Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 8-13-12
Our Chase County Fair is finished for 2012, and my contribution to its success wuz minimal, as usual. All I did wuz provide my utility vehicle and two-wheeled trailer to the cause of setting up before the fair.
However, also as usual, whenever I get involved with anything that’s mechanical, I manage to make it exciting. This year my mechanical shortcomings got pretty exciting and almost expensive.
Let me explain. The fair setup wuz to start at 6:30 in the morning. Determined to be on-time for the start, I told myself I’d get everything loaded up and hooked up the previous evening, so all I’d have to do it jump in the pickup and drive the next morning.
Well, the temperatures were around 108 degrees, so I decided I’d wait until it cooled off a bit in the evening before I got prepared. Alas, I got caught up in the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games and didn’t remember what I intended to do until after full dark.
No problem. I moved the receiver hitch from the UTV and in the dark I put it on the pickup. Then I hooked up the trailer, loaded the UTV and chained it down tight. “There,” I told myself. “I’m ready to go in the morning.”
Right on schedule the next morning, I hopped in the truck and headed to the fair. Now, my driveway is a bit downhill all the way to the paved road. But once I get on the pavement, the road inclines upward for a couple hundred yards before topping a little rise.
Everything went smoothly down the driveway. After I made the turn onto the pavement, I gunned the truck up the hill. And, that’s when all hell broke loose behind me. I felt a bump, glanced into the rearview mirror, and all I could see wuz the trailer lurching back and forth and up and down.
I hit the brakes and the trailer thumped into the back of the truck. By that time, I’d reached the top of the rise and every time I braked, the trailer hit the back of the truck. “Hell,” I told myself. “The trailer must have came off the ball, but I didn’t see how that wuz possible becuz I specifically remembered the hitch slipping over the ball and me securing it with a safety latch.
Well, I finally got the whole she-bang stopped along the side of the road … headed downhill. A quick examination of the rig showed the problem. The entire hitch had slid out of the receiver. What happened is that in sliding the hitch into the receiver the previous evening in the dark I’d missed putting the bolt through the hole in the hitch and put the bolt behind the hitch … so it slid easily out of the receiver when I headed uphill.
Now the problem. The trailer tongue and the ball hitch were under the truck held in place by the safety chains. And, every time I moved the truck forward, the trailer and UTV rolled forward again. So, I finally found some rocks to chink up the trailer tires. Finally got the UTV unloaded. Finally got the trailer hooked up properly. Finally got the UTV loaded again and got on the road and arrived at the fairgrounds 20 minutes late. But, still in time to get my work assignments done.
Lucky me though, the safety chains had kept the trailer from ramming repeatedly into the tailgate of my pickup and my truck had nary a scratch. Thank goodness, I wuzn’t too dumb to hook up the safety chains or I could have overturned the UTV and had a big insurance claim on my truck.
When I related that story at the fairgrounds that morning, I heard a “got one better than that” receiver hitch story. It seems several years ago, a county farmer needed to take the receiver hitch off of his pickup to use it on another vehicle.
But, for some reason, the receiver hitch wuz stuck tightly and no amount of hammering could get it out. So, the farmer came up with a brilliant idea. He got a chain, backed his truck close to a tree, and hooked one end of the chain around the tree and the other end to his balky receiver hitch.
Just as he figgered, when he bumped the truck forward, the receiver hitch popped out on the ground. But what he didn’t figger on, when he walked to the back of his truck to retrieve the now-decoupled hitch, wuz that his truck wuz idling, headed downhill, and the brakes weren’t set.
When he saw his truck rolling away, he did his best Olympic Games 100 yard dash imitation to catch it, but came up a couple of gold medals short. So, he stopped and watched helplessly as his wayward truck picked up speed and slammed broadside into one of his children’s cars.”
Just think, I could have been that unlucky myself.
Well, this column would be incomplete without a few wise words about accidents. So, I found this quote attributed to some dude named Jurgen Habermas: “Since our complex societies are highly susceptible to interferences and accidents, they certainly offer ideal opportunities for a prompt disruption of normal activities.”
Hope no accident disrupts your coming week.
Have a good ’un. ❖