Coming In On Two Wheels and a Prayer

I worked on a lot of projects at Riverfront Park in Spokane.  There are a lot of stories to be told about the experiences I had there.

One time I had to dig ditches all across the park in order to put in lighting for the park.  I rented a ditcher to do the job.  It was of the type that looks like a long chain-saw arm that goes down into the ground and digs about 2 feet deep, bringing the dirt up to pile alongside the ditch on one side.

As I was working my way through the park I encountered some old street car tracks; about 18 inches below the surface.  Had I “encountered” them straight on, at a 90 degree angle, I would have ruined the ditcher.  In fact the fact that I didn’t ruin the ditcher can be attributed to the fact that I “encountered” the tracks at a lesser degree angle.  The ditching spikes would slide along the rail and skip across.

For that part of my ditch I had to get out the shovel and hand-dig the ditch under the street-car tracks.

For awhile I was driving an old telephone repair truck.  The truck had very little room to carry heavy equipment.  Of course I was using pipe cutters, pipe threaders, etc.  When I got to the job I had to unload and set up all the equipment.  Every night when I left the job, I had to load (pile) the equipment on top of the back of the truck.  It made the vehicle somewhat top heavy.

There were times that I stretched every minute out of a work day and, with re-loading the truck, wound up getting back to the shop late.  I also wound up stretching the speed limits (a little) and the safe turning speed at corners (a little).  When I turned corners the truck would tip enough so that the tires rubbed under the fenders.

The guys in the office told me that they could always tell when I was coming in – by the smoke signals coming from my tires.

I wonder why I was always given the least desirable truck in the yard.  However, the experience did have an impact on the vehicles I supplied for my employees when I ran my own business.  I made it a practice to supply properly running, maintained, and fit vehicles.  A man with a good truck that is easy to work out of will stay on the job longer.

I guess you could say that some men drive a truck for years and never have a wreck; while others drive a wreck for years and never have a truck.