“Tractor Dave” Wolfsen plans to be back on the road the first week of July, after his summerlong tour was unexpectedly interrupted.
Wolfsen returned home to Fremont, Mich., last week after mechanical and scheduling problems forced a change in plans.
In some ways Wolfsen’s tour was a victim of its own success. As the tour progressed, more people scheduled local events and more local media wanted Wolfsen’s time. With no support staff traveling with him, he found it more and more difficult to meet those demands along with the amount of travel time needed each day, considering that his 1937 tractor travels a stately pace of 30 miles (48 km) per hour.
“I came to realize that hitting all 48 [contiguous] states was not going to be a reality,” Wolfsen said. “I was not able to keep pace with the busyness of the schedule.”
In addition, the tractor couldn’t pull his heavy camping trailer on the steep hills of New England and in some of the rural areas he traveled through. And finding motels became difficult. The tractor also needed a modification to prevent engine heat from overheating the passenger compartment.
So while the tractor gets modified, Wolfsen met with those helping him organize the tour to make a new plan.
He will head out again during the first week of July, with plans to travel through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas, and spending August in Minnesota and Iowa as previously planned.
As well, a chase vehicle will now accompany him, pulling the camper trailer that also advertises what the tour is about. The person driving that vehicle will help Wolfsen coordinate logistics at each stop.
The southern states, Rocky Mountains, and West Coast have been dropped from the tour.
Wolfsen planned the trip to raise awareness and funds for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services (DRS) and the Foods Resource Bank (FRB). Despite the detour, donations continue to come in, nearing $20,000 so far. Wolfsen’s goal is $200,000.
Anyone interested in scheduling an event for Tractor Dave during July is encouraged to call 616-648-4308. Visit Tractor Ride Across the U.S. for the latest updates to the tour. The Banner will report on Tractor Dave’s progress in two weeks when the tour resumes.