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Old 04-04-2011, 03:30 AM   #1
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I'm not normally this dumb...

On Sunday, SWMBO and I decided to head a little north of Christchurch to get away from the numerous aftershocks we have been having after a really big earthquake on Feb 22nd. We went to Amberley Beach and small campground that we have visited many times before. There is power, a dump station and a stony beach to walk the dogs on.

We didn't get into the campground till near dusk, and I missed the usual route to our campsite and floundered in some soft sand. Tried to "rock" the bus out, but just succeeded in digging myself in to the axles. A Ford V10 has way more torque than was needed for the sand. By now it was dark, so I arranged for a tractor to come from one of the friendly locals the next morning to pull us out. During the night (with my head slightly below my feet because of the angle of the rear wheels - lots of extra brain-power) I came up with a brilliant idea.

Why not jack the back wheels up as far as possible, and then build up the ground under the wheels? Lower the back down again, raise the ground under the jacking points again and repeat the procedure until the wheels are completely clear of the ground, then I could rebuild the sandy area so that the tractor would have an easier job of pulling me out. Gosh, I might even be able to drive out on some rubber mats that I have in the bus for floor mats outside. Of course, to use the jacks I keep forgetting that I have to have the footbrake fully on, or they won't work.

Great idea, and the next morning I started to put it into practice. Progress was slow, but after about three hours of painstaking work, I had the rear wheels clear of the ground and I filled the holes underneath them with the soft sand and any nearby stones that had been thrown up. I packed it as hard as I could, but knew it would settle if I tried to drive out, and I would be stuck just as bad as before.

The tractor arrived, and it was a beauty! Great big twin rear wheels, knobbly tires, and it looked like it had plenty of grunt. We connected it up, I started the engine of the bus, and sat in the drivers seat as the tractor commenced to pull. At this stage I was not attempting to drive the bus, I had it in neutral because I did not want the wheels to dig in.

Well the tractor pulled and pulled and started to dig these massive rear wheels in about a foot, trying to pull me out. It was suggested that I should use the drive train of the bus to give the tractor a hand, so I put the bus into first and started to give it a few revs. Still no movement.

THEN I RELEASED THE FOOTBRAKE and we came out of the sand so easily it appeared obvious that the extra power of the bus was the deciding factor. I didn't have the heart to tell the tractor driver that he had been trying to pull an 8 ton bus out of soft sand with its brakes on, but I did give him twice what he asked for, for helping me out. (Still much cheaper than getting a tow truck from the nearest town on a Sunday.)

Every time I take "The Beast" out, I learn something new to watch out for. To be fair, the sand did not look too bad as I tried to drive over it, I just didn't have enough speed to coast over it at first, because it was getting dark. Now, however, the tractor and I have made it quite clear for other vehicles to stay clear, as the surface is REALLY rough now.

I love learning new things about "The Beast"!!
Graham Gracie in a 1999 Mirada, V10 Petrol. New Zealand, Suzuki Escudo 2001 2.5L V6. Mini poodle, Pierre and mini schnauzer, Maddie.
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:17 AM   #2
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I think checking your emergency brake every 2 years was left out of the manual by mistake. Yours definitely works well. LOL
Kathy & George Zimm
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Old 04-04-2011, 04:39 AM   #3
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Been there, done that and have a t-shirt to prove it. It's not easy being that dumb. Trust me I know!!!
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #4
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G'morning from Tampa, FL. OH...the "dumb me" stories I could tell. It's funny how when we're in the middle of some predicament how it's SO easy to overlook the obvious stuff. Welcome to the club. It's kind of comforting knowing that other RV'rs do the same goofy things.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 04-04-2011, 07:53 AM   #5
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When I sank into soft soil and tried to jack myself out I managed to rack the body and pop the windshield . When the towtruck showed up it took him about five minutes to pull me out.Insurance payed for the truck and new windshield.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:26 AM   #6
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Too funny but I assure you you're not alone when it comes to " the dumb moves"
Tom "Rocket Heart" Emahiser
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:49 AM   #7
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I'm SO glad I'm not the only one that gets into these predicaments. Thanks for sharing!
"If it aint broke, fix it 'till it is!!"
Follow us on our adventures...we're currently on-site storage facility managers.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:27 AM   #8
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My wife and I do the "Dumb Things" twice, to make sure we got it right!
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:30 AM   #9
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This is doubly funny because I too have been stuck in soft sand with this rig.. Only I did not set the brake.

Last winter here where I"m parked Class A missed the paved portion of the site pad and dropped in soft dirt beside it, The position was perfect and the utility box (electrical box) went right into the wheel well, doing absolutly NO damage but limiting his range of movement to just a few inches.

He rocked it back and forth a few inches at a time and we (Assorted campers) tossed lumber under the wheels,, I cleaned out my supply of 2x and 4x stock, finally we got his rig back up level, and of course that cleared the box, and he was able to pull forward nd then back into the site properly.

But it was fun.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:45 AM   #10
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Duh, I pulled the starter rope on our new little portable generator for about 20 minutes, had removed the spark plug, reinstalled same, then tried again until DW comes up and says: "I don't smell any gas." I turned on fuel petcock. 'Nuff said.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:13 PM   #11
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When we visited Christchurch several years ago there was no indication that it was such a dangerous place. With earthquakes and quick sand I wonder how anyone manages to live in such a backward country!
Larry B, Luckiest Dreamer
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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GSGracie, I prefer to call that a "senior moment". Trouble is, they get more frequent each year.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG 11B5MX,Infantry retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA." My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:50 PM   #13
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Way Way back in 1956. I got my first car. a 51 plymouth. I forgot and left the lights on and ran the battery down. I got a friend to go with me and push the car (straight shift) off, to start it. We pushed it about a mile and it just would not start. He got out of his car and said, You do have the key on dont you dummy. OOps.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:39 PM   #14
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Gracie, It's called "Sometimers."

Some times we remember, and some times we don't.
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