11/14/2012 (1647)

Happy Birthday Judy Allery Azure (DHS ’65): Bismarck, ND
      Happy Birthday Chad Zeiler: Hot Springs, AK
Happy Birthday Don Aird: St. Lewis, MO.
Caterpillar Stories
From Dick Johnson (’68):  Dunseith, ND
Gary and Friends,

      A personal email exchange between Gary and I brought to mind some
memories about our old Caterpillar 70.  Grandpa Hans Johnson bought it
from the Rolette County in 1950, when they updated to a new diesel Cat.
The deal was that Grandpa Hans would buy the Cat and my dad,  Don,
would buy a dozer blade for it.  Dad had bought some more land adjacent
to the rest and they both needed to clear land.  Dad found a dozer blade
in Minneapolis and had it shipped by rail to Dunseith.  They got it home
and Grandpa started to put it on the Cat.  Dad was working at the bar
(the old McCoy bar we have been talking about lately) for Grandpa Henry
Olson,  when a very dirty and tired Grandpa Hans walked through the door
with a  bad look on his face,  and said, “It don’t fit!”  Dad said he
spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how he could send the
dozer back, or IF he could, and how he would ever be able to afford the
cost.  The next day he went to the farm and they figured out how to
widen the dozer arms slightly to clear the tracks by heating the arms
with the torch and using a huge hydraulic jack to spread them slightly.
It worked and the dozer went on.  They ran this old Cat for many years
and I ran it for many more before I got a newer D8 in ’82.  The old Cat
sat in the woods for years and I finally sold another Cat I had bought
in the meantime and I put the dozer blade on that one to sell.  Again it
sat for many more years until a Cat restorer from southern MN heard I
had some old Cats and wondered if I would be interested in selling any
of them.  I did have plans of possibly restoring the old 1931 Cat 70 and
giving it a permanent home at the Rolette County Museum but reality set
in and I knew it would probably never happen.  We made a deal and he had
a truck here within a couple days to pick up the gasoline 70 and another
old RD8 diesel I had picked up in another deal a few years ago.  The old
1931 Cat 70 is now restored and has a permanent home indoors. Someday I
plan to take a trip and get a few pictures of it.

      In the winter of 1971,  I was going to UND in Grand Forks and here
at home we were putting in all new fences for our pastures.  I was doing
the dozing with the old Cat 70 and at Thanksgiving I was home and went
to the very south end of our land, which is south of Horseshoe Lake in
the thick timber, to finish the last of the south fence line.  When I
finished I parked the Cat and we didn’t get back to get it before I
headed back to Grand Forks.  Winter set in and the poor old Cat sat
there in the snow over a mile from home. During Christmas break from
college,  Dad said he thought we better see if we could go down and
bring the Cat home in case we needed it for moving snow during the
winter.  It’s no easy project to get the Cat going as we would just use
water in the old leaky radiator so every time we shut it off in cold
weather,  we pulled the plug on the radiator and let the water go on the
ground.  The next time we were going to use it,  we would cover the
radiator and start it and then pour it full of water from 3-4 cream cans
we would fill from the lake.  Another problem was that the oil we had to
use in the engine was heavy and when it was cold out,  it got thick like
tar and we had to be careful not to start it when it was too cold and do
damage to the engine.  As for starting the engine,  we had a bar that we
put in holes in the flywheel and as you stood on the track you pulled
the engine over with the bar and if everything was right,  she’d fire
up.  In the pictures you can see the big steel flywheel on the back of
the engine and can see the holes for the starter bar.  Anyway,  Dad said
we better get the Cat home so we filled 3-4 cream cans with water and
loaded them on a sleigh behind the snowmobile and Dad filled a 2 lb
Prince Albert tobacco can (Grandpa had lots of these) with gasoline and
snapped the lid on it.  We brought along a can of gas for the Cat and
away we went across the lake to the south end.  We put the PA can of gas
under the Cat engine and lit it on fire to warm the oil in the oil pan
so it would thin out a bit.  We had everything ready and just waited for
the gas to finish burning from the can.  By the time it did,  we were
ready to turn the engine and it fired up with very little drama.  Then
we filled the radiator with water and poured in the gas and I headed for
home through the trail around the lake.

    About a month ago,  we had to pull the big oil clutch out of our big
D8 Cat and do some repair to it.  My son was home and he and I and Mel
Kuhn got it out and over to the shop.  It was a big project but had to
be done.  As I was watching my son Dave work on the Cat, I thought how
many generations of us had been doing the same thing on the same place
over all these years.  I was grinning as I was thinking about it and he
noticed me and said, “What the heck are you grinning at?”  I said,  “You
remind me of Grandpa Hans doing the same thing.”  Dave was dirty and
tired and said,  “Yeah,  and probably working on the same damn old Cat
too!” And so it goes. Thanks Gary!


These pictures of of the Cats ready to load and head to MN a few years ago.

ND Class “A” 2012 ND State Champions
Message/pictures from Larry Hackman (’66):  Bismarck, ND
It was an exciting time in Grand Forks last Friday.
The Grandson and his team, the Hazen Bison became the Class A 2012 ND State Champions.
These pictures were taken at the Hazen School last night.
Larry, Congratulations to your grandson Nathan and his team. They did well. Gary
         Larry Hackman’s Grandson, Nathan