Jan 06, 2002
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Loved fire truck on the road again

Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN -- Craig Harmon"s goal was California or bust, and in Ogden he busted.

He was in a bad fix. His goal was to drive a fire truck across the country to commemorate the Lincoln Highway, but he broke down in Ogden on Dec. 12.

He had no money, knew no one in Ogden, and his fire engine was dead.

Monday afternoon he pushed a button on the panel of that same fire truck and the engine turned over, purring like a very large kitten. A sign on the side of the truck says "The Engine that Love Built," which he said is a tribute to all the help he got in his stay in Ogden.

Harmon, who lives in Galion, Ohio, is the founder and curator of a museum of the Lincoln Highway, the nation"s first transcontinental highway. To publicize it, he began driving his fire truck across the nation, following the original highway route, staying with charitable fire departments along the way.

Driving along 12th Street, heading for the Interstate, his truck quit. A friendly tow company took him to Dean"s Automotive where inspection showed the truck needed a major engine rebuild.

Harmon said the whole thing was accomplished with the help of donated time, work and parts. People even gave him cash to cover his expenses.

The Ogden Fire Department put him up, the Waukeshaw engine company donated the engine parts, a local Checker Auto donated spark plugs and oil, Felts Machine Shop didn"t charge to mill the head, and Dean"s Automotive let him work on it in their shop, taking up a lot of valuable room.

Many other companies and individuals helped too, either with work or cash.

Harmon said he hopes to be back on the road today and will try to be in San Francisco by Jan. 19 to meet a Union Pacific train carrying the 2002 Olympic Winter Games torch.

From there he hopes to put the engine onto a train and have it carried back to Ohio where it will be part of his museum.

One donor, Gary Hood, West Weber, was on hand Monday afternoon to watch Harmon fire the engine up.

People across the nation were interested in Harmon"s quest, he said, but he was helping out with money for no better reason that it was the right thing to do.

"I read his story and it brought back a similar thing that happened to me when I was getting transferred in the Air Force," he said. He got stranded in Kansas, total strangers helped him, and he was returning the favor now.

He also said Harmon couldn"t have picked a better place to break down.

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