After nearly a week on the road, Tractor Dave Wolfsen discovered that his cross-country tour is going to have its ups and downs.
“I am forced to make a detour in my journey,” Wolfsen wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. “The tractor is working great, but the combination of the heavy trailer and mountainous roads have led to some unanticipated problems.”
As a result, Wolfsen has had to bypass several New England states and return to Michigan for repairs before continuing on his cross-country journey. “I regret this detour, but I am not discouraged,” he wrote. “I have met some of the greatest people in our nation.”
The first week of the trip went well despite the obstacles. “The reception of the people has been phenomenal. Everywhere I stop, people make remarks and contribute, even stopped at red lights,” he said when The Banner caught up with him in Pennsylvania.
Indeed, in less than a week the money Wolfsen has raised thus far for the Foods Resource Bank and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services doubled, from $7,000 to $14,000. His goal for the summer-long tractor tour is $200,000.
Because the camping trailer was too heavy for his 1937 Co-op tractor, he will stay at motels or bed and breakfast establishments, rather than campgrounds.
But even that has come with blessings. On Monday, when he checked into a bed and breakfast, the proprietors asked what he was doing, and when he explained, they gave him his accommodations free of charge. “People have open arms,” he said.
A return to Michigan, though unplanned, allows Wolfsen to meet his newest grandchild, Nora Rose, who was born last Tuesday.
Wolfsen hopes to travel 10,000 miles (16,000 km) this summer, returning to his Fremont, Mich., home mid-August.
Visit Tractor Ride Across the U.S. to see a map of Tractor Dave’s travels and to see his revised itinerary. Check the list under the map to see if there is a Tractor Dave event coming near you.
The Banner will follow Tractor Dave every mile, posting photos and updates on our website every week of Wolfsen’s journey.