LAFAYETTE - After decades of driving tractors on the farm, a group of antique International Harvester, John Deere and Allis Chalmers tractor owners now spend some of their free time touring the countryside at 10-12 mph.
Traveling Tractors began its latest excursion Saturday morning at the Mike Kauffmann farm near Arlington.
The group headed west and south along the Minnesota River Valley.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
The Traveling Tractors group stops at Dave’s Place in downtown Lafayette for a break Sunday afternoon while on their return trip from Jackpot Junction Hotel Casino to Arlington.
Stops included the Harkin Store on their way to Jackpot Junction Hotel Casino near Morton, a 70-mile jaunt.
The tractors toured the south side of the Minnesota River Valley on Saturday and the north side on Sunday.
"It was a fun ride and even more fun meeting people along the way," said Dale May of New Prague, who drove a 1945 Allis Chalmers.
Kauffmann said the men aren't closely monitoring diesel and gasoline fuel mileage. They just aren't concerned with that.
"It ain't a cheap hobby and who gives a !@#$ about fuel mileage, but we like it," said Kauffmann after the group stopped Sunday afternoon at Dave's Place in downtown Lafayette.
He drove a 1941 Farmall over the weekend.
Ivan Holmquist of Le Center said he took part in the Henderson Tractor Ride earlier this summer during Henderson Sauerkraut Days.
Ken Eckstrand, who lives between Lafayette and Gibbon, said he enjoys getting outside and driving his 1946 Farmall with his friends to nearby points of interest.
His wife is vice president of International Harvesters Collectors Chapter 15.
Al Schiller of Arlington said the ride was a beautiful way to see the country.
"People come out to the road and wave to us. It makes me feel good to make new friends and be a part of history," Schiller added.
Part of a worldwide collectors network for the preservation of history, products, literature and memorabilia of the International Harvester Company, Chapter 15 meets each March and December at the Arlington Community Center.
The National Chapter has 7,400 members and its own web site.
A winter convention was held in Waterloo, Iowa last year.
The Red Power Roundup will be held July 23-25 at the Alliant Energy Center on Willow Island in Madison, Wis.
Features include a large display from the McCormick-IH Archives by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
May said the Gathering of Orange is a 3-day, 300-mile ride across the prairie with Canadian and American Allis Chalmers owners.
The ride starts in Portage, N.D. and finishes in Madison, S.D., west of Brookings.
On a recent Gathering of the Orange ride, the lead tractor pulled a restored Allis Chalmers manure spreader.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at email@example.com).