Let me tell you, this job has a way of testing your skill level. Not just for us but for the people we hire as well. What is about to unfold, right before your eyes, is not a common occurrence. In fact, this is so uncommon the wrecker driver told us the company owner wasn’t sure they could help. The driver wanted to give it a shot. I didn’t learn his name! Shame on me!
This young man knows his equipment and his job. Universal Towing is the company we used.
Saturday morning, August 3rd, we left the hotel in Lakeland, Florida for the Love’s truck stop in Ormond Beach, Florida. I drove the rental car while Joe drove the truck he was going to be towing. I have to say this. Joe is “MY HERO!”
Our poor Gladys. She and Martha had to spend the night alone. Yes I’m a looney toon.
Joe was hoping that Gladys would start and run after having been off for about 30 hours.
No such luck. She would start but wouldn’t stay running.
Time to call wrecker companies. The first one I found closest to our location, using Google Maps, was Danny’s Towing. Joe asked if they had a “Roll On” and he was told they did not. He told the person on the phone what he needed then asked if he could come see what they had. Joe was told both of their trucks were out on calls. Joe told the Danny’s Towing people he would call back when he needed them.
Joe called Universal Towing and asked the same question – do they have a “Roll On”. Indeed, Universal Towing does have a Roll On. He told the person on the phone what he needed done and they said a driver would be over to help us.
While we waited for the driver to arrive Joe and I went about the necessary work to prepare the back truck.
Chain up the rear axles.
Hook up and run the air brake and electric lines.
Mount the light bar.
Tie off the steering wheel.
We waited in the rental car for the tow truck to arrive.
First thing to do is get Gladys unhooked from Martha and pushed forward enough to make room for the tow truck to start work.
The “Roll On” business begins.
Next was to attach a towing ball to the back of one of the wrecker pieces then hook on Martha, the trailer.
Once Martha is attached to the wrecker Joe raised the front of the trailer off the ground to enable the next part of this circus act to be done.
Once the trailer was ready the tow truck driver drove out and got himself lined up to be attached to the back truck.
Now that the easy part was done it was time to get the pickup, Gladys, off the tow truck and onto the trailer, Martha. A little bit of discussion was to be done first. Joe and the driver went over the qualities of their separate equipment and how best to get them working together.
After these two made a plan it was time to make the plan work. Joe raised the front of the trailer. The tow truck driver backed up close to the trailer.
Now for the fun stuff. Transferring our pickup from the tow truck to the trailer.
Adjustments were made of the two pieces of equipment, last words of consultation, a few Hail Mary’s, and fingers crossed the process was started. Get the bed of the tow truck just a smidgen over the top of the front of the trailer.
The tow truck driver had to be a monkey during this process. Climbing atop the trailer and getting inside the pickup to hold the brake while he raised the tow bed with his remote device. Joe would shout out orders of “turn a little to the right”….”not so much”…..”come back to the left a little”.
Just when things are going well, guess who comes in? Danny’s Towing and the driver is having a conniption fit. He tells Joe, over and over again, “I told you I was 20 minutes out”. Joe tells the guy he wanted to see the equipment first and did not order them out.
I’m watching the confrontation from the far side. I see the feet and legs of the three guys. The Universal Towing guy is trying to stay out of the fracas by doing his job. The Danny’s Towing guy is relentless to Joe.
Of course I have to go around to see what is going on. Joe tells me “Give this guy $35.00 to get him the f(&$ out of here”. The guy then tells his story to me “I told him I was only 20 minutes out. If he would have just waited I would have been here.” So I paid the dude the $35 and he left and we got on with our business.
Joe and the guy from Universal Towing work out the finer points of moving the tow truck bed backward, pushing the pickup further on the trailer, then carefully moving the bed forward allowing the front wheels to roll back near the edge of the bed. A continuous ballet of inching the pickup backward on the trailer a little at a time.
Joe and the guy from Universal Towing worked well together. Their equipment and knowledge of how they work proved a good team.
The only catastrophe in this entire operation was my hydraulic pump spout thing-a-ma-bob. It just got a little bent up. Nothing has happened to it mechanically. Everything still works. Just a little unsightly and will need to be fixed at some point.
Last thing to do is get the pickup moved back just a bit more so the wheel chocks can be installed. This will be done by the tow truck moved along side our trailer and the guy secure a chain to the pickup frame then use the winch to pull the pickup backward just a wee bit more.
First, he took the hitch off so no more damage could be done to my boom’s hydraulic pump.
Once the wheel chocks were set the front end of the trailer was lowered….while I was in the driver’s seat to let it roll forward and secured into position. All that was left was to strap the wheels securely to the trailer then head back to Lakeland to bring up the truck Joe would be driving.
On the way back up to Ormond Beach with Joe’s driving truck we made a stop at the Daytona International Airport to return the rental car and get back to the Love’s to finish our work.
Well, this long day has ended. Joe has proved, yet again, that he is unflappable in problem situations and always comes up with the answers to our predicaments. The next morning would be spent in getting my two trucks hooked up in the hotel truck parking lot in Lakeland, Florida then off we will go to Van Buren, Arkansas to deliver these trucks. That problem will be dealt with a couple days later.
Meanwhile….this whole situation has exacerbated my tendency toward being scatter brained. Look what I forgot to turn in at the rental car agency! They have the car but I have the keys. I did call them the next morning to let them know I have the keys and will be sending them, via FedEx, back to them.
Mercy sakes alive. Next problem to be dealt with will be to get the pickup into a repair shop in Fort Smith, Arkansas then deliver these four trucks in Van Buren, Arkansas which is only a few miles from each other.