Tractor Dave, otherwise know as Dave Wolfsen, will drive his 1937 Co-op tractor 10,000 miles (16,000 km) this summer, raising money for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and the Foods Resource Bank (FRB).
Leaving Michigan June 1, Wolfsen will head east and drive a big circle around the U.S., entering each of the contiguous 48 states. He expects to arrive home mid-August.
Wolfsen, a 66-year-old retired International Harvester dealer who lives in Fremont, Mich., will travel alone, pulling a camper behind his tractor.
Asked what his wife, Deborah, and his three grown children think of his adventure, he replied, “My wife and kids have put up with my crazy maneuvers before.”
Wolfsen plans to average about 120 miles (193 km) or five hours of travel each day, averaging a stately pace of 30 miles (48 km) per hour. But he expects it will be the stops that slow him down: “If you stop in a rest area or a restaurant, it takes an hour to stop talking.”
There are already more than 20 evening events planned around his route, and Wolfsen says he’s willing to change his route to accommodate more.
The evening events provide him a chance to talk about the disaster relief work done by CRWRC’s Disaster Response Service (DRS) and also the work of the Food Resources Bank, which involves communities growing crops that get sold to fund an overseas food-security program.
Wolfsen, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Fremont, said his idea for the journey started when a friend encouraged him to get his 1937 tractor running and take it on a ride to Iowa.
“My mind started wandering, and I thought if I took a week, why not raise some money?” he said. “And then I thought why not the Great Lakes. . . . ”
By the time Wolfsen talked to Bill Adams at DRS about setting something up, he’d decided to circle the U.S.
He has been delighted with the way the Fremont community has taken up the project with him, providing supplies and support for getting the tractor roadworthy.
Wolfsen set a fund-raising goal of $200,000. To learn how you can donate, see Tractor Ride Across the U.S.
The Banner will follow Tractor Dave every mile, posting photos and updates on our website every week.