When not to do a job by yourself. Learn to ask for help.


Old 07-11-18, 07:54 PM
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When not to do a job by yourself. Learn to ask for help.

This is a long yarn. Be prepared or skip it.

Title says sit all.

First I want to thank John (The TowGuy) for helping me pick out some portable towing lights. See John I said I would relate the story if I was successful and didn't injure or kill myself. But that was an iffy thing!

Several weeks ago I went to my cabin to drop off my ATV. I had originally planned on bringing the trailer back home. But conditions seemed fine and I had plenty of time and I thought why not try to bring the trailer up the mountain side to the cabin and leave it there. I did it last year with some help. What's the worse that can happen? Well I found out what the worse that can happen. Hooking up a hitch on an inclined road is a hazard in of itself. But I managed that part. Feeling quite proud of myself at that point.

Keep in mind this is a desolated area with very sparse phone cell service if any at all. Nobody can hear or see you once you go into the woods.

So now I have the 6 x 12 trailer hook up to the ATV. I start my climb up the mud road to the cabin. Feeling pretty good now. Get to the "S" curve at about a 25 to 35 degree incline and things get sticky. I begin to get bogged down. The ATV begins to dig in and start to rut the ground. I try to back up and all hell breaks loose. I managed to go off the dirt road several times, but always manged to just get out. But then I realize that I won't make it up to the cabin. IMPOSSIBLE. So now I need to make a decision, how to bring it down (backing up is the only option) or just leave there an try another day with help?

I felt brave and confident. Let's try backing it down. Wrong! I managed to back it down about halfway, with many problems and getting stuck many times. At this point I've at it for about 3 hours. Finally I get into a predicament that I can't get out of. Take note at this point I no long was using the hitch, but had a chain hooked to the back of the ATV. (BTW...I tried using my winch including using a tree to gain mechanical advantage , but it just pulled the ATV with brakes on and going in reverse at full throttle). I was in a spot that I could no longer maneuver and the chain was extremely taught.

After much thought I decided the only thing to do was cut the chain and let physics and gravity do it's job. And did they do it! That sucker took off like a bat out of hell. Bounced several times, ripped off my tail lights and embedded itself against a tree cross wise to the mud road and the back wheel off the ground hanging over a gully section. No way was that trailer moving with out major help.

Drove the ATV up to the cabin walked down and got into the car and went home. That was three weeks ago.

Today a friend of mine (Jack) with a Ford tractor equipped with a backhoe and front end loader came to the rescue and we left this morning to retrieve my trailer.

What should've been a 1 1/2 hour job turned into an all day fiasco. Using chains, the tractor and the ATV we managed to free the trailer from the trees. But then we need to either go up or down. It was clear that going up was not an option. Even his tractor was getting bogged down in the soft earth. So we decided to try and guide it down. The key word here is guide. And we seemed to do pretty good. Our goal was to position it to be able to attach the ATV hitch and drive it down. And we almost had in a doable position. BUT, we thought we could do better. Big Mistake. We should've cut out looses and tried to hook up the ATV at that point. In an effort to position the trailer we manged to ride it up a tree trunk and fallen logs so that the wheels no longer touched the ground. Then in an effort to grab it with the ATV I nearly rolled over. By God I don't know how I didn't roll it.

By lifting the rear end up with the tractor bucket we let it fall forward over the logs and we had it chained to one side to make it slide over. And that position it to be able to hook up the ATV to the hitch. But not before we dented the fender of the trailer and ripped off the remaining lights and reflectors. But we got it down on to the road.

So at this point Jack (my buddy) said he would try to grade the dirt road a bit while I attached the trailer to the car. By God that trailer was fighting me all the way. Believe it or not my ball hitch receiver on the trailer broke and would not set into the ball of the car hitch. With lots of hammering and prying we managed to get the mechanism to work again and we made home without further incident.

I'm nearly 70 years old and Jack is just few years younger but has had several injuries that make it so he can barely walk and his knees may give away at any time. We agreed to not tell our wives what we went through but to only say that "you don't want know".

So now I need to buy replacement lights for the trailer and make some cosmetic fixed for the ATV. But both are home and safe in he back yard.

That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

At least we are both in one piece and not injured.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:47 PM
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Great story. Thanks for posting.
Old 07-11-18, 08:53 PM
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Dang, Norm, and I thought I had some tough jobs!
Old 07-12-18, 05:23 AM
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I also have a steep driveway and understand how difficult it is to pull the wrong load up or have to back anyone down. I got in similar predicaments several times the first few yrs I lived here. Now I know what will pull what up and when not to try. Sounds like you're gaining some of that experience Glad it didn't turn out any worse than it did!!
Old 07-12-18, 05:44 AM
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Unfortunately I understand what you went through.

I've done similar in a king cab diesel 2500 pickup. Couldn't go up any more so had to back the whole way down but the truck kept sliding sideways into the forest. I ended up using four 2" heavy ratchet straps to trees to prevent the truck from sliding sideways. 10-15 feet at a time. Back up... reset straps... back up... reset straps. I ran out of water and was dehydrated, mad and totally covered in mud.
Old 07-12-18, 09:25 AM
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We agreed to not tell our wives
And we can all appreciate the fact that out of he entire ordeal one clear decision was made.
Old 07-12-18, 01:01 PM
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Norm, I remember my dad telling me "sheet metal can be repaired", so as long as nobody was hurt that's the main thing. I've towed trailers thousands of miles and, knock on wood, have only two memorable events. Probably 40 years ago I had the tongue just setting on the hitch while I worked on the lights, finished sometime late in the evening, dark, cold, just wanted to drive down the road a half mile or so to make sure everything stayed working, forgot to close the coupler, and spent about an hour or so as I recall winching that trailer up from a ravine in a couple feet of snow. But at least we learn, right? Nope. Last week I hitched a flatbed, got interrupted by someone at the wrong moment, turned back around, and still forgot to close the coupler. What a dumbbell I felt like after I set about 1500 lbs. on the back end. It was just enough to raise the coupler off the ball, then the front went back down, rolled forward and under the truck. And of course the safety chains were taut enough at that point that I spent 15-20 minutes getting everything where it belonged. Embarrassing as heck to even mention it, but things happen sometimes when you don't stay 100% focused.
Old 07-12-18, 03:25 PM
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Well I feel a bit better hearing from the rest of you. Why is it misery loves company? As my old man use say "who the heck wants to hear your good luck story when I have none"?

John, I'm sure you have some really interesting stories. Some day why not entertain us with some.?

Marksr and PD, I can picture what you went through. And the best part is that you can't place the blame on anybody but yourself.

One thing I learned is that over confidence and stupid trumps common sense every time. And age is not a factor. Some things only experience can teach.

In retrospect I should've taken pictures, but at the time both Jack and I did not want a to leave a video as our legacy.
Old 07-13-18, 05:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Well, "crossing threads" here, but should mention that this ties into the "what are these wood spikes for" discussion-

If you are dragging heavy loads uphill AND downhill, a connection that easily disconnects
if the the load looses tension (and might drag you backward or pull you over the side)
is actually some pretty crafty engineering...

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