Prepper Diary December 13: Our Move is Over but the Fun is Just Beginning

A dirt road.
A dirt road through the forest.

The good news is that we made it to our new home and very little was lost or broken along the way.

The bad news is that moving a household across hundreds of miles and up a steep mountain is hard work, even with professional movers.  It was such a lengthy, grueling process that my wife fell asleep Friday night at 8:30 while I managed to stay up only another hour.  We were both mentally and physically exhausted. 

I’m writing this on my laptop because while I have seen the box with my desktop in it, and I have found the box with my monitors, they are not in the same room, the boxes have not been opened, and the desktop requires an ethernet connection, which means a long cable run. Maybe later this week.

We’ll be unpacking for weeks, but I admit I am looking forward to getting my shop set up.  I’m also looking forward to building a chicken coop and getting a dog this spring.

A Rough Move

Despite dividing our goods into two trucks to make getting up the mountain easier, the journey was not without its challenges, mostly because of the mountain and our driveway.

To get to the house, the truck has to climb a dirt road.  They have to pass our driveway and back down into it, navigating a sharp turn into it, and then a sharp turn on the drive way.  This is complicated by crossing the creek and the danger of tipping over into or driving into the creek if you run off the road or driveway.  The first driver did it flawlessly.  The second driver not so much.  I was actually afraid he would tip the truck over.  It was so bad that my wife could not look.

I shot video of it on my phone, just in case he did tip over.  I figured I might need evidence for the insurance, although the thought crossed my mind that if he toppled over, I would have YouTube video that would go viral. In the end, he made it, although I have some ruts in the driveway as he could not keep it on the gravel.

From that point on, I spent the day directing guys with handcarts where to stack boxes and how to arrange furniture.  The legs on one of my tool cabinets got bent, but I’ll just slip a 4×4 under there and not worry about it.  The gun safe made it and actually fit where I wanted it.  This is an old American-made safe from the 1990s, and they are tough!

Stuck Truck

Because of the long drive, which they split between the two days, the movers didn’t arrive until 11:15 a.m.  It was dark by the time they were done unloading.  We sign the paperwork and pay the bill.  We tip the guys, and with a sigh of relief, we wave goodbye.

Unfortunately, our evening was not over.  Next thing we know, driver number two is knocking on the door.  “Uh, I’m stuck and I don’t have a cell signal.  Can you call me a wrecker?”

The first driver made it out without a problem.  The second one turned onto the road, but either swung too wide or didn’t have the tight turning radius he needed, so he stopped to back up.  Only he was on a steep hill and had no weight over his rear wheels, so he did not have enough traction to back up. His wheels spun.  He pulls forward, cranking the steering wheel, but ends up sliding off the road.  Luckily, he was on the high side and ended up in the ditch, not down the embankment and into the creek.

We have a land line.  We also have WiFi, so I Google furiously, trying to find a wrecker that can handle 24-foot trucks.  Surprisingly, I find one, he knows the road we are on, and he’s a damn nice guy.  He gets there in about 20 minute, and then the fun begins.

Fun with Winches

It took three tries to un-stick the truck.

First, the wrecker driver was going to lift the front of the truck and swing it into the road.  Problems was, due to the steep angle, there was no way to attach the tow cable in a way that would not press it against the front bumper, damaging it

The second attempt was actually an excellent idea.  The tow truck driver throws a chain around a large tree above the truck, attaches a block and tackle, runs his cable through it, and comes back down to the truck.  The idea is, he’ll pull the truck backwards, out of the ditch.  I expect this would have worked, but the moving truck had no tow hooks in the rear.  He had to attach the tow strap to its bumper.

At this point, I am standing back.  Not only do I want to be well clear if something breaks, I want to be out of the way if the tree tips over.  He hits the winch, the cable tightens up.  He yells for the driver to put it in neutral.  The driver does, and the truck actually moves backwards a bit.  the truck driver puts it in reverse and nudges the accelerator.  The wheels don’t have enough purchase to pull the truck out of the ditch.  The wrecker feeds more power to the winch.  Then the truck’s bumper starts to bend.  I can see it from where I am standing and I yell, “The bumper is bending!”

The wrecker operator cuts power to the winch.  “I was afraid of that,” he calls back.  They have to try a different approach.

More than One Way to Skin a Cat

He finally frees the truck by getting next to it and using the wrecker’s winch to pull the cab of the truck sideways.  No lifting, just brute force drags the truck out of the ditch, doing some damage to the ditch and the road bed.  I have no idea where he attached the winch, but it got the job done.

It’s almost 8 p.m.  Everyone is just relieved he is out.  I don’t know if it caused any damage to the truck or its steering.  I have no idea if or when the driver got home.  All I know is we drove to town the next day and he wasn’t broken down anywhere along the way. I consider that a positive sign.

The next day, I took my shovel, filled in his holes, spread out the gravel where he spun his wheels, and did my best to repair the ditch.  Then I drove up and down the hill a couple times to smoot it out.  Doesn’t look too bad.

As my neighbor says, that’s mountain living.