For “Tractor Dave” Wolfsen, his 4,125-mile (6,639 km) ride was all in a day’s work.
“For the layperson this looks like quite a project,” Wolfsen said, “but for me it was all in a day’s work. I enjoy driving the tractor.”
With the sunset behind him, Tractor Dave rides into Fremont, Mich., with one of his grandsons aboard.
Wolfsen’s ‘day’s work’ was actually 63 days as he traveled through 14 states, raising funds and awareness for the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s Disaster Response Services (DRS). As his journey concluded, he had raised more than $33,000.
After spending time in both Iowa and Wisconsin the week prior, Wolfsen arrived home on Monday, Aug. 15. He traveled across Lake Michigan aboard the S.S. Badger car ferry to Ludington, Mich., where numerous supporters from his home church, First Christian Reformed Church in Fremont, Mich., greeted him, as well as several family members.
From there, Wolfsen’s son, Ben, drove the first leg of the trip back to Fremont, while Wolfsen drove the final distance.
As his trip drew to an end, he said, “I never wished it was over except maybe when things were tough on the first part of the journey. It was so enjoyable—not only the occasion to meet and greet people, as well as teach people and learn things that were going on, but also seeing America itself as it is.
“As I got on the boat I knew it was the final leg of the voyage,” Wolfsen said. “I had time to sit back and rest a minute and ponder the last couple of months. It was a bittersweet deal. It’s sweet to come home, but on the other hand I was ending something that was enjoyable and rewarding. I think it was furthering the kingdom of the Lord and making inroads into areas where it has not been done before. From that standpoint, I could have gotten back on that boat and sailed back across and continued right on.”
Tractor drivers from Iowa accompany Tractor Dave from Monroe to Pella, Iowa.
Wolfsen described his 1937 Co-op tractor as a trusty friend. Built with truck parts, making it suitable for road driving, Wolfsen put just one belt on throughout his journey, then tightened it two or three times, and changed one light bulb.
Looking back, Wolfsen acknowledges that having to give up his original plan of hitting all 48 contiguous states was the low point of the tour. Once that decision was made, however, he moved ahead.
“The highlight was the generosity that was blatantly evident with people,” Wolfsen said, “and the joy of having people stop and ask further questions about either one of the [organizations] or both and ask for more information. Those are highlights because that’s growth.”
Wolfsen said he’s unsure about what the future holds, but knows that he will continue to personally support DRS and FRB. He will take the next several months to discuss with his family and church any further opportunities.
Photos of Wolfsen’s ride are on his Facebook page.