Part 18: Waterlilly, NC to Warrenton, VA


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The Trip

We spent an extremely hot night in the RV park next to Albemarle Sound, North Carolina.  It was cooking in the camper, and were it not for the fan that we purchased in Florida, we would have withered away during the sleepless night.  There were plenty of bugs, so opening the door was not an option, so we hunkered down and dealt with it.  From Waterlilly, we headed north into Elizabeth City.  We found out that there was going to be a tractor pull in EC, so we decided to stay an extra day and check it out.  That night, we stayed in a motel with a/c and it was quite a relief.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Just south of our RV park on the sound, there were planted fields that looked a lot like wheat.  I never confirmed what, exactly, they were growing, but the golden color was a great contrast to the green of the surrounding area.  

Our path took us by the sound and we saw this nesting pair of ospreys that had utilized a platform that had been constructed for their benefit.  The ospreys had their beaks open for cooling -- it was hot despite being somewhat overcast.

We had lunch in a nice restaurant in Elizabeth City.  The restaurant was next to the city park and it turns out that there was a boat race the following day.  Some of the contestants were already there in preparation for the race and they had their rigs out for public inspection.

This boat had a complex hull design.

The wood on this hull was in super shape.  I am sure that the amount of time and effort required to keep the wood looking good is astronomical.

Another nice wood hull.

This one is small and I am sure is very scary to operate if there is any chop on the water at all.  From the port area of Elizabeth City, we went to a motel and got settled.  From there, we headed north to the tractor pull.

We got to the "pull park" early and got a chance to walk around and see some of the equipment before it got dark.  These rigs were clean, shiny and clearly cost a ton of money to build and maintain.

This tractor turned out to be alcohol powered and dominated the competition.  Plus, the team that ran it had a large tractor trailer rig with tools and support equipment.

The second tractor run by team Galot.

There were all manner of vehicles at the event.   Some were real tractors, some were pickups that had been modified for pulling.

This modified tractor was quite impressive but would suffer a mechanical failure during the competition.

This rig is running 3 turbochargers, 2 feeding 1, in series and produces about 165 pounds of boost.  To get the motor "in the zone", 2 helpers stood along side the tractor spraying ether into each of the front turbochargers until the boost got sufficiently high.  Impressive, but not easy to do.

This rig was described as a Volkswagen, but the only VW present was the sheet metal of the body.

Oh yeah!  A jet engine powered tractor.  I really wanted to see this one run, but a battery failure prevent it from competing or even starting for that matter.  Very sad.

Something a little different.

This rig has an old International Harvester cab behind a big, blown V8 motor.

Clean chrome.  Note the tow line on the front.  This is used to winch the truck into trailer for transport.  The wheels up front prevent damage to the equipment up front.  I am not sure what all that stuff is, but it looks complex and tweaky.

Nice paint job.

This rig had three big blown V8 motors connected through a common drive train.  The rear engine is installed pointing backwards.  It ran well and made it to the finish line which is no small feat for something as complex as this.  Starting this rig must be a real challenge.

Above is a photo of the large sled that is pulled during the competition.  The sleds come in several sizes, but the mechanisms are common.  Under the operator's cab is a big tray (with the white stripes) that is on a track.  The weight tray slides forward as the sled is pulled, thus generating more drag.  The sliding is linked to the rear wheel by a gear assembly so equal pulling distance results in equal tray displacement.  At the end of a run, the tray is all the way to the front (right) of the sled.  It is retracted by the operator via a winching mechanism that he runs from the cab.  Above, the sled is being tested with a normal farm tractor to insure that the mechanism is working correctly.  The big sled generates something on the order of 80,000 pounds of resistance.  The sled stall this tractor during the testing.

The competition finally began and most of the rigs were quite noisy.  Since the trucks were running after sundown, taking photos became quite challenging.  Notice the spray of dirt from the wheels as this rig powers down the track.

This fellow was spraying the sled and operator with big chunks of the track.  Damage to the track was repaired after each run with a set of small tractors and a compactor.

The 3-engine monstrosity did well in competition.  Note the twist in the frame due to the torque of the motors.

This rig blew up.  Above, the driver raises the engine cowling.  Note the smoke and steam.

Why is this fellow smiling??  He just smoked his engine.  Oh, then I finally figured out that he is an official and it is not HIS rig.

This fellow was at the extreme limit of what my flash would do.  After a bit of Lightroom work, this is the best I could achieve.  Note the huge plume of black diesel smoke coming out of the stacks.  Also note that the weight tray is at the front end of the sled -- maximum drag.

"Southern Express" was no slouch in the smoke department.  Note the position of the weight tray; the photo above was shot near the starting line.

These rigs produced huge amounts of torque.

This tractor was alcohol powered, thus the lack of an exhaust plume.  But, I think it did win the competition in its class.

Note that the smaller pullers used a smaller weight sled.

From Elizabeth City, NC, we headed north to Virginia Beach, VA to stay with a local mogger Jim Holmes.  Jim uses his TLF 404 as part of his tree trimming business.

We stayed at Jim's place and he took us out into the swamp in his canoe.  I was worried about getting my camera wet, so I did not take it in the canoe.  Above is a shot of the end of the canal that leads into the swamp.

There were plenty of dragon flies around and I managed to get a clear photo of one.  They are too fast to photograph if they are moving, so you have to wait until one lands close enough to shoot.  Look at the eyes in the photo above.  The white areas are reflections of the sun, but the individual spots are reflections from the insect's compound eye.  Also note the hair on the body.

From Jim's place, we traveled to the shore area of Virginia Beach for lunch.  From there, we headed north toward Washington, DC to meet with fellow moggers John and Alice.

The path north required quite a bit of freeway travel and we had to pass through a tunnel to get under the bay at Norfolk, VA.

This guy in a cow suit saw the mog and went ape.  Or perhaps he went bovine.

John and Alice raise llamas on their farm outside of DC.  The coat length of the animals varies based on time of year and sometimes they have to be sheared, both for the animal's comfort in the heat and to harvest the fur.

This male has been partially sheared and you can see the length of the coat if not cut.  They have very nice fur.

Alice gives some lovin' to one of the male llamas.

We had a great night at the tractor pull, it was something different for sure.  We greatly appreciate the kindness and consideration that we got from Jim, John and Alice in letting us stay at their homes.

Our plan now is to explore the DC area for a few days and then head north toward Philadelphia to see another mogger.  From there, north to Jersey and Long Island.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.