Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This will be a meandering post, but its my fucking site and I can do that. It may only appeal to men, but whatever...

I put myself through university by working summers in highway construction. The pay was unbelievable and I got plenty of overtime at time and a half.

For a while I drove an earth scraper similar to the one above. My training in this 75 ton machine consisted of: It will do 35 mph when loaded. If there is an emergency the brakes won't stop it quickly, push this lever and the "can" (scraper part) will dig into the dirt. Hold onto the steering wheel as tight as you can because it will go from 35 mph to 0 mph in fewer than 10 feet and throw you out.

Pretty fucking scary for a teenager to have to comprehend.

Anyway, got our dirt from a lake bottom with a CAT dozer pushing us. I'm not exactly proud of the fact I lowered the can so deeply once I stuck a D-9 CAT which is one huge, fucking powerful dozer. They had to send in a second D-9 to push the first one and my scraper.

This leads to an anecdote I want to share.

Another driver, thank God, was coming out of the lake bed to a frontage road. A woman was driving there. Each thought the other was gonna stop. Neither did. The scraper's tire went up onto the hood of the woman's car and punched the fucking engine out of the car and into the road. Also, thank God, the scraper missed the woman behind the wheel, but not by much.

Another anecdote.

To get the dirt from the lake bed meant building an earth damn to keep the water out of the lake. This was done with a smaller CAT dozer, D-6 as I remember, and the damn had to constantly be added to. They asked if I could do it. To keep working, I told them of course I could.

So now there's a teenager on a D-6 CAT dozer he'd never run pushing dirt along the top of this dam which was barely as wide as the dozer. There was a whole lake on the left and a 50 foot drop to the lake bed on the right.

Another anecdote.

The earth scraper had hydraulic steering. Which would move the whole cab. Once when I was climbing into it, I grabbed the steering wheel to pull myself up. The fucking thing swung toward me and threw me to the ground.

How I ever lived to adulthood is still a mystery to me. But I do have to admit I loved all of it.

Yeah, rereading this, it is a guy thing.



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