Sunday, November 7, 2010

Adventures with Trailers

Yes, we did finally get the last of the Lowes order loaded up onto the trailer, all wrapped up like a burrito in the tarp with the mother of all ratchet strap tie-downs.  Good thing, too, since we put her in the ditch about a mile down the road trying to do the turn around and loop back to enter our trail at a better angle.

So, normally, blipping off the side of the road right there wouldn't be too much of a problem. The shoulder is nice and wide since the old highway used to run there. But, um, with about 8" of snow, plus gully, plus drift and plowing, we couldn't get up the berm. The truck would make it up about halfway, then the trailer would start to slide slideways on the angle and drag the truck back down. And we couldn't keep driving forward until we reached some flat part because the trailer tongue got embedded on some stump or hill or something.

We finally had to unhitch the truck, go back to get the winch. Decided that maybe Ken would have some neat trailer tricks... since it is his after all... so we dropped by and dragged him away from the dinner table. He managed to get the semi running and we headed back to rehitch our truck to trailer. After surveying the scene, we tossed a few flares on the road (yes, it was already dark by dinnertime), ran out the winch and chained it to the semi. This the semi acting as a deadman anchor, we attempted to winch the truck plus trailer out of the ditch, but it kept doing the sideways slide. So, we tightened the winch slack and Ken started edging forward as slowly as possible (considering that the semi wouldn't idle in the cold so he had to feather the clutch and throttle to keep her running) with G gunning the truck trying to steer and me running alongside the truck on the icy road with the winch remote trying to keep the line tight.

We did eventually make it up and out of the ditch and back down our trail to the tent.  And not a damned thing in that load even shifted :)  Tarps - check! Bungees - check! Ratchet straps - check! Winch - check! Tow strap - check! Big brass balls - check! 

Ken will be over at 0'dark-thirty tommorow (sunrise is at 9:48, so that's not really early or anything), and we'll get the the trailer unloaded and the sheathing knocked out. Maybe even get the doors & windows in... and if we're really lucky, get a little headstart on the rafters... at least one built so we know my design works so the roof will go lickety-split on Tuesday.

5 comments:

Quinton said...

I'm a little surprised that you have so much trouble getting your vehicles and generators to start and run when the temps are in the teens. I have four diesels and the only one that is a little hard to start in the cold is the 1976 Case dozer that does not have pre-heaters. But a shot of starting fluid and it is up and running. I often worked in the teens last winter with no problems. I could understand below 0 temps causing problems but not the teens. Maybe a small shed to run the generator in would help retain enough heat to keep it going.

Plickety Cat said...

The diesels start OK during the daytime with a little love, problem is that it falls below zero rather rapidly when the sun goes down. If the vehicle isn't parked in the sun or if it's overcast, then it can't warm back up enough. We haven't had a day above freezing for over 6 weeks now, so it doesn't take much to make the block too cold. If we were on grid power and Ken's trucks had been winterized, everything would be plugged in and we'd be fine :)

Our generators are gas, so they do ok most of the time; but they have a hard time starting in the morning and start loping late at night. We are planning to build them an insulated box once the porch gets built. For now we have cardboard taped across the Honda as an intake baffle and an old blanket tossed over the Kipor.

Dan said...

Thanks for the detailed update, PC. I enjoy following your adventures.

You mentioned previously that your tire chains are a couple links too short ? Chains are sure handy in the winter, wouldn't want to be without a set for all 4 tires.

As always, we're rooting for you. :)

Marybeth said...

Goodness what an adventure. Keep up the hard work, and I can't wait to see some new pictures (hint, hint)

MJ

geneva said...

I decided a long time ago that trailers are just darn evil. I have yet to back up without trashing my back bumper in anyway.... The last time I drove with a trailer, it was attached to a 28' U-Haul. Let me count the ways I found to avoid backing up!!!! Ya'll are awesome and I'm dreaming of the day I can live my Alaska dream too!