Thanks so much for your comments! Much appreciated!
Here's my replies - hope this reaches all 3 of you - 1. With engine running and clutch handle forward (pulley turning), I can freely move the shifter between 1st & reverse "holes" with no problem or gear grinding. Per advice offered, I will try engaging clutch (lever back), move shifter to the middle (neutral) spot between the 1 & R holes, then disengage clutch (move handle fwd), but because I can easily move shifter in between 1 & R with no resistence, or grind gears, or tractor inching or lurching, it seems there's no gear to "catch" in 1st, Rev. or even in between them. In past instances I can freely move shifter between all gears with clutch engaged and disengaged, and after a few (or a bunch of tries), all of a sudden everything is working again, but can't seem to find the specific action(s) that make iot "normal". However, in this latest episode, I can move shifter easily L to R between 1 & R. Going in and out of these 2 "holes" no problem, BUT I cannot move shifter all the way down to be able to move the shifter left or right to catch the 2 gears below the 1 & R gear slots above. My huch is the gears in the below slots are not meshing right to allow me to pass the shifter down to possibly catch either gear below 1 & R, or go over to another vertical neutral passage to move shifter into other gears in the pattern. Normally a guy might bump the clutch handle to spin the gears to improve alignment to be able to put shifter in desired hole (similar to double-clutching). However, the gears may not be able to move a little to allow meshing and shifter movement into a hole or pass through to other hole because the wheels starting digging down in the soft soil as my drag disk started bogging down so 60's wheels started spinning; hence why I pulled clutch lever back, moved shifter to reverse, pushed clutch lever fwd. but no tractor movement. Now wheels are in the nice "craddle" they dug from spinning a few times (but not buried to rim line) and they can't be roicked back or forward.
2. Yes, clutch is adjusted "tight" so it snaps nicley. I adjusted each of the 3 bolts a fraction of a turn, checked clutch to snap, kept going. Got to the point where clutch lever would not snap so backed off all 3 nuts just 1/2 - 1 castled nut "valley" (maybe 1/16 inch) and it snapped again. so I adjusted the clutch as tight as I could - just before it would no longer snap.
3. Rails and shifter worn? replace? parts? I see on E-Bay there's a NOS John Deere 60 AA6323R Second & Fifth Gear Assy Lock & Shifter Shaft, but appears my problem could be 1 & R? or posibly all the locks and shifter shafts because when the problem normally occurs, no gear works, then all of a suddem it starts working. wish I knew which actions of moving shifter throughout the pattern and mixing in engaging and disengaging the clutch. Tractor is 6 hours away. I go work on it thsi weekend, but still not sure what the culprit(s) is / are.
Thansk again All, I welcome your replies per latest clarification.