Thursday, August 28, marked day 19 for the Smith brothers in their trek from South Boston, Virginia, to Portland, Indiana. They arrived at their stop-over in Buckeye Wednesday evening about 7:30 p.m.
Seventy-four year old Wayne, driving a 1955 Farmall International M farm tractor, and his 70 year old brother Lloyd, driving a 1953 Ford 900, made a 1,404 mile round trip to the 49th Annual Tri-State Ford Tractor Show in Portland.
After so many days on the road the tractor tires were starting to “cut” a little bit, but the two brothers looked “none the worse for wear.”
“When we left here [Buckeye], we climbed mountains for two days,” they said. “We got to Hocking Hills, [Ohio], and stopped to get gas. We asked the man how far until the road flattens out. He said ‘about a mile.’ He wasn’t lying. In about a mile, it flattened out.”
In addition to easier travel, the Smiths enjoyed the landscape.
“We’re farmers,” Wayne said. “We liked to look at the crops.”
It was in the “back country in Eastern Ohio” that Wayne and Lloyd “got turned around” and were looking for Randy.
“A guy in a pickup asked if I was having trouble,” Wayne said. “I told him that I just got turned around. He said, ‘how do you get turned around in your own neighborhood?’ I said, ‘my neighborhood is 500 miles behind me.”’
When they stopped in Buckeye on August 13 on their way to Indiana, the conversation was peppered with anticipation of attending the tractor show. On the return trip, most of their thoughts were centered on home.
“I just want to get in my own bed,” said Wayne’s son and motorhome driver Randy. “My bed in the camper is right over the generator and it runs all the time.”
Lloyd said he was going to fill a tub with cold water and ice and soak in it for a day or two.
“We’ve got 230 miles to go,” Wayne said. “So we should get home by Saturday. But if I get within thirty miles of home, I may catch a ride and go home and talk to Momma, and then go back and get my tractor.”
There was also talk about “next year.”
“I’d like to do it again,” Wayne said. “I’d like to go to Illinois next year to the Half-Century of Progress Show. If I go, Randy will drive the bigger camper, and Momma will go along.”
Randy’s Facebook page “went crazy” during the trip. He posted pictures and daily updates about the adventure, and “keeping up with the friend requests nearly became a full-time job,” he said.
At the end of the journey on August 29, Randy posted on Facebook: “When they got to the homestretch in Volens, Virginia, they were greeted by a bunch of people there, and then Dad said down [Rt.] 501 people were waving and blowing horns all the way home. He later told me, ‘it must’ve been them Facebook people!”’
“We had a whole lot of luck on our side,” Randy said. “But we’ve had a whole lot of Sunday School ladies praying for us, too.”
Jaynell Graham may be contacted at jsgraham@poc ahontastimes.com