Friday, July 31, 2009



Ran across this the other day and just had to pass it along. I don’t know who made this, but I like it… a lot!!!

Enjoy the weekend everyone.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Old Tractors That Helped Built A Nation

While out riding yesterday enjoying the just spectacular weather we are having here in Iowa I ran across and antique tractor show and swap meet. Since I’m mechanically minded I just had to stop in and investigate. Every year at the Iowa State Fair I go up the hill and watch the steam engines chug and pop along being just fascinated that these hundred year old machines still run and do work. I was about to be treated to some really cool vintage iron work horses on this day. 07-18-09_1608 The first thing I seen after paying my fives backs was this massive machine working in the sawmill. Yes just like you use to seen while watching The Walton’s on Sunday evening there was a complete working sawmill. This 1903 model was just chugging away when I walked up to talk to the operator. Just as I’m asking the gentleman what year the ol’ girl was she reminded me that these are very dangerous machines. Just as the words left my mouth I heard this very loud CRACK like a buggy whip right next to my head as I was standing right next to the rear wheel. The big drive belt had started to come apart and was whipping around and every time it went over the drive pulley it CRACKED as it whipped the wheel. I few minutes and a sharp knife later it was back to work for the ol’ gal. When I told the operator what I did for a living he asked me how many hundred year old Mercedes are around. Laughing I told he “hell sometimes they don’t last ten years, let alone a hundred.” While they were loading a new log to saw up he shoved more wood in the boiler to stoke the fire. When I laughingly made the comment about burning up all of his production he just smiled and responded “seems counter productive doesn’t it?” This gal made thirteen horses on the draw bar and about fifty on the pulley. 07-18-09_1607 Of course any time you go to an event like this you are rewarded with great home cooked food. For the grand total of six bucks I enjoyed a monster wet maid rite hamburger and ice cold tea. Then later after exploring more of the grounds they held an old fashion corn on the cobble feed for free.

Have you ever wondered what is going on inside that mass of metal between you legs? Well wonder no more. Here is a little video showing you just how things move inside your trusty steed.

Tractors of every size and color were represented. While none could be considered fast and using single or double bottom plows would take long hard days to turn the dirt that today's machines can turn in just hours they none the less got the job done and helped feed the world. But I got to think using this David Bardley would not only take a long time but you would have a sore butt at the end of the day too!  07-18-09_1728  There was a couple of big sheds with some big stationary diesel engines used for generating electricity back in the day. These two stroke three and four cylinder engines were impressive. But it was when I strolled into the second shed my jaw hit the ground.150 Tons Just look at the size of this beast. This generator was used from the 1930s until the 1950s to power the Iowa State Prison in Fort Madison Iowa. It was coal fired at the time making 480 volts AC at 60hz, with a maximum speed of 120 RPM and weighs a mind boggling 150 tons! That is 300,000 back breaking pounds. The state tried for years to just give it away because it is only one of two known to have every been built in Burlington Iowa with the sister machine having been shipped to China back in the 1930s. Because of it’s size as you can imagine there weren’t many people lined up to haul her away. The engine had set so long that the engine was stuck so it would need rebuilt too. It took a team of ten old fellers to disassemble it and haul it half way across the state making eleven trips and big cranes to get her to her new home in Waukee Iowa. 07-18-09_1709 It took the team of ten men seven years working in their spare time to restore her back to all of her glory she once had. When the engine fired to life for the first time in fifty years back in 2001 one of the men exclaimed “the beast has awaken!” I was so bummed I didn’t get to see her run that day but she had in fact ran all day long to the delight I’m sure of anyone who happen to see this impressive machine chugging away. To say I was in awe looking and reading about this beautiful machine is a huge understatement. I stared at her for thirty minutes and just marveled at what it must of took not just to manufacture her but also the amount of work to deliver and assemble her back in the 1930s. Can you imagine shipping the other one half way around the world back then?

You can bet I will be back at this great event next year to see this great show again. This is by an far the best eleven bucks I’ve spent in a very long time. This has ignited my desire to go to The Old Threshers Reunion in a few months. I went there as a kid of about 14 so I think it’s time to go see this event again. It is one of the largest collection of steam engines and antique tractors in the nation too boot. Fun stuff!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Bar Fly

Was having dinner last night at one of my favorite local joints and talking to my favorite bartender when a local rag called City View got brought up. When I mentioned I’ve made the pages of it twice he wanted to know what for and to read the articles if I still had them. Well I had one of them so I scanned it so I could send to him.  Once was in their section called “Up and Coming” where the interviewed me about my business. That was cool and I got some good ink from it.

The next time I made the pages was probably the high water mark in my life. While out celebrating a buddies birthday the editor of this paper were in attendance when I spouted off “where do you get all of these lame ass people for the Bar Fly column?” To which she responded with “so you think you can do better?” “Of course I can” I snapped back. Needless to say I had enough shasts’ in me to make it fun. 

Bar Fly

Needless to say this brought me fame and fortune for weeks to come.

So my blogging pals, make a post using the questions list above (click to enlarge) and tell us about your best Bar Fly moments. Then after a couple weeks and everyone got their stories posted I’m make a post with links to the stories so everyone can read them. I’ll also have a poll in that post so everyone can vote on which is the best. I’ll come up with really cheap ass price for the winner that you vote as the best Bar Fly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th Of July

I just want to wish everyone a happy Independence Day. I hope everyone has fun safe weekend and gets plenty of miles and gets to enjoy plenty of fireworks. As for me I have plenty on my plate to enjoy this weekend. I have friend that has the camper parked, the awning out and the cooler full of cold ones and the boat in the water. Then I have another friend throwing a party that promises to be big enough and wild enough that someone could get arrested. Hey we all know it’s not a real party until the cops show up and at least threaten to haul someone off. And since real fireworks are illegal here in Iowa and my buddy has spent 3K (!) on said fireworks we stand a very good chance of having at least a visit from said law enforcement. So leave your cell phones on in case I need bail money!

Lastly, thanks for yet another silly hat Lori. You make me laugh :)

Stars & Stripes