FOREST CITY - As the fog lifted near the Winnebago River in Forest City Saturday morning, David Dontje wiped the dew from his 1550 Oliver tractor.
Dontje was getting ready for the annual Heritage Park of North Iowa and Forest City Area Chamber of Commerce tractor ride. The roughly 50 mile ride would take participants on country roads in the Fertile, Joice, Lake Mills and Forest City area.
“I’m in the slow group,” Dontje said. “Ten to 12 miles an hour is all (the faster) you can go. You putz on the road.”
Dontje and other tractors may be be putzing along but “You can look at everything and see what’s going on. I could go in the fast group but then, you have to be more careful.”
Dontje has owned the Oliver for many years. He bought it after his wife Susan’s uncle, Fred Bentele, traded for another tractor at an area implement dealer.
“I bought it at Bancroft,” Dontje said. “I thought ‘I’ve gotta have that tractor.’”
“It’s a handy little tractor,” Dontje said. He used it often while he farmed.
“Tractor rides is all I use it for now,” Dontje said of the green-colored tractor with its neat, white trim.
Linda Thompson of Lakota would rather ride and not drive during a tractor ride. Her husband Roger drives the tractor while Linda rides in a chair inside a special cart pulled by the tractor.
The cart has a canopy that provides shade while Linda Thompson sits in a chair with cushions covered in a fabric with Farmall and International implement prints.
“I wave and smile and once in awhile I give a thumbs up,” Linda Thompson said.
Folks who turn out to watch tractors pass through a town during a tractor ride seem to like Linda Thompson’s cart.
“(On Aug. 20), two older ladies stood on a corner. One of the ladies started jumping up and down and waving,” Linda Thompson said.
The cart was originally made to be pulled by an all-terrain vehicle, Roger Thompson said. The cart was made by a Bancroft business, he said. The manufacturer couldn’t get the cart to tilt properly and the business left the cart to sit outside the business, Roger Thompson said.
He saw it and bought it.
“It’s got two 2,000-pound axles,” Roger Thompson said. The cart has two narrow bench seats on each side and Linda Thompson’s chair is between those two bench seats.
“We had to hunt to get a chair that was 20 inches wide,” Linda Thompson said.
The ride is comfortable, she said. “When he hits a bump I rock,” Linda Thompson said.