At age 8 just after the end of WWII, I was too young to be driving a tractor but anxious to try. Dad's 20 year old, tricycle, Rumley DoAll had a top speed no faster than normal walking speed. Actually, I was just steering the tractor. The DoAll had a hand clutch on the left side and dad could easily walk along on the ground and work the clutch while I sat on the seat and operated the steering wheel. On steel wheels, the tractor would immediately stop without using the brakes when the clutch was pulled.
The dirt road past the farm was nothing more than a one-lane trail and the grader ditches varied from non-existent to eroded gullies along the road. POn this particular occasion, we were returning home and the DoAll was pulling an empty box wagon at a fast speed of less than 4 miles per hr. I was sitting on the seat steering the DoAll and dad had climbed into the moving wagon to ride along. We had been traveling the dirt road for about 30 minutes which was long enough for me stop paying attention to what I was suppose to be doing. Something about the left steel wheel cleats digging into the dirt road had gotten my attention. As I watched the left wheel go round and round, I heard dad making a commotion behind me. He had sensed an urgency to get to the clutch lever. The noise I hear was dad climbing over the front sideboard of the wagon and landing on the wagon's tongue. Suddenly, the DoAll leaned significantly to the right as dad grabbed the clutch lever.
The right wheel of the DoAll had fallen into the grader ditch which, at that point on the road, was an eroded gulley about 4 ft deep with vertical sided. The rear of the DoAll was now resting on the drawbar with the right side wheel dangling in air. I had ditched dad's DoAll.
The neighbor and his mighty F20 Farmall were enlisted to pull the DoAll back onto the road. Guess who rode in the wagon for the remainder of the trip home!!! PBut that is not the end of the story about this young dummy driving dad's DoAll. Fast forward about 3 years and a couple more overhauls of the DoAll's Waukesha engine that had egg-shaped cylinder walls, a flat crankshaft, and almost no oil pressure once the engine was warmed up. Dad was an expert blacksmith and had converted several of his implements from horse-drawn to tractor- drawn. PMy older brother was, by now, somewhat bored with driving the DoAll and now I was pressuring dad to let me drive the DoAll pulling our converted two-row cultivator. The cultivator's tongue had angle braces to both sides and if the tractor was turned too short the steel cleats on the tractor's wheel could easily hook onto the angle brace on the tongue.
The converted cultivator had a rear seat and steering pedals to keep it on the row. It was my first hour pulling the cultivator, as dad steered the cultivator at the back. Sure enough, I turned too short at the end of the row and the tractor's wheel grabbed the angle brace!!! With dad yelling, the whole cultivator was quickly dragged up the left rear wheel of the DoAll. By the time I pulled the clutch, dad and the cultivator were positioned high and dry above the left wheel about 90 degrees to the tractor. Dad's facial expression was hard to describe. For neither boo-boo was I physically punished. I guess dad understood. PI think God looked out for this young dummy and his dad as I learned to drive tractors. But dad, my older brother, and I were all dummies when we eventually allowed the still runing DoAll to be hauled to a junk yard and be destroyed. The Rumley DoAll tractor is quite rare today.
Ron Satzler, Il, entered 2008-05-12
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