DISCOVERIES, DATES, AND DEADLINES

With one day left to go, I can say with all honesty that so far this has been the most fascinating and fun filled weekend since our return from Cuba Fest. As an added bonus there were Route 66 related aspects, and it was also a bit productive and educational.

It kicked off late Friday evening with dinner and stimulating conversation at the Dambar in Kingman as we met with yet another tour group. With Route 66 guidance provided by Gary Fleshman, Pamela Baker of Event Spectrum Incorporated was leading an eclectic group of Canadian journalists down the old double six on an adventure sponsored by Nissan.
As many of our visitors were automotive journalists, it was an evening to talk old cars, automotive history, and Route 66. That, my friends, is a near perfect trifecta for dinner conversations.
This morning, after a 6:00 AM haircut and assorted errands, my dearest friend and I set out on a journalistic quest. The first of two assignments was to evaluate an ultra rare 1916 Galloway tractor for possible inclusion in a future publication of Antique Power.
This story includes a multifaceted twist of fate that is still unfolding. Several years ago Brad Bowling assumed the editorial helm of this publication and immediately contacted me with a request to provide regular submissions. 
Now, some of my earliest published work was for Old Cars Weekly. At that time Brad Bowling was serving as the editor. 
Then when he moved on to Amos Publishing and assumed the editorial position for the venerable magazine Cars and Parts, he contacted me and after lengthy discussion as well as negotiation, I put on the associate editor hat and penned a monthly column entitled The Independent Thinker.
Abruptly, after decades of publication and providing service to the classic car community, Amos Publishing pulled the plug and Cars and Parts became an historic footnote as the last issue rolled from the press. Brad and I parted ways until he went to work for an automotive auction company, and he asked me to write entries for the catalogs. 
When Brad asked me to provide material for Antique Power, it was the first time in twenty years that I was unable to provide assistance. Simply put, Kingman, Arizona isn’t a hot bed of vintage tractor restoration or collecting. 
Enter Buddie Knutson, an Arizona transplant from the wheat fields of Montana. Mr. Knutson represents a generation that is fast fading from the American landscape.
In addition to serving as the custodian for more than a century of family heirlooms associated with farming and homesteading in Montana, he is a humble man that transforms wreckage into treasure, and hunks of cold steel into functioning parts that give vintage equipment a new lease on life. Scattered throughout his cavernous workshop is a 1940’s International pick up purchased new by an uncle that is undergoing a frame off restoration, the Galloway purchased by family in 1926, and an array of similar items.
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1916 Galloway tractor.

utside, awaiting the attention of this amazing craftsman are a 1941 Dodge dump truck purchased new by his father, Buddie’s first car (a T model Ford of unknown vintage), and a 1963 Ford truck, also purchased new by family.
The Galloway was dismantled sometime around World War II with plans to sell it for scrap. Instead, it remained in a heap exposed to the harsh winters of Montana until the late 1990’s.
As my knowledge about vintage tractors and their manufacture is rather limited, as we photographed the old workhorse we also received an education. 

A wheel made from scrap metal.

As the number or remaining Galloway manufactured tractors, and trucks, is so small you can count them without taking off shoes and socks, an owner either restores components or he is forced to make them. The latter first requires making the equipment and machinery needed to reproduce the parts. 
As a case in point, the brass hand pump to pressurize the fuel tank, magneto switch, a rear fender and a front wheel were among the missing components on this tractor. So, after evaluating pictures, and taking painstaking measurements from existing models, Buddie made the machinery that allowed him to make the missing pieces.
In talking with Buddie the idea that in 2015, the City of Kingman needs to host a vintage tractor and engine show began to develop. Not surprisingly, he belongs to a club for similar enthusiasts and a number of them live near Jerome.
Our second assignment was for Angelo VanBogart, the current editor of Old Cars Weekly. The Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation museum in the Powerhouse that debuted during the Route 66 International Festival is garnering a wide array of attention even though the official opening is still weeks away. My job is to provide additional exposure for thus museum and subsequently Route 66.

An ultra rare 1957 Electric Shopper.

The foundation is in the process of acquiring a number of significant vehicles that will be added to the museum soon, and is searching for other suitable donations. The end result will be an eclectic collection as well as a new destination for automotive and Route 66 enthusiasts. It will also add to the idea that this storied old highway is truly the crossroads of the past and future.
After photographing the entire collection from every conceivable angle, my dearest friend surprised me with an offer to buy lunch at Redneck’s Southern pit Barbecue. Good food and a date with a gorgeous woman who also happens to be my best friend plus two assignments, could a Saturday get any better?

A 1905 electric truck.

Yes, it can. Our delightful lunch date was followed by a pleasant walk encouraged by unseasonably warm temperatures along the Beale Street corridor that is becoming vibrant once more. I closed it out with a shared pizza and a bottle of wine, work on the current book, and a movie.
With less than two months to go until deadline, the pressure is mounting and I am still in need of illustrations. Adding to the building anxiety is the fact that next weekend we will be in Burbank for a Saturday morning book signing at Auto Books Aero Books, and, on Sunday, a tour of ground zero for the proposed 90th anniversary celebration of Route 66 in 2016 at the highways original western terminus.
The following week is the first meeting for the World Monuments Fund steering committee in Albuquerque. The focus will be to build on the two conference calls and attempt to draft a template for cohesive and unified Route 66 development. 
This would have been a near perfect weekend in any case. As it served as an interlude in a very busy, very high pressure schedule, it was a wonderful respite. 
Today’s assignment, meet with a German television crew and focus on the book. 
            

 
        
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