Friday, June 13, 2008

Dodge Power Wagon, Type D

Some Power Wagon Stories.

In 1949 an explorer took a chance, and asked Chrysler Corporation if they would furnish him with vehicles he could use to explore Arabia. He was given 17 specially equipped Power Wagons and set off on his expedition.

As luck would have it, he found the Queen of Sheba's temple and excavation began. Problems with authorities caused him and his crew members to flee for their lives, they made it to safety in two of the Power Wagons.

Read more about this story.

There's a Montana story about the power wagons, where Montana Power, in it's early days, had lines to maintain in areas where it was impossible to get vehicles. They bought a fleet of Power Wagons and took them to the mountains. One such power wagon was supposed to have been driven to the shop in brand new condition and never used. The legend goes it was purchased with from Montana Power with only the miles it took to get it from town to the sat there unused all those years. Like I say, this is a story...perhaps true or perhaps not, but a story about the power wagons just the same.

My grandparents bought their power wagon because they needed a pickup. This was probably in the early fifties or late forties. They went to town, bought the truck and headed home. They lived 50 miles from town, along the Rocky Mountain Front.

As they drove along, my grandpa went through the gears until there were no more gears...the silence grew until finally my grandma asked, "Why aren't we going faster than this?" To which Grandpa replied in a puzzled voice, "I don't think it goes any faster than this!"

That 's just a little family story about the power wagon.

I can remember taking salt to the cows in that power wagon. Weather was not a factor when you had a power wagon. If you got stuck, you took out the winch and pulled yourself out.

Back then, if a grizzly was killing your cattle, you set bear traps and caught the bear yourself. I can remember checking the bear traps in the power wagon. We'd get as close as we could to the trap, and sometimes walk the rest of the way. The anticipation of what you might find was so intense! I remember following my grandpa, while he carried his rifle through the woods like it was yesterday.

There are times now when Robert and I take our four wheelers onto the ranch my grandparents homesteaded. Even though I was a child when I roamed that ranch with my grandpa, when I find the old trails he and I were on, the memories come flooding back of what a wondrous playground that ranch was and how much fun I had with him.

As time goes on and Robert and I get busy restoring our power wagon, I'll probably subject you to more stories about this wonderful old machine. I was going to set up a different blog, with power wagon stuff on it, then I decided one blog was enough. Perhaps if you're interested enough to read my blog and see my art and photos, you're interested enough to learn all of what makes up an artist.

We're a curious breed, interested in so many things, we can't possibly cover them all in a lifetime.

But, in knowing the things that interest us, perhaps you see an overall influence in the art we create, and that leads to a better understanding of who we are and why we paint what we do.

I once painted the old Chevy truck which was the first vehicle I learned to drive, now you can believe I'm going to paint this old power wagon too!
Donna Ridgway