Before descending steep hills, make sure the rear brakes work…

The lynx project is stuck – at point number 666. I’m not one to be superstitious, but after we got the truck jumped last Thursday and were thwarted from our goal today, I’m willing to concede that there may be some devilry at work.

After I slept through my alarm and arrived at work at 7:30, I found Kate had already gassed up the ATVs and was ready to head out. We unloaded the ATVs and strapped on our gear, then started down the steep hill to the creek. Kate, with more ATV experience, took the lead, and I followed behind – far enough that we wouldn’t collide should one of us flip. As I was about 1/3 of the way down and Kate was 2/3, I watched her turn sideways, hit a rut, and roll – the machine rolled over on top of her, rolled another 4-5 times, then landed on all 4 wheels and rolled to the bottom of the hill. My first instinct was to jump off and run to help, but I soon realized the parking brake would not hold my machine on the hill. Kate got up quickly, relatively unhurt, and I managed to roll my machine to a sideways position on the hill so it wouldn’t roll. With Kate’s help, I got my machine turned around and gassed it back to the top, and we called Rusty once again for help getting the machine out. We knew Kate’s machine didn’t have functional rear brakes, and she insists that the brakes weren’t a problem, but knowing her extensive riding experience and the fact that many ATVs had been negotiating the same hill in the past days, I have to assume that brake issues had some role in the rollover.

We waited a little over an hour, and I told stories from Ecuador to pass the time. Then a truck arrived with not only Rusty but also Kathy Gunderman (the boss) and Dave Crowley (the safety coordinator). Kathy insisted on taking Kate to the hospital, and Dave, Rusty, and I contemplated the task of extracting a mostly-wrecked ATV from a creek bed. This task proved not too difficult, as the three of us rolled the machine up onto the bank and then down ramps into the truck that we parked in the creek. After that, we rolled the machine back onto the trailer, and I drove us back to the office. We spent another hour swapping ATVs on the two trailers to get the two remaining functional machines together in case someone wants to use them. By this time it was 1 pm – a very fast six hours.

Not wanting to waste the afternoon entirely, I talked to Steve Laster (head range man) about birdramps, and he sent me down to the lumberyard to get quotes on materials to construct them. That completed, I went out to look for a few wells south of town. I missed the first one to the south, and while I was following a little-used two-track road back north, I spotted a medium sized bird standing on a mound of earth in the middle of the road – an owl! An owl at a burrow – a Burrowing Owl – the first I have ever seen. I got out to take its picture (check out the photo of the day for a blurry, cropped-down version – too bad I didn’t have the long lens along), snapped a few shots, recorded the location on my GPS, then drove through the sagebrush around the burrow to continue looking for my wells. I ultimately only found two tanks (one required a long walk), then got back to the office just before 6 pm. I called Kate, who reported that she had a small chip in a bone in her elbow and would have her arm in a sling for the next week.

Got a package from Ed today with some tasty wild grape leather – perhaps record time for a package arriving here from MN. Then put together a package for Heather, played some basketball and volleyball with Nick at open gym, ate a bit of pizza, and sat down to update the blog.

Haven’t written in recent days due to general lack of excitement. Stayed home this weekend to catch up on finances, do laundry, take a practice biology GRE, and bake ginger cookies. Also made some rather tasty sweet potato burritos for dinner Saturday night, went for a night walk around town, and paid a visit to the local bars to give Nick the experience.

With Kate staying home, I will take Nick out (on foot this time) to finish the lynx project tomorrow. Hopefully number 666 won’t find a way to strike again…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *