November 19 , 1997
Well, so much for being neatly stacked...
Somewhere behind the pile of wood is what was the nicely stacked wood. The wood shown here is two truck loads worth of wood (24' long Ryder truck). We didn't have time to stack the wood because...
The plan was to get the wood moved into the shed on Saturday and stack the wood on Sunday. Time was critical for two reasons: (1) we needed to return the truck before 1 P.M. on Sunday and (2) the weather was predicted to be somewhat nasty for Sunday.
Things started out on the right foot on Saturday. Two of my brother-in-laws and a friend of mine showed up at 5:30 in the morning to drive 4 hours up to La Crosse, Wisconsin. We got there on time and rented the truck on time. We started loading wood at about 11:00 A.M. and figured it would take 2 hours to fill the truck with 4 workers. Our first mistake was stacking the wood in the truck. This took more time and by the time we filled about a third of the truck it became apparent that the wood was heavier than expected. The truck's frame was starting to get awfully close to the wheel well. So we gave up on the stacking routine and just flung in the rest of the wood until we felt the truck could not handle anymore wood. It was now after 2:00 P.M.
The truck was parked off of the road, close to the wood pile. About 10 yards from the road and about 6' lower in grade than the road. My first heart attack of the day occurred when my friend Gary gunned the truck to get up onto the road. The truck pitched and swayed. For a brief moment I thought we were going to have a truck on its side! Well, needless to say the truck made it on to the road. Success!
As we made it up the road, Gary was concerned that the truck may not make it past 45 Mph. It was really giving him a hard time. About 2 miles down the road, my brother-in-laws who were driving in back of the truck, signaled us to pull over. The truck was smoking big time! The smoke was coming from the back of the truck! The rear wheels were so hot you could just see the heat coming off of them. My first thought was that we must be bottoming out the truck, but that was not the case. The smoke smelled of hot metal - the breaks were locking up!
This was just wonderful! Here we are about 40 miles from where we had to go, in the middle of nowhere, with a smoking truck. I had a car phone with me and called the rental facility. They were absolutely no help and said that I had to call the 800 number to call for service. I called Ryder's 800 number and spoke to their help desk. (By this time, the truck smoke had almost stopped.) We told them of our problem. This truck was a new truck - only 9,000 miles on it. The fella on the phone told me to check the power steering fluid. I said "What?" He explained that on these trucks the emergency brake hydraulics are tied to the power steering fluid. Well, to make a long story short, that was the problem. Gary and I had to drive (my truck) to the nearest town to get power steering fluid, and low and behold it fixed our problem. The smoking truck was no longer smoking and the truck was now able to do 55 Mph. The time was now 4:00 P.M. and it was getting dark.
We got to our land at 4:45 P.M. and started taking the wood off of the truck wheel barrow by wheel barrow full. No time for stacking just dump and run. By the time we were done, 6:30 P.M. we were soaked with sweat, cold, hungry and very tired. We checked into our motel, had dinner, passed the Advil bottle around the table and decided to call it a night! I informed my former friend and former in-laws that if they didn't feel good in the morning, not to push it. I was content to have gotten as much wood moved as we did.
Sunday morning we were all up by 5:00 A.M. Everyone felt o.k., so the decision to continue moving as much of the wood as possible was made. It was now raining and we still had a little less than half of the wood to move. By 6:30 A.M. we were on site and throwing the wood into the truck as quickly as we could. We were all soaked but in pretty good spirits considering the weather. We were on a mission!
We ended up getting all of the wood dumped feverishly into the shed by noon and returned the truck on time! We were all very sore, but nothing but a couple of bumps and bruises. We were unable to stack any of the wood but at least the wood is under cover for the winter. I plan to stack the wood on subsequent trips over the winter, and might even be able to get some of my dear friends and family to help.
I owe the success of this venture to my brother-in-laws (Jon and Bill) and my friend Gary. They all were great workers and even though it was a lot of work, I think they actually had a good time. I will never forget all of the efforts in helping get my future walls moved.