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This should stop the crazy drivers
9 December 2013

I remember a day, back when I lived in the city, when I used to think that driving off-road was so much fun.  It didn't even have to be anywhere special, it was fun just driving down a dirt road or even better, driving where there was no road at all.  I'm not sure why it was so much fun, probably because it was new and different.  It was fun to be somewhere other than stuck in traffic, waiting at a red light or circling a crowded parking lot looking for an empty space.  I'd take my truck off-road any opportunity I got, often switching into four-wheel drive even if I didn't really need to and driving way faster than I should.

Pull Now there's no question about it, my truck is definitely a farm truck.  It spends more time off-road than it does on-road.  Washing the truck means getting the big chunks off, a thin layer of dirt is normal.  A dent only matters if it means I can't get the door open and scratches aren't even noticed.  I've driven all over the farm and I've gotten it stuck more times than I care to admit.  I've learned that wet grass on a steep hill means the tires will slide, guaranteed.  I've also learned that driving too fast means I will probably be doing some repairs soon.

Another farm-driving-skill I've mastered is backing up.  Not just backing up but backing up with a trailer.  I'm an expert.  I could drive all around the farm, backing up with the trailer ahead of me.  I can back up a trailer into a tight parking spot on the first try.  I can back up a trailer on a slippery, grassy hill, at speed.  I can back up a trailer even when I can't see it out the back window.  I could probably connect a trailer to my trailer and back up all three vehicles at once.

I recognize that not everyone is blessed with my superior super-human-like off-road-trailer-backing skillz.  That's fine, I can't sing or dance so it all evens out in the end.  Still, I am often astounded at how exceeding difficult our driveway seems to be for some people.

Our driveway is gravel and a little steep.  This means that 9 out of 10 drivers (including Mrs. Farmer) can't make it up our driveway without spinning their tires.  While I don't understand why it's so hard to avoid spinning the tires, I've grown to accept that fixing the skid marks in my driveway is just a part of life.  What baffles me more is how often visitors find the one spot that is a problem and drive directly for it.

Pole The problem spot isn't even part of the driveway really, it's off to the side.  If you pull all the way up our driveway then you have to back down to get out.  However, there is also the option of a pull-through.  Turn into the pull-through and there is no backing required at all.  Instead of those two reasonable options, many people go for the third option which is turning into the pull-through then driving right over the ledge.

Luckily it's not a very big ledge and nobody has been hurt.  It's about two feet high which is just enough to be scary and cause some serious dents.  It's not like it is hidden, at two feet high it's more obvious than a curb in a Walmart parking lot.  I have no idea why people choose to drive over the ledge, but they do.

In an attempt to stop these crazy drivers I laid an old utility pole in the way.  I thought it made a rather obvious fence.  Again, much large and more visible than the curbs at Walmart.  It didn't matter though, all it did is mean two dents instead of one, one dent from driving over the pole and another from driving over the ledge.

My next solution was to stand the pole up like a fence post.  A sane person would have used the chainsaw to cut the pole about six feet high.  Instead, I opted to use the entire pole.  Yes, I can back up a trailer like nobody's business but that doesn't mean I'm immune to making irrational decisions.

OhNo The pole is too heavy to lift and definitely too heavy to stand up on end.  Without a a crane like the utility company has, I had to get inventive.  After some head scratching I realized that my dump truck is kind of like a crane in the sense that it has powerful hydraulics that can lift heavy things.  So I parked the dump truck next to the pole, tied one side of the pole to the top of the truck, then raised the dump.

It couldn't lift the pole all the way up so I had to brace the pole half way, untie it from the truck, lower the bed, retie the pole, then lift the bed again.  I had to do this several times until the pole was high enough that I could lift it the rest of the way with ropes tied to various vehicles.  I won't describe the operation in detail, it definitely was not be OSHA approved.

Once I got the pole in place the question was whether or not it was sturdy enough.  Of course there's only one good way to test that:  swing on it.  It's too bad the utility company doesn't use the same test method.

To top it off I added a couple reflectors to the pole, arranged to reflect the driver's face if they still manage to drive over the ledge.


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