathering and maple sap hauling and just general getting about the place.

First, I had some rust repairs to do. The unit body was very rusted on the bottom, so I welded in a brace from  some scrap material I have, to some solid metal above the "rust line"

I used some 1/8" plate I had from a trailer repair project, stitch welded to the outside of the unit body to avoid burn thru, even though I ground the paint off to bare metal I could not tell how thick it was. I welded a piece of 1x2" box tubing between the plate as you can see in the top pic.

 I also had to patch up under the battery, it sure reminded me of all the old VW's I had, all rusty in the floorboards!

As you can see, it was pretty rusted away. I found tons of fine sand packed in the tub of this thing even after I pressure washed it. That sand is salt laden from it's proximity to the beach.  I got it out as best as I could, then using some tin and rivets got a fresh floor under the battery box. I put a new NAPA battery in as well, the original John Deere battery was on it's way out.  

I replaced the near worn to the metal rear disc brake pads, thus making the parking brake work again. This machine uses a belt drive torque converter system like a snowmobile so when parked on a slope, you can't just leave it in gear and have it stay put.

I ran it around the neighborhood a bit, probably put a few hours on the meter (was 1495 or something) to make sure all ran well.

Part II will be the trip to Minnesota- coming when I am not too lazy and tired to post it up!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Good for another 50 years- fixing the old wood hauler!

Dad has this old two wheel 4x8 trailer. While up at the home place, I noted one wheel was very loose on the hub. Dad had a local guy put a new floor and some short sides on it, and replace one of the old bias ply tires that had been on it as long as I can recall, but he did nothing about the bearing.

Yep, it was what we call "Shot".  The grease long gone, the outer race split.

Of course, there are no grease caps.  Now dad got this trailer in 1964, when he and mom and my two oldest sibs were moving from California to Minnesota, where dad was from. The rig had been in a grass fire, and was of unknown lineage. Dad got it free, put new tires on it and some lights, built a box and it hauled the family across the country. Used from '64 to '73 when we landed after a few moves in the Gopher state to the 40 they reside at today.

At some point, it became an "off road" trailer. It's last recalled road use was hauling a hog a short distance to the butcher in about 1982 when it had higher sides on it, with a Dodge colt hatchback on a bumper hitch.

Around the same time frame, I extended the hitch and got rid of the ball, putting the standard farm wagon deal so you drop a pin in. Used to pieces of 2" angle to form a box, at least one snowmobile leaf spring, and I think parts from a plow all done up with a Forney stick welder.

Dad and I figured this has hauled about 200 cords of wood in it's lifetime, lots of loads of field rock, sand and gravel for cement when the houses were built, and more than a few sheep and calves depending on what sides etc were on it.

  Back to the bearings! I pulled the bad one, took it to the local NAPA, and with a magnifying glass we found a Timken number on it, and matched it up. Now, sure, I would normally change all four bearings, the two on each side. But at 21 bucks each, and considering this will never be towed over five MPH I felt just doing the bad one would do for the next 49 years. :)

So home I went, cleaned out the hub and spindle with gasoline, packed the new bearing and the old with fresh grease, and put it together. Could not find grease caps to fit it either, but it hasn't had any in years. So why spoil it?     

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where do ya live? The great melting pot............

The world is a big and diverse place.  And though I have not traveled much of it at all, I have learned a couple things. People, specifically those in the US of A, either  A: Love where they live and could not fathom living anywhere else.  Or B: Hate the place they are at and want to move.

I grew up in small town, USA. Upper mid west.  After high school I had an opportunity and moved to south Florida, specifically, and spent ten years there. 

What a great and diverse place. certainly "southern" from a geographic standpoint, but not "southern" from a cultural standpoint. Lots of New Yorkers, New Englanders, second generation Cuban émigrés,  folk from Latin America and the list goes on. 

I knew a guy who would see news footage of folk from Buffalo, NY pushing each other's cars out of deep snow. I thought it was a great community effort, having come from the snow belt of Minnesota.  He would say "Just look at them fuckin' assholes!" and add "They've all got their heads squarely up their asses!"  He was quite fond of that expression and used it often. He has this theory that they spent more money on warm clothes than they would spend on anything else. And then refer to south FL as "Paradise"

Now I have had some good times, and certainly some great memories and good friends to this day from my 10 years down there, but I am surely not going to call it "Paradise." 

By 2012 census figures from,  the population of what is really a tri county megalopolis (Miami-Dade county, Broward/Ft.Lauderdale, and Palm Beach) is 5,762,767 folk.  That is over five million.  Lots of pavement. Lots at a stand still too.  Now let's say all those, what are they? Oh! "Fuckin' assholes..."  decided to move on down to "paradise." 

Using again and plugging in the entire population of NY state, I come up with 19,510,261 folk.  Now what would happen if all 19.5 million of the folks with "Their heads squarely up their asses" moved on down to "paradise"......... I don't see the infrastructure holding up. But at least they won't have to shovel snow, right?

I have family in the upper Midwest, the desert southwest, out in California and in the Carolinas. Each one of them lives in their particular area for one reason or another. I don't feel they are "stupid" based on their personal geographic choice. :)

Recently, a friend of mine who was "born and raised" in eastern Maryland moved back there.  He had spent his early teens to mid 20's in central Georgia, where he met a gal in collage also from MD, and they got married (though they probably had other interests in common too)  

Oh my, you should have seen the commentary on that big social media site from all his GA buddies when he announced that he and his wife were moving!  "Oh you'll freeze to death!" "Those winters will kill you!"  Endearing to have one's friends not want you to leave, but to those Georgia boys, Maryland is no different than the arctic tundra of 100 years ago.  Having to harpoon whales for oil and live on seal blubber, just horrible! Entertaining to read, but it shows how fearful some are of the "unknown.."

Being from the 45th parallel and well inland, I can assure you the winters at the 39th parallel and right near the coast are no where NEAR as harsh as the ones further north and inland.  

The bottom line is people ought to live where they wanna live, and there is no "ideal" place to be. Some in cold climates yearn for retirement, so they can move down to Florida and live in a retirement mausoleum AHEM I mean condo, or down in Arizona, or south Texas in the winter. Well this Minnesotan native currently living down in Dixie is one guy that's going the opposite way when he retires!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The tractor rescue trip of 2009

Way back in 2001, I purchased sight unseen a 1951 Case "SC" tricicle front end tractor from an old high school friend. $800 bucks got me the tractor with an original Case model 101 front end loader.

Why sight unseen? I live in coastal Georgia, and my friend lives in central Minnesota.  Plus, I knew what things were worth, and I wanted an old tractor. Who doesn't?  Pic below from July of 2012.

My dad was able to get a friend with a trailer and full size truck to go fetch the rig, and bring it the 50 miles back to the family "40" where the folks reside.  I think he only charged 75 bucks to do this! Considering it was a 100 mile round trip, even when fuel was cheap in 2001, he did not make any money on this deal... Here it is, on the trailer.  You can just make out the HUGE snow bucket extension that was fabricated on the thing, it slipped over the tines of the manure bucket (seen in the first pic after I fabricated a gravel plate for it) and the tractor started for them to back it on the trailer, but they could not get the hydraulics to lift the thing.

 Now I think I bought the thing in March of 2001 and it was June or July of that year before it came to mom and dads. I did not see it in person until a deer hunting trip in November of that year. I had to drain a lot of water and varnish from the sediment bowl of the gas tank to get it running, and put a charger on the battery before it sprung to life sputtering and popping.
 I could see it had a very "farmerized" 12 volt electrical system conversion, with things like a positive battery cable that needed to be about 18" long but with a 3 foot cable in place, the spark plug wires were different colors and obviously from various cars that folks had left the hoods up on, and two Champion spark plugs, and one Autolite and one AC. And at least one was a shorter thread reach than the others...... how in the hell this thing ever ran, much less in subzero Minnesotan winters ( seeing as it was rigged to plow snow) and how anyone but Popeye could turn the wheel with that giant bucket full of wet snow!  (I can't believe how much the pines in the background have grown in the 12 years since this photo!)
I got the loader to lift with "jiggling" the lift lever. The hydraulic rams both leaked at the end seals and it was some milky nasty looking shit! I figure the prior owner's maintanence plan for the hydraulic system was right on par with the spark plug changes........
Off came the loader, two pins on the lift arms, and two on the hydraulic cylinders, and one quick connect on the hose. This would enable the tractor to be put inside dad's shed which was probably the first time it had been inside in about forty years :)  But before that, I hooked it to a 6' John Deere "KBA" disc that had been around the place for years and disced the garden.  I have some video of it on 8mm film (remember that?) but have no way to digitize it, well I am sure it could be done but I'm too lazy. In any case she pulled the disc OK in the wet soil with the blades set to cut, but would pop, sputter and die on occasion. As it ran the gas was sloshing loose chunks of crap inside the tank, plugging the outlet at the tank's bottom. This would plague the machine for years until I finally did a chemical flush and epoxy coating of the tank's inside.     

Now there has been way too much "prologue!"  Time for the cross country trip....
My wife's family has 5 acres of land and some horses in rural southwestern Virginia, where a tractor could be of some use. The Case, aka "Casey" had been just biding his time in the shed up in Minnesota. Oh, I'd come home each summer or two and have to go through the whole rinse out the gas tank thing, drive it around the yard. Did a couple little chores here and there.... eventually dad needed the shed and Casey was parked in the trees.  
Over a visit to VA for Christmas in 2008, I asked Chris, my mom in law's husband, if he felt like making a road trip over the coming Memorial day weekend. Chris is always up for a road trip, he normally drives an 18 wheeler for a living.
The time came, I took the Thursday before the holiday off. I drove up to their place in Virginia after work on a Wednesday night, getting in about 2 or 3 am.  Chris and I got a late start the next day.  Had to gather chains, binders, straps, spare tires, tools.....of course you'll forget something.  We hooked Chris's 2500HD Chevy to his 16' dovetail trailer. Off we went, north on highway 19/23 through the town of Pound, VA and over the border into Kentucky. In the second pic you can see where the mountain was cut down to route the highway. 
 We grabbed a bite at the Shoney's in Pikeville, KY and headed on north, connecting with I-64 south of Lexington, and heading west. I recall it was about 1pm at this time.  The mountains gradually gave way to rolling bluegrass country. The sky was clear and the temps in the low 80's.  We were getting about 13mpg empty at 70-75mph, not bad for an 8.1 gasser.  Traffic wasn't bad at all.
We hit Louisville at about 4:30 pm and crossed the Ohio river into Indiana.

  Crossing the Hoosier state, the road got rough to say the least. I-64 was very badly potholed and beat up. There was construction on sections that had us down to one lane at 45 mph.  Also, the area was pretty flooded, lots of small creeks and rivers over the banks and lots of low lying farm land under water.
The sun was getting low in the sky when we crossed in to Illinois.  Kinda hard to see the sign up ahead in this pic) We went maybe 50 miles west into the state, then at Mt Vernon (I never seen no stinkin' mountain!) we exited I 64 and got on to I-57 headed northerly.  We stopped and got some grub at one point, then headed on. No more pics as it was obviously dark at this point.  We continued on 57 to Champaign, where we exited on to I-74 heading northeast. 74 had a little jog around the city of Bloominton, then continued on through Peroia (Home of Caterpillar) and Galesburg, where 74 hooked due north from it's northeasterly path. We connected with I-80 just south of Moline, crossed the Mighty Missisippi and ended up in Iowa for a rest at a rest area about 2:30 AM. The truck is an extended cab, we tossed our duffel bags in back, I took the back seat lying across it (Those damn seat belts do dig in) and Chris just reclined his seat back in front. 
Fortunately it was a night in the mid 70's with a breeze, no need to run AC and no mosquitos I recall.  I woke about 6am as the sun was rising with the need to stretch a bit. The rest area was done in a railroad theme, it was beautiful inside. I recall splashing some water on my face and brushing my teeth never felt so good. Chris got out and we kicked tires, and got on our way.  West on I-80 to around Iowa City, than north on I-380.
Through Cedar Rapids, I saw some of the flood damage from the previous year, lots of boarded up homes down near the river.  Once north of Cedar Rapids we encountered giant wind generators in fields being planted with corn. I had not seen so many of these structures before.  (picture from an internet image search)
We connected with I-35 and crossed in to Minnesota before noon.
Here is where we deviated- normally, we would have taken I-35 to the 494 beltway around "Da Cities" as the Minneapolis-St.Paul area is called by all those in MN outside that area, and gone west, connecting with I-94 towards the folks. But I had other needs....
Yessir, right through Minneapolis we went!
Why? Well I have this other interest.....old beat up yellow Ski Doo snowmobiles! Yes, it does snow "some" in Virginia, a hell of a lot more than in coastal Georgia (which is NONE) and I already had one Ski Doo at Chris and Cathy's. But had a hankering for another project.  Enter Ron "Goose" Thomsen, purveyor of new old stock, (NOS) used, and reproduction parts for vintage Ski Doos. Goose is just north of the cities, and I was going to peruse his "junkyard" to see if there was anything I needed.

 Chris pretending to ride a Kitty Cat, really an Arctic Cat product that Goose had re painted Ski Doo yellow for his kids to ride.

I came to pick up an offered free machine, I found a '68 rolling chassis, gave $40 for a useable hood and chrome handlebars, and paid $100 for a complete '69 machine.
We drove out with these two.
All along the way I had been giving my dad updates over the phone. Before we left, Goose advised us of a route heading out and we wisely accepted.  Now I know my dad will read this and I LOVE YOU DAD but he will argue highway directions with a stump. And then dig the stump up and argue with the roots. And he did not like the route we were taking..... 
BUT WE MADE IT! Yes, Chris had not ever seen the phenomenon called "goin' up north" the way it happens on a holiday weekend in Minnesota.  It was now Friday of Memorial day weekend, and everyone was heading to the 10,000 lakes (says so right on the license plate) for the weekend. Dispite the boats and campers, crowded roads, we made it the last two hours from Goose's to mom and dads. 
After an excellent home cooked meal at the outside picnic table, a few beers and a cool shower, we hit the cabin next door to the rather unique, earth sheltered home of my parents. The cabin has one bedroom and a couch, I recall lying down on the couch and hearing a snore coming from the room Chris was in before I could turn out the light. 
The next day, we took Dad's truck and drove in to Long Prairie, and there I bought a battery, gas can (and fresh gas) and a carburetor kit. We got a spare rim and tire for the trailer, I bought some chains and binders. We returned home and set to work. 
We drained about half a gallon of rusty water from the tank before any gas came out, got the thing to pop off and drove it out of the trees. Next, the loader had to be cut out of the prickly ash that had grown around it. The hydraulic rams which had been re sealed by my friend Tony were put on, it took some muscle but we got the loader on. 
Once the weight of the loader was on and the hydraulics lifted some, I found the front tires were pretty much flat. I could barely turn the wheel. Dad has no compressor, we tried an old PTO powered JD pump but it wouldn't do the job. I drove it through the field next door to neighbor Lloyd's, he and his wife actually live at the place I grew up at before the folks built the place across the road where they are now. 
We were able to inflate one tire but the tube had gotten torn on the other one so it was not going to fill. Lloyd unbolted the snow bucket extension which was about 500lbs of steel un needed down south and it was given to him as scrap metal. Even with just one front tire the Case could actually be turned now that it just had the small manure bucket on the end of the arms. 
We moved the Ski Doos to the truck's bed, and commenced to loading the rest.  A model "999" John Deere horse drawn planter, purchased for five bucks at a farm auction in 1982 or so and used to plant a few acres of corn (with a shortened tongue and pulled by a tractor) was coming along with us.  Note the Lilac bushes blooming in the back ground, one of my favorite springtime smells of Minnesota.  

 Finally at about 6pm Saturday we were fully loaded, sore and tired! I felt really bad as I had driven Chris like a rented mule thus far, just no time to relax until that thing was loaded.  We all headed over to Shooter's Pub in nearby Swanville for a beer and a burger, then later over to the Hub where I ran in to (and introduced Chris to) some old friends and folks I knew from growing up in the area years ago.  I had to translate Chris's mountain southern accent only a couple times for the locals. 
We got up the next day and had a large breakfast feast prepared by my mom. One does not leave hungry from that home, let me tell ya!   
Sunday morning, we took our time and re checked the load, packed our bags that we barely had time to unload to begin with, and headed out. First, over to my bud Tony's. Why?  To pick up the engine for the '68 Ski Doo, a 10 horse Rotax two stroke that I pulled from a similar machine I parted out in high school. Tony held on to the engine all those years for me!
Tony and his family have a place on Pine Lake, and he took us for a quick pontoon boat tour, the water was very clear and glass smooth that day.
Back in the truck we went, and headed out! We hit I-94 and headed south. This time I decided on a different route.  As long as you are heading somewhere in the daylight, why not take the opportunity to see some scenery or a different area?

 We headed southeast and around the MPLS metro area on the 694 bypass. We crossed the St.Croix river and on in to Wisconsin.

  We stopped at a truck stop in Osseo, WI about half an hour across the border from MN as I recall. I paid the seven bucks to weigh the rig just out of curiosity. We were 15,720 lbs total.  Our route took us east on I-94 through the beautiful Wisconsin Dells area. We picked up I-39 around Baraboo and headed due south.

We stopped around Janesville, WI at a Cracker Barrel and got a meal, around 6pm.  I saw a giant fiberglass pumpkin atop a silo along the interstate, some pumpkin farm, perhaps?  I was driving at the time so no pic.  We rolled on south and hit Bloomington, IL and then got off 39 and on to I-74 south east. At about 2:30am (Memorial Day Monday) we stopped at a rest area and got some sleep, we had been on the road 13 hrs.

Got up about 6:30 am, and headed south on I-57 about half an hour and hit a Perkins and ate a big breakfast. Back in the truck, I took the helm and Chris went right to sleep with the rain spattering the windshield.  South to Mt. Vernon IL, then east on 64 again. I think he slept all the way to Lynville, Indiana where I stopped to fuel the thirsty rig.  9-10 mpg loaded and about 225 miles between fill ups.  

More rivers over the banks! Once in Indiana we could pick up the pace a bit, as mentioned earlier, IL has a 55mph speed limit for any vehicle towing and there was a fair amount of enforcement out.

Ohio river? Pic wasn't labeled on the disc but it's in the right order of things.
And out of Indiana in to Kentucky


Ol Virginny! Back at Chris and Cathy's at about 7pm on Memorial day. Roughly 25 hours since leaving central MN, off the top of my head subtracting time sleeping and stopping for meals maybe 18-19 hours behind the wheel?  I had taken the Thursday and Friday before and the Tuesday after the weekend off. 
 I spent about 600 bucks roughly on gas and meals.  Chris was a great help and I wish we had had an extra day in MN to spend some time fishing on the lake adjacent mom and dad's. Nobody got deathly runs from a bad gas station hot dog, we had no mechanical problems, no stops from law enforcement and even got a couple of "thumbs ups" on the vintage menagerie of mechanized memorabilia as we rolled down the highway.     
Tuesday AM, we got unloaded. I did have to pull wet spark plugs from Casey to get him started and off the trailer.
 Wish I had duct taped the exhaust pipe shut! I then loaded some parts in to the Camaro for the ride back to GA. I also recovered the side of the hood from my first Ski Doo I ever had, which is a story for another day. Some men in middle age buy a Corvette or have an affair, I just re connect with old rusty steel. :)   I got back to Savannah, 450 miles south, about 9pm that night. 
Stay tuned for more adventures!