Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
I won! I got that monster out of the truck bed. It was a Rube Goldberg setup involving straps, chains, a propane tank as an anchor, a crowbar, a shovel, some plywood and fiberboard, a few scraps of drywall... It was ugly, and it was messy, but it worked.
Of course, within six hours, the truck was stuck in the mud so bad that we had to eventually call a tow truck. You'd think that a rear-wheel drive truck with it's rear wheels on packed gravel would have been able to pull the front end out of the mud, but I guess the engine was too heavy and the mud suction too strong.
And speaking of mud, I think we need to go off on a tangent here for a moment. We have soil that is mostly clay, but after being farmed for years, then graded after construction on our house, it's pretty pulverized. When it gets wet, it gets gooey. It gets sticky. It gets mucky. If you walk four steps in the mud, your boots will be twice as big as they were moments before. And if you were wearing shoes instead of boots, well, you may not get to keep them. If they don't get swallowed into the murky depths, they'll never be clean again.
The truck's front wheels were about eight inches deep into the mud when it got stuck. Now keep in mind, these are the front wheels, and the truck is rear-wheel drive. So it's not like they were spinning and digging themselves deeper. That was just from sinkage.
Anyway, the truck is out of the mud, and the mower is out of the truck. I'll post a picture or two soon.
Now for the next challenge: The Tractor.
I had it running briefly, but I shut it off and now I can't get it to start again. The initial problem was a dead battery. With the battery fully charged though, it'll crank and crank, but never really turn over. Spark plugs? Fuel problems? I'm just not sure.
I like to think I'm a fairly smart guy, but I am definitely mechanically challenged. I'm pretty sure I could learn what I need to know, I've just never been taught. And frankly, it's a hard subject to learn from a book. Believe me, I've tried.
Having said that, I guess it's not the smartest thing in the world to own so many old engines though, huh? I've got the tractor, which is a half-century old. I've got the truck, which has 230,000 miles on it (and it's a diesel). I've also got a Honda with 147,000 miles, and a Subaru with 92,000 miles. Of all the vehicles, we have one working A/C, and one working stereo (well, sort of... it resets itself when you shut off the car, so forget about presets, or keeping your place on a CD), and one hood latch that works properly. We've got dents, scrapes, rust, a busted taillight, mysteriously draining batteries... Even the tractor needs a new alternator.
Maybe I should take back the claim about being smart...