Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tail Gates.

The other day after finishing a pile of paper work and becoming frustrated from the hours at the desk. I headed off to load my shop with core for the next day. Now due to a series of mechanical mishaps the Toyota Land cruiser that I use to haul core was out of order. This left me with my 2 least favorite vehicles: the overly large Dodge Ram and badly mistreated Ford Ranger. The Dodge was in use at that moment and after some wrangling I gained access to the ranger to move core.

The Ranger holds about 20 boxes core, loading that many boxes is a good work out. Now I noticed as I was loading it that the plywood bed liner was covered in about a centimeter of ice. This made loading the first layer of core boxes easy as they slid in nice a smooth. After the truck was loaded I drove it down the road to my shop. This road is smoother in the winter with the snow and the ranger has decent traction with the chains. Every thing was smooth until the last large hill before the shop. This hill has a bend in middle and a bump caused by a partially berried bolder.

Because of some difficulties in climbing that hill the previous day I made a point to have a good bit of speed to get up the steep start of the hill. I did not have faith that the Ranger would have enough torque to make the hill at a low speed. Stupidly I managed to hit the gas and the bump at the same time. I cleared the first third of the hill the truck did not spin out or stall. There was odd burst of speed as I left the bend.

Having made it up the hill I continued to my shop. I backed into the slot by my shop door to unload the truck. That was when I say the truck was empty. All 20 boxes each weighing at about 30 to 50 pounds depending on the lithology had fallen out. As fast as I could I drove back to the way I came.

There in the center of the road in sitting in almost one unit was the boxes. Two or three were upside down, and only one had any meaningful spillage. That was lucky. It was the fact that they jumped out of the truck all at once that kept things from being too messy.

There was at this point only one coarse of action, reload the truck one box at time, up hill. I had left the Ranger pointing down hill on nearly flat spot. I backed it up the hill and had some hairy moments on the way back down the other side so I pulled over to the side to try to turn around. As I did this I saw the core slide back a few inches. Things were easy for the last leg as it was all down hill and there was no risk of it falling out again.

Before the after noon was over I made two more trips each one less eventful then the last. After the first trip I improvised a restraint using some steel banding that was lying in the back of the truck along with some rope. This looked laughable oddly it worked. In the first few hundred meters of my second trip the core shifted. Looking in the rearview I saw that the top most boxes were putting tension on the steel band. Out of fear of a second cargo failure I let the truck pick up some speed on a down hill, only to slam on the brakes, this let the cargo shift forward just a wee bit. I was lucky to have enough smarts to find the sweet spot where cargo would remain fixed in the bed but the truck did not stall, it was at a crawl.

The Third and final trip lead me the solution I should have had from the start, a tail gait. Now since the original for that truck is long gone I was forced to improvise with a core box lid trimmed to fit roughly the width of the bed. This worked, the boxes pressed against it but could not unwedge it.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same action repeatedly and expecting different results, I suppose this means that I am not completely insane.

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