Alvin Boone Straight (October 17, 1920 – November 9, 1996) is notable for traveling 240 miles on a 1966 John Deere riding lawn mower to visit his brother Henry in Blue River, Wisconsin, who had recently suffered a stroke.
Lawn mower trip
Alvin Straight's 80-year-old brother, Henry, had recently suffered a stroke. At the age of 73, Alvin Straight could not see well enough for a driver license, so he decided his only option was to travel on his riding lawn mower .
Setting off in early July 1994, Alvin Straight drove a riding lawn mower along highway shoulders, towing a trailer loaded with gasoline, camping gear, clothes, and food, from his home in Laurens, Iowa, to his brother in Blue River, Wisconsin.
After traveling another 90 miles, Straight ran out of money while in Charles City, Iowa. He camped out there until his next Social Security checks arrived in August. He was interviewed by local newspapers.
At a top speed of 5 miles per hour, the trip took six weeks in all.
Alvin Straight's nephew, Dayne Straight, drove him back to Iowa on his pickup truck.
Henry Straight recovered from his stroke and moved back to Iowa to be closer to his family.
Alvin Straight was born in Scobey, Montana. He married Frances Beek on October 17, 1946, in Scobie, Montana.  In 1973, Alvin, Frances, and their family moved to Lake View, Iowa, where he worked as a general laborer. He was the father of five sons and two daughters.
Later years and death
On November 9, 1996, Straight died of a heart ailment at a local hospital in Laurens. A lawn mower similar to the one he had used on his journey accompanied his funeral procession to the Ida Grove Cemetery.
Playwright and performer Dan Hurlin and composer and sound designer Dan Moses Schreier adapted Straight's trip into a theatrical production that was billed as an opera. "The Shoulder" was performed at CSPS Hall in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 1997. It was also performed in January 1998 at New York's Dance Theater Workshop and Minneapolis' Walker Art Center.
Straight's story was adapted into the film The Straight Story, directed by David Lynch, which starred Richard Farnsworth (in an Oscar nominated role) as Alvin Straight. Straight received $10,000 plus ten percent of the movie's profits. Straight said that he made the trip to see his brother, not for the possibility of fame or money.
- Longden, Tom. "Alvin Straight". The Des Moines Register. October 7, 2013.
- "Who Needs a License? Man Hits Road on Mower". Associated Press. The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kansas). August 24, 1994. p. 8A.
- "Lawnmower Travelr Shuns Talk Shows". The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin). September 3, 1994. p. 8A.
- "Truck, Not Mower, Takes Man Home". The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin). September 22, 1994. p. 10A
- "Man Who Made Solo Lawn Mower Journey Dies At 76". Associated Press. The Free Library by Farlex. November 14, 1996. Accessed on October 7, 2013.
- "Alvin Straight". Find A Grave. May 18, 2000.
- Neubauer, Mary. "Lawn Mower Traveler, 74, Signs Hollywood Contract". Associated Press. St. Paul Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota). June 7, 1995. p. 1B.
- Lindwall, Rebecca. "Iowan's journey by tractor inspires offbeat opera". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). October 12, 1997.
- Bunbury, Stephanie. Top 10 films about ageing". The Sydney Morning Herald. December 19, 2015.