I made the executive decision to lay low for a day, work on some photos, catch up on some writing, head home to Bowling Green KY Monday morning. As the weather in Lincoln wasn't bad and cabin fever soon set in, it finally dawned upon me to head out for a bit. First little jaunt was to a local equipment dealer to window shop, even though I haven't lived on more than a half acre since 1996. What escaped me until I saw a sign for "Nebraska Research Facility" outside of Wahoo, Nebraska and made a hard left onto a two-lane road was the thought:
"You big dummy...go find the Nebraska Tractor Test facility!"
Now that initial facility I came upon was a massive complex of cattle, crops and even introduced me to a term I'd never heard of before... "Agrometeorology." I know farming weather, but that's a new word for me.
Made the trip back into Lincoln and found my way to the test facility and the Larsen Museum. Wow.
I'm gonna step back here and make a statement unknown to most: I am low-key about some things in motorsports, simply because since 1992 I've spent most of my time in Bowling Green, home to the Corvette Plant, Corvette Museum, and Beech Bend Raceway. In a very real sense any form or sort of vehicle I've enjoyed in my life has come to me, rather than travel to see it and I am blessed by that unique situation, kinda like living in the same town as some of the bigger pulls in the country. Corvettes by thousands. NHRA and Goodguys Hot Rod Reunions... Buick Grand National Club race/show..you get the point. Much of it rolls into town as I roll out and I've been like this for some time. I get excited to go to pulls (I either sleep little or not at all before a pull, ask Mrs. Lively) but there hadn't been anything that had struck me in a long time until I rolled up on this sign today:
I didn't even walk onto the track. I did get some nice photos:
Front stretch of the test track
Reverse view of the track
Larsen Museum Tractors. Looked in the window, NICE stuff in there.
AC WC used for tip-over demostrations, Thanks to Rusty Regenbrecht on the origin of this unit
Front view. Really dug the Twin Cities hiding down at the end and the McCormick Deering in the foreground.
It was a really neat place to visit, and I am having a hard time describing my time there. A lot of what I am and what I do intersects with this place....the whole concept of testing tractors for horsepower and performance on many levels. Growing up in the ag. equipment industry had something to do with it and I guess a big part of it was that I spent my teenage years wanting to come to this place and learn here though my desire was overridden by the reality of out-of-state tuition and my unmentionable math grades. I also own a copy of CH Wendel's "Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors" given to me by my grandparents in either '81 or '82 that I nearly dog-eared and first learned about the Nebraska test from. When you're a nine year old and you're already consumed by wanting to be around tractors, learning that theres a place where they test them (in nine year old voice: YOU MEAN THAT THEY LET PEOPLE JUST DRIVE THEM AROUND?? ALL KINDS OF TRACTORS??) only adds fuel to that fire. I left the facility, a place I romanticized in my youth, a little "struck," thinking "was I just there?" A place only seen in pictures became reality. I will be back, when the museum is open. Is it worth a visit for you? If you see yourself in anything I've described here, it may very well be. From what I could see in the window of the museum was some pretty unique stuff, especially if you see what they have let set outside, obviously because of storage limitations. It is tractor-guru heaven, and I'm glad I got a glimpse of it.