My wife and I own and still use her grandfather's 1951 John Deere A. But I wouldn't consider driving it the 5 miles to town, much less across the U.S. But that's what a former Pennsylvania former turned Florida auctioneer is planning to do with his 1948 A.
On Saturday, April 26, he plans to touch the Atlantic Ocean with his John Deere A at Manasquan, New Jersey, then head west for Crescent City, California, and the Pacific Ocean. The guy behind the wheel of the antique John Deere will be C. Ivan Stoltzfus and he admits he doesn't know how long it will take.
"I'm taking off the entire year, and my goal is to raise $1 million for the Wounded Warriors project. It's amazing the support I've received from different people and organizations."
His trip will take him from New Jersey through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Ohio, Oregon and finally California. Sounds okay, but it may not so easy. I'm told the Pennsylvania DOT gave him worries from the get-go.
He'll be pulling a 22-ft. RV that'll serve as office and bedroom.
Vintage A overhauled for the trip
Stoltzfus' John Deere A was overhauled by members of the Southeastern Waterloo Boys Tractor Club. His son-in-law, J.R. Martin, found a Peterbilt cab that was custom-mounted on the John Deere A. It has a custom dash, two air-ride seats donated by Peterbilt, air horns, heated truck mirrors and a CB radio. And, of course, the tractor has a hand clutch, as did all Deeres this age.
For fun, the tractor has two chrome stacks -- one has a muffler, the other a straight pipe with a switch to use either one. "Most of the time I'll be driving 15 mph," explains Stoltzfus. "But I want people to hear the familiar pop-pop of that two-cylinder engine that people know and love."
He plans to make stops along the way for parades, auctions, church dinners, etc.
In a way, he's following in his father's footsteps, who worked his way across America during the Depression. His dad told him to follow his dream and to dream big. "That's exactly what I'm doing," the former farmer notes.
Learn more about the trip, including route maps, etc., at www.helpamericanheroes.com
Wounded Warrior ProjectWWP is dedicated to raising awareness and enlisting public aid for the needs of injured service members. WWP provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured warriors. Check it out at www.woundedwarriorsproject.org