Friday, August 20, 2010

Roll With The Punches

This has to be some kind of a record for me, blog-posting wise! What is this? Three in less than a week? Lot's happening, I reckon...

The final day of Viking Fest 2010.

It started by me excusing myself and going to sleep.
We were all sitting around talking about things Vikings talk about on events like this and I noticed it was almost midnight (Saturday). By the time I got myself sorted out and tucked in it was morning (albeit very, very EARLY morning).

I awoke just prior to dawn. Don't sleep beyond dawn - Dawn's when the French and Indians attack. (Ranger Vikings will understand...)
I broke down my personal camp, did a light police call, packed up some group gear, said goodbye to the Vikings who were awake and took off.

Drove an hour home, emptied the vehicle, took a shower and got ready for church.
Went to church - I have duties there...
Enjoyed the time fellowshipping and worshiping not only with my church family but also with several (oh, about 15 or so) Vikings who also chose to attend.
Fellowshipped (which is Christian-speak for hung out and chatted with) folks after church.

Went home, changed, and my son and I drove an hour back to VikingFest to do a final police call (thank you Vikings who left after I did - you did a great job) and officially check out of our location. It was nice spending time him, just us talking.

During the hour long drive home, my truck started acting funny.
Speed up, slow down, sputter, cough, wheez. We stopped to check it out.
The oil was low (my bad - my daughter drives the truck daily but that's no excuse - I was the operator for this trip)
Put some more oil in and got on our way.
LESSON ONE: Carry fluids and a funnel

It did okay - only.
Told the family, "No one drives Big Red until I check her out" (turns out is was over a quart low on oil and about two quarts low on transmission fluid
LESSON TWO: DO routine maintenance - check your fluid levels. (and double check other operators)

Then I helped my son load a Suburban and trailer I borrowed from another Viking to take my son's stuff down to college.
Did I mention it was hot?
Did I mention I usually chill out and decompress after church on Sundays?
Did I mention I was starting to wear down and get sleepy?

We load up the trailer and Suburban and then my wife drives that rig while my son and another Viking follow along in his car. The trip to his school is 2.5 hours.

Well, it is supposed to be....

As we drive (about an hour into it) I smell "the truck in front of us" (what truck?) brakes.
You know, that burning rubber smell...
Well, it's sort of like a burning rubber smell
It goes away.
I smell it again (no air conditioning - 4/55 A/C but whaddya want for a loaner moving rig?)
"Hmmm, maybe we are passing a meth lab" I rationalize
We are far out in the sticks...
An hour from anywhere
and the smell gets worse
and I hear a whinning
and it gets worse
and the smell gets worser (I know)

So we stop.

I do a sniff check...
I look under the vehicle
"Oh WOW!" It looks like the real differential is about to catch fire - it is SMOKING
and leaking.

My wife and daughter bail out on the side of the highway.
"Call Viking One (the Viking we borrowed it from)"
LESSON THREE: Have commo. We did. I love cell phones.
"Ask him if he as a fire extinguisher in the rig" (no)
LESSON FOUR: Have a fire extinguisher in the rig.

It cooled down.
My son and Viking Two (the Viking with him) are both good mechanics.
They tighten the lugs around the differential - "very loose"
"We need Gear Oil"
LESSON FIVE: Carry ALL necessary fluids
My son is not a Viking per se - but he is my son.
HE had gear oil in his little car
But no funnel
or hose

Jehovah Jireh - there is a piece of plastic tubing laying RIGHT THERE next to our pulled over Suburban.
There is also a discarded plastic drink container.
"Call Viking One back and ask if he has duct tape in the rig" (we keep asking because we buried his stuff with my son's stuff when we loaded it up for the trip to college.
LESSON SIX: Do a pre-operational check of any vehicle you are getting ready to drive.
Nope - he switched everything over to another rig.
LESSON SEVEN: Duct tape rules the universe - have some

But he DID have electrical tape in the door pocket.
We improvised a funnel with a long tube (necessary for adding gear oil)
LESSON EIGHT: Learn to improvise.
Gear oil is thick, it flows like molasses running uphill in February....
It took a while.

When we stopped I made everyone exit the vehicle.
I had watched this video just days before.
Of course my son and Viking Two are UNDER the dead Suburban on the side of the road.

We pulled two yellow plastic bins from the trailer and put them out behind the trail vehicle (my son's car) for some visibility.
We hung Viking One's little boy's life jacket from the open trunk lid of my son's car - it waved about and was yellow.
LESSON NINE: Make sure sleepy, inattentive drivers SEE you on the side of the road.

We use all the gear oil we have and it's still about a half inch low - but it was empty before - and still driving. Sort of.
We call Viking One who owns the rig and he says, "proceed on your journey."

We do.
For about 10 miles.
Bad Smell.
Pull over - the spider gears are by this time no doubt little chunks of metal.
I call Viking One - "Dude, she's dead on the side of the road"

Viking One: "COOL - I'm launching now - be there in an hour"
He really was excited - he LIKES emergencies (he's weird that way).
We have an hour or so to kill...

We put the stuff back out as warning signals...
LESSON TEN: Have flares/ warning triangles etc. in your rig.

We pull lawn furniture from the trailer and sit up stream from the vehicles on the side of the road about 10 yards in on the grass (that was a far as we could really get as this was a Toll highway with fencing and what not). I figured if some bad driver honed in on the parked car and drove right into it (ask a Trooper - it happens) that stuff would all "flow" down stream and we would not be hit...

What to do for the next hour?
Anyone have any cards?
My Daughter: "Heck yeah - I have Vans Warped Tour cards in my purse."
My Son: "We will be here an hour or so, I have a Risk game in my car - let's play THAT."
So we did.
For an hour.
On the side of the highway.
A Highway Patrolman drove by - he didn't stop - must have looked like we had it under control.
LESSON ELEVEN: Don't panic - roll with the punches. there we are playing Risk and it's starting to get dark....

I have Australia and a good chunk of Asia;
I took Egypt so my wife no longer has Africa;
I'm trying to decide if I'm going into Europe or North America next..
LESSON TWELVE: Risk is an offensive game - if you are not attacking you are gonna lose.

And up rolls Viking One with Big Blue - the 4wd Suburban he uses to snow plow with - a powerful beast.
We quickly put the Risk game away and go over to see him.

He unhitches the trailer and moves the first Suburban farther off the road.
He hooks Big Blue up to the Trailer.

He then pulls from Big Blue his BoB and (I kid you not) Shrimp Cocktail.
"Okay" he says "go ahead and take off - Joe (our mutual friend) is coming with his truck and a trailer - I'll wait here."
We give him a lawn chair and he goes to the same spot we were happily munching away
We take off.
LESSON THIRTEEN: BoB: Don't leave home without it.

The rest of the trip to Collegetown, USA was uneventful - Praise God.
Viking One got picked up, and towed his dead Suburban home where it will be worked on this weekend.

And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. - Luke 21:34

If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at Joe

You can also join us to discuss this and other issues at Viking Preparedness Forums

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 20/8/10 10:23, Blogger J. J. Magnum said...

What a great tale! One for the grandkids for sure (someday).

At 22/8/10 08:50, Blogger Anji said...

we'll be doing something similar in around 10 days time: I'm noting the lessons...


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