Saturday, October 16, 2010


Washington Island, Wisconsin -

Terri Moore has driven and narrated Cherry Train tours for approximately nine years, two or more tours each day for about five months each season.

During that time, she's gotten to know most of the idiosyncrasies of each piece of gear.  The tram cars have been pulled by units older than most of our drivers (most, but not all!), and there are a few bugs that we learn to live with.  For instance, when we had one 1985 Jeep stop on a hot day on Town Line Road with a load of passengers in tow, we assumed it was some sort of vapor lock.   The problem, said Terri, is the gas cap.  Just open it up, then restart the motor.   (We bought a new gas cap.)

Some of the vehicle problems are factors of age, resulting in lower power and deeper drive train problems in the current years.  That was the case with the 1977 Cherokee used to pull a two-car tram.   It looked good on the road, but last year the transmission had to be rebuilt, then the ring gear was stripped, and it seemed to be in the shop as much as on the road.   Last spring, we decided to sell it by posting a sign in the window alongside the island terminal:  lots of interest, but no serious buyer.

Yesterday, we gave the 1977 four-door Jeep to Terri as a memento of her many miles behind the wheel of this and the other tour vehicles.  Appearing elated, Terri now has the keys to one of the older island vehicles running the roads, and we think she also has the mental keys to starting it and keeping it running.

For a replacement vehicle, a used, red Dodge hemi was purchased in July that Terri took an immediate shine to driving.   Relatively low on mileage, in generally good condition, this one requires some athleticism (a major step up, rather than bending downward to mount the driver's seat), but Terri mastered the height with the assistance of a running bar.   She's looking forward to when this vehicle gets retired some day.

"Maybe you'll let me have the hemi when it gets retired," she laughed.

Perhaps, in another twenty-five years!

   -   Dick Purinton

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