We started our John Deere journey at the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline about a block from the Mississippi River. Since 1997 the Pavilion has told the story of JD's history, the products it makes and of the company's contributions to agricultural development. There are the static displays that you would expect and product simulators that were a lot of fun.
The simulators are the same ones that are used to train professional operators. Monte did pretty well operating the machines– Shelley not so much.
The next stop on our JD journey was in East Moline at the John Deere Harvester Manufacturing Facility. WOW! What a great tour. Other than the fact that no pictures were allowed (what's up with that? Seldom are we allowed to take pictures in a manufacturing facility) it was a great tour. We were driven by tram around the main manufacturing area. The tour took an hour and a half so you can imagine how huge this place is. We saw every facet of the process from stamping out and bending huge sheets of steel to lasers, to welding and painting and wiring, and adding hydraulics and I don't know what all but just all of it from raw steel to the ignition key being turned and the harvester being driven out of the plant. These machines are MAMMOTH. Again – great tour.
Of surprising note were the numbers of folks from other countries taking tours. There was a bus load of 50 from Uruguay. Uruguay? Yes, if you lived in South America wouldn't you want to come to East Moline Iowa on your vacation? Okay – so maybe it makes more sense for people from France – a group of 30 or so, and in our tour group were about 20 from Sweden.
So – if you ever have an extra half mil or so just sitting around and want to buy a new toy – a John Deere Harvester might just be what you need. And if you take that journey then you would be a Gold Key VIP and would get your own private tour – how's them potatoes – oh wait – I don't think they make a potato harvester...