29 December 2008

not as planned - the solution

As Carl and I rambled over this and that, an extremely deep, almost below hearing frequency (at least for a geezer like me) rumble seemed to come and go in the wind - it was the Harmon Towing truck cautiously winding down my driveway. Good reader, you would not believe the size of this behemoth - 67,000 pounds and 14 tires (you can click on the image to enlarge it - note how small the men look). It was like a scene from a Science Fiction movie where the viewer has been struck by the nefarious "shrink ray" and is now only a foot tall but all else remains at the original size. Two men descended from the lofty cab of this iron and steel giant of the roads: Jeff, the supervisor, and Russell, his assistant, walked up to size up the situation.

Jeff studied that mired truck with no less skill and experience (and intensity) than Minnesota Fats reading the pool table for a three-rail corner pocket, game winning shot. The air nearly crackled with the processing going on in his mind. He read the situation, considered it, re-read, re-thought it, and soon had the solution- a small push forward for the trailer.

This monster tow truck was as complex as it was large, and clearly Jeff could play it as masterfully as a prodigy could play a Steinway. The rear boom was deployed and with gentle manipulation of a panel of levers, the boom effortlessly pushed the CCX trailer forward and out of the hole. Then Jeff pulled out a large wooden block from one of the multitudinous storage compartments and wedged it into the hole.

Now, reader, study this picture of Jeff at the control panel. It is barely evident- but can you see the black box sitting on top of the panel area? That is a remote control, like those used by those flying remote control model airplanes - except it can control each and every function of the tow boom. Now Jeff took the remote in hand and with the boom now chained to the trailer, walked around in front of the CCX cab. Why use a remote? Because from where he could see the hole and the tractor, he could not see his tow truck. Using the remote, he manipulated the boom, shortening it by several feet, which pulled the wheels of the tractor and trailer backwards past the holes. Viola, extrication.

All was not finished yet- Carl had to back the tractor/trailer up and execute a difficult maneuver - a controlled jack-knife - to head it down the driveway. It was a tough set up - the trees, the soft ground and a retaining wall left him no room for mistakes. After a trial run, he put the CCX truck into reverse and precisely completed the move. If this had been an ice skater performing a triple reverse axle in the Olympics, he would have received a 9.9 from the judges. Maybe one judge would even have awarded a perfect 10.

With that, the two trucks rolled into the fading light. It was now after 5:00, the library was closed, maybe I could still make a grocery run, but first, since I never had the opportunity to eat lunch, a stop at EL CHARRO was needed. And then come home and write this tale while the details were still fresh in my mind.

Carl, my sincere apologies for causing you to get hung up in the drive and waste nearly four hours. I owe you one. A BIG one.

And Jeff and Russell, since this was a money maker for them, I don't owe 'em a thing - but hope to see them again over a luncheon special at the Blue Ridge Cafe some day. Russell's last name is STOUT, and the that's a family name on my mom's side. And you know what? Russell's people are from eastern Kentucky. We need to figure out if we're twelfth cousins!

No comments: