Today I decided to see if I could un-stick the truck and get it back up the hill.
Usually, moving heavy things is one of those slow-moving projects that you think about, do a little, watch, and then maybe do a little more. Not this time.
My subconscious was telling me that I should wait until it’s dryer – say, June – but I wanted to be able to haul some wood in the back and I got impatient. It rained yesterday and the day before. Now, that’s a spoiler for you.
If you recall, we left our heroic steed on one knee, waiting for rescue. [stderr]
30 feet directly behind the truck is a nice sized maple tree, so I threw a tow strap around the tree, hooked a 15 foot chain to that, and a come-along to another strap under the bumper. I left it idling in neutral and cranked away on the come-along until I pulled it out of the hole it had dug itself into. Then, I hopped in, engaged 4wd, and backed up. I knew I had one chance, which was to back up and get the rear wheels on this slopy area which is dry, and turn and engage forward. That didn’t happen; I could only go backward, which was heading into disaster because:
- The pond’s outflow is down there
- There is a tree
I almost made it, but instead I wound up with an hour of work wasted, and now the truck is parked up against the tree in a really nice squishy region.
You’d be justified in thinking I am not the strategic genius, after all. But remember: I could barely walk from the pain in my foot and I was hauling a 5 gal bucket of baby frogs. I didn’t drive all the way down there, I just went some of the way. I suspect that many dinosaurs that wound up in the La Brea Tar Pit had similar reasoning.
That is some slick, sticky, gluey goop. What’s sad is how easily it defeated me. When I read about what every invader except the Mongols experienced in Russia during the spring, I hold my toxic masculinity cheap. (Napoleon’s men and horses hauled multi-ton bronze cannon through 3 foot deep fresh-thawed mud!)
Right now my options are all bad. There’s a bank on the left and a pond on the right. I was hoping to charge up the bank and go between trees into the relatively dry field, but I got too much sideways motion. I tried to hook the come-along on the tree to go forward, again, but the tow-strap snapped and that definitely decided that. Ken will be bringing his backhoe to dig the holes for the shop floor, but he may be too smart to venture down that way with it. I’ve got a 30 foot chain which I can hook to my 20 foot chain and maybe I can get him to pull me at an angle toward the bank. If I had another 300 feet of chain I could hook a come-along to the frame of the hot forge, and just crank my way up, one inch at a time. I’m going to sulk and think this over, maybe until August.
By August it ought to be dry enough that I can just drive right out!
If you’ve ever been in one of these low-traction situations with a tracked vehicle you’ll have had a great opportunity to be impressed by the incredible genius of tracked design. Think about it this way: you have a piece of road-way that you put down in front of you, drive forward on, and pull up behind you. It’s so brilliant, I am shocked that the Romans did not invent it. It’s not perfect, though, since the whole system depends on the weight distribution of the total weight over the total surface area of the treads. In other words, your panzer can go over almost anything until, really suddenly, it sinks because that weight/support ratio just upended on you. When I was a kid, asking Axel Von Dem Bussche about his experiences on the Russia front he said that the mud was the worst. Then he said the cold was the worst. Then he said the wind was the worst. He was a charming old warrior, who could say something like that to a kid, with a twinkle in his eye, as he waited for me to catch up. I asked him about the wind and he told me about a time they were parking panzers on a frozen lake (it was solid; no fear of sinking) and it was windy and one of the Panzer IVs started to blow across the ice. Then he sat for a while, thinking, and nodded, “the wind was the worst.” [Observe the tracks of the Tiger tank in the picture above – they are slatted, which is really good for forward/backward traction, but I suppose they could become like giant ice skates from hell attached to the bottom of a great big slab-sided panzer AKA “sail”]
I once saw a Land Rover Series I, a lovely restoration, with a sign on the back that said “exploring Australia 25 feet at a time.” That being the cable-load of the winch.
When I was a kid, one summer in France, my dad managed to mire our car similarly, on a dirt road way back in the ass end of nowhere. That makes this a “family tradition.” Being a family of hikers, we set off for home – about 12 miles more or less as the crow flew. That was the problem – there were some pretty big changes in elevation in the way, so we had to march along the highway verge in spots, which extended the travel path dramatically. All I remember of that day was that it sucked. A couple days later it was dry enough to get the car out.