Cat D7 3T Rescue
So this is the story of how I became acquainted with Garlic Pete, Daron Dustin, and Mike Mc (and how I came around to joining ACMOC). In July of 2010 my then-91-year-old Grandfather, who lived alone on his old 3-acre farm where 3 generations of my family were raised near Stockton, CA, suffered a fall and was admitted to the hospital. The paramedics were so appalled at his living conditions that they got Social Services involved, and deemed the house unlivable (and rightly so). Grandpa hadn't allowed any of us inside since 1999, and we later found out that he was living like a hoarder (stuff & junk piled to the ceiling, with only narrow walkways through the house; a firetrap waiting to happen), and there was no working septic nor running water. So, we initially set about cleaning out all the junk inside the house and repairing the septic system; the original septic system was only a 950-gallon redwood tank! My parents paid for a brand-new 4500-gallon concrete septic system, and I spent a week there in August 2010 installing a whole new water supply line (the original 1-inch galvanized pipe had corroded so badly that there was barely a trickle of water flowing...I ran 80-feet of 1-inch PVC from near the newly-installed well pump). Inside my cousin and uncle had remodeled 2 bathrooms and re-installed LOTS of new copper piping...they also installed 2 new toilets, vanities, and sinks. However, when I slowly turned on the new water supply (only 40 psi), something broke loose inside and plugged the interior copper water pipes. We also found some electrical issues (old fabric-insulated 2-wire, with a fuse box) and several plumbing drain unions were cracked/broken inside the walls), so we decided to call it quits and wait to see if Grandpa would even be able to live on his own again, before calling Social Services.
Turns out that Grandpa never returned to his old 3-acre farm, where he had been stockpiling "good stuff" for more than 67 years. My Mom found him a very nice assisted-living facility nearby that was not Medicare-approved (so you know it's a nice place), and she & my father decided to pay for his care on their own to ensure he had a nice place to stay. I offered to move him into my home in Las Vegas, NV, but he quickly shot that idea down. So now he gets to sit and watch TV all day and wait for his rare visitor...my Mom, sister, & I see him the most (at least twice a month), and we have 1100-mile round trips to make to do so; my aunt & uncle make a 150-mile round trip to see him once a week. But he's worth it, and we are tired of scolding family members who live close by to go visit with him. Oh well.
Since it became obvious that he would never return to his old 3-acre farm again, and that he had racked up quite a bit of debt in the previous decade or two, the decision was made to sell the property to pay for his care & settle his debts. However, 67+ years of acquiring "good stuff" meant it was going to be quite a task. Many options were considered, but in the end I was put in charge of clearing the outside and finding homes for all of the useable equipment, implements, and tractors. There were 4 Caterpillar crawlers (a 1938 D2; a 1948 D4-7U; a 1950 D7-3T; and a 1959 D4C), 17 cars & trucks (only one or two even ran; the rest were only good for parts), 2 old tractors, and literally dozens of old implements and plows, as well as attachments. Most had been sitting for many many years in the rain and dust, and were buried in the weeds; ALL would require quite a bit of work to get useable again.
I quickly became acquainted with Garlic Pete and Daron, and later Mike Mc, and invited them up to take a look at the equipment. I was determined to find good homes for these old Cats and the equipment, and I was willing to sell everything for less than scrap prices in order to do so. Most were sentimental, as the old LeTourneau Carry-All scraper and D7-3T were what put food on the table when my Grandparents were raising my Mom & her siblings. If I had my own transportation, I would have kept the D7-3T myself; in the end I decided to keep the 1948 D4-7U, as I do have the means to transport it myself. Pete and Daron really tried to talk me into keeping the D7, even offering to haul it to my home in Las Vegas for only the price of fuel, but I had to decline...I won't have any property suitable for storing the D7 pending restoration until I retire in 2018 and move to Northern Nevada. Finally Daron offered to purchase the D7, which I gladly accepted. A fellow from Santa Cruz (Wayne) purchased and hauled away the little D2, Pete hauled the D4 to Bakersfield to store for me until I'm ready to have it delivered to Las Vegas, and the D4C was purchased by Pete (but stays with the property until it sells, otherwise I have no way to keep the weeds down!).
I must say, Caterpillar (especially fans of antique & older Caterpillars) have no finer ambassadors than Pete, Daron, and Mike. Top-notch gentlemen they are! I cannot thank them enough for all of the hard work they put in while rescuing all of my Grandfather's old equipment, and for having us treated like First Class VIPs at the Best Harvest Spectacular this past July.
OK, on to the photos!
The old 1950 D7-3T that my Grandfather spent around 35K hours working:
It had sat for 30+ years, slowly being buried by weeds and wind-blown dirt. The tracks were so buried that they rusted stuck and the D7 wouldn't budge when Pete & Daron tried:
The blade for the D7 was detached and sitting on an old WW2 bomb trailer, buried in the weeds:
The old cable rippers can be seen behind the blade.
The little D2, sitting neglected in the weeds:
Just in front of the D2 is my D4-7U:
ACMOC Member #9212