ST-8It is if you are going to the CMSGMA (Central Mass. Steam and Gas & Machinery Assoc.) – 39th Annual Yankee Engine-unity Show at the Orange Municipal Airport! But first back three days. “On the list” for maybe six months was to have Alex for the last week plus of June. David and Mari are responsible for a conference in Vancouver, so, of course, I can take care of him. Arriving at their home on Wednesday, David and I walked him to his last day of fourth grade on Thursday, and then I took David and Mari to Logan Airport. The last day was a half day, and after lunch I took Alex to a friend’s pool party. A lovely couple, I stayed and chatted until well after four before we headed home. On Friday, Alex and I took the T from Alewife Station to MIT where he was the “subject” for a study at 1PM (this has been an ongoing project). I walked around the MIT campus for awhile, and when he was done we went to the MIT Museum.

The MIT Museum is small, and since it was a once a year “free Friday” it was packed – but not bad. We enjoyed looking at the development of early robots, and current work on teaching robots to think and respond, particularly for use in space to perform tasks – amazing. We then entered a gallery of “Gestural Engineering” by Arthur Ganson with all sorts of moving contraptions. As the museum was closing we finished in the special photography exhibit.

GESTURAL ENGINEERING - this "wishbone" pulls the contraption back and forth.

GESTURAL ENGINEERING – this “wishbone” pulls the contraption back and forth.

Gary joined us for dinner, and “three” generations had a fun evening following.

Plan for Saturday was to head back home, via the steam and tractor show in Orange. I was so thrilled that Alex showed interest in sharing “something old” with me and learning from it, and jumping ahead, he did have fun.

I have been fascinated by “hit and miss” engines for over 55 years since I first saw one at one of our car shows in Connecticut when I was growing up.

A "hit and miss" engine driving a pump.

A “hit and miss” engine driving a pump.

Today’s show I learned about at a train show I went to in January, and yes, it has been “on the list” since. Mainly there were old stationery gas engines, but also a steam and an antique tractor show, and some Model T Fords.

A Lineup of Tractors being exhibited.

A Lineup of Tractors being exhibited.

And here was a great display with a new steam engine driving the equipment.


I told Alex that these old engines would drive farm equipment of various sorts and were on wheels to be moved from place to place. We started down another “aisle” and here was such an engine husking corn. Do look at these next two videos.

When we heard the announcement for the tractor parade, Alex said, “let’s hurry to see it.” Here is just part of what we saw.

Called “hit and miss” engines because they are not firing on all cycles – on purpose. The single cylinder fires and drives the flywheel which becomes a drive wheel when a belt is attached. The distinctive firing sound comes when the governor on the engine senses that the flywheel is slowing down. Then the fuel and spark are provided, and the engine fires with a puff and bang and the flywheel keeps a constant speed to drive the farm equipment.



The club in 2001 purchased this Cagney steam train. Their goal is to have it running around their club house for rides and steam education.



In the parade was this interesting chain driven cultivator.


After about 3 hours of fun (and fried dough) we headed back home, but first making a grocery stop in Keene.  Was it fun shopping together, and actually smart on my behalf. We planned and purchased meals he wanted, and purchased the brands that he is used to and prefers.

Back home at 4, unpacked, snack time, dinner later, and then a movie. He is “working” on the porch as rain plays on the roof while I am finishing this up. Tomorrow there are no plans, but something will happen. Monday is Alpine Slide “redux” at Bromley – it was a hit last year. Tuesday, who knows – but fun, and on Wednesday we head back to Alex’s house as David and Mari will be getting in late. On the way back there I hope to introduce Alex to the Battle of Lexington & Concord, at least the spot Paul Revere was captured, and the show at the visitor center. Will start talking about it tomorrow.

Believe it or not, this is my 200th post on “Shunpiking with Ray,” and in 7 more “hits” I will have had more than 44,000 page views.

To sum today up, RAY RECOMMENDS:
1] Check out the CMSGMA website, and plan on attending the steam, gas, and machinery show in Orange, Massachusetts in 2016 (unless you run down tomorrow.)

This entry was posted in Day (or maybe two) Trips and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Marian L. Michlig says:

    Lots of history there for you and Alex. All of the different eras and engines shows we have come a long ways, eh? Have fun and enjoy your time with Alex.


  2. Carolyn Norback says:

    Sounds like you two had a wonderful time, so good for Alex and you to be boon companions. And Ray, I am blown away by your video prowess. Keep on having fun.

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