For Dad's 52nd birthday, Mom surprised him with driving a tank. Three tanks in fact. He also got to shoot three semi-automatic guns. There is only one place in the United States to drive a tank, and it happens to be just up the road from Forest City in Kasota, Minnesota. Check out www.driveatank.com for more details. Because the United States military doesn't provide antiquate tanks for sale, the tanks Dad drove were of British origin.
It just happens that two passengers could accompany the tank driver, and I have the privilege to join Dad in the event. What an adventure! I can tell you that being a passenger to a tank driver is unlike any other experience. What fun it was!
The first tank Dad drove was the Abbot. This was my favorite tank to be in. Tom (the other passenger, and Dad's good friend) and I were able to stand in the back of the tank and were jostled around fearsly. We had to hold on tight through a water hole, sharp turns, and rutted track.
|Returning from the course.|
|The driver and his passengers.|
|The water hole got the best of Dad. He's covered with mud!|
The second tank, well a passenger carrier, really, had Dad looking through a telescope to drive. The passengers sat in an enclosed space, and couldn't see anything. It was a hot day, and incredibly hot inside the carrier.
|The personnel carrier.|
The third tank Dad drove was called the Chieftan. This was the largest and heaviest tank, so it comes as no surprise that this tank's purpose on the day was to drive over a car. A police car, in fact - with lights flashing. As a passenger, one didn't see much, but it was quite fun to roll over the car. It crushed so quickly; not much of a challenge for the tank.
|The Chieftan getting warmed up for Dad's car crush.|
|That's right, that was a police car.|
|Dad finishing off the rear window.|
|No, really flattened.|
Dad also got to shoot three different guns: a .9mm, M16, and .30 caliber machine gun. The sound was intense, especially the M16. I decided that I would also try shooting a few for the experience. I chose the .9mm semi-automatic and the WWII .30 caliber machine gun. I was terrified, I will admit. The anticipation, noise, and fear of a kickback were overwhelming. But it was also an exhilarating experience.
|WWII machine gun.|
|Shooting the machine gun.|
|Shooting the .9mm.|
|Okay, not great. I've hit the shoulder. But, not bad for the first try!|