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Tractorholic
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No pictures guys, except for one of the aftermath. The day's events destroyed my phone and my camera
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I took my two sons with me up to our little tree farm in Virginia on Wednesday. I forced them to go
so that I would have some company and they could help by running the mower. I loaded two Gravelys, the 10 with the brush hog on it, and the C-8 with a scoop and dual wheels. Dual wheels give incredible traction to this tractor, but sometimes that isn't enough, as events would later show. The issue at the farm is that the dirt road is a bit fragile, not maintained, and I'm trying hard to not over use it. We only go camping once or twice a year, so it isn't worth getting someone to grade and gravel the road, which would really be the best way to go. So I parked the truck at the entrance to the farm, unloaded the tractors, packed our lunch and some tools in the trailer, along with the rotary plow and the Gravely snow blade, hooked the trailer to the sulky, the sulky to the C-8 with the scoop, and started down the road, with one of my boys in front mowing.
 

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Tractorholic
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Along the way, we trimmed several young trees that were falling across the road that I hadn't dealt with the last time I was there. We arrived at our campsite area, which is about 1200 yards from where we parked (I ended up pacing it off later.) and stopped for lunch. I started the boys mowing the campsite clearing while I headed back to the true reason for our visit, a 50 foot long section of road in the bottom of a valley that had rutted up and was holding water. If you don't know why that is a problem, the standing water keeps the dirt in the road soft, and every time you drive through it, the ruts just get deeper and longer, and hold more water. I want to camp, not pull my truck out of a mud hole. The good news was that the furrows and ditches I had plowed on my last visit seemed to be doing a good job pulling water off the road, though the rut on the lower side of the road was still rather soft. I spent about 45 minutes using the scoop to clear and define the furrows I'd plowed, then stopped to asses what I'd done and try to figure out a plan for draining the rest of the road. I'd been hearing some thunder while we ate lunch, and it was getting pretty frequent now, so I called my wife who confirmed that local radar showed a large patch of rain in our general area. So we hastily packed up, hooked the sulky and trailer back up and headed back to the truck.
 

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Tractorholic
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That was when Murphy first struck. Dirt had gotten into the linkage of the Hi-Lo axle shifter and was preventing the 10 with the mower from shifting into high, it was stuck in low, and it was going to take FOREVER to get back to the truck. Drops of rain began to fall, so I abandoned trying to work on the linkage, and we started off again. We left the campsite, drove into the bottom where I had been working, and the trailer hitch broke off from the sulky. The rain has increased, I have two miserable boys who only want to be out of the weather, and we are all sort of stuck. No hitch, no way to get the trailer out of the woods, no way to haul the tractors home without a trailer and no obvious way to repair anything with what I had on hand. So I make one more flawed decision and tell my oldest boy to shut down his tractor-the one stuck on slow-and was going to ride out on the remaining Gravely to save my feet (injured a tendon last year, it has been slow to heal, I try to avoid overusing them.) . As he goes by my still running C-8, he also shuts it down! And when he shuts off the 10, which is electric start, we later discovered that he accidently moved the key back in the "on" position, which left current flowing in the circuit.
By this time, enough rain has fallen that water is running off the road so I hand my boys the key to my truck and I walk around and look at how the water is behaving on the road. As I began to walk back to the truck, the rain really begins to pour down, and to add spice to the occasion, hail the size of gumballs begins to fall. During the entire 1000 yard journey to the truck, the rain and hail fall, puddles accumulate on the road, and I'm soaked from head to toe. When I arrived at the truck, I found that my boots were waterproof......Every drop of water that ran down my legs collected in my boots and wouldn't drain out. I poured literally an inch of water from my boots.
 

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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

We went to town, to the local hardware store.....and lightning knocked the power out before we could purchase some repair parts for the trailer hitch.
We finally managed to get our parts, then headed back to the farm. When the rain finally stopped, we began sloshing back to the tractors and trailer with parts and tools. The hitch repair went Ok, and I worked on the linkage to the 10, cleared enough dirt off it that I thought it would work, then tried to start the tractor. It would barely turn over. We briefly tried to push and crank at the same time, but that didn't work either. The pull start C-8 started on the first try, so I hooked up the trailer and then rigged a line from the trailer to the 10 and began to pull the whole train. My boys rode the handlebars on the 10 to keep the mower skids from digging into the dirt and dragging us to a halt. We actually made it up one hill, then down into another bottom, but the next hill was either too steep or too muddy, or both. We unhooked the 10 and kept chugging. Several times everyone had to push on a steep or slippery hill. We arrived at the truck and after resting a few moments, one of my boys looked at me and said, "I think we can pull the other tractor out by itself". I agreed, so we went back. We had one of life's special memories when we came clattering around a corner in the road and off ahead in the middle of the road stood a dear. We looked a long time, then I began driving forward again and it ran off. We dragged the 10 all the way back to the truck also, tires spinning, feet slipping, mud getting everywhere. The last hurdle was loading the 10 into the trailer, those things are HEAVY and don't roll well. I was able to use the C-8 again to push the 10 halfway up the ramps, but then the driving wheels hit the wooden loading ramp and would just spin. The three of us finally managed to get it up the ramp, then it became a simple matter to load everything else and tie it down. We stopped for supper at Burger King, and I bought those boys anything they asked for, including a second serving of food. They worked like troopers in some very unpleasant circumstances.
The phone and the camera? They were in one of my pockets, and got thoroughly soaked. The phone finally came back after I dried it out for about 12 hours over a heat source (audio amplifier). The camera hasn't come back yet, maybe one day.


 

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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
And fun was had by all?
Walking through the hail was interesting. The broken hitch was annoying. The thing that really got me was finding my electronics in my pockets soaking wet and not working. I really didn't care for that. Being unable to finish the task I went up there for is really frustrating, as we are planning to go camping in November and this section needs to be passable. You would not believe how much stuff a family of 6 can take camping.
As a father, I was NOT happy about having my boys exposed to this rather violent thunderstorm.
 

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Rockstar
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Those types of things are what make the best memories! You and the kids will be able to tell that story for years to come!!
 

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Procrastinators unite tomorrow
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Those types of things are what make the best memories! You and the kids will be able to tell that story for years to come!!
Ten year's later, when ever I use this one truck, my youngest son always ask if I fuel up or if we have any extra diesel He was 4 year's old, labor day weekend, quick trip to Home Depot, major highway, no cell phone, ran out of fuel , two hours of bonding , priceless
 

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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The worst times my dad and I went through are my favorite memories. You can all look back on this and laugh worst you got was wet and maybe bruised, they got a life experience they could have never gotten anywhere else.

Now get back out there and fix that road.
MBWW, My son just looked at your avatar and said "Cool, a lego figure" LOL. I'd kept thinking it was some sort of turbo charger on an engine!
 
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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
great story Howard. Best of all, it was all true! thanks for sharing.
Couldn't hardly prove it by checking at weather.com! I checked statistics for the nearby towns, they either show NO rain or just under .40 of an inch. I'm pretty sure we had over 1/2 inch locally, possibly over 1 inch.
 

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Tractorholic
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The worst times my dad and I went through are my favorite memories. You can all look back on this and laugh worst you got was wet and maybe bruised, they got a life experience they could have never gotten anywhere else.
Without a doubt when my boys are home it those "war stories" that get remembered

Now where is that quote ? " A bad day tractor driving is better than a good day at work" ?
 
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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Without a doubt when my boys are home it those "war stories" that get remembered

Now where is that quote ? " A bad day tractor driving is better than a good day at work" ?
Ya got me on that one!
 

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It may not have been the best day to bond with the boys, but in time they will look back on this day with great pride.
 
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Tractorholic
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
War stories....Got another one involving tractors and rain and a young boy's error.
When Dad wasn't using the tractor on our farm, he would often make it available to the surrounding villagers for a small fee. I'm not sure if it was enough to cover the cost of diesel, let alone wear and tear on the tractor and the cost of the driver. Anyway, he took me along to check on the progress at a village that wasn't very far over the property edge of the farm, probably between 4 and 6 miles of dirt road. Turned out that the driver was close to finishing, I think we may have needed to repair or adjust something, then we waited to make sure the job was done. Took a good part of the afternoon, all told. At one point, Dad sent me to the truck for something, probably a Coke for the two of us, and gave me the keys. Once the driver finished that particular field, there was no more work there, so Dad asked if I wanted to drive the tractor home. In spite of what looked like an approaching storm, I said "YES!", it wasn't like I had never been rained on before. So off I went, and very shortly, down came the rain. Dad later found that storm dropped over 3 inches of rain on us. I drove and drove, got wetter and wetter, water pooling in the dirt tracks was being splashed all over me by the wheels, and it was completely dark. Dad never passed me on the way home, and I assumed he had gone up to the main asphalt road, over a few miles, then followed our main road (well graded and maintained-it was possible to drive 45 mph without being beat to death) . I arrived home, still no sign of Dad, went in and bathed and dried off. By this time both my mother and I were worried and we had some guests arriving. One of them volunteered to drive me back to the village, so off we went again into the night and the rain. We found the truck still at the village, and Dad had taken shelter with the local people. With no keys, he had been able to pick the lock and open the cab, then crawled under the truck to hot wire it.......Then got stuck in the mud before he could go very far. We called it a night and went home, then returned in the morning with the tractor to pull the truck out. I probably deserved more punishment than I received, because I really don't remember being punished. While I remember driving through the rain, headlights barely showing in front of the tires, lightening flashing through the sky, I don't remember the tractor ride back very well. It just wasn't as exciting.
 

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Sounds like both of you suffered through more than your share of trials that night. I'll bet that shower felt really good when you got home. And your poor father out there with no keys and then getting stuck. What a night.
This will be a story your grandkids will enjoy hearing.
 
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