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The old truck hobby depends upon the kindness of strangers and municipal auctions, and turns, it seems, on the big circle of life that keeps 'good deals' flowing ... usually ... Except for the day when Scott learned ...
Not all 'good deals' are easy deals...
By Scott "48bigtrucks" Ward
I don't know if I told you the story of the "barn" yet. There's a barn that all that's left of the old farmstead that's directly across the street from my property. From where it sat to where it's going to sit is maybe a 1,000 feet or so.
The city bought what was left of the old farm several years ago and used the barn to store equipment in. It is now the main park of my town and it's expanding though the area the barn is sitting on. They took bids on the barn from anyone interested in buying it. This thing is pretty stout. It's 20' x 28' with a 10' ceiling and a loft. It's made from native lumber and is sheathed in tongue and groove lap boards, walls and roof.
My Dad guessed it to weight about 5-6 tons. I'm now guessing, after the fiasco of moving it, 10-12 tons.
Anyway, I put in a BS bid of $51, trying to steal it from anyone putting in a lowball number of $50 or less. Long story short, I won (if you want to call it that). Regardless of what happens, the building has new wiring with a new circuit box and a new overhead door with an electric opener. I already got my money's worth even if I destroy the building trying to move it, which damn near happened.
The barn, thankfully enough, was sitting on a slab, so jacking it up was pretty straight forward. I made eight "beams" that went across the inside of the barn to set onto a trailer and to jack from. I ran supports up to the rafters from the cross beams also. I reworked a heavy duty trailer that my cousin has and after jacking the barn up 27 inches (an inch and a half at a time), [ pix ] I slid the trailer under it.
I braced up the trailer and let the barn down onto it and lowered my cribbing to a few inches below the final resting height of the barn being totally on the trailer. It sat there overnight so I could see if everything would hold. It did.
I made a special 3-point hitch attachment for the tractor so we could raise and lower the tongue of the trailer to keep it level. As soon as we (my Dad and I) hooked on, the trouble started.
With the park having just finished a soccer match, we had an audience for all this! We hooked up the hitch to the tractor, raised the trailer to be sure it would do it and commenced removing the jackstands I had to keep the trailer with the barn on it stable. The plan was to back it up to the edge of the slab and start turning it off to the side. We needed to make a 180 to get the barn out of it's current spot and headed up the drive.
As soon as I started moving the barn, the overhead door came rolling down. So we had to stop and tie that off to keep it up. At that time, I realized that I forgot to strap the barn down to the trailer. So I did that at that time also.
Now, try number two. We tried to do the back it up and head away at an angle thing, but the tractor couldn't turn the triple axle trailer on the concrete slab. So we decided to take it straight down the little hill at less of an angle and then back it up some to line it up with the driveway [ pix ] .
As soon as the barn started down the hill, the weight shifted to the hitch. The hydraulics couldn't lift it and the front end of the tractor came up, no steering. I tried to steer it with the brakes but the barn just pushed me further down the hill, until the tractor jack-knifed into the barn door.
I backed up some and got it off the door but when I would try to go forward, the front of the tractor would come off the ground. Now the barn jammed up and I couldn't move it and it was trying to slide forward off of the trailer and into my lap. Only thing we could do was get another tractor and chain them together.
Dad takes off for another tractor and I go get some winches to help keep the barn on the trailer. We hook the tractors together, get the rig off of the hill but start heading into soft ground. I decide to unhook and back the rig up and back down the hill to line up with the driveway. Damn near burn the clutch out of it but that idea worked. Still can't pull forward because of the front end lifting off the ground. S we tied the tractors together again and I have Dad drag me home, real slow.
The only part that went as planned was when we crossed the road. There's a cable that hangs down two feet lower than the peak that we had to go under. When we got to the road, there was no traffic so we went for it. We went until the barn started to hit the cable. I had my Step-son hand me a 12' pole and I pushed it on over the peak.
We headed down my drive toward the temporary parking site with the front of the tractor trying to come off the ground, with me standing on the brakes to keep the chain between us tight. All the while the hydraulics were squawking from being overloaded.
We got down to the site with great relief. We shut the tractors down so I could go back and get my cribbing to shore up the barn.
Not more than a minute after shutting down, things started cracking and moving. One of my rafter braces exploded so we got the hell back. All I could think was, after all this work and overcoming problems, It was going to collapse right here while sitting still.
I ran back to my truck and got my tools. I had Dad stand off to the side of the tractor to run the three point while I went inside to jack up on the hitch. It worked. We got the trailer level and I shored it up with the cribbing and left it for the night.
The next day I winched it square and true again [ pix ] and really braced it up good inside. Now it was ready to move to the final resting spot.
I had to pull it over about an inch so I ran a cabled from it over to the CAT. I stuck the CAT bucket into the ground for some resistance. I winched it real slow so as not to go too far. Once it was aligned to the concrete slab, I jacked the barn up a little bit and pulled the trailer out from under it. And there she was!
Like I told my wife Sherry, that was the most stressful day of my life. That barn could have slid off the trailer and into my lap at any time. Next time we know which tractor to use and which one not to, LOL. At least my hitch held up!
Since the barn has been in place now (several months), I've trapped six raccoons in there who were also looking for a new home. I've added a gravel drive to it and stuffed it full of truck parts and lawn equipment. I even have the chassis to my '63 parked in there, along with all the lumber that it took to move that sucker. It's also accumulated a stack of tires, lawn equipment, snow mobiles, tools, some friend's stuff, and the snow plow will go in there soon.
The barn has good insulation. It's about 20 degrees cooler in there so that'll be nice for this summer. The only patch work I had to do was from the mess I made (like to the doors). The roof is in good shape -- figure it should last 10 years at least.
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