Drove Gulchendiggensmoothen down to the wash below Ian’s place, scooped up a bucket of sand. Drove it to J’s. Dumped it. Went to the wash below his place for more.
The water in the wash that runs by our place originates close by: If it’s a nice sunny morning you know it’s safe to be there. The water in the wash that runs below J’s place originates miles and miles to the south, and I’ve seen it run on a sunny day. Plus it just ran on Tuesday, and it’s really saturated. If I made an extensive search of the worst possible place in the whole area for a big tractor to break down or get stuck during Monsoon, that would probably be it.
And I knew that. And that’s exactly why I took such extensive precautions to see that it didn’t happen.
So guess what happened.
Engine ran like a top. Not a bobble, not a hiccup. Absolutely no hint of trouble – until it stopped running. And absolutely refused to restart.
In the south wash. In the mud. During Monsoon. The big tractor. The one everybody else calls on when something needs to get towed. Out of the wash.
Uncle Joel’s good mood begins to shift somewhat.
I’d already been in the wash an unconscionable amount of time when this happened because I dug a hole, hit clay, dug another hole looking for better sand…I hadn’t actually been broken down all that long and was still trying to decide if it was fuel flow or something with the air shutoff when J came looking for me on his dirt bike. He called D&L, who were up to their asses in grout and couldn’t drop what they were doing. He called Darrel the Former Cop, who wasn’t and did. He’s got a little Kubota…
…about that size but that’s not him. He pulled me onto the road without trouble but expressed doubts about getting me up the big grade onto the ridge toward home. I had the same doubts, but we agreed that was a secondary concern. Step one: Tow Ian’s Tractor The Hell Out of the Wash.
Step one went fine. And for a few minutes it looked like Step two: Tow Ian’s Tractor Up a Big Frickin’ Grade, was also going to work.
Which means we got the tractor into the second worst place it could possibly be stuck, before we got stuck. Which is to say, way high up on the steepest part of that grade. The Kubota was really looking like the Little Tractor That Could for a few minutes there, and let it be said it ran out of traction before (but not much before) it ran out of horsepower.
Ian’s tractor doesn’t have a parking brake.
BUT! I did show just a little bit of foresight: When I shoveled out the dirt that had completely filled the front bucket when the engine died, I left enough in to keep the front wheels on the ground should something really horribly bad happen, like we got stuck halfway up that big steep grade. Because then the front wheels would stay the hell on the ground. We’ve been up that hill before, Gulchie and me.
J drove his dirt bike home and came back with his Toyota 4X4 and another tow strap. Meanwhile Darrel the Former Cop unhooked his chain, drove around behind Gulchie and maneuvered his front bucket under the backhoe. Darrel’s tractor does have a parking brake. Not enough of one to keep Ian’s tractor from pushing it down the hill, but enough to ease the cramping in my thigh muscles till J got back with the Toyota.
Once we got to the top of the ridge there was no further drama. Darrel thought I was going to want to go down the REALLY steep grade to Landlady’s place, and wanted it understood there was no way his tractor would be in front of me while I did that. To which I replied oh HELL no, we’re not leaving the top of the ridge without some engine braking. So he towed me to the spot on Ian’s property I’ve come to think of as the Tractor Hospital, I chocked the wheels with rocks, and that was the end of the adventure.
I know the injector pump is getting really good fuel. Some fuel is going to the injectors, so considering how abruptly the engine died it might be a problem with the air shutoff. But if so it’s not in the linkage, and that’s all I know right now. Ian paid to have that pump rebuilt two years ago and it doesn’t have all that many hours on it, so I don’t know what – if anything – is going to happen next.