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It’s a long way to Indiana driving a farm tractor

South Boston News
Lloyd, left, and Wayne Smith will be driving these tractors to the 49th Antique Engine & Tractor Show in Portland, Ind. The public is invited to a send-off from the Visitor Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
SoVaNow.com / August 07, 2014
It may take a little longer than expected for Halifax County brothers Wayne and Lloyd Smith to arrive at the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association’s 49th Antique Engine & Tractor Show in Portland, Indiana, held Aug. 20-24.

The two will be driving at top speeds of 14 mph through the back roads of Halifax County, northwest to Bedford, over the Appalachians in West Virginia, across Ohio to their final destination on the seats of a 1955 McCormick Farmall Super M tractor and a 1953 Ford 900 tractor.

Yes, two tractors.

On Sunday,the public is invited to a send-off from the Visitor Center in South Boston at 3 p.m.

The Smith brothers expect the trip will take approximately 10 days. They plan to meet up at the end of each travel day with Wayne’s son Randy, who will be driving an RV packed with engine parts such as hoses and belts as well as other needed travel supplies.

Wayne’s other son Carl will be literally the “on call” mechanic, if needed.

Wayne, 74, shared with his wife Elizabeth that he wanted to take the 700-mile, tractor-driving trip in December. “What the heck, it’s time for me to do it,” he told her. 
“I haven’t seen you since Christmas,” she said, teasing him.

Wayne and Elizabeth, who have been married for 52 years, support each other in their hobbies. She quilts, and he collects and rebuilds tractors. 
Lloyd,70, decided that he would go with his brother on the long-distance trip to Indiana.

“I told him that if he’s crazy enough to do it, I’m crazy enough to go with him,” he said.

Wayne, who is a truck driver by trade, is also a member of the Heritage Club and is a regular at the Halifax County Heritage and Antique Machinery Festival held each May. Aside from the organized tractor ride to the Kerr Dam, which had 24 tractors drive 40 miles one way, they have also driven on another organized tractor ride for 60 miles at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The family, who has been in agriculture for generations but no longer farms for a living, currently has 29 tractors either under reconstruction or fully operational at the Smith’s family hobby shop next to their home. They still have two tractors that Wayne and Lloyd’s father Frank Smith owned.

“We have some of the best tractor stories in the world,” Wayne said.

Any given day, one may find Wayne at the shop tinkering with a Farmall or a Ford. Or you can find his son Carl — who works at Virginia Department of Transportation and has been designated as the best of the family’s mechanics — lending a hand with repairs and fixes on all models.

In fact, Carl received an “honorable mention” for a rebuilt Farmall U2 at a Minnesota Farmall national show and was featured in the “Red Power Farmall Round-Up” magazine.

Or one can even find at the shop Carl’s son Michael making plans to get his favorite — the Allis-Chalmers — running at peak performance.

Of course, over the last seven months, the entire family has been focused on Wayne and Lloyd’s west-bound trip. “We all are putting a lot of effort in,” Wayne said.

With the help of Smith Automotive, Riverdale Auto Parts, and the assistance of mechanic Calvin Owen, the three generations of the Smith family have made sure that both tractors are in near perfect condition. They’ve mapped a route on back roads with the help of officials from the localities they’ll be traveling through towards Indiana

Both are prepared for the outdoors – rain or shine – drive.

To follow the brothers’ journey, visit Facebook.com and friend Randy Smith. He will be posting updates on his father and uncle’s ride throughout the trip.

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Saw them pass through Marlinton, Pocahontas County WV this morning, Aug. 13th.


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