Monday, August 12, 2013


No, not that kind of cats—and ours are still with us. Big cats. No, not lions and tigers and cougars. This kind of big cats:


We visited the Caterpillar visitor’s center in Peoria, IL to see the big yellow cats. The one pictured above is a full-size mock-up of the biggest cat of all which is used in open mining operations around the world. Since the real thing weighs over a million pounds empty, has to be assembled on site, and sells for between $4 million and $6 million, the only part of this one that’s real is the front end. They actually have theater set up in the dump body where the Cat CEO tells us what a great company Caterpillar is and how wonderful the employees are. He didn’t mention the recent layoffs.


I’ve seen these trucks on TV but you have to stand next to one to appreciate the size. In this shot I was kicking the tire to check the inflation. It seemed okay, but then again, it’s a fake tire.


The rest of the machines on display are real, and visitors can sit in the cabs of all of them but the big truck. Besides, I’d need an elevator to get up to the cab.

Those folks who have been following this blog since the beginningSteamboat Springs 048 may remember that Penny and I are old hands at operating heavy equipment, so we didn’t bother with the simulators that were available to visitors. Hey, once you’ve dug a trench with a Caterpillar excavator you don’t need to play with no stinkin’ simulator.





But Penny did want to try on a bulldozer for size. They wouldn’t let her drive it around in the parking lot.

From here we’re heading to Hannibal, MO, the land of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.


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