Friday, October 31, 2008

One Thing's For Certain... It Ain't The Chariot Of The Gods.

So the boys over on the woodworking forum that we run, The Wood Works, were all privy to the birthing of THE FIREWOOD CHARIOT. (You can read all 'bout it by clicking here.)

Good Lord that piece of machinery is a thing of beauty! Ain't it?

I basked in it's glow for a few days... then I took it on it's maiden voyage yesterday. I can best describe it in three brief words how that journey went.

"Oh Holy Crap"

The only purpose this trailer has in it's life now is as a firewood hauler, it did just that... for one trip. She's gonna need a little patching up after that load. I loaded it up, probably a little heavy. In that load is 3 green hickory trees from 12" in diameter to the smallest about 10". Most of a dry White Oak tree top, leftover from a logging operation, and about half of a dead, but still wet Red Oak tree that was probably a good 24" log. Add that all up and that's a humongous load for the ol' firewood chariot.

"Test 'em the first time", I say.

I got it loaded up, left a little room up at the front end, 'cause I was getting a little concerned with the way things were looking. Took it across about a 1/2 mile of pasture and got to the blacktop with it. I stopped and called Sal at home and told her that I was bringin' her on in and it looked to be an exciting trip.

As soon as I got out on the road I WAS gonna kick the truck outta low range, I immediately could see the benefits of having the additional braking power of the engine by leaving it in low range... so I hauled it the 10 miles home just like that. It was about a 20 mph trip at the fastest, 'cause quite frankly, it was scaring me 'bout half to death.

I pulled offa the blacktop onto the first gravel road. Now there wasn't a whole lotta weight on the front end of the truck... IE the front wheels. They were just kinda tippy toeing on the road, making steering the thing a little interesting and getting it stopped even more intertaining. No brakes on the trailer you know. I had one big steep hill on the first gravel road to fling the whole mess up, and I hit it at a pretty good lick. About 1/4th of the way up it, the rural mail carrier crested the hill.

"This isn't good." These gravel roads around here are mostly one lane at best, and this road had just had the motor grader over it so it was all scattered and loose. I stuck my arm out the drivers window trying to get the mail carrier to stop... but noooooo, on she came and I had to swing over into "loose territory" AND slow down.

By the time I crested the top of the hill, I was slinging gravel rooster tails with the front wheels, the 4 barrel carb was howling, I was moving forward at about 2 mph with all this action, AND I had the seat cover pinched between my butt cheeks so tight... if you'd have knocked me outta the cab I'd have took the seat cover with me. I actually stopped at the top of the hill, unbelieving that I'd actually made it... and then on I went.

I got to where the gravel turned back into blacktop and checked the whole mess in my mirror and noticed a real curious thing, I couldn't see the fenders of the trailer anymore. They were obscured by the front end of the firewood chariot for some reason... so I stopped again, bailed out, took a look... "Oh Holy Crap!" The tongue of the trailer was sorta springing up, the front of the trailer was spreading out, and it just didn't look good. Not at all.

I had some pretty serious doubts that I was gonna make it home with it, and decided to take a little detour that kept me offa the main road... you know, just in case all hell broke loose and I scattered firewood all over that same hell.

Welp, I made it home, but as they say, the proof is in the puddin' and here's a couple of shots of the poor poor poor firewood chariot.

(click the pics to make 'em big)

Notice that distinct sag in the tongue of the trailer? lol

Here, take a look up the back end of it. Kinda swelled up at the front end eh?

My friend Gary came by this morning and laughed at it, we did some backyard Guzintas and guessed that I probably had close to 4 ton in that poor old POS trailer.
Oh well, when it's empty I'll straighten her back out with a jack and reinforce it a little underneath. I've already got the plan. :-)

I started cleaning on my shop today, looks to be 'bout a 3 day job... but that's a whole nuther story. The trencher guy didn't show today, but he DID give me a call and said he'd be here at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Awesome!



Jerry said...

Last time I saw a trailer that looked like that was on the side of the road. You're definitely lucky you made it. :)

Hey, that's a month of burnin' there, so it was worth it. OK, maybe two weeks if you like it warm......

BTW, that's wood, so you just gotta post this over yonder, you know. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if when you took the top off the trailer you also removed much of the structural strength, although the way the top looked twernt much there to begin with.

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Will somebody please buy this man a flatbed trailer!!!!!

I'm just saying...........


PS.........and a trencher.......

Anonymous said...

Well, did the trencher make it today? I didn't smell cake baking from my house.