Dear Action Line: What’s up with the red tractor sitting in the grass on the east side of Florida Road in the 900 block? Is it art? Is it historic? – No traction
Dear Traction: That awesome red behemoth appears to be a derelict portable air compressor made by the Schramm company with International Harvester parts. The 6,000-plus pound beast was most likely built in the late 1940s or early 1950s and probably has two diesel UD-18 engines; one for moving around, a second for running the compressor.
The 691-cubic-inch engines put out about 100 horsepower each and are unusual in that they start on gasoline, but then after a few minutes switch to diesel. These cool machines had a variety of uses, including powering irrigation pumps and mining drills.
Best guess: It was probably used to blast through some rocks during an upgrade to Florida Road 50 to 60 years ago. It then broke down and in typical Durango fashion, it’s been there ever since.
It is definitely historic, along with the other various wagons and fun farm implements found throughout the area at the entrance to homes or sitting on the side of the road.
It is most definitely art. Action Line is going to hook it up to his skateboard and drag it down Florida to the Durango Arts Center for an exhibit, “Le Tracteur Rouge (la Luxure et la Guerre): A post-modern interpretation of lust, war, the color red, wheels, diesel engines and air compressors.”
Dear Action Line: If I wear a mask long enough, will I eventually grow a flap of skin over my mouth and nose? – COVID concerned
Dear CC: Dawn Mulhern, chairwoman of Fort Lewis College’s anthropology department, was asked how long it would take before wearing a mask resulted in some sort of permanent genetic mutation.
“Despite what you may have learned by watching ‘Waterworld,’ that is highly unlikely,” she said. “Mutations are random and natural selection acts upon already existing genetic variability. New mutations do not suddenly appear in response to the environment.
“However, perhaps plastic surgeons could provide the option of using extra skin from a facelift for a COVID-prophylactic face flap.”
Ever the optimist, Action Line is going to spend the next three weekends submerged in the hot tub, because “highly unlikely” also means “distantly possible,” and gills like Kevin Costner’s character in the movie “Waterworld” would be really cool.
Dear Action Line: The city of Durango hosts “Edible Plant Excursion Alpine Hikes” but they say to also “bring a snack.” Why bring a snack? Why not eat the edible plants? Isn’t that the point of the hike? – Grazin Browser
Dear Browser: The city’s Parks and Recreation department offers the excursions. “The instructor encourages participants to bring a snack and water so participants are well nourished during the excursion,” said Cathy Metz, director of the department.
Action Line is pretty sure this also helps prevent someone from becoming a Grumpy Gus because there probably is not the equivalent of a seven-course meal waiting for you in the forest.
“The berries and other edible plans may not be ripe enough for eating on the excursion, therefore a snack is recommended,” she said.
Help make Durango a better place to live and work. Learn more about what makes Durango special. Email questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line will be spending the weekend creating a new drink called “The COVID,” consisting of 4 parts alcohol, 1 part alcohol and as a garnish, edible plants from the San Juan National Forest.Correction: An earlier version of this column said the owner placed a “free” sign on the old red compressor, but the owner did not place the sign on the equipment and he is not offering it for giveaway.
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