Orcas Island man steaming into the past

It's a time machine powered by steam. Thanks to Orcas Island resident and resident historian Grant Schumaker, a century-old mode of transportation is on the road again.

EASTSOUND, WASH. - It's a time machine powered by steam.  Thanks to Orcas Island resident and resident historian Grant Schumaker, a century-old mode of transportation is on the road again.

"I've always liked taking old things and bringing them back to life," said Schumaker.
 
Schumaker and his buddies, engineers Dale Briggs and Arthur Koch, have restored this fire-breathing beauty to mint condition.
 
"It takes a while to learn how to run a Stanley Steamer," said Schumaker, "You have to unlearn what you know about regular cars. They're made out of wood, they're always on fire, and they'll go 70 miles an hour in reverse."
 
Schumaker is offering tours of scenic and historic island sites in this classic Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagon.
 
He said, "There's only 12 of these cars in private hands left in existence now, and this is one of those 12."
 
Like in the old days of rutted roads and washed-out gravel, the Alaska Airlines pilot keeps his steamer under 20 miles an hour. It could go a lot faster.
 
"They were the fastest automobiles on wheels 100 years ago," Schumaker said.  "Nothing could outrun a Stanley Steamer.   They were so powerful, so smooth."
 
But the Stanley is no turnkey operation. It takes about 15 minutes to heat the boiler, and the high-pressure steam that drives the locomotive engine needs to be constantly monitored and regulated.  But what better way to roll across this historic island than aboard a piece of history in motion?
 
 

© 2017 KING-TV


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