I'm almost ashamed to put these pictures on the blog. You see, I was in a car, for heavens sake, when I took the pictures! Sometimes I just can't help it. There's no way to carry two factory guys, their luggage, and training equipment on a bike. It's part of being a factory rep. Since we represent a bunch of factories owned by the same huge corporation, the number of visits can add up. So I have to do the pick them up at the airport, ferry them around, and take them back to the airport thing. In a car. Sigh!
It goes without saying but I'm going to say it anyway. Isn't that a really weird situation? We feel the need to say something. It seems so obvious that it doesn't need to be said. Yet, if we don't say it, we can't set the tone for what we're going to say. Yikes! Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I was going to say something that doesn't need to be said. We share the road with a lot of strange things.
This is something I've never seen on the road before.
Yes, that's a railway box car on it's side on a flatbed truck trailer. Minus the axles. The undercarriage must definitely be the heaviest part. That's the part that's solidly on the trailer. The top of the box car is hanging off several feet on the right side of the trailer. I'd be really nervous if I were the truck driver. It just seems to me that the load would be prone to moving the trailer side to side easily. Of course, I've never carried a box car before so what would I know? Speaking of things I've never seen on the road before, I have to tell you a quick story. Since this post really has nothing to do with motorcycling, notice how quick I am to stray?
Anyway. I've mentioned previously that my father in law is a perpetual tinkerer. Once he had this idea to make an amphibious vehicle. There was an old 19 foot ski boat hull sitting in the orchard. It's a long story of how it got there. No, I'm not going to stray that far. This hull was pressed into service as the base of this vehicle. The water worthy part was solved. Now came the part of being able to propel the craft on land. Here's where I got involved. I don't know how I get dragged into this stuff. Must be an adventuresome spirit, I guess. And I kinda like the guy.
We fashioned some wheels and tires that can be lowered to form a tricycle type arrangement. We built a rudimentary steering mechanism for the single wheel in front. In order to not be required to use two different propulsion methods, we decided to transplant the motor and fan mechanism for our previous air boat project. This consisted of a Buick motor, a four wheel drive transfer case from a Toyota pickup, a long shaft leading up to a CV joint from a Honda car, and a wooden airplane propeller. The transfer case was used to cut the rpm's coming out of the engine in half. Wood props don't like to turn real fast. The CV joint was used to make the transition from the 45 degree angle of the drive shaft to the 90 degree angle that feeds into the propellor. Don't ask me how we dream this stuff up. We're a couple of guys who think outside the box. Now came time for the test run.
My father in law lives outside the town of Scio. Population 510. Salute! ( for those of you who remember Hee Haw on tv ) Dang! Gave away my redneck roots, again, didn't I? Needless to say, the roads are pretty rural and quiet. ( there's that "doesn't need to be said" thing, again ) Surprisingly, this thing worked pretty well. We were enjoying the breeze in our hair as we cruised down the road. I estimate we were doing about 35 mph. Then a county police car passed us in the opposite direction. Oh, oh. I saw this man's face do a double take, eyes wide. Sure enough, the deputy pulled a quick u-turn and wound up behind us with the overheads on. Busted.
The deputy told us we were lucky. He was on his way to a call and didn't have time to spend with us or we'd be in trouble. His parting words were,
"I've never seen anything like this on the road before, and I don't ever want to see it again!!"
See, it did tie in. Notice the "never seen anything like this on the road" similarity?
You know the part that struck me as really strange? I wondered why the cargo wasn't on a rail car. I've seen truck trailers on flat bed rail cars. Why not a box car? Maybe some of the side clearances are just too small on a railway. Maybe it had been shipped this far and now was on it's way to some great scrap heap in the sky. Who knows?
It's an interesting world, isn't it?
Miles and smiles,