Redneck Lumberjacks

As some of you may very well know from us traveling to your respective churches... Busses don't neccessarily lend themselves to be the most agile of manuverable machinery.  It never fails... we can get into some tight situations.  Almost imediately every Tom, Dick, and Harry will come to the "assistance" of the group.  If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times... "I've backed an eighteen-wheeler in here in the middle of rush hour traffic while it was snowing on the day of the county fair, and I just zipped it right in there.  Seems as though everyone is an expert when they are trying to tell you how to do it, but if given the opportunity, some may not find it so easy to squeeze a 45 foot long bus with a 16 foot trailer into some of the less than favorable parking lots we encounter on a weekly basis.  Not only do we have to be concerned about keeping the bus on the pavement - the bus weighs about 45,000 lbs. and will get stuck in muddy, loose, or shifty soil.  We have to consider the width of gates and or parking barriers - busses don't turn like tractor trailers, they are straight and don't bend.  We have to consider the angle of slopes as we drive in or out of parking lots - the bus is long and low to the ground, steep hills will cause the bus to drag and possibly even bottom out on pavement.  We also have to keep in mind what we are attempting to drive under - the bus is almost 13' tall,  Low lying limbs, powerlines, and or awnings may hit the bus.  This particular aspect is the one we would like to address in this segment of On The Road. 

Singing Echoes Bus

We were singing in Moultrie, GA.  Gary drove to the church.  As we approached the church we realized the lot would be difficult to enter.  The lower drive was too steep to get in.  The upper drive was still pretty steep, but there were several low lying limbs from an old hickory tree that would scuff paint and possibly damage air units and such on the roof.  I got off the bus to asses what we should do.  A couple of the men of the church came out to greet us, they were so happy for us to come sing.  They immediatly saw that we were going to have a problem.  They assured me that if they had thought about it, they would have already trimmed the tree.  The problem was we couldn't leave the bus at the road, there wasn't a pull off or anything on this old 2 lane county highway.  I asked one of the gentleman if he had a rope that we might be able to tie to a limb and pull back on it far enough so the bus could pass by.  He said, nope... but I have a logging chain and a truck!  Right away, I knew I was among my people... Rednecks!  He called for Stephen, his son, to back his souped up Dodge Ram 4x4 under the limb.  I got in the back of the truck and tied the chain off on the limb.  We then hooked it to his reciever hitch and the party got started.  His first run at it yielded some lackluster results.  He was headed uphill and didnt have it in four wheel drive, on some loose gravel.  His truck just spun the back wheels not having much to grab on.  We got him to back up a little and get on the pavement, lock her into 4 low and let her go.  There is something beautiful about a man and his truck... especially when it has the potential of entertaining rednecks.  He straightend up, put it into gear and reved that baby on up the hill.  The limb didnt want to give up easy.  As Wendy Bagwell used to say, What I'm about to tell you is the Honest truth-With My Hand Up.  As he goosed it up the hill, the slack of the chain shrunk tight and finally grabbed... the truck caught the unwilling branch's end point and it yanked the back wheels of the truck off the ground about 4 feet. When it came back to the ground the limb broke loose, simultaniously a yoo-hoo bottle flew out of the back of the truck straight in the air then down to ground and busted on the pavement.  I'll have to admit, I was scared out of my wits that something was broken on the truck - or even worse that he was hurt, but when the truck came to a quick landing stop... Stephen said "lets do that again!"  Oh what fun it is to pull down trees in your four-wheel-drive-Dodge-Ram!

P.S. He told us that his truck was going into the body shop the following week, so I have a feeling that there may not be an opportunity for that to happen again... at least not in that truck!


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