Monday, February 10, 2014

It's not winter in Harmony until ...

… someone big slides off the driveway into the south pasture.

Our old oil supplier is no longer providing this service, so I warned the new guy that the driveway, though plowed, can be tricky for larger rigs. He figured that since the old driver could manage it, he would too.

As he left, I went into the house to secure the beasties. I looked out the window a minute or so later, and didn't see the truck. Gee, he got out already, good deal.

Went back to work inside.

An hour later the dogs start going apeshit. Because the tow truck had arrived. The special pull out an oil truck with 1500 gallons of fuel in the tank before it tips over in my pasture tow truck.

Poor guy had been starting his second attempt up the hill when I looked out, just as he was blocked from view by the barn.

The tow vehicle had to be secured first. That's where the lone hemlock comes in.

The cherry tree at the curve can never come down; it provides the anchor for the redirect. This is all the same as our mountain rescue rigging, except winch instead of manpower for hauling, no real use of mechanical advantage systems, and if the steel cable snaps, it doesn't just drop its load, it whips around and removes the heads of every person in range. Also, the tow operator had a lot more faith in the power of gravity for progress capture than I did. I figure gravity is what got him in that spot in the first place.

Good times.

If a vehicle is pickup-sized or smaller, I can generally get it out with our manual come-alongs and tow straps.

This was the second oil truck the pasture has bagged in five winters, and here's the thing -- it always takes at least two tow trucks, with winches and anchoring to trees, to get one large truck out.

It's all about the angles, man.

Everyone stayed cheerful about it. No gateposts harmed in this production.

The boss needs to buy some chains for the truck.


  1. Gosh, we just lose UPS trucks off ours! Never anything near as big and heavy as that!

  2. tire chains are awesome, but you have to put them on BEFORE attempting the hill. and you are so right, it is ALL about the angles. I gave up my big tow truck so I don't do fuel trucks anymore, but I do rescue the occasional UPS truck that gets bollixed up in a driveway. Looks like the tow operator did a good job. And for reference, we use snatch blocks for mechanical advantage a lot, but 2x advantage means 1//2 the line speed, and a lot more re-spooling of wire which only winds up on the drum well under tension, so that is why he tried it single line first.

    1. A friend who shall remain nameless in order that I may preserve the blackmail potential was visiting during Snowmaggedon a few years ago. An experienced country driver piloting an early 80's rear-wheel-drive American full-sized station wagon.

      Looked up the driveway and said "I think I can make it without the chains."

      Good thing I own TWO come-alongs and plenty of tow straps.

      Believe me, I'm intimately aware of the tradeoffs involved in adding mechanical advantage. I was surprised that the single line worked on such a big and well-mired load, but hey, it's not my equipment. OTOH, the second truck's winch ran out of juice almost immediately.


I've enabled the comments for all users; if you are posting as "anonymous" you MUST sign your comment. Anonymous unsigned comments will be deleted. Trolls, spammers, and litigants will be shot.